Limited Play-Dates: Once They’re Over, You Only Have Memories

My oldest turns 22 in October, which means it’s been almost 4 years since our waking up together as a family of 6. We had many dreams of doing more things together that didn’t all work out the way we’d hoped. My heart yearns to slow it all down, yet I also am excited to see what they make of their own lives.

My mind often thinks about the memories that we experienced the most happiness. Maybe the first time they went into the swimming pool, or the play-dates we had in the park? There were so many…

Memories For Days

Then, my memories move over to the most precious outfits they’d wear for the very first time. Oh and the swimsuits! The ones that showed off those chubby little thighs..to die for.

And I have regrets that cause my heart to ache a little. Like my being so self-conscious..after all, my figure had changed. It was this that wouldn’t allow me complete freedom to get fully involved in some of our adventurous play-dates. And that saddens me.

And They Keep Coming

I remember the baby-fine hair they had, and recall the way it went all these crazy directions, particularly after they’d dried off and were back in my arms. In fact, I can almost feel the softness in the palm of my hands..still so fresh in my memories.

My thoughts then shift over to their eyes..those big, bright smiling peepers! Sigh. How I could have stared at them for hours, during the many play-dates that we had – and I did, often.

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Creating Play-Dates of Joy

The creativity that spun, from myself and others, in making many joyful experiences for my babies, just to bring out their laughter. We watched tons of kids movies, got into loads of games, and we didn’t have many cares in the world, as long as we were together. 

I planned some adventures for us, too, traveling away from our home to go enjoy some vacation play-dates; albeit, with a tight budget to work from, but it was exciting to them nonetheless, making it exciting for all of us! The getaways were mostly all within the great state of Texas, until the later years anyway.

Holding Onto The Smiles

We’ve experienced hundreds of good memories, and my heart feels full, seeing their smiles play-back in my mind. Even my own grin for that matter, like it’d gotten stuck on my face during these precious moments. Looking back, all was right in my world in the midst of these times. 

play-dates

Now, I wonder how they grew up so quickly, and where all of our time went; time to enjoy some more of these wonderful play-dates…

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It All Changes

Nothing will be the same now, though. Still many great times to be had, of course..just different.

Going to school for their lunch period is a thing of the past with three of my kids, and actually I should say no more school in general, for half of my babies. Now, we enjoy our occasional weekends going places together; then, of course, we celebrate special events and the holidays. 

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Growing Up

My two oldest have their own lives, and we even a new addition with my son-in-law. They’re out enjoying life with people who they’ve crossed paths with over the years, as they should. The days seem filled with so much to do, but not very much longer, and my son too will be finishing up high school. And I’ll be left wondering again, how we got there so fast?

He’ll likely go off to college, and will surely do fantastic things – how could he not, with that amazing personality and his many talents?! My heart will undoubtedly mourn at times, and I’m sure there’ll be days I want to just curl up and reminisce over the old family pictures.

Fond Memories?

Reminiscing about things that brought joy, possibly. Maybe even reminiscing over the last disagreement that was had… 

Certainly, I’ll reflect on how humbled I always felt, thinking about how God chose me to be their mom..and then, I’ll recall all the days I cherished being that role, and still do. Maybe I’ll mull over my guilt some, the things I did all wrong..and the times I was just distracted during our time together. That time which just keeps moving right by. 

Reality Check

So, this is a reality check for me, really. My current duty is to keep making the days worthwhile, and enjoying the “play-dates” that we have left; there’s not very many of them. 

OUR PLAY-DATES ARE LIMITED: BUT I KNOW WHAT I HAVE TO DO NOW

  • Consider all suggestions.
  • My first reaction has been to disregard suggestions that aren’t typically part of our norm, and that probably needs to take a backseat. I’m ready now – to hear about the stuff we can do that can help let loose a little and live more! 

    Live A Little

    Kids shouldn’t have to stay neat and tidy; we can chill and do things which allow us to spend time together. I don’t always need to require them to put down the volume, or stop with the rough-housing. We SHOULD all “break the rules” sometimes: have the early snack and late supper. There needs to be more getting out of the house, even if it’s just to throw the ball out back. Sometimes, we might sit down and enjoy the beauty of God’s creations. And after a late night, maybe we’ll all fall asleep there in the living room. 

