Wednesday, June 20, 2012
From California With Love
As I've strived to really up the ante on my Hands Free Mama efforts I have resisted the urge to post daily updates online (a fact that has led to concerned text messages from my close family and friends).
To be completely honest, the other reason for my non-posting has been a fear of judgment for taking another family trip this year. This has been a year jam-packed with adventure for our family--and frankly, it is a bit cringe-inducing.
I have been wrestling with God on whether or not I should spend time worrying about 'what other people think.' In general, I think there is a fine line in "living to please God, not man" and paying appropriate attention to the impressions/thoughts/feedback of others. This is where the Internet can be a dangerous place. Even though I share fairly vulnerably from my heart, there is still only a very small group of people who really know me--my heart, my motives, my struggles. Those are the voices I need to listen to--the ones that know the Lord and know my heart. All those other voices shouldn't matter--but, for better or for worse, I struggle with being sensitive to them.
Tonight over dinner my husband and I were talking (over the children's ever present eight year old silliness) about why we value family travel. We love adventure, seeing and exposing our children to new places and things. It is our hobby. We don't 'play' or collect anything. We travel and we parent. It just makes sense for us to combine those two things.
As I have been chewing through all this, I've realized I am really selfish about my family time. I share my husband about 90 (or more) hours a week. When we have a chance for family time, I want to get out of town where he can be unavailable to anybody but us. It is not a matter of 'time management' for him when we are in town...if someone is having a medical/surgical crisis and requests him it would be quite selfish for us to reply with 'sorry, it's our family time.' I knew this when I fell in love with him. It is his vocational call. I understand. But for our family's sanity, it requires getting out of dodge with some degree of regularity.
Traveling allows me a great opportunity to escape the distraction and noise of my everyday life and really focus on quality time with my people. I hope that one day I might attain the self control to do this at home, but for now I appreciate the gift of not having household responsibilities and/or the tyranny of the other things people declare 'urgent.' Having my husband around to consistently co-parent requires a bit of adjustment for my independent, bossy pants self...but it is worth it!
I am completely theme-parked out, but we are having a great time. I am looking forward to a return to the Eastern time zone and the comfort of my own bed, but I wouldn't trade the memories we have made.
At our fondue dinner last night when R requested seconds of marshmallow cream at 10pm Eastern, we realized we were seriously on vacation. I treasure the fact that we also broke all our normal 'rules' and had a family pillow fight upon arrival at our hotel tonight. I equally value the 8 year old conversations that have revealed all kinds of things I didn't know about everyday fears, friend troubles, questions about divorce and the ever-important installation of a new lemonade machine at school. I even learned this week that R thought 'cruel' was a naughty word but P was singing a truly crude word oblivious to how inappropriate it was--YIKES!
When R commented Monday "I marked A LOT of things off my bucket list today, Mom" my heart smiled. And when P wrapped his arms around me yesterday and told me he wouldn't trade me for a million dollars, I could have floated out of the room. We probably didn't have to travel across the country for that, but these are sweet, sweet times.
I have also been painfully reminded that despite my possessiveness of my people and my commitment to family time, our table manners are still atrocious and all this travel has STILL not taught my children how to be quiet in a hotel room. I guess that's just job security for Mom.