A common refrain my vocabulary these days is, “I can’t, she has dance.” I don’t begrudge her for one minute. Same goes for Big Man, who is nearing the end of his first high school cross country season. Having a daughter who dances at this level means lots of hours in the studio. And since she doesn’t drive yet, and won’t for two more years, that means I spend lots of hours sitting in the studio. Having a son on the cross country team means Saturdays spent at meets, and sometimes Thursday or Friday afternoons. And he practices five days a week. I don’t have to sit through those practices, but I do have to pick him up when he’s done.
My kids are not the center of my universe, but they do take priority. This is their time to shine, to sort out their dreams and live them. Which means time which used to be, and will be again when they’re off to college, spent socializing or on me is focused on them and their activities. I’ve given up both book clubs within the past few months. Meetings always seemed to be on a dance night. I missed a Kenny Chesney concert with Spouse over the summer because it was on recital weekend. We’re trying to work out schedules for next weekend when we have tickets to go see Garth Brooks. Guess what else is that weekend? The Princess’ first competition weekend of the year. Date nights have been shifted to Wednesdays when she doesn’t currently have class. And I’ve hesitated going back to growth group at church because our schedules are constantly shifting.
The next seven years are big ones for our family, as they wrap up middle school and navigate high school, start figuring out what they want to be, where they want to go. I won’t ever have this time again. I need to be there for them, cheering them on. Watching them do things they so evidently love is one of my greatest joys as a parent. Does it mean sacrifice on my part? Sure, but trust me, I still take time to take care of me, refill my bucket so I can keep going. While they’re in school, I do take care of the household, but I also exercise, read, write, focus on my needs. The rest of the day belongs to them. I’m okay with that. My parents gave me my time to shine way back when. Music, cheerleading, swimming, gymnastics, clubs, social life…they let me have my time. They sacrificed their time when I needed them to be there for me.
I worry sometimes my friends will stop asking me to do things when they so often hear, “I can’t, she has dance or he has a meet,” but I hope they keep asking for the days I can say, “Yes! I can do that!”