It was almost immediate.
The kids and I stepped inside the garage studio that is Detroit Flyhouse circus school, and the bickering, nasty attitudes and defensiveness of the day melted away. Completely gone. As if they had never been there in the first place.
Except they had.
This is the first summer since I’ve been a mother that I have not had a babysitter to be with the kids while I work. With my oldest at 13, my next at almost 12, and my baby a tall skinny 9, I figured I could easily fit my meetings and appointments into the time they’re with their father and then focus my at-home computer work for when they’re still sleeping, like now, or when they’re cleaning up their rooms, showering, etc.
But it’s not always that smooth, of course.
There are days where my lovely children are in a funk that even they don’t understand, and it comes out like a hail storm of bad moods, with no place to hide.
I am sure the bad moods come from sitting idle. Nothing to do. A desire to watch TV or stare at that damn phone. And try as I might to thwart those attempts, many get by me anyway.
But one thing I invested in this summer to immerse my children, and myself, in pure unabashed joy and fun: four private sessions at the Flyhouse.
We stepped into the afternoon-darkened gym, slipped off our shoes, and in a blink, they were wrapped up in silks, balancing on the lyra, swinging from one side of the room to the other.
Happy. Sweaty. Smiling.
The kids I know and love. The true heart of who they are.
I don’t think it has as much to do with the exhilarating freedom of balancing high above the ground or hefting themselves into a silk wrap in order to shimmy down with glee.
I think it’s doing something that takes your whole being, that redirects your attention from thoughts and worries to just being.
When we fly high above the ground, that’s the only place we are. There, no what-ifs or I-wants exist.
Is the rest of the summer a parenting fail? I’m not so sure. My sister valiantly found camps for her kids to be occupied in, so she didn’t fall prey to this very problem.
Me, I just didn’t feel like shuttling my kids to and fro, to one destination or another, only to hear from them (which I surely would) that we had no time together, that they hated being so busy, that every moment was scheduled.
It is, to be cliche, a double-edge sword.
And so today, we have haircuts on the agenda, the music store to check out their instruments for fall, an intention to work on my daughter’s bat mitzvah speech and nothing much else.
Even on my calendar, there is no hard core work today. I did it all Saturday. And so I am left with a day open to me to fill with what I choose.
After they go to their father later in the afternoon, perhaps I’ll work on my novel. Do a proposal for a new client. Swim laps in the neighborhood pool. And tonight, I’ll meet my honey for rowing on our river and a quiet dinner just the two of us.
Sometimes open time is space enough to remember who we are.