As a parent it is easy to find life being all about the kids. When our two children were young preschoolers their father and I would strive to balance our lives around the very important issues of sleep, play dates, parenting classes, parenting books, the parents of our kids friends, and oh, ya work! My husband and I saw each other over dinner that was consumed by baby talk, snatched moments of intimacy and looking over the heads of our sweet children who consumed our lives and the thoughts we were thinking. To save ourselves from becoming baby-maniacs we balanced our lives with becoming involved in our spiritual center. The same one we attend today, our center was a refuge for me as a young stay at home mother.
When the kids were school age, family vacations were at kid friendly places, our friends were the parents of our kids friends, our activities were the activities of our children so we were Girl Scouts, Boy Scouts and students again. We watched "G" rated movies and spoke of the tooth fairy, how to be a friend, and who got to stay home alone while the other parent took the kids to their activities. My husband and I discovered date night and the power of a weekend away and even vacationed without the children thanks to our family and the circle of friends established in those early preschool years. Our thoughts were still consumed by our children in these years and we were well equipped with the spiritual tools that we learned at our Center to balance parenthood with our marriage. Kids and work, life and living was all the creative expression of our lives. Somehow we were able in those years to deepen our connection within our spiritual center as volunteers, and leaders. Our circle of friends were our kids friends parents and our classmates from church. We learned, along with our children, about the value and importance of our "church family".
I look back on the teenage years with fondness - mostly because they are over! We all survived the inevitable rolling of the eyes (mine as much as theirs) demands on our time from overburdened school activities, the crazy taxi driver life, and the extreme sport of pulling away while clinging to life as it has always been. My husband and I were involved in every aspect of our children's lives and they in ours. Balance was a matter of fitting more onto the plate of activities because surely there was room for more good in my life. I was definitely more adept at this than my husband who has always had an easier time saying no than me! During the teen age years my husband and I became licensed Practitioners here at our spiritual center. We were trained in the art and science of prayer. What a blessing to our family and ourSelves!! The process required us to be in class one night a week for several years. Because we went through the classes together we experienced our growth together. During the teen age years we all grew! We had a village of support that included our extended families on both sides and our church family.
Now as parents of young adults my husband and I are still involved here at our beloved home away from home our spiritual center. We have friends here at church and in our neighborhood, from my husbands work and friends of friends. We have kept in touch with some of the parents of our children's friends but mostly we have our own now. Our children are our friends and we have a life outside of parenting that I never could have imagined.
Tomorrow my husband and I celebrate our 27th wedding anniversary and when I think about how we did it I know it is balance! We consciously and sometimes unconsciously balance our lives to include God, our dreams, our passion and each other. Oh, yeah, and our kids are part of that balance too! The theme throughout our 27 years has been our spiritual community. Here we have grown in love and in age. Here, we have come to know ourselves.