I am sitting here just past the mid-point of the busiest summer of my life as a parent. This one is not busy with play dates and holidays and beach fun. It has instead been busy for the whole family because of a journey that my two oldest children have embarked upon.
The last week of June, my 3 kids competed at the Canadian National Taekwondo Championships, my youngest for the first time. We traveled to Montreal where all 3 of them won their divisions and received gold medals. After so many years of them competing at every tournament together, it was a most welcomed treat to have them all achieve their goals … not one left to feel the regret of a performance that had not gone as expected, which is part of the journey we have naturally faced from time to time through these many years. This Nationals was unique for us in that both my son and oldest daughter were old enough and qualified for the spot on the Canadian National Team that would travel to Korea and compete at the Cadet World Taekwondo Championships this August (yes, this month!) and then travel to Mexico to represent Canada at the Junior Pan Am Taekwondo Championships in September.
It goes without saying that this whole experience has been thrilling beyond belief, and has exposed us to a whole new world of training, considerations, and planning that we have not experienced before. Exhilarating as the trip to Nationals was, our noses have been at the grindstone ever since with days filled with taekwondo camps, travel plans to sort out (the children will travel for the first time without us but rather with their coaches and teammates), fueling considerations to be made at every snack, meal, and party that we partake of. Yes, the real work has most definitely set in, and after 9 years of my kids doing taekwondo, I actually feel like a first time mother… overwhelmed at the newness of it all and at the sheer intensity of it… and I’m not even the one doing the training!!
Along the way, I have tried to fit in some ideas for family time that would give us a much needed change of focus, even if it is only for a day or a weekend.
I used my Fun in the Sun Beach Day Checklist (read the blog post to get your free printable) to pack a day trip to Orillia’s Couchiching Beach. No sooner had we arrived and finished our picnic lunch, than we had to pack our things and run to the car. The heavens had opened up with a huge downpour of rain! We spent the next couple hours at a bowling alley instead, and although it was fun we certainly realized how dependent we have become on using those gutter bumpers over the past few years with kids. Bowling is a lot trickier without the security blanket those bumpers offer!
We spent a Friday night at the Royal Ontario Museum checking out the Pompeii Exhibit among other areas of the museum. Entry is half price on Fridays after 4:30, and it is open until 8:30. It was a lot for my 7 year old even though she is an avid reader. My husband and son raced to see as much as they could as quickly as possible (totally in character for both of them!) My 14 year old could have stayed all night and read every single exhibit’s notes. It was wonderful to realize that she and I could spend any available day in the future thoroughly enjoying a leisurely walk through a gallery or museum together… maybe in Paris someday ?? She absolutely loved it.
And I have been grateful for moments (especially quiet mornings) when I have taken some time to meander through Katrina Kenison’s thoughtful blog and her posts that always remind me to notice the opportunities and the blessings in each day, no matter how busy or how overwhelming life becomes. I am reminded that days rarely unfurl as expected, and I can build a happy home any number of ways if I can just remember to enjoy the few moments we spend together each day … and to breathe.
So here I am facing the last week before the whole family flies to Korea. Much to do for parents and kids in these next days. I will try to make some time to just enjoy each other… starting with spending some time playing a family game of Rumoli on this rainy Saturday morning.