Monday, May 26, 2008

Frantic Joy

The last few months have been a lot. It's amazing how tings just seem to come in waves. *

We recently returned from vacation in Destin Florida to a family full of pandemonium. While we were gone Jimmy's mom fell and broke her arm in three places -- I mean REALLY broke it. My dad spent two days in the hospital with chest pains (turns out it's nothing but stress, thankfully) and my brother has had sudden, unwanted and unexpected change of housing which puts him far away from the rest of the family.

So, after driving a LOOONNNGGG way home through torrents of rain I walked into a house that smelled like poo. Immediately I opened the windows and began looking for a dog pile, which I never found. Not the way a vacation was supposed to end. But, this vacation went anything but the way it was dreamed!

I looked forward to this vacation. I anticipated it, planned for it and dreamed about it. How nice it was, I thought, that we could head to the beach when it wasn't so crowded. No fighting for a "front row" chair position on the beach. No over-crowded swimming pool where the water temperature makes you wonder what the water to pee ratio is. No scorching sun that prevents you being outside during the "hot part of the day" which turns out to be 11 a.m. - 6 p.m. No, it was going to be serene, restful, almost picturesque.

Then, much like the Dasani commercials, I was ripped back to reality. The week leading up to vacation I was FRANTICALLY cooking up a storm so that we could have healthy meals and so that we wouldn't have to eat out and I wouldn't have to spend my vacation cooking. This worked well, as I froze enough dinners and a few lunches and took a quiche along for good measure. The cooking, packing and list-making took almost all week. The hollering and threatening took the rest of the available time and, by Thursday at about noon we piled the grumpy kids into the van, slapped headphones on them, plugged in the iPods and drove away.

Now, the thing about going to the beach when no one else is there, is, well, no one else is there. Not a problem for me. I have enough of "one elses" in my everyday, so I was looking forward to solitude -- reading a couple of books, contemplating my proverbial navel, etc. However, in my frantic planning and list making, I had failed to realize that the kids don't share my love for peaceful nothingness. So, you see, while the pee ratio in the pool was down, so were the available playmates. And, of course, while I got a "front row" chair position on the beach each day, I had to be the sand castle maker and wave chaser. While I didn't have to cook dinner, I did have to remember to defrost it, heat it up, serve it and clean up afterward.

Ok, I can hear you thinking -- why is Lorraine bothering to blog this awful vacation experience. This almost sounds like complaining! Well, here's the thing. I found that I actually did enjoy helping Annie build a sand castle. She actually became much more interested in the moats and aqua duct systems than the actual castle, which remained a lump in the middle of the moat. My little engineer! The Lord smiled on me as he stirred up a nice breeze which had the dual effect of making the beach a comfortable temperature AND creating the need for almost perpetual "red flags" so I didn't have to go swimming in the water. I ended up being blessed that the beach wasn't over-ridden with bikini-clad girls. There just wasn't much to worry about, so I could let the boys take their bikes and just go! The cooking still wasn't fun, but, well, nothing is free, right?

We also had the unexpected blessing of meeting another homeschooling family who have started a church in Ohio. They were great to talk to!

We had another blessing upon our return. Jimmy's wonderful mother had spent the first part of the week (pre-arm break) cleaning our house and replacing things -- like new rugs for the kitchen, a new curtain for the french doors, a much-needed additional table for my office. It was difficult to figure out how to react when I walked in to a clean but poo-scented house. It turns out, in case you're interested, that the poo smell was actually over-fermented kefir grains. That took us a week or so to discover, which, of course, means that I haven't been tending my kefir... but, well, that's really okay.

So, now we're back and I'm actually relaxing.

I'm rediscovering joy. Really. I think I'd forgotten that we're supposed to be joyful. I had been so focused on doing everything "right" that I forgot to have fun! Not just in the vacation preparation, but in all of life. That's so not cool.

So, I'm blogging again. I'm listening to music again. I'm scrapbooking again. AND, last night I stayed up until 3:30 a.m. doing absolutely nothing of any importance. Ahhhh... life is good, isn't it?

* yes, I realize that I made a typo, leaving the "h" out of "things." but, if you read it like it's written and then add "mon" at the end of the sentence, it actually ends up conveying my real sentiment, so , I left it in the final editing.

Other Way Cool Things That Happened on Vacation
  • My sons took me to lunch on Mother's Day at my favorite restaurant, La Paz, which no longer exists near me, but does exist in Destin.
  • My kids humored me by cheerfully escorting me to an Arts Festival in Sandestin after lunch on Mother's Day.
  • I won a necklace worth a reported $500 in the Arts Festival raffle.
  • We discovered Zoo World in Panama City Beach.
  • I had a real connection with Sydney the Gentle Giraffe and spent quite a bit of time petting and feeding him. I really didn't want to leave him.
  • My wicked sunburn turned into a nice "base tan."
  • The kids had a GREAT time fishing in the lake that's just outside our condo door.
  • My awesome husband bought me a camera for Mother's Day, which I used to take more than 450 pictures.
  • I now have quite a few blackmail photos of each of my kids.

"The only thing that interferes with my education is my schooling" -- Albert Einstein

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