A huge shift has taken place in our household over the last two years and every now and then it hits me like a ton of bricks.
One of those hits occurred last summer when I bought an annual pass to our local science center. My kids have always loved it there but we hadn’t purchased an annual pass for almost two years. It seemed like it would be a fun thing to do again.
The first time we used it, we decided to visit a “new to us” museum. Within the hour, I could read the boredom on my kids’ faces. Sure, they had fun for a bit, but my 13-year-old was clearly forcing it and my boys were done quickly.
It hit me like a ton of bricks.
We have outgrown science centers as a family.
It probably shouldn’t have surprised me as much as it did. After all, I planned this particular trip to the science center when my oldest child was busy doing other things. I guess I didn’t realize how quickly the younger set would be bored.
Science centers have been a part of my kids’ childhood for over a decade.
When our current membership expires in the spring, that season will come to a close.
And I have to admit that my heart hurts a little bit when I think about it.
It’s not that I miss science centers, though they were lots of fun, it’s that I miss the little ones who enjoyed the exploration and wonder of the science center.
I miss homeschool playground days and the little ones who played with their friends on the playground for hours.
I miss finishing up schoolwork by 11 AM so we could use our afternoon for adventures or playing creatively with toys at home.
I miss hours of snuggling on the sofa with a stack of picture books and calling it “school” for the day.
And I miss the flexibility of homeschooling when the kids were younger that allowed our family to toss everything in favor of the perfect weather on a Friday.
As I sat and thought about these things, it occurred to me that things have changed but they have also remained the same.
The little ones who stared in wonder in the science center are the big kids who stared in wonder at National Parks across the US.
We still have playdates but the “playgrounds” have become places like the YMCA or Starbucks with friends.
We rarely finish schoolwork before lunch, but my older children don’t mind working after dinner or even after 9 PM! This means we still find time during the day to play card games and visit museums.
We still snuggle on the sofa, but instead of a stack of books, we enjoy Gilmore Girls, Psych, and The Fresh Prince of Bel Air.
And we still have flexibility in our homeschool days. I just have to do a little more pre-planning to work out a day of freedom and adventure.
So have things changed? Yes. They definitely have.
But the important things remain intact.
We’ve built a family foundation on wonder, adventure, learning, laughter, honesty, and relationships. These things will manifest differently in each season as the babies grow up, but they will still manifest.
Our foundation is there and I am trusting that it will hold strong.
These things aren’t going anywhere. And that is something I can embrace as time moves forward.