Friday, August 12, 2011


Time is moving so quickly these days.

Its really just flying.

This week has been good.

But I've come to the realization that my job is changing... and yet the foundation stays the same.

Gone are the days of working hard all day with young children. Of waking up tired from holding sick babies all night and chasing/cleaning after preschoolers.

I am now one of those moms I used to envy. You know the one... she shops without her kids, sips latte's without sharing, isn't wearing gooey graham cracker on the front of her shirt. I have become that mom who can read poolside while the kids are swimming.

But, let me tell you what I am reading...

I'm reading on how to encourage my teenager toward healthy and strong relationships. I'm reading up on how to keep the heart, mind, and body pure in a world that treats relationship (and dating) as something that isn't revered, but looked upon as conquest.

I'm reading on how to help them be excellent communicators (and listeners) when our media-filled age is all about 140 character or less... when conversations that should be held face-to-face are texted-- when words that should be private are splattered all over Facebook.

I'm reading about how to help them see the value in who they have been created to be; to be content with the gifts and talents they have been uniquely given for their good and the to the glory of God. I'm trying to learn how to help them find a way in a society that praises the mean-girl and emasculates the good-boy.

I'm reading up on how to keep my kids spiritually and mentally healthy in a world that offers nothing of sustenance on which to feast, and then glorifies the emaciated mind and body.

I'm trying to gain knowledge and wisdom, help steer the way, but it isn't always easy and often the lessons learned are not just for them... but for me.

I have prayed, and prayed, and prayed again for wisdom. For understanding. For a life-line.

Ten days ago, while I was sitting at the table teaching English and wondering how this whole teenage parenting thing was gonna work out, I received answer to that prayer.

It wasn't what I was expecting.

It was a thought so very clear in my mind that I had to write it down to be sure it was true.

"Be present with those you're with."

Three days later, nearly to the hour, as I anticipated the crossing-off of To-Do lists; in between grocery lists and papers to grade I got caught in the cross-winds of a storm I didn't know was brewing in my heart: How am I supposed to navigate this crazy time of hormones and history papers? How am I to nurse the whiplash that comes in the battle of snarkyness vs. neediness that can happen from the same child within a ten-minute span? How do I mentor and mother? Teach and Talk? Listen and learn? 

Two little words calmed the raging storm. Hope came to soothe my heart as a dozen(ish) letters bled from my pen. 

Job description: Be available.

That's a hard one for me. It always has been. 

 Over and over again I have had to choose to be available. 

Why did I think it would change now?

This Wednesday we had our usual Family Night. We started this tradition over a decade ago when I realized that The Mister and I needed a night that we could count on... a night when we could spend some time with the kids, and then after tucking them in bed, could have some time together. It's been our date night, and with the exception of a half-a-dozen very good reasons, we have kept that date. 

Not every night has been sweetness and light. As a matter of fact there have been some Wednesday evenings that we all should have just crawled into bed at 6:00 pm and stayed there. But our choice to be available to one-another every Wednesday over the period of a decade is beginning to show its fruit. And to be very honest with you, two nights ago it was of great encouragement to me.


Because choosing to be available again, and again, in the face of discouragement - when family night felt more like a lesson in patience; when others around us discouraged us, didn't understand us, sometimes even asked us to change our date to accommodate things they thought more important; when I just didn't have energy or desire to plan and prepare and my attitude reflected it -  there was still blessing in being available. 

This Wednesday my two worlds collided: that world of choosing availability when my children were little (even when I couldn't see the fruit) and realizing how important it will continue to be as I navigate these sometimes-murky teenage waters. 

Maybe, even more important.

This week Family Night was a quiet and tender gift ... just for me... although, at the time, even I didn't know it.

I made a dinner that everyone loved. The bread came out just perfect. The Girl set the table with added touches. Everyone was happy and communicative. The wine tasted delicious. 

Laughter and Joy and Love was set before us. As we looked across our big walnut table at the faces of this family, we got to taste and see what is good... and it helped me glimpse into the future. 

This. This one moment that took eleven-years to build is what comes of being available, but this isn't the end. Its just the beginning. 

Time is flying... but I don't need to worry... when all plans fail... when I think I am failing... 

I will choose to be present with those I am with... 

I choose to be available.


Cindy said...

Love,love,love your post Kelli!

Anonymous said...

Perfect timing!! I just agonized over taking a job which would take me away from my children 5 additional hours A DAY! The money was so tempting, but I just could not do it.


Mommie Dearest Strikes Again said...

I love this post!

I struggle with the same issues as a mom of two teenagers. It's hard sometimes, especially when the kid's activities keep them (and me) going in a hundred different directions.

Our family dinner night is Wednesdays also - the only night we are all free. Even though, at times, it's chaotic and's the night we all come together as a family. I love those dinners.

Be available...such good advice.

Anonymous said...

Sweet post...timely too. Thanks for the online encouragement today!