Finding balance for my family has always been important to us. How have we done this over the years? There are times I feel like we have failed miserably and there are other times I feel like I totally rocked it.
When our boys were younger, Grandpa and Grandma would keep Brandon overnight for us at least twice per month. While Brandon was enjoying having them all to himself, we enjoyed nights out with A and J. We went to the movies, we would go out to eat, and sometimes we just stayed home and played games.
We have always tried our best to do things with each child separate from their siblings. Steve and our other sons go fishing. Steve and J like to go to the computer store. When our oldest son was younger, he and I would go to the movies. We saw all the Harry Potter movies together and I read all the books to make him happy.
As they have all gotten older, it has been a bit more challenging. A and J have activities with their friends. J has marching band and concert band. A has a job and friends he enjoys spending time with. Those moments of connecting with them are harder to find as they have grown.
A and I talk late at night sometimes as we are both night owls. J will occasionally go with me to the store and we get that time to talk about what is going on. Steve, A, and J like to talk about video games and computer stuff that I don’t understand and Steve always tries to make time for those conversations.
Having these spontaneous conversations in our home is hard sometimes. Brandon interrupts conversations if he has something to say and is not the best at waiting his turn. In response, his brothers are sometimes fairly vocal about their displeasure with Brandon “trying to get all the attention”.
Brandon goes to camp every summer. We drop him off on a Sunday afternoon and we pick him up on Friday evening. He has done this for years and loves going to camp. In past years, me, Steve, and A and J have taken trips together. I love these memories we have of our trips. And Brandon loves going to camp. He starts talking about it as soon as school is over for the year.
Steve and I have struggled occasionally trying to find time for he and I. Going out to dinner by ourselves does not happen as much as I would like. We have friends who will stay with Brandon for us, but sometimes, we want to go to dinner with those friends. What do we do? We don’t go out to dinner with our friends, but we do invite them over for a game night. Occasionally, we ask Brandon’s brothers to stay with him. Sometimes, they agree to stay with him and other times they don’t want to for whatever reason. We are okay with that.
Steve and I agree that it is not A and J’s responsibility to take care of Brandon. We have tried to ensure they get to do the things they want, even if we can’t always attend. Our oldest son played football and soccer when he was younger. The youngest played soccer and is now in marching band. We do our best to support their interests while balancing Brandon’s needs.
Sometimes we have to miss a concert because our friends are busy. We have had to miss sporting events because Brandon’s behavior on those days let us know that he needed to stay home. We will often split the time. I will stay home with Brandon while Steve goes to the band concert. Or Steve will stay home while I go to the awards ceremony. We would both love to be at these things together, but that just isn’t always possible.
Finding the balance….we are always working on it. And I suppose we always will. 40020004