Tuesday, September 25, 2012

On Coming Home

I had just spent 15 minutes unloading a bag of toiletries (shampoos, soaps, curling irons, creams, toothpastes...) that weighed more than Molly. Returning home from our long vacation late in the night, we fell in to our beds post haste leaving the mountain of unpacking for later. Unpacking brings with it such a mixed bag of feelings, every article removed from the suitcase and placed in its designated spot is attached to a specific memory of the time away yet returning the item to its rightful place sparks appreciation in my heart for my designated spot in this big world--HOME, my HOME in particular.

(Have I ever mentioned that I get homesick sometimes while on vacation? with my family? and my books? and my very own coffee maker? I'm not sayin' it happened on this vacation, but it has happened a dozen few times before.)

That I may have been beginning to feel drawn back home after 13 days away, doesn't mean I looked forward the end of our vacation time. Quite the opposite...the day we loaded up to head north was full of sad, miserable, excruciating, gut-wrenching good byes. Most of my children (save the one who, like her mamma, is emotionally lassoed to her home) mourned the companionship of their cousins and grandparents for the greater part of our 10+ hour journey home. Tears flowed profusely. It wasn't pretty. I too, am missing the easy companionship of my family, the extended one which didn't feel so extended while we lived vacation life for a week together.

How then does one go about "returning" with a balanced perspective?

My Man would suggest a list or maybe two...

Reasons that make it difficult to face the end of vacation:

~the smell of coffee in the morning made by an early rising brother-in-law
    ~my Mom, willing to go the distance for a laugh

    (believe it or not, those sunglasses are not part of the joke!)
    ~rocking chairs on the deck
    ~built in playmates
    ~time to read this, and this, and to finish this by the pool

    ~24/7 access to my Man (who completed this AND this poolside) 

    ~the ever-present scent of my Dad's pipe smoke
    ~a sister to scratch Molly's back...ad infinitum

    ~a sister to braid Kate's hair...over and over


    Reasons I'm Glad to be HOME:

    ~sharp knives (apparently these are not allowed in rental properties located anywhere near the beach!)
    ~my very own bed (nuff said!)
    ~smell of home (every place has its very own scent you know!)
    ~a friend greeting us with soup for the next day as we wearily pulled into our driveway 
    ~the art gallery on our fridge, I missed its messy haphazardness 

    ~we left on a hot summer day and returned to crisp fall air (ahhhhhh)
    ~grinning as the child who missed home exclaimed as we exited the interstate near her home "kank you, kank you, kank you for bringing us home!"

    Oh, we're going to be hitting our paces just fine shortly. One of the most distraught of our children entered the kitchen the morning after our return saying, "Hey! This cool fall weather makes me not as sad about vacation being over...but I'm pretty sure I'm gonna need to smell some pumpkin baking in here pretty soon." 

    Her grandmother wisely reminded me as she was challenging herself not to dwell on the OVER but to focus instead on the happiness that WAS, "I'm determined to choose joy..."

    Sounds like a perfect way to bid farewell to summer and vacation and welcome all that is autumn...

    ...by choosing JOY...
    (and perhaps grabbing a slice or two of pumpkin bread wouldn't hurt either!)

    “No one realizes how beautiful it is to travel until he comes home and rests his head on his old, familiar pillow.” – Lin Yutang

    Saturday, September 22, 2012

    First Days & Last Days

    First days and last days of vacation tend to resemble one another. 
    On the first day there is an excited wave of novelty. 

    A pool to enjoy...whenever the mood strikes, 

    the sandy beach just steps away, 

    and playmates whose sole purpose each day is to play with none other than Y-O-U.  

    On first days you just want to do it all, to play as hard and as fast and as long as you can simply because today you CAN and yesterday you couldn't.

    During the middle days there is less of a draw to do all and be all, for yesterday you did all 

    and tomorrow you can still be all. 

    Routines are settled into 

    and expectation and reality meet in the middle...

    as vacation settles into its happy rhythm. 

    On the last day, activity mirrors that of the first day but the motivation differs vastly. You still swim as much as you can 

    and play as hard as you can

    with as many mates as you can...

    ...because tomorrow you CAN'T.

    Tomorrow, you will be riding for hours in a car with the same ole gang that you came with. 

    On last days there are no ifs, 

    no preferences, 

    no do-ya-want-to's.

