Wednesday, April 01, 2009

Better than Alone Time

It's Wednesday.
That means Elizabeth has Impact tonight. Impact is the junior high youth ministry at our church and every Wednesday night the kids all gather for their weekly meeting.

It used to be that Wednesday afternoons were a bit crazy as I tried to get ready to take Elizabeth to church for Impact. I would get the boys home from school, let them have a snack and then get right to work with them doing homework. As soon as that was completed, or maybe while my little ADHD buddy was still trying to focus, I would get started on dinner preparation. A few minutes before dinner was ready, I started calling for the kids to get the table set. And after numerous reminders to leave the dog alone and get their work done we would be ready to sit down to eat.
By this time, I was usually quite frazzled, but if I looked at the clock and saw that is was only 5:30 I could breathe a sigh of relief, knowing we were in good shape to get to church on time.
So I would take Elizabeth to Impact and come home to do the dishes, get Matthew to put the finishing touches on any homework which was yet undone, and tie up any other loose ends from the day. Sometimes there were problems to solve, fights to end, or bargains to make. Other times we may have a project to work on, or one of the boys might have a list of questions and concerns to go over with me. Whatever it was, it seemed that Wednesday nights were always hectic.

But I had a secret thing to which I always looked forward.

Even though it only takes 11 or 12 minutes to get to church from our house, and even though Elizabeth is rarely ever ready to leave right at 8:30 - when Impact officially ends - I would leave the house at 8:15 to pick her up. I would listen to some of my favorite music while I drove to church and then I would sit in the parking lot for a few minutes - soaking in the quiet - until it was time to go in and get her. And in those few minutes of solitude, the stress from the previous four and a half hours would mysteriously melt away. Ahhhhh...

Yeah, that's how it used to be.

For the past couple of months, though, Joshua has been riding along with me to pick Elizabeth up on Wednesday nights.

The first time he wanted to go, I knew he was just curious to see what was going on at Impact. (He'll be in sixth grade next year.) So I didn't mind the intrusion company.
The second time, I wasn't as supportive of his need to ride along but I managed to get over it.
The third time, I really felt Joshua should give me a good reason for eradicating my alone time riding along again, but he just said he wanted to come. There was no further explanation to be given. So I let him come.

Thus, we began a new Wednesday night habit.

And then God did a work in my heart to let me see that these few minutes with Joshua in the van are even better than the alone time I'm missing.
Often times we ride in silence, though there have been some interesting conversations which have come out of nowhere.
Even in the silence, though, I have found a certain joy just being with Joshua. We aren't at odds with each other. He isn't upset with me over putting limits on his computer or TV time. I am not frustrated with the sarcastic tone of voice he's using with me. We're just sitting next to each other, peacefully.
And it's nice.
I still don't know why Joshua wants to ride along on Wednesday nights. He never offered a good reason, and I have stopped asking. He wants to come, and that's good enough for me.

I'm told the day will come when Joshua won't want to spend more time with me than is absolutely necessary. I suppose I'll have all the "alone time" I can stand at that point in my life. So for now, by the grace of God, I am going to enjoy Joshua's presence on Wednesday nights, realizing it is a gift far better than alone time.

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luvmy4sons said...

I SO understand. And you are a wise woman...the stabbings will begin all too soon! Love you!

Leah said...

The beauty of sacrifice. One day your son will let you in on why he wanted to ride with you. I bet he just needs to be close to his mom right now.


Teresa said...

Wonderful insight, Karen! Thank you for sharing... And as a mother of a 15 year old...drink in every moment with him...


Jerralea said...

I'd be just like you, wondering why he was encroaching on my "alone time." But you are so wise, enjoy it while you can. If he's like my kids, you are just weeks away from him not wanting to be around mom. (It seems to happen from about age 12-15 for girls to get that way. Sometimes it lasts longer than 15 ...)

Mrs. Sidney said...

So true... I really need to remind myself of this one.. Thanks!

km said...

I feel like that when one of my littles wants to tag along for the grocery store. It is amazing how special that time can be though. And one instead of three makes a big difference. Happy Wednesday Joshua Time! Are you making meatloaf tonight? I am.

Jessica said...

That's SO sweet! Today I keep wondering-will I make it to church? My attendance is so sporadic due to different things. Like right now my two youngest have boogery noses and wheezing coughs. I hate to expose them, you know? But I miss church. Grrr.
It's wonderful how God worked in your heart. Sometimes I just want to be alone so bad, but I forget how precious my children are, and that I only get a short time with them before I'll have all the alone time I want.

Theresa said...

My son is 16. He is busy and into skateboards. Needless to say I don't go riding with him. I would end up killing myself the first time I tried to skateboard over a rock. BUT.....

We have a bond that is wonderful. Our bnd is very comfortable silence. It isn't the silence that is strained. It is the kind that makes it better then being alone.

My son and I are close and talk alot but I always enjoy taking the top down on my car. Grabbing Ryan and then head out on a drive. You do after awhile quit asking why they want to go and start thanking them for coming. :)

Chatty Kelly said...

When I was walking (for exercise) my 9 yr old often wanted to come. That annoyed me as it meant a shorter and slower walk. (less fat burning!!!)) But oh, the conversations we had. So I'm glad for it. Tis a blessing to have sacrificial love for our children. Like Jesus did for us.

Leah said...


check back in at my blog in the morning and I'll have posted the names of who said each quote and when it was uttered. You are right, they are scary and most of the American people have no idea these kinds of threats are out there. WE are happily ignorant or so we think!


LauraLee Shaw said...

Hi Karen,

YOU are on my blog excited!


Mike said...

That's a great lesson—and reminder.


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