The school year is just about over, and as always, we are coming in on a wing and a prayer.
In a matter of hours, I'll have an 11th, 9th, 7th, and 3rd grader.
AND... as a result,
...I'm a little scared to utter the words
but I think
...it seems that...
the crazy train is easing up a bit.
Well, that's not entirely true,
maybe I've just switched trains.
Somewhere along the way, I got OFF the physical crazy train (you know, the one on which you feed babies, change diapers, pack lunches, and drive people ALL OVER TARNATION to every lesson, class, show, and game in the whole entire world)
...and I got ON the emotional crazy train (the one on which you fret over whether or not you've done a good job, will they make good choices, will you have grace when they don't, you deal with the blah mood swings, you try to resist the urge to swoop in and fix every little mess up so that they learn to fail in non life threatening areas, and where you occasionally stare at them in disbelief, and mutter to yourself, wow...I seriously don't even know you right now and I really hope you grow up a LOT between now and 23ish, because...wow.)
I'm fortunate, and I 100% don't understand how I got four sweet kids...not perfect, but genuinely sweet people who really want to please God and us. (which, funny enough, can actually create another whole set of problems...just not the "in your face" kind)
I love this season of a house full of big, witty, interesting kids who are really fun to talk and listen to. Prime example: In the car, just a couple hours ago, I hear Emma in the back seat, telling a joke to her friend. (except that she didn't say it was a joke, she just asked it like it was a bonafide question)
"Hey, so why is it not good for women to have kids over 35?"
I grip the steering wheel a little tighter, thinking oh my gosh, where did she hear this it sounds so offensive I mean she's 8 why does she think she knows optimal child bearing years??!
I brace myself for the answer.
Friend says, "uhmmm, because they're old ladies?"
"Nope, because 35 is more than enough!"
I laughed out loud.
I wonder how I'll do when they're up and gone...I admit I sometimes hide out just to get a few minutes of solitude, but I truly can't stand the thought of a quiet house...hoping there will be some redeeming qualities when the time comes but I'm skeptical.
A few years ago, I had a conversation with a man in his early 60's. He owned a shop I frequented and we shared a love for pictures and places. His wife had passed away a number of years prior and he said something to me I've never forgotten.
His face was somber and almost pleading.
"Whatever you want to do with your spouse, do it now. Don't wait until your older, because sometimes, you don't get older."
It changed the way Brad and I think about so many things. Of course you have to plan, save, be responsible, live beneath your means, and be content exactly where you are, but it also means there is no time like the present.
In whatever capacity your sphere allows, spend time with your spouse...if you like them.
...and if you don't like them, maybe spending some time together alone, will remind you why you used to like them...and if not, maybe you should get some counseling....your marriage is worth fighting for.
go on walks
have coffee together
go out to dinner
slip off for the weekend every once in a while
I remember well how stressful date nights used to be. The first 10 or 12 years of our marriage, "extra money" was in short supply at our house. But because of generous parents, and sweet people around us, we were able to make date night a fairly consistent happening....but it was SO MUCH WORK.
I had a 5, 3, and 1 year old, all of whom preferred me to everyone else in the world.
Getting the house cleaned, having dinner ready for kids and sitter, getting myself dressed, making a bottle, stepping around little wide eyed, pajama clad babies who knew something was up, then prying one or two of them off me as I walked out the door.....the ride to the restaurant felt more like a ride to my own execution.
I rode in silence for the first little bit, tried to rid my face of the anxiety written all over it, and without fail, Brad would grab my hand and say something like, "You good? Kids are fine. They will be fine. They are probably playing and happy now. It's fine. Don't worry...they are in good hands."
I would nod in reticent agreement.
Without fail, we would get about half way through the night, whether it was just dinner, or dinner and movie, and all I could think was,
this is the best thing ever...I feel like a human being...I am in heaven.
Then I would go home,
having been reintroduced to my husband,
kiss my sweet, fluffy, sleeping babies,
and wake up the next morning ready to tackle the world.
Fast forward 10 years....and I mean FAST forward.
I have a driver in high school, two middle schoolers, and one very grown-ish elementary student.
It's still a lot of work to leave for a week, but I also still have very generous parents who agree to hold down the fort and do their best to keep everyone alive while Brad and I skip over to Scotland to check off a bucket list vacation.
A lot has changed in 10 years but the benefit of time together has not.
Not everyone has the desire to travel and those who do, have vastly different ideas of where they want to go and what they want to see.
If you are someone who
loves natural beauty
has an aversion to crowds
likes to be off the beaten path
enjoys really good food
owns a pair of hiking boots
can handle a 7ish hour plane ride
appreciates the simplicity of people around you speaking english
and is fascinated by history
let me just tell you, Scotland just may be the place for you.
lochs and lambs
hills, haggis, and Harry Potter
castles and cows
trails and tartan
steeples, Skye, and Storr
and I loved every single bit of it.
Just your average Scottish wedding.
slightly jealous of the hats, kilts, and bagpipes
and not at all embarrassed by the groom spotting
me and my zoom lens and giving me a hearty wave.
Think I found our rental car for next time...