Tuesday, June 24, 2014

Surviving Summer

It is that point in the Summer. Some of the novelty is wearing off. Camps are over and everyone is spending a lot of downtime together. There are sweet moments--and there are ones that make me want to hide in the backyard alone for a bit. I don't want to pack every minute so full that there is no time for life to unfold at its own pace, but a decade of mothering has taught me we all start climbing the walls when we don't have something to look forward to 'doing.'

Lucky for me, I married an adventurer. Idle time is absolutely not in his vocabulary. He has big plans that often involve lots of preparation and gear. I prefer to travel light (just a book for me, thanks) and with a bit more spontaneity--and here we are, sharing this life. It can be trying at times, but as I learned this weekend--I am grateful for what my husband brings and leads in this little family.

Sunday was our Father's Day redo of sorts. K had been at camp on the real day--which was just as well since the Daddy of the house was on call and not really available to be celebrated. Daddy decided he wanted to kayak and canoe, and so the preparation began.

My 6 ft husband and his 5'2" wife loading a huge canoe and heavy kayak on top of my Suburban--strapping them down, finding the paddles, life vests, the cooler--and, oh yeah, the fishing gear. Headwear. Sunscreening and bug spraying. Snacks.Water shoes.

For a two hour paddle down the river our drop in and take out spots are approximately 15 minutes apart drive time. This matters because we only have one car that can transport all of us and the boats. A circus of sorts ensues as we deposit everything at the top, move the car to the bottom and get back to the top without leaving our children or our stuff unattended anywhere. This requires tracking down a loyal friend to help--or in the case of this weekend, planning on a taxi ride for one leg of the journey. Not exactly my idea of a relaxing family activity in the blistering heat of a June afternoon in Georgia!

Sunday, my flesh wanted to sigh heavily--and a few broke through. Then I had a moment of clarity. I am always grateful when we push through the complicated parts. Theoretically, I don't want to be a quitter--but practically, I often do. The world tells us fun shouldn't be hard. It never looks difficult in the movies. But back here in real life there are usually dozens of boring/challenging/work requiring minutes for every good one.

When it gets hard there are choices to make: Will I throw in the towel--or will I exhale a prayer, inhale a new attitude and keep on keeping on?

We pushed through the inconvenience Sunday and it paid off in spades! We ran into friends unexpectedly at the drop off who solved our taxi shuttling dilemma and joined us for the trip down river. We saw turtles, a huge lizard, wading cows, a swimming beagle, an egret and a raccoon. As the sun started to set and giggles echoed against the river bank I knew to breathe it in and take a picture in my soul. The good stuff never comes easy. Don't quit. Hang on for the payoff.

The lesson extends far beyond kayaking into so many other parts of life--marriage and parenthood come to mind immediately.

And because the Lord never seems satisfied that I get a lesson the first time, I had another opportunity to learn tonight. With my husband working late, my body tired and hormonally challenged, I had a frustrating and painful run in with my children. Details are irrelevant, but I was absolutely not on my "A game." I left the dinner table in tears and took a few minutes of catharsis to just cry it out. I prayed from a broken place for God to restore this mess of a night.

I had washed my face and started cleaning the kitchen when a knock came on the door--neighbors who wanted to go for a bike ride. Everything in me wanted to hide indoors and nurse my hurt feelings until my husband came home--but sunset is my jam and so I pushed past the pity party and saddled up.

A silly adventure around the golf course ensued involving a new alligator decoy in the lake that my neighbor convinced 6 children was real. I am quite sure my kids will remember this night for years to come--a completely spontaneous event on a random Tuesday after dinner. This Mama hopes to remember it too because lightening up and taking a step back not only restored my weary soul--it left me feeling strangely rejuvenated.

My circumstances hadn't really changed, but my scenery and attitude had.

This parenting gig is important work--but sometimes the best thing we can do is step away from the intensity and breathe. Stepping back, honestly assessing my heart, confessing my pride, laying down the pity party and taking up joy... It seems to be the formula God is giving me for these sometimes long Summer days.


Elizabeth said...

"I am always grateful when we push through the complicated parts." So true in so many relationships and situations. That sentence will stick with me!

Michelle said...

I love your blog so much!i have learned so much from reading it

BeckyB said...

Thanks for yet another great life lesson summary - I love your heart. Plus God's given you a wonderful gift of writing.

Jacqui said...

I'm so thankful for your honestly. I'm mommy to a 2 1/2 year old, indedpendent little girl right now with Baby Girl # 2 on the way. It helps to read your struggles and how you turn to God to help. Thank you.

Garrett Robinson said...

I just love your blog! Thanks for sharing.

Denise Ross said...

This spoke to my soul so much. Thank you for your honesty :) God bless x