death by appointment

Everything always seems to be running smoothly until I open my planner to reveal… an appointment.

I don’t care if it’s ice skating lessons for one of my children, soccer practice or the dentist. I seem to always have the same problem—getting there on time. It’s hard enough just getting myself ready, let alone several of my kids. And when we have to be somewhere it usually gets stressful, such as one of them can’t find one of their socks or a baby is crying when I have one foot already out the door.

Sure, it’s fun filling up my calendar: lunch at noon on the 13th, we’ll be there! Teeth cleaning at 3 o’clock on the 20th, no problem. Science class this Friday, exciting! But when the time comes to actually going to these appointments, I’m not as excited as when I made them. One time, I had all seven of my children with me on our way to the dentist, because my two older ones had an appointment. I of course was running ten minutes late; turned into the dentist’s parking lot on two wheels, and pulled in front of the building with a screeching halt. I put our truck in park, looked back at all of my children in our Suburban and yelled,

"Hurry and get out!"

We unbuckled ourselves, the older ones helped the younger ones, and our feet hit the pavement in record time. We all ran in the front door, I tripped over the foyer rug with a baby on my hip and out of breath exclaimed,

"The Pentons are here for their appointment."

The receptionist looked at us over her spectacles, then her appointment book, and then back at me with pity and said,

"I’m sorry honey, you’re here too late for us to take you. We’re going to have to reschedule."

It’s amazing how one appointment in my day can be the death of me. Combine that with all my children’s activities and we’ve got chaos! Keeping my children busy and active in the homeschooling community was something I did all the time. I wanted to be plugged in to all the science projects, field trips, and sports, like I was somehow a better mom by being submerged in all the activities. Keeping busy felt frazzled, which I thought at the time, was a good thing. It seemed the busier I kept us in life, the more successful they would become.

And don't get me started on all the busy buzz from other mothers I'd overhear, like everywhere, about  their children’s busy schedules. It seems to be the topic of conversation everywhere as if these moms were heroes and their kids insanely successful. Homeschooling your children definitely does not make you immune to an over scheduled life!

But in everyone's defense, including my own, there is so much out there to entice you. It lures you in and with its enticing lies, somehow makes you feel as though the busyness equates the ultimate, well rounded child.

It was when this self-induced stress created such an unhappy family life, did I realize that this busy life I had soon become a slave to, wasn't what I wanted for me or my family. It become clear to me that I didn’t want to be a part of that busy life any more. I wanted to go back to living and enjoying life, unhurried. Of course that doesn’t mean that I took my kids out of everything, and we never go anywhere; we go and do things all the time, just more at our leisure than by appointment.

For us, when we are just running errands, going to the library, or visiting a museum, we learn more and enjoy each others company. The mistake was made when thinking they were not going to learn anything, or become somebody of importance unless they were in a structured learning atmosphere and pursued a gazillion different activities.

Children do not need to dabble in a hundred different things to find out what they want to pursue, but rather, maybe one or two at the most and knowing and seeking out themselves, personally.

We now focus on that one thing each really wants to put their energy in. Those kinds of activities I don’t mind doing. They have true purpose. They of course have a lot of things they do and enjoy, and being home enables them to do them, and the time to do them well. Life has a lot to offer and God has shown me that He wants us to live life to the very fullest. I’d rather we all do one or two things at full potential, than a dozen things mediocre.

Being free of an over scheduled calendar allows us to learn about ourselves without the interference of time restraints.

There are the appointments in life that we must do and keep, such as the dentist. But as far as activities and my children are concerned, I want to be focused on the ones that create purpose and meaning, rather than always being frazzled to Death by Appointment!

"Live each season as it passes; breathe the air, drink the drink, taste the fruit, and resign yourself to the influences of each."
Henry David Thoreau

Enjoy your children and your life...unhurried.

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