    There are instead--MUSTS 

    as opportunity prepares to end her knocking. 

    Last days make you gaze a little deeper, 

    hold on a little tighter, 

    and pause a moment longer 

    amidst all of the  being and doing, 

    not because you failed to appreciate all that vacation was yesterday, 

    but because when tomorrow arrives it will turn all that vacation is 

    into all that vacation was.

    Oh, and wasn't it grand!

    Monday, September 17, 2012

    A Little "Gyoo" & A Song for You Too...

    Molly Joy here. 
    I'm on vacation.

    The other day, my couthins and aunts and uncles AND my Grandma & Poppy all came to join us at the beach. 
    I'm yovin' having all these fresh kidth to play with...

    ...and my aunts have been pretty handy to have around too.
    Aunt Beck turns out to be a back scratchin' machine!

    My Dad is getting a bit of R & R...

    Reading and...

    { Yook out Cole!!!!!}

    Dad played in the pool wiff me too. He taught me how to jump in to him...

    ...and then, I thought it would be yots of fun if I jumped in to mythelf.

    Thadly, I wath misthaken. 

    Turnth out ya can't catch yourthelf in the pool BUT the edge of the pool thure can catch you. 

    Mom taped me up a yittle but it was decided that a visit to the ER was my next thtop. 

    My Dad felt awful. He thaid he'd done the same thing when he wath four years old on vacation at the beach. He had to get thtitches he said.

    "THTICHES?" I said. 

    Then I cried...a yot.

    The doctor thaid that I only needed gyoo on my busthted chin and no THTICHES!
    Thith was ethpecially good news because my Mom and Dad would N-E-V-E-R have thtayed conscious for that kind of drama. 
    The doctor gyooed my chin but then the nurth came in and dropped a bomb on us. 
    A bomb I'm telling ya! 
    She said that I had to thtay out of the pool for 5 days until my gyoo came off!
     YIKES, my tan will never thurvive that kind of treatment. But what are ya gonna do, ya know?

    Mom thaid I had to take a nap when we got back to the house but I told her that the covers on the bed would thtick to the gyoo on my chin and then how in the world could I get out of bed?

    After she thtopped yaffing, she said I could thkip my nap. 

    I sat out of da pool all day today, but tomorrow is gonna be a different thtory.

    Dad went to the beach shop and got me a dinosaur float so I can be in the water without getting my chin all wet. That was my Uncle Mark's idea. 

    They tell me he'th a doctor. 
    I know...but that'th what they thaid.
    He'th one there by my Dad...thorry about all that singing...
    my Uncle Mark has such an influence on my Dad. 
    I think the big kids call it peer pressure. 

    My mom calls it thomething else entirely.

    Anyway...back to me...
    I've gotta go to bed now and get to syeep 'cause I've got a dinosaur that needs me to teach him how to thwim tomorrow!

    So, good night syeep tight!

    "Thurf's up!"

    Friday, September 14, 2012

    These Are My People...

    When one vacations, focus shifts. No one utters phrases like, "Go in the other room for a bit, Mommy's trying to finish this job," or "Kids, please, please, please, quit asking Daddy questions right now, he's trying to study." Neither will be heard, "Hurry up kids! We are running so very late. LET'S GO!!!!"

    On vacation, there is no late, there is no hurry up, no studying, no lesson planning. 

    Instead the focus is on being a family in every geeky, cheesy, kooky, comfy sense of the word. 

    On vacation YES is spoken liberally and knee-jerk NOs are kept to a bare minimum. 

    On vacation, even outlandish requests are given fair consideration. 

    On vacation, alarm clocks look like this...

    Retreating from dailyness with all of its needing and wanting and tasks and stresses and duties and yes, even it's victories, forces the eye to focus on those who ride along beside, to relearn them, to re-revel in who they are and to dream about who they are becoming, to re-see them close up.

    Very close. 

    While battling dailyness it is possible, even likely, not to see, those who are quite literally at arm's length or even closer.

    On vacation though...clarity,

    ...a clarity that whispers to my heart, 

    "These...these are your people. 

    The little ones, the growing ones, the grinning one. 

    Appreciate them, 

    study them,

     learn from them,

     thank God for them,

     hold them,

     cheer for them,

    teach them,

     lean on them,

     steady them,

    pray for them,

     laugh with them,

     grow with them,

     and love them...well."

    {Part 1 of our vacation series here, Part 2 here}

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