Finding Family Time in a Crowded Schedule
Soon though, like relocated houseplants, Sharon and I acclimated and I learned how to stretch the amount and improve the quality of what time I had with her. It required consistent effort but we did it. We both laid out our clothes and lunch boxes the night before, which eliminated much of the harried sense of the morning; we instituted a fifteen-minute relax-together-time when we arrived home; and I taught her to share in some household chores appropriate for her age and which I had previously done. These included making the bed, sweeping the floor, and taking out the garbage.
I also took back some of our together time the new job had stolen by giving her as much of the evening hours as possible. After our relax-together-time when we first arrived home, between six-thirty and seven-thirty, we watched the news, cooked, ate, and cleaned up after supper.With the kitchen and living area both being in the 10 by 18 foot front room, we could talk, without having to raise our voices in the slightest.
She sat enthroned in the recliner, “Like a little princess, I often thought”, while I cooked a mere four feet away. She reminded me to look me when the news story I was interested in came on, and we discussed what we heard. I wanted her to develop the habit of being well-informed.
Making Much of Little
I relished answering her questions about endangered pelicans and why bears hibernate and why the gross national product was so-called. At that time, one network gave the news at 6:30, followed by the other two at 7:00, so we had a chance to talk about how different networks handled the same stories. The one hour of news, and cooking, eating, and clean-up became one of our best times together each day.
After baths and next-day preparations, we had our hour that was iron-clad fun time for board games, reading together, or watching something special on television. I actually stopped all my chores and gratefully flopped down on the floor on that old blue blanket to watch television or else sat at the card table, playing Battleship, Sorry, or Bingo. Only homework Sharon hadn’t finished in the afternoon at daycare interfered with that fun hour.
After Sharon was tucked in to bed, I had about an hour, usually less, for odds and ends before a piercing need for rest overtook me and I tucked myself into bed next to her, always grateful for the time I’d had with her.