Wednesday, November 12, 2014

Hoola Hoop in a Tree

With the leaves quickly finding a new home on the ground, a lot of the trees in our neighborhood are now “naked”.  You’ll know you’re at our house when you see the hoola hoop hanging just so in the naked tree at the top of our driveway.  
Do you see the hoola hoop in the tree?
It’ll stay there a little bit longer.  I don’t see myself climbing up a ladder to rescue that hoola hoop any time soon.    

I don’t mind the hoola hoop being stuck in that tree.  Seeing it there every few days when I remember to look up reminds me so much of my children.  They are creative.  They are adventurous.  They are fun.  They are such silly little wackos who not only keep themselves happily entertained, but they keep me in stitches too. 

Having a sense of humor is important.  I didn’t realize how rich my children’s senses of humor was until very recently.  Yes, they are silly, but so are they witty.  Especially Little Buddy!  I know that if he and I played a battle of wits, I would be on the losing side. 

I’m in awe of my kids’ humor.  It lets me know that some of the situations my kids have had to face, especially the worrisome ones, are only temporary.  They go through some of the same emotions my husband and I do, but they process their emotions faster.  They are quick to recover.  They forgive better.  They move on easier.  That allows them jump right back into life without skipping a beat.  I should learn a lesson from them! 

We had another hoola hoop hanging in a tree about a year ago.  It was on a much lower branch—a perfect height for things to be tossed through it.  My children made up games with that hoola hoop.  Some games were two-player, some including keeping score, some included the use of bats, balls and the garden hose.  I like that something as simple as a hoola hoop stuck in a tree fostered creativity and provided hours of outside playtime.  That sort of creative playtime happens inside our house too. 

Our house is very kid friendly.  Toys here, there, and according to my young teenager, we have toys everywhere!  With five kids in various stages of development, I’m grateful that they always have something to play with.  They can play together or independently.  They can play inside or outside.  No toy goes untouched around here.  Trains, LEGOs, Lincoln Logs and whatever else is lying about.  The creative sparks fly when my children are at home playing.  The only limitations I give them, besides clean up or else, is that Ronan gets first dibs on something if he shows interest in it. 

Even with invitation to join his siblings in play, Ronan isn’t interested in toys.  They try to engage him, but it’s sometimes too much for Ronan.  When it gets too busy or too loud, Ronan will retreat to his bedroom, or he’ll swing in one of the swings we have inside, or he’ll put on his headphones and walk away. 

Ronan has other interests.  They don’t include his siblings.  But it doesn’t stop the siblings from trying to reach out to Ronan.  I know it can be a disappointment to the typical siblings to think Ronan will join them but chooses not to.  I encourage them to try, try again.  Maybe he’ll see their fun and decide to jump in.  Maybe something will trigger a happy memory of when he used to play with toys.  Maybe the sensory overload we ourselves don’t experience will be at an all-time low and allow Ronan to enjoy the noises that some of their playtime includes.  That hasn’t happened in a long time though, but we all keep hopeful that Ronan will someday join in. 

We have a lot going on in our house—that comes with having five kids, some of whom have struggles.  Busy schedules, therapy appointments, meetings and afterschool activities.  Each of us is busy doing something—learning to navigate the world, learning how things work, learning our own potential and figuring out how to use it.  With all of that going on, we know it's important to also find time to enjoy some playtime. 

Our house isn’t the quietest, or the neatest, or the happiest one on the street.  But it’s the one that is filled with love, with adventure and with silly children who are learning to embrace whatever comes as best they can.  

Our home.  The most important thing we have in our home is each other.   It’s where we are.  It’s where we live.  It’s where our family is.  If you’re ever looking for us, you’ll know you’re in the right place when you look up and see that hoola hoop in the tree. 

xo, Cat

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