On the Flip Side
Confession: Spending two days last week off doing my own thing while the boys hung out with my hubby was AMAZING. It was nice to eat a meal without someone spilling something or asking for seconds just as I sit down with my plate. I went to the bathroom (without being followed!) whenever I needed and being the one to ASK the questions? Ahh, yes. True bliss. But the main reason those two days were wonderful? I got to be on the flip side.
Homeschooling is great in that we get to go on all types of outings and adventures during the week with no real constraints on our schedule, but it means that Curby misses out on a majority of our fun while he is at work. The boys are always asking if he can take the day off to join us and I know he wishes he had the flexibility to do so. I sometimes feel sad that he is unable to experience the joy in our learning as it's happening. Last week though, I think I discovered that being the parent that is always "missing out" can be a pretty neat position to be in after all.
While I was busy trying not to feel guilty about standing on a launch pad without my kiddos, they'd been exploring California. My husband took them out to lunch and to visit the Museum of Flying in Santa Monica. He made sure they caught a glimpse of the iconic HOLLYWOOD sign. They drove along scenic Highway 1 which includes portions of historic El Camino Real. They went to the beach, freshly packed snacks, new sand toys and snorkeling gear in tow. And each day, I got to hear all about it. I was shown pictures of the cool airplanes they'd discovered at the museum and I laughed as they gave me a live reenactment of the videos my husband had taken of them mimicking aircraft carrier crewmen below the static display of a US Navy jet. I was offered the remnants of their beach snacks and received a very enthusiastic demonstration of their collapsable beach buckets. (Genius concept, really.)
My heart felt so full knowing that my boys, big and little, had spent such quality time together. I didn't have a single reason to be sad or disappointed for being away from them or to feel that I had somehow missed out. It's easy to smile or 'ohh and ahh' in the moment but to listen them recall and to watch them share their experiences with an excitement that was as fresh as if it were happening right there in front of us? Well, that's when I realized that being on the flip side was pretty awesome.
I am so grateful to my husband for those two days. He took time off from work to take the entire family to California so I could participate in the NASA Social simply because it interested me. This new perspective has inspired me to continue on our path of home learning and adventures not just for our boys, but also for the warm fuzzy feeling I know he gets at the end of the day when the boys smile and share their memories with him. Many parents face the reality of being away frequently or for extended periods of time. As a former military family, this was us just a few short years ago and I know that nothing makes up for that time, but the pictures, the laughs, the stories, they are treasured. They are the next best thing.
There is joy and wonder everywhere when you see the world
through the eyes of a child.
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