We did leave town, but we didn’t skip Christmas.
I wrote about it over here.
We did leave town, but we didn’t skip Christmas.
I wrote about it over here.
I wrote about needing to connect with
my kids after only 2 weeks of school.
You can read it here.
A few years ago our family embarked on our first Big Family Vacation; my two sisters and Kevin’s sister joined us in a big beach house in South Carolina ~ 19 of us for one week! It was amazing! Last year we did it again, we rented a big cabin on a lake in Minnesota – one week, 19 people, tons of laughter, excess food and important connection.
The relationships that my sisters and I have built are priceless to me, and I believe the value is equivalent to the investments we have each made. We’ve spent so much time together that my sisters consider my sister-in-law one of us. (In a future post I will write about how Jared (Kalie’s son) thinks Beck (Jamie’s son) is his cousin and my sister and brother-in-law are his aunt and uncle!) In varying combinations, sisters have met in Florida, Chicago, Minnesota, Indiana and Kansas.
A few months ago I looked ahead at the calendar and realized with two of us having graduating high school seniors next summer – in two different states – the possibility of our bi-annual Big Family Vacation was in jeopardy. Then I looked at our calendar for this summer and saw all the weeks blocked off due to my kid’s summer camps and realized it wasn’t likely we would be able to squeeze one into this summer either.
So with a longing for some sister time and flexibility in my summer schedule (after all it isn’t me who has weeks blocked off for church camp, camp counseling, football camp, etc…), and with so much camp on my mind, I suggested we do a Sister Camp. I proposed meeting in Kansas at Jamie’s
ranch house. (She has a very large home on 70 acres, and they recently added chickens, turkeys and ducks – so it seems like we should go there to see what the heck is going on with her, after all this is my city girl sister from the East Coast!) So Sister Camp 2012 was added to the calendar.
With only a week to go, we each received a camp itinerary earlier this week from Jamie (who is a Chief Marketing & Customer Experience Officer, so yes this makes her the perfect director for our camp). We are all responsible for preparing, serving and cleaning up one dinner, and some of the activities on the schedule include:
It’s the last day of school! A full summer looms ahead of us! Beginning in eight hours and five minutes, ‘Summertime, and the livin’ is easy’ becomes our slogan. I. cannot. wait.
I dropped the youngest off at school and began to head home with the radio on, coffee cup in hand, and JOY in my heart. It’s going to be a great day as I prepare for the festivities for the last day of school!
There was a very long line of cars waiting to drop kids off and I could see an accident up ahead – someone had rear-ended someone else – I drove by slowly, this is what I saw…my 17 year old son talking on the phone and waving his arm at me! My daughter is on the grass with 2 other passengers. I pull over and run across the street. Please nobody hit me as I dart through cars, and Why, oh why, didn’t I wear a bra?!! Oh yeah, because I am still in my pajamas!!
“What happened? Is everyone OK?!” Tears are in my daughters eyes, and my son, although steady and mature as he calls the police, is shaking. Yes – they are all OK. He rear-ended the woman ahead of him. She was driving a brand new Buick Enclave. Of course she was. The front of my husband’s beloved red Mustang is pretty smashed, and her vehicle is going to cost some big money to repair. Awesome. As I try to talk to her, I understand anger, it’s the second time she has been rear-ended by a teen boy. Poor her. Seriously.
A family friend comes to pick up Zach’s passengers and I sit with Zach as we wait for the police, and then while we wait for the report to be written up. I put a hand on his back and try to assure him that it’s only money, it’s only cars, no one was hurt. This is what matters. (Although consequences await, they are not at the forefront of this moment). I’m compassionate and I’m frustrated, a slower speed would have avoided this. Eventually he is released from the scene, he goes on to school, and I drive home.
Once home, I can feel that I’m a little shaken. I made a quick phone call, jumped in the shower and rushed to get ready as I needed to get to the middle school awards and was now running late. I hurried out of my room, through the kitchen…….wait…“Why does it smell like poop?” There on the rug, by the door is a BIG pile of dog poop. Awesome. I decide to just toss the whole rug out the door and deal with it later – as I do that, the poop falls off the rug and onto step right outside the door. Of course. I will get to that later, and I will hope Courtney doesn’t step in it. Then I ran out the door.
