Friday, July 29, 2016

Just Keep Doing

I did my best. I do my best.

Hard on the heels of the grateful euphoria I felt over returning home from a fantastic, long trip came…brokenness.

Yes, there’s a lot going on. Life’s logistical vagaries wait for no one. Banking, home repair, school, and extracurricular activities all clamor for attention. My work calls to me constantly. Housework beckons. Odd items acquired need to find homes; outgrown clothes must go. Windows 10 demands to be installed. There is a lot of noise.

I get that. I expected that. It’s always the unexpected that trips us up, though, isn’t it?

As the kids and I tried to take up our usual summer schedule in our first week home, things…faltered. Let’s face it, I faltered. A few variables here and there and I just couldn’t handle it.

We set up our summer schedule a few years ago to prevent nagging. Okay, yeah, there were some other reasons behind it, but that one REALLY motivated us me. We came up with a way to get all the stuff the kids wanted to do into our weeks, but still leave me time to work (since I work at home and it is NOT the glamorous life you may have seen in laptop ads).

The deal is that we do fun stuff together in the mornings, then they have “quiet time” in their rooms for part of the afternoon and then swim and have screen time for the rest, all of which I can supervise while working. And it works! Knowing they will for sure, definitely, almost always get to do these things keeps them from getting naggish. They can just look at the list and see when it will happen.

It’s pretty cool, actually. We have Chore Day, Movie Day, Library Day, Beach Day, and Adventure Day. Lots of summer fun fit neatly into one efficient and predictable package. Yay!

You know I forgot? Playdates.

Actually, I didn’t forget. They really didn’t come up that often until this year. And that one little variable, while an admirable and desirable thing in and of itself, throws the whole system out of whack. Or, let’s face it, throws me out of whack.

I have a lot of quirks and I know it. I’m an introvert, I crave predictability, I have a hard time concentrating when exposed to certain odd environmental conditions—the list goes on.

And that’s okay. I know why all of those things are true and I’m okay with it. I just don’t feel okay with it when my kids clearly feel disappointment because of my limitations.

I KNOW it’s not good for anyone to get everything that they want. I KNOW they need to learn to work with others. I KNOW I’m clear with them about what’s my issue and what’s a universal issue—“I just can’t handle this” vs. “No, that’s a totally rude thing to do to anyone.” And I KNOW they have pretty darn good lives. I just FEEL like the ultimate party pooper.

So here’s what I’m saying to me—and to them, should they ever wonder:
I did my best, kids. I do my best. I chose this profession so I could stay home with you 100% of the time. It means a lot to your dad and me that you've always had one of us around. But, yes, my job creates limits on us and now you’re old enough to feel them. Soon you’ll be old enough to be free of them. For now, just understand that I do my best.

And, yes, I have some personal quirks that limit us a bit more. I try to stretch myself every day—get out more, make more phone calls, try something new. I didn’t used to be very good at it, but you know what seriously motivates me? You do. I do my best because I love you, because I want you to see life as an opportunity to shine, because I want to be an example for you—at least on the first steps of the path.

I hope you leave me in the dust someday! I hope no fear or scar twinges when you spread your wings. I hope you soar around this wonderful world of ours, solving problems and creating joy. I hope you love and are loved, limitlessly. And that is why I do my best.

P.S. I felt all of the above at the time, but I didn't actually say it. I just kept doing my best. And you know what happened? One of the kids' friends was super happy to see me. My husband gave me extra hugs. A friend asked us to go to the beach with her, so we spent a gorgeous morning in little kid world. And life felt much more do-able.

Wednesday, July 27, 2016

Home, Happy, Grateful

Best traveling companions I know!

After my third round of travels in three months, I’ve come home. I feel that so deeply—I’ve come home.

It’s been twelve years since I became a mom and more than that since I’ve been away from my daily life as much as I have recently. The new perspective has taught me—is teaching me (I process slowly)!—many things.

Right now, I’m profoundly grateful for so much that I can’t turn around without being thankful!

I deeply appreciate
-my freedom to travel
-this amazing country—even seeing a bit of it filled me with new experiences!
-my friends and family
-hotel pools
-my roots
-the infinite variety of human beings
-summer produce
-intellectual puzzles
-seeing childhood places through my children’s eyes
-finding a good mechanic
-driving Green Car again
-fresh eyes seeing solutions where there used to be problems
-our amazing public schools
-my puppy
-our home

And this is just a partial list! We have amazing people in our lives, family and friends, who made our travels so rich. Home is where the heart is; I'm glad our hearts expanded on our journeys with you all this summer!

My favorite pun of the trip: "Hello from the otter slide!"

Adventures with friends.

Our camp home.

Adventures with family.

Travelin' on....

Home again! Doing what, I won't guess. But home.