Tuesday, March 27, 2018

My Husband and I Slept in Separate Beds Tonight...

"Daddy, can you and I have a sleepover tonight?" Morgan asked.
"Ya, and can Mommy and I have a sleepover too?" Reese echoed closely behind.  

A few hours earlier, Taylor was at a swim party that spontaneously turned into a sleepover invite.  And Jackson was out to dinner with us, which ended with a close friend inviting him to go over for a sleepover as well.  

Neither Jackson or Taylor had bags packed.  It was spontaneous.   

4 times over.
Yes, you can just borrow jammies after swimming and spend the night at your friend's house.
Yes, you can go home with them and have a sleepover there, buddy.
Yes Morgan, you can sleep with daddy tonight.
And Yes, Reese, I'll sleep with YOU tonight!
All. The. Yeses.

We spend so much time as parents creating boundaries for our young children.  Because, quite honestly, creating boundaries for our kids is one of the greatest gifts we can give them!  
No, you can't touch that.  It's hot!
No, you can't step off the curb.  You could get hurt!
No, you can't skip your nap again today.
No, you can't have 5 scoops of ice cream. 
No, you can't play with the lighter.
No, you can't watch that particular movie or play that video game.

We know what is healthy and what is beneficial and what will help our kids thrive.  We know what will hurt them and what could trip them up and what will keep them from being all they are created to be.  

But then somewhere between keeping our kids safe and well-balanced, we lost the art of the Yes.  
We got comfortable, and safe, and we enjoyed the control.  
Saying Yes can be inconvenient.  It can be messy.  It doesn't always fit inside our box.  

But there is power in a YES.  Freedom to be found in a YES.  Empowerment in a YES.
Aside from risking safety and well-being, Jon and I have made a choice to lean in to the YES.  
Can we make a huge fort using all the blankets and sheets in the house?
Can we have "backwards dinner" and eat dessert first?
Can we go for a spontaneous bike ride? 
Can I sleep in my sister's room tonight?
Can we sleep tonight in that fort?  
Yes. Yes. Yes. Yes. 

I remember the first time my kids asked to sleep on the couch in the family room "just for fun."  My knee jerk reaction was, "No, not tonight."  But why?  Why did I care?  To be honest, I didn't.  It was just that I felt like I should care.  I didn't hear about other parents letting their kids do that.  I mean, maybe for a fun, special occasion, but not just on a random night of the week.  But why not?  This question of "why not" continued to haunt me.  
"Can I paint a picture?"  No.  Hmm... Well, why not?  Because it's inconvenient for mommy, really.  
So the answer?
"Can I have a sleepover at my friend's house?"  No... Hmm... Well, why not?  Because we only do sleepovers at a couple of very close family friend's homes.  And this isn't one of them.
So the answer?

The answer clearly can't always be Yes.  But when we can, we will choose it!
Because it validates their ideas and their hopes.  It makes them feel seen and heard.  It shapes their hearts toward leadership and initiation.  
And because the deeper and deeper I dove into most of my "No's," the more I saw them rooted in selfishness.  
The request was inconvenient.  It took some time.  It didn't give me enough time to plan.  It was messy.  It's not what I was thinking of.  It's not the way I did it when I was growing up.  

Maybe you need to join us in leaning in to the YES.
In parenting, perhaps.  Or maybe your YES is just for LIFE in general.
What's your hesitation?   Do you have a clear sense of right and wrong in your situation? Ok, then say No.  
Or is it really just fear?  Fear of the unknown... Fear of failure.  Or maybe it's comfort.  You're so tied to your comfort level, you can't just try.  Maybe it's not what you had planned.  Your bags aren't packed.  You didn't anticipate this.  I'll say it again: Lean In.  Dabble in a Yes.  Put your toe in the water.  The temperature might be different, but honestly? Sometimes you think you want a warm bath when really, an exhilarating cold shower might be the exact thing you need.  And if not?  Hop in the bath when you get home.  (I know that's right where I'm sending my daughter when she gets home tomorrow in yesterday's clothes.)  ;)  

So tonight, I cuddle my 5 year old instead of my hubby.  And he has a foot in his face from our 6 year old's crazy sleeping habits.  Because that's what we had hoped for tonight?  Not at all.  Tomorrow we will go back to falling asleep holding hands like we usually do.  But tonight?  Tonight we said YES.