I’ve been echoing through my new empty house for the past two days measuring spaces, meeting contractors, solving the puzzle of rug and furniture arranging, and imagining how I will direct the flow of traffic on the day our things stream through the front door. I love this house already, perhaps more than I’ve ever loved one before. I thought nothing would ever touch our Arizona house, but this one somehow is winning by a nose. And I suspect once the colors are adjusted, shelves are filled, rugs laid and the cat has found her sunny spot I’ll stop and proclaim this one is “just right”.
Not only do I already feel the house is a good fit, the city is already wrapping its arms around me in a welcoming embrace. It’s easy to get around, nothing is too far away like in Houston, and you can tell it’s a tourist place because there’s money spent to keep it looking its best. The shopping is slightly more upscale because retailers know tourists bring pocketfuls of spending money, and for me this means shopping will be pleasurable. The question remains unanswered though whether I’ll enjoy my biking errands, but I’ll say it will take enormous obstacles to keep me from that activity. I’m tenacious when it comes to using my bicycle.
Donny, Jack and Kira are with me. I have been so moved and touched by Donny’s selfless devotion to helping us. He believed when he moved home from college for the summer that God had directed him to serve his family, and I can say I might have guessed this even if he hadn’t told me because it is exactly what he has been doing. He has helped me with little miss Kira whether she’s sugar or spice (mostly spice and not always so nice) and though it can be frustrating to deal with a screaming whining toddler, he’s learning to be patient and creative in helping her through. He says he’s learning to be a “man” this summer. This is to say he is working towards choosing to do the responsible tasks, rather than do what he feels like doing such as playing video games, hanging out with his buddies, and reading for pleasure. Remarkably he is learning he can do both, just with a good balance.
I appreciate his help. The Africa mission trip, beach trip, and move are like three gun shots in a row. I’ve barely got time to reload before the next one is firing. And he’s helping me keep good aim. Meanwhile we have been enjoying deep and meaningful conversations about life, goals, faith, relationships, discipline and family. We continue to look at one another now and then with a smirk and just know without a word how much alike we are. It can be both wonderful when we connect in a deep way, and awful when we clash, but it’s undeniable we are nearly the exact same cloth. For example, at the book store both of us sigh and think, this would be a great second home. We always have a book in hand wherever we are going, and our bike isn’t too far away either. We have a similar response when walking into a health food store like Whole Foods, it is a relief to be surrounded by what we love and shielded from the junk options of the regular stores. And finally, our minds are both going at rocket speed and so whenever I ask him, “what are you thinking?” it initiates an hour long conversation. I can’t say that’s true for the other males I live with. I feel so thankful he spent the summer home with us because I really enjoy being with him.
Yesterday I gave the boys a day off from their tyrant sister. I dropped them off at Schlitterbahn for the day, and after work Craig retrieved them. They had too much fun and can’t believe the world’s best water park is a half hour from our new home. In the other direction is Sea World and Fiesta Texas. If we go south fifteen minutes we are at the famous Riverwalk. They are quite sure God is smiling on them for sending us to such an interesting place to live. This also means we will receive guests who will want to visit all the fun there is to do in our new home town, which means mom can’t be too busy to enjoy all there is to do in San Antonio. Not that I want to be that busy, it’s just the natural fall out of having five kids, an orphanage to take care of, a home to manage and a marriage to nurture.
When I get my free time I imagine myself not at an Amusement park, but on the Guadalupe River in a kayak, just me and the sounds of nature alone with God having a long cruise of communion. When I’m feeling more active I’ll happily strap on my hiking shoes and head for the trails in the hills, even if that means Kira is on my back. My own neighborhood is seriously hilly so I won’t have to go far to get a good burn in my quads from a climb. As if that weren’t enough to satisfy me, there’s Canyon Lake a half hour north, and every quaint hill country town I could hope to visit within an hour’s drive. I’m going to be very happy here.
The transition would be almost impossible without all the help I’m receiving from Donny who is such a good leader of the pack. Jack couldn’t be happier than he is this moment sleeping on the other side of the bed from his big brother with his dog between them after a long fun day at a water park. Jordan is in Montana doing mission work with his friends, and Kevin is in Arlington working with his friends. And Craig? He’s so happy not to be alone in this apartment for once, even if it means Coco likes the counter more than the couch, and Lucy’s bark makes the people upstairs stomp on the floor. There’s nothing calm, quiet, or orderly about our big family and somehow that still translates as peaceful. The only constant in our life is change and if I can learn to anticipate that, I’ll be stress free.