Disclaimer: This post was inspired by the one week that we had with the La-Z-Boy Recliner. For this post, I went over some old photos of moments we had with the kids and it made me realize how a lot of our meaningful conversations happened (and are still happening) whenever we all tried to fit into our recliner!
The last few years, there have been quite a few changes in the dynamics of our family as well as in the ministry. With transitions and new additions and assignments, I have to admit it is so easy for me to get carried away by all the things that “need” to be done. If I am not careful, I know I could unknowingly be neglecting important connections in my life yet not realize it quickly enough until I feel some strain. I could say yes to ministry opportunities, be out of the house so often, and then forget to have some stability and structure at home. I could be at home– yet be preoccupied with homeschooling and household tasks, forgetting to intentionally connect with my children and see what’s going on in their hearts. If I am not careful, I can let my type A tendencies consume me with to-do lists. I can also let my type A tendencies fool myself into thinking I can use having a new baby (even though he is already six months old) as an excuse to not do anything else but take care of him. “Sorry, I can’t play with you now. I have to feed shoti.” “Sorry, I can’t read with you now. I’m too sleepy because I had to take care of shoti.” How convenient and tempting.
Honestly, I am fully aware of these tendencies of mine. One of the things that I’ve been doing to keep myself in check is really to put these “connecting” activities in my calendar and have my phone clock set to alert me of these activities. Just as I set an alarm to wake me up and to remind me I have to go do something, it is equally– if not even more important that I set an alarm to stop me from trying to finish unending tasks and to remind me to go connect with my kids, go connect with people I’m discipling, go connect with my husband, go connect with my friends.
I know I want my family to feel they are my priority. I’m sure you do, too. Given the pace that we have here in Metro Manila, and given the distractions that are readily available to us, this is something we have to fight for.
It is surprising to find how the little steps we take in connecting with our families could have significant returns. It is surprising to find how easy-to-please our children really are. Here are some of the things we have tried to do, and I am reminded that we have to keep fighting for:
Family worship – For our family, this includes studying/reading the Bible together, singing, and praying for others. It is never too early to introduce our children to the wonderful privilege that we have in being able to come before our Father in worship and prayer, partnering with Him in what He is doing in our world.
Read- alouds – There was a time we took this for granted because the girls started reading on their own already, and we had new babies to take care of. That was a wrong move. This is one of those moments that our children, even if they are fully capable of finishing books at a faster rate, still look forward to every night.
Dinners together – There is just power when we decide to call it a day and come together as a family to relax and enjoy how the Lord has blessed us for that day.
Movie nights / Game nights – Who doesn’t want this?? (I know Dennis especially does because there’s not much thinking involved anymore– perfect way to unwind!)
Cuddle time – For our family now, this doesn’t just happen before bedtime. My nursing/feeding sessions with Liam have become a perfect time for all the other siblings to take a break from whatever they’re doing and come and cuddle together. This not just allows me to connect with each of them, they also enjoy being able to cuddle each other. (At least until someone accidentally hits another with his/her elbow, or steps on one of the fingers, or pulls some hair….and then one of them ends up crying or whining….and then we’d have to wait for the next cuddle opportunity!)
This Lazyboy recliner is a lifesaver! We’ve been using recliners ever since I gave birth to our eldest. We initially got a generic one just to serve the purpose of keeping me comfortable while nursing (our parents saw me and I think took pity on my tired and aching body and decided to give us one 😉 ). Not long after, it broke. We got another cheap version. Again, just recently, it got broken. I guess it couldn’t handle three of my older kids jumping on it anymore. The Lazyboy unit we were lent came the week after our recliner broke. I was reminded of the Lazyboy chair Dennis had in their house that has served them for years. From the time he was still a student, until now, it’s still okay! I think it is safe to say I could end up saving money if I just saved up for the original, real Lazyboy recliner, eh?
What we think is just a chair, can actually be a tool or a special place you can build memories with. 🙂