I got home from the awards (we will take perfect attendance as an award for Mr.), I take care of the poop, run to the grocery store to get what I need for teen boys that are going to be at my house – oh yeah, and drinks for a party Erin is going to that evening. Back from the store, I unload and put away groceries, make pasta salad, realize I have forgotten a vet appointment, greet Kyler as he comes home from his last day of 7th grade, drive to Zesto’s (our last day of school tradition for 12 years) with Kyler to meet Erin and Zach for ice-cream. Ahhh….ice-cream makes everything better, at least for a moment. When we get home, Erin asks for S’mores stuff in addition to the pop.
“I already went to the store, why didn’t you ask me yesterday?! And why am I sending drinks and smore’s stuff to a party someone else is having?!” (Yes….all that actually came out of my mouth. My goodness. So embarrassing.)
Her older sister swiftly steps in to save the day, and off they run to the store for smore’s stuff. When they get home Erin opens a case of Sprite to put in a cooler with ice, and 6, maybe 7, cans roll off the counter and onto floor – one after another in rapid succession and now there is Sprite spraying e-v-e-r-y-w-h-e-r-e! It looks like little fire hoses wildly going every which way in my kitchen!! The cans were on the floor but the pop was reaching my counters, cupboards, computer and walls! I stepped over the whole spraying mess and went outside onto the patio, shut the door and sat down. After this day, it was going to be Sprite that makes me come undone. Unbelievable.
Somehow I don’t come undone (Thank you, Jesus), and the girls and Kyler clean up the sticky mess. Kevin comes home, and Zach comes home and the Mustang is in the driveway – and a hard conversation takes place. Hotdogs go on the grill, teen boys are in my basement, a friend calls, and as we talk she tells me her husband’s cancer has returned. He will have surgery again in a few days. Every chaotic moment from the day falls away. Perspective has entered.
It’s only money, it’s only cars, no one was hurt, the poop is gone, the pop has been cleaned up, well, mostly cleaned up ~ my fingers are slightly sticky after typing and I still see some spots on the cupboards – but they just make me smile tonight ~ it was a sight to see. I wish I could have been the mom who stopped and laughed in that moment, but after my day, I just couldn’t…or wouldn’t, I don’t know which one. But now I can smile…at the pop that sticks to my feet and shines on the walls. The car situation will still have to be figured out, and it’s going to be painful – for us to parent through and for Zach to walk through – but it’s not cancer.
8:30 PM ~ Perspective.
Mailed a package to my college girl.
Hair color. (yep)
Home to discover our new dog went into Zach’s room, went through his garbage, scattered it over the floor, grabbed a mini photo album off a shelf and chewed that, and took his new Bible off his couch and chewed that up – no actual scripture, so that was kind of funny – just the cover and first few pages.
Let the dogs out.
Trip to the Christian bookstore to get a new Bible.
But not before I found myself at the grocery store parking lot instead. I was talking to a friend while I was driving and apparently went on auto pilot. Sat in a parking spot talking for a few minutes before I realized I had driven to the wrong store. Oh my goodness. (Have you ever done this?)
Made it to the bookstore.
Went back to the grocery store.
Let the dogs in when I got home.
Unloaded and put away the groceries. Washed all the fruit, (because no one seems to eat it unless it’s clean and finger ready), made a big salad to last us the week.
Picked up the house, cleaned off the bathroom counters and mirrors.
Let the dogs out.
I made dinner, and we all enjoyed a relaxing dinner as a family which included a youth leader from our church.
Walked the dogs.
As I was cleaning off the bathroom counter this afternoon I had a moment in which I wondered if what I do matters. (Don’t comment with Yes it does, I’m not looking for affirmation, just stating my thoughts from today.) My kids were at school gaining an education, my husband was at work leading and supporting us, I was cleaning up, running around, preparing.
I don’t even know if I want anything to change. I love the freedom of my days, the availability I have for others. I enjoy providing for my family in this manner.
Maybe as these kids of ours gain more and more independence, this might just be the beginnings of another round of growing pains – which may end up leading to a growth spurt.