By Kelly Hines

In the past week, I have visited two families with new babies, held one for a wonderously long time, been brought to tears by the story of a homeless woman, been the recipient of a happy hug from another, slid dangerously across snow and ice with wiggly children on my back, welcomed home my husband after a too long trip, been thankful for the unexpected friendships that spring from working relationships, had coffee with a terrifically interesting person, and had my teenager tell me I was a good person.

It has been a pretty terrific week.

I did not buy anything new, I did not go anywhere exciting, I did not have any sudden epiphanies or spiritual awakenings. I simply engaged with the community around me, gave a little bit, and received so much more in return.

Someone once said to me, ‘You have time for what you make time for’. It’s a powerful statement. I have three very active children, involved in various activities. I have a husband who works long hours. I have two part time jobs that take up a significant amount of my time. Those things alone would be enough for me to say that I don’t have time for anything else.

But it is important that I bring meals to families with new babies and sit and cuddle said babies for too long. New motherhood is isolating and overwhelming, and even a simple conversation with another adult is restorative. Moms need to hear that they have perfect children, and that they’re doing it right, and that they are amazing.

It is important that I spend time at the homeless shelter. These women need me, not because I am solving their problems. But because I will sit with them at supper and talk about normal things and treat them with dignity and respect. Because their world is not mundane, but I am, and that gives them comfort and security. ‘The shelter’ becomes part of our home vocabulary and I think my children don’t really notice until one day, they do.

It is important that I do things with my children that I don’t want to do. I despise the cold, hate the snow, and find it tolerable only when I can observe it through a window, snuggled under a blanket. But I threw snowballs and risked my life sledding until I could no longer feel my face. I play the Xbox and watch YouTubers and look at Minecraft houses until motion sickness sets in. I don’t like these things, but THEY do. I pay attention to their things, and when I want to share something with them that I’m interested in, they’re more inclined to give it a chance.

It is important that I spend time with my husband. It is, admittedly, the thing that I do not do enough of. Too often, he gets home from work and we sit on the couch, watching the television or on our devices. Too infrequently, we go out for dinner or run errands together or get away for the weekend. He is my touchstone; he is the foundation of of the life we’ve built and the family we’ve created. The health of our relationship is vital to the wellbeing of our home.

It is important that I nurture friendships. I find this so difficult sometimes. I have some of the kindest, most interesting, fun, engaging, intelligent, wonderful, friends imaginable. Between jobs and husbands and the 4,000 children we have between all of us, it takes an act of Congress to have lunch. But these women keep me from becoming a hermit. They remind me that I am a person of value on my own. I’d never been away on a ‘girls’ weekend’ until last year, and I’m not sure why it’s taken me so long. The times I spend with friends refreshes me, inspires me, relaxes me, and renews me as a person.

You have time for what you make time for. Make sure it counts.