What About The Children...

What About The Children...
Snuggled with Waffles 

When Yessa was 6 years old, I realized that I still bounced in place whenever I was standing in one spot for very long. I hadn't carried a child regularly on my hip for at least a year, but the muscle memory was so strong from all those years of bounce, bounce, bounce, shimmy, shimmy, shake.

In the last six months, I realized what I was doing with clementines. (Or "tiny little oranges," as Betty calls them. 😍)

When we needed clementines, I would check the bag to see if they were the easy to peel kind; the kind that were extra puffy. The children had learned from my example and we would sometimes skip purchasing them if they weren't easy peel.

Buds didn't have the same preference, so I finally stopped to consciously consider why I had the preference for easy peel.

It wasn't taste. The taste was the same.

Then it hit me.

I was still acting like the children needed help to peel clementines.

When they were little, I might have to peel 10 or 12 clementines in a row. Even though they are now 17, 20, and 21, I was still acting on the muscle memory of needing to peel for everyone.

How freeing to just grab a bag of clementines.

That's how I'm feeling about this first trip to Europe without the children, just Buds and me. We all have the chance to see what is just habit, muscle-memory, for how we live together.

I was slightly disconcerted at first.

I only have to think about if I'm hungry?

I only have to consider if I'll get cold on this outing?

My emotions are the only ones I need to regulate?

It isn't that the children truly needed me to help with all these things. Those were the unexamined muscle memory patterns we'd all used for years. Not positive or negative, just what was happening.

The kids are counting on each other and themselves. They are doing great.

Buds and I are discussing things that aren't just child or family centered. We still talk about the kids and love talking to them, but we're all expanding and growing and learning.

We'll love being home with them when the time comes, but I hope, a little bit, that they miss the freedom and change of habit that they'll have tested while we're away. That we'll all be glad to see each other, but ready to hang on to some new patterns and behaviors.

I don't want to keep getting the easy peel clementines. I want us to choose from the whole grove.