  • Why not go?
  • When my brain struggles to decide what our family’s able to swing, in order for getting up and going, I need to let my heart take over, and let the struggle be ~how~ our family is going to get up and go! My response to this question is going to be..us, that’s how. (God willing, anyway!)

    Fleeting Moments

    The moments of making childhood memories are few, so we must make the most of them! A lot of amazing things are left to still experience, plus, there’s lots of fun waiting out there to be had, and waiting for us to break down whatever’s holding us back from exploring them.

    Memories

  • Go in with them.
  • My hesitation to jump into the water (or whatever it is they’re doing) has to lay low. What’s really more fun than hide-and-go-seek, anyhow?!


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    Really Listen…

    The day that they’ve had, needs to be heard about, even when we have to listen to all the dramatics and side-stories along with it. It doesn’t matter where we go together..full participation is required! That’s what they need from me! 

  • Jump in the picture.
  • Getting in the pictures isn’t my first instinct, especially as the person who’s usually taking them. However, on behalf of them, my silly face should be camera ready. That way, when they go to reminisce, they view us having fun together..laughing, seeing me love being their mom, in the same way that they always appeared to love being my kid. 

    Enjoy the mundane.

    My goal to make great adventures happen for us will be there – in conjunction with this, however, I’m committed to finding the joy in our quiet, minimal activity time also: those hot afternoons, when we’re bumming around way longer than we should, making egg sandwiches for a late first meal of the day, then doing a whole lot of nothing.


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    My head – and heart – are well aware of the toy disasters being around for a short time longer; their ouchies, one day, won’t fall on me to take care of. And my little girl will, soon enough, have her very own stash of makeup to sit beautifying herself with. Or I guess I should say, there’ll be others to more than likely do these things together with. 

    Off On Their Own

    Eventually, they’re going to be living their own lives somewhere. Maybe, they’ll go even further away than a mother likes to imagine. Then, our play-dates will live in our hearts and memories. And those silly photos! 

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    Marital Communication 

    In order for my husband to successfully communicate with me, he’s going to need to provide the security I need. He’s got to be able to do this in a way that I can recognize, through the words and interactions he has with me. I can’t stress the importance of the clarity being necessary here.

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    We can be talking about anything, the subject of the discussion is besides the point. What matters most is his tone of voice when he’s speaking. My husband needs to be able to communicate things like, “I love you, and you’re a priority to me. I’m happy when you’re happy and I’ll fight with everything that I’ve got so I can provide for you. I want you to understand that I’ll always take care of you.” 


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    Communicate Love and Security

    When he’s able to communicate these kinds of messages, peace will fill my soul. After the verbal assurance, following through on the words holds equal value. When my husband can provide this type of security to me, he’ll surely never regret it. I guarantee you the thanks would be repaid, because wives respond favorably to our needs being met. 

    On the other side of the marriage, he requires a much different approach to the way that he’s communicated with. A feeling of security isn’t going to hold the same significance for most men in the way that it does for a woman. I have to reach his sweet spot by giving him credit where it’s due to be given. If I’m minimizing the efforts which he puts in, then I’m ensuring him to be more likely and neglect me, along with my needs. This will only put us in the throes of a viscous cycle. 

    R-E-S-P-E-C-T

    Men are more likely to put themselves around people who they feel they’re going to be respected by. If I want my conversations to mean something – and I do – then it requires me to understand how he responds the best at being approached.

    Whatever I say, should refer back to him in a positive light. I can’t just whisper sweet nothings, because if my attitude’s showing something different than my words, then I’m only wasting my breath. My husband will need to hear things like, “Honey, I’ve got complete confidence in you. You know that I’m your biggest cheerleader and I’ll always only cheer for your team”…

    Most wives, myself included, have a need to feel safe when we’re with our husbands. But most husbands, my own included, will have a need to feel like they’re going to be doted on and respected by their wives. To have a successful marriage (which is what the goal is), I must learn how to speak his love language, and vice versa. Once we’re able to meet each other’s needs this way, our relationship will only have the potential to continue in growing closer.

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    Here’s Jennifer

    J.Rut

    J.Rut

    Welcome! I'm Jennifer Rutledge: Christ follower, wife, Mom and real estate agent. This is where you can expect to find tons of stories about my dive into the seasons, my walk into the woman I'm still becoming, what's going on in the San Antonio and surrounding areas real estate market and even some product reviews. There will probably be even way more than that, since I'm so scattered half the time!

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