By Jaimi Erickson
Last year at this time, I had the kids scheduled out in sports and activities. The plan for getting everyone where they needed to be included my husband taking some of the driving responsibilities. I should have known better. At that time, we were not aware that my husband would need to take part in Operation Allies Welcome. It was a last-minute change of plans for him and our family. Such is life in the military!
With the kids’ schoolwork, sports practices, and games on weekends, I was coordinating my driving like a travel itinerary — dropping one child off, then going back home to pick another one up. Taking that child to their game just to turn around and pick up the first child. It was coordinated, but it left me with little margin time.
After a month of that crazy schedule, I was ready for a break. We military spouses learn to just keep going no matter what. But, at some point, the shift happens. We can pause and regroup. Fall is that season this year for my family.
The Shift from Summer to Fall
In summer, the kids play outside until it is dark out. They come in to eat dinner in the middle of that. Then they head back out within minutes. All they want is to grasp every moment they have of summer freedom and friends.
Summer is full of open windows of time and extra kids in my house. Living on a military base gives us a pseudo-1950’s lifestyle. Kids play all day, shifting from being outside to what I call house-hopping. The parents know each other well enough that we let the kid gang float from one house to the next. Everyone takes a turn with them at their house. Everyone gets a break when the kids move to the next house.
We soak up the flexibility of summer. During the school year, that changes. We shift back to Mom and Dad, watching sports practices in the evenings. Family meals happen at a slower pace. Everyone comes in earlier and gets more time together at home.
Perspective Gained from Last Season
After reflecting back on the jam-packed fall at the start of our last school year, I am so grateful for my husband being home. The prospect of watching practices and games together is a treat. He missed so much of our life together at home.
This perspective is what I will stay focused on to appreciate this season. Back-to-school time in our house means fewer kids coming in and out all day. It means more structure. It provides more family time. Evenings provide the quality time I cherish. The little moments of our life get slower.
Back-to-school season also gives us a reason to shift focus back to quality time with family. A new season always provides new opportunities to notice on what is working. This fall, I am grateful for the return to routine and all that provides us.