The Beginning

… I thought, “How sad!  How sad that I am wishing this day away, wishing this time with my children away.”   How sad…

It was a gray, rainy day.  My 5-year-old had been on Spring vacation all week, and I had been out of practice with having both of my boys home at the same time.  I was drained, too, from having my in-laws in town.  And my husband had decided to take time off of work.  A staycation.  It was fun and busy, but the introvert that I am was missing some solo recharge time.  And I was tired of planning kiddie entertainment activities.  I decided we weren’t going anywhere today.  Not even to see Max the bunny of Max & Ruby at the local toy store.

As soon as I turned the morning cartoons off, I started to get irritated.  I promised myself that I wouldn’t be angry, that I would be content resigning myself to a long, indoor day, but I couldn’t help feeling frustrated.  I got tired of hearing my verbal stream of “Don’t hit him!  Share!  Leave him alone!  Don’t hurt the dog!  Be kind to each other!  blah blah blah blah blah.” I was annoying myself, I could only imagine how my kids were feeling.  I was supremely bothered, and kept exhaling these enormous sighs of discontent.  I started to count the hours until bedtime.  Hoping that time would zoom by.

Then I thought, “How sad!  How sad that I am wishing this day away, wishing this time with my children away.”   How sad.

What could I do to change my mindset?

I had recently shared the ‘secret of life’ with my oldest son.  Love.  That simple.  Giving and receiving love.  It’s what we are meant to do.  Randomly washing a pan at the kitchen sink, watching my 2-year-old whack his ‘brudder’ for the umpteenth million time, I sighed again for the umpteenth million time.  It all seemed so meaningless.  The kids romping around the house and being ornery, hurting one another both physically and feelings-wise, because they were bored to tears.  Bored with their toys.  Me bored of playing their toys with them, bored of (dare I say?) watching them by myself while hubby slept from night-shift work.  Us all wishing that the day would just end already.

Is this what I wanted time with my family to be?  No.  How could I infuse love into every mundane day?  How could I bring meaning into all of our lives (especially on the weekends when hubby was working, and it was just me and the critters)?

Then a phrase popped into my mind.  The Love Project.  A family love project that would involve spreading love to others and the planet.  I envisioned cleaning up a corner of the playground.  Visiting a nursing home.  Playing with other children, needy for love.  Family performance art, like having a brightly decorated table somewhere, asking passers-by to share a story with us about someone they love.

I found a website for volunteer opportunities in our county, and (embarassingly) was shocked by the number of amazing organizations that needed help.  I frantically scribbled a list in my purple notepad.  There were many more than I had anticipated, and I actually had to be selective about what might be the best fit for me, plus a 5- and 2-year-old.  I decided to start by calling the nature center to see if they still needed help collecting data from their bluebird boxes.  Another great choice seemed to be hooking up with a local non-profit committed to helping immigrant families integrate into the community, along with contacting a nearby nursing home to see if the boys and I could be “friendly visitors.”  Then I figured I would supplement more formal experiences with self-initiated activities, like clean-ups.

My heart soared for the rest of the day.  I might have actually found the solution:  our family’s Love Project.

Despite my wonderful intention (and notepad full of ideas), I hoped I would follow through with the Love Project.  I was excited enough about it to share it with the kids, who in turn seemed excited, too.  And waiting in line for my soy latte at Starbucks a few days later, I noticed a huge sign that April was Volunteer Month.  Hmm.  I wonder if I was on to something, if I had tapped into something larger than my gray and rainy day on that gray and rainy day…

Posted in Awakening, Love, Motherhood, Spirituality, Uncategorized, Volunteering | Tagged , , , , , | 3 Comments