Friday, July 24, 2015

The Magic Glove Box


I love that my boys have great imaginations.

And I love that my husband embraces it.

Recently my boys were driving in my husband’s car, when my middle son opened the glove box and out fell numerous bags of cookies and chips.

Now before you think my husband is a hoarder of snacks, I have to explain that the bags of treats were stuffed into his car’s glove box after a golfing event where he was given these treats to take home. He randomly stuffed them in there and forgot all about them.

When my kids found the treats, they of course wanted to know where these bags came from. With a twinkle in his eye, my husband told the boys that it was his magic glove box that supplied yummy snacks to hungry boys.

To much of my kids’ delight, they went along with their dad’s story and helped themselves to “The Magic Glove Box” every time they rode in Daddy’s car. Making a rare occasion a special treat!

Then one day my youngest son opened the glove box and found that all the bags were gone. He was so disappointed.

So the next time my husband left to pick up my youngest son, my husband popped a bag of popcorn and stuffed it into his glove box. When my youngest son climbed into the car, he caught a whiff of the buttery smell of popcorn.

“I smell popcorn!!!” he yelled out in excitement.

My husband nodded towards the glove box and said, “Maybe you should check the magic glove box.”

My son quickly pulled open the glove box to find the warm bag of popcorn inside, and with a big smile, he joyfully sang praises for the magic glovebox in Daddy’s car.

* * *

I hope summer is treating you all well. We are doing pretty good, the boys have been really great, but the stress of my husband not finding work has been a challenge that requires our constant prayer and practice in giving our worries over to God. To cope, we are trying to focus on the small things that make us happy, like reading books on our back porch as we watch our birch trees dance in the wind, enjoying our favorite summer tv show Big Brother, and enjoying small moments with our kids—sometimes including a magic glove box for fun.




Sunday, July 5, 2015

The Safety Bubble


This past week I realized that my kids have been in a safety bubble. For weeks now we’ve stayed close to home, most days enjoying the lazy days of summer in our neighborhood, not venturing out too far. With my husband still home looking for work, my kids have had the ability to stay with dad and not run the usual errands. They barely leave the house and they’ve been so happy, life has been pretty easy.

Then the night before a planned adventure to a small lake in the forest, my little one broke down. He was overcome with intense anxiety, crying out for me to hold him and never leave his side and begging us to stay home. He clearly didn’t want to leave home.

I popped his bubble.

It hadn’t dawned on me until then that my kids were so at ease because we have been living in a safety bubble where almost everything was predictable. The daily stress of school was gone, the constant movement of church groups, sports and activities had come to a complete stop and everything in my son’s world just got very comfortable. No wonder he has been so cheerful and compliant. He was stress free and there wasn’t anything to fight about.

I wish his stress ended there, but over the next few days with back-to-back adventures and a 4th of July party, he faced many more tough moments. I even saw it in my oldest when he was unexpectedly placed in social situations with his peers. He shut down and became very stressed. I was thankful that he was able to keep it together, but I could tell, and so could everyone else, that he was pretty upset and uncomfortable.

This week has taught me two things. First, my little one can not be homeschooled. Pulling him out of school would make his world too small and it would make it even more difficult for him to function outside our home. Second, we need to have balance. Sheltering my kids too much can have a negative impact on their ability to adapt to new situations. I don’t ever expect them to enjoy it, and I don’t want them to be constantly exposed to it, but they need to venture out of their comfort zone every once and a while to work on what’s hard for them.

Yes, we will still be the family that modifies almost everything we do so that our kids can enjoy life and we can enjoy being with them, but there is a fine line that we need to be aware of.

Balance, like everything else, whether it be food, exercise or social settings, it may not always be fun, but it’s necessary in staying healthy.