6 : a settled tendency or usual manner of behavior
At 7 this morning, my eyes fluttered open, found the clock, listened for voices downstairs and heard nothing. Satisfied, my eyes drifted shut and sleep settled back over me. An hour later, J and I were stretching under the sheets, marveling that our daughters had let us sleep this late. What a Memorial Day treat from our daughters, who were surely exhausted from last night's cookout and fun with friends - this was a habit I could easily form!
A few hours later, after coffee and breakfast, I called the girls into the living room and asked them to each bring their craft box and journal. A few weeks ago, I ordered journals for the girls like one I've been working on. It is my intention that we form a habit of working in our journals every Monday morning. I've found that making time on Monday to create helps me ready myself for the week - mentally, spiritually, maybe even physically. Because it helps me do something for me before the obligations of the week take over. I had beautiful images in my mind of the four of us sitting around, clipping photos, gluing images, writing ideas, stories and scraps of thoughts. Today was the first Monday of summer break, so I thought it was the perfect time to start forming our summer journal habit.
It didn't take long for the real world to collide with my imaginary one. B was unhappy to join us. She was re-reading a good book and didn't want to leave her room, much less join us in doing something I was suggesting. Being who she is, B did not hesitate to let me know exactly how she felt about my idealistic plan for us to spend time creating together. She told me through tears that she didn't want summer to be like school and that this felt like school. I persevered and asked her to please just try it. I explained that I wouldn't require her to stay for long and that it wasn't like school. She could choose to clip images, write in her journal or to collage. Our time together ended up going well. I found an image or two of a dog in a magazine and B ran with that theme, clipping several dogs and cats to use later. But this first attempt at forming a habit I desire for us reminded me that habits take work, effort and time.
In another part of my life, I'm being constantly reminded that habits not only take time to form, but to break. I'm on day 22 of a fast from fiction and I want to read a good novel now more than ever. I am learning from this experience and have spent far more time in creative efforts in the last 22 days, have spent more time not just praying, but listening and have been reminded that I should be far more disciplined in writing - not just for this blog, for for my Fun Jar blog, which I hope to one day turn into a book. I have felt the urge to write a book about this topic for a year, but until recently didn't know exactly how to approach it.
Writing non-fiction is tough for someone who loves to immerse herself in fiction, as I do. But it recently occurred to me that the missing component in my efforts thus far has been my analytical, non-fiction approach to telling the Fun Jar story. Instead of simply sharing what we do, I should talk about why we do it. In short, I should include what I'm thinking, feeling and hoping as I walk through our summer. Because maybe that's the piece that might encourage another mom who feels intimidated by the long expanse of summer stretched out before her.
Hopefully, I'll use our time this summer to form some good habits that will serve me well in the future and break some old habits whose time is past.