I am quite old-fashioned. The busyness of the culture that I inhabit annoys me and I work hard not to conform. I don't like working a full-time job and I'd like to be home more than I'm gone.
When daboyz were small, I had the distinct and rare honor of being a full-time-stay-at-home mom. We were dirt poor and I would do it all again. I began working part time at a pre-school when the younger was in school all day in the first grade. I slowly increased my work hours as a contingent parapro from there until I started full time employment with our local school system a few years later. I worked with schools intentionally so my schedule would coincide as closely as possible with my kids. I never worked weekends, evenings, holidays or summers. If some of you are sighing with the great luxury by which I lived you are right to be envious. We exchanged expensive vacations, new cars and a large home for time. That's all it was really, time to be here and available. Time to be a presence to my children who was dependable, in a way ever-present. I wanted any forays I took into the world to be nearly imperceptible to them. I wanted them to feel that they were the center of it all.
I unashamedly drove them to school and arrived about ten minutes late every morning to my job. I will remain forever in the debt of the principal and teacher I worked with who never batted an eye at my insolence. If my kids were home sick, I took the day off too.
For the first time in their and my life, I worked through the summer in 2004. It seems that nurses do not take the summer off, nor holidays, weekends or evenings. It was an adjustment for all of us although my little boys were now fifteen and sixteen years old. I worked a few holidays too although I've been very good at sneaking out of those more than I should. I am blessed to work straight day shift and after two years on the job, my promotion changed my work hours. No more weekends.
Now I have a seventeen year old graduating high school and an almost nineteen year old in college and working full time. I work a forty hour week. I'm not here when they get up in the morning. I'm asleep when Jay gets home at night. Mac is on the go constantly between ministry, friends and just being a person who likes to be out there breathing in life.
I've been criticized more than congratulated on my stubborn greed concerning time. I've turned down lots of invitations to lots of things with no good excuse other than "them", this family of mine. I pass on over-time that would shoot my pay through the ceiling because I can't come up with a figure worth additional hours away from home. That standard forty is all I'm willing to give.
I've been judged unwise because I don't join in girls' nights out and clubs and get-togethers. I've frustrated more than one pastor who want me to take on after hours ministries. I've been told, "Your kids are grown, they don't need you at home."
I am no longer tying shoes and digging in sand boxes. I don't pack lunches or wipe snotty noses or chaperone field trips. My boys do indeed wake up to their own alarm clocks and drive their own cars to wherever they need to go. They also have their own cell phones to call if they need something.
So, they say, those grown up children don't need their mom anymore.
They are wrong. I am forty years old and I need my mom and dad. Differently but not less than when I was a child. I need to know they are around just for the sake of knowing it. I need to know they are available and yes, I believe there is nothing more important in the world to my mom and dad than me and whatever my current need is. Maybe I want my dad to make me a cup of coffee. Maybe I want my mom to go to Target with me. Maybe I want to ride my bike "somewhere" and their house four blocks away is the perfect destination and I want them there waiting for me. Maybe I assume they are always thrilled to have me around.
My kids still say they like having their dad and me here. Not to take care of them but just to be here. Smalltalk and a shared story of the day are not insignificant.
It is a foolish parent who ever defines time as empty.
In this family, children are always written in ink on our daily calendars.
1 Timothy 3:4,5 4He must manage his own family well and see that his children obey him with proper respect. 5(If anyone does not know how to manage his own family, how can he take care of God's church?)