I’m feeding the baby as I write this; the older kids are attempting to do their morning chores but the sounds emanating from the dining room indicate that chores have turned into play. My husband’s summer vacation time hasn’t turned into quite the stay-cation I had anticipated. I had envisioned endless hours of family play and local discoveries; home projects being accomplished swiftly and daily routines being perfected.
Instead we have just been getting by. The baby is still unpredictable in his sleep patterns and our morning chores barely get done before it’s lunch time. Our summer bucket list continues to wait on us and the home projects multiply exponentially. Can relaxation be found in the cacophony of demands upon our time and energy?
It is possible but it’s a life skill that needs practice, and I’m a long way from being perfect in it. I tend to think that I need to plan ahead for times of relaxation and to prepare for fun. But upon further reflection of our summer thus far I see that we have had good times: father and son fishing in our lake; a spontaneous family tickle fight before bed; lingering over breakfast; ordering take out and watching a movie after the kids are in bed. We have had deep family conversations and turned doctor appointments into mini road trips with snacks and books and country music. So what makes the difference between regular life and relaxed life?
While rest is pausing to breathe, I think that relaxation is a focused determination to breathe levity into the ordinary. It’s a matter of attitude and expectations: anything can be joyful with the proper perspective. My husband reminds me that this season of #5under5 is a time of taking life in small doses. There will be many things we simply cannot do right now but relaxation doesn’t have to be one of them. I’m going to keep practicing.