Advent: Day Three

The weather could not have been more different yesterday, with the blue skies replaced by a thin fog that lingered all day. Fog is a funny thing. Sometimes it feels dark and gloomy, but yesterday we had the kind that makes everything feel brighter, partly from how the sunshine is refracted, partly because of how it removes color, and sends the view into a monochrome palette.

The boys worked on developing a network of new footpaths, which involved hitting brambles with sticks for a long time. I don’t want to get too involved, but I have suggested that if they make too many paths, the wood won’t have any secret places left. I said that I hoped they will consider moving on to creating a hideout. This was well received, and it sounds like they will begin with a weapons store – presumably for their sticks.

I deliberately try to hold back while they play, squashing my impulse to check on them and instead letting them go out of earshot and forcing myself to enjoy some quiet and a chance to read. I think that my kids need opportunity to be unsupervised. They need a chance to stretch themselves, to do without the guidance of a parent that is almost impossible to avoid in a relatively small house and garden. I think we love Swallows and Amazons so much because it gives a picture of how it might be, off and away from parents, forced to rise to the occasion of taking care of one another, sorting out conflict, accomplishing some goal, without Mom immediately available to step in.

It’s a reminder that so much of the busyness of the season is internal – the constant thrum of “Where are they? What are they doing? Are they ok?” Not that we ever really let go of these questions as our children grow older, but perhaps it’s better to wrestle with them now, to make our peace with not always knowing the answer, calming the questions to the point that they become prayers rather than panic.

What I’m reading

Mostly the same as the day before, although I’m also rereading In Search of the Common Good by Jake Meador, mostly because it is such a good book and I’m trying to figure out how he did it.

I also started Strong Poison by Dorothy Sayers on audio, which is a reread and a re-listen. I have more time in the kitchen than I have podcasts to listen to so I turn to audiobooks. Plus, nothing says Christmas like a detective novel, right?

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