Three of my five children are home this week. Why is it just as noisy and busy as usual? Could it be because the two quiet ones left for a week of mission work? When I consider it, I have to place my finger alongside my cheek and think carefully as I cast my eyes up to the ceiling, then conclude yes! When Kevin and Jordan have gone, my house is not altered too much unless I consider the contents of the refrigerator and the volume of laundry. Those two missing boys slink, occasionally sulk, lounge, and entertain themselves without needing a wink from me. And I miss them. Wah.
Is this a good thing?
I’m not sure. I would have thought that my life would have simplified with two children less for a week, but really, truth be told, it hasn’t, not a bit. Now there is this constant factor that having a toddler means I will never ever during the waking hours have a moment of comfort and peace. And when she’s sleeping, it’s a mad dash like a mad woman to accomplish all I need to do to remember who Tonya is and keep this home beating like the heart of an athlete.
Now with the oldest boy and the youngest boy in tow for a few days it might seem like shucks I ought to have time to read without paying babysitting fees. That’s not happening. The two of them are chatty, noisy, hungry, messy, needy, occasionally naughty, usually funny and always THERE. Swirl in one chocolate baby with chili spice blood pointing a finger to be bossy without words and all sorts of babbles, and you can see my week. It’s not relaxing. I need some rest.
I went to get my hair “fixed” today with Leila, my hair wizard from Lebanon who speaks three languages fluently and simply loves to do hair. She’s so good I will come home every eight weeks to have a cut and then visit church. She’s really a hair genius. While I waited for the magic to occur in my red locks, I fell asleep. For goodness sakes, it is the first time I have to myself to read and visit with friends and what do I do? I bob my head like it’s fishing for trout.
Ahhhgggrrrggghhhh. This is not me. I’m so spent these past few months, and I look at my calendar and see the day that the movers will come and stuff everything I have into a thousand boxes first and then into an enormous truck. Then they will drive a short ways, open the back of the truck and ask me where everything goes. Any idea how much potential stress that could cause a little tired red headed mama? I’ve done it ten times before. I know how prepared I am supposed to be. Am I? Not yet. Will I be? Oh, my heavenly Father that I am devoted to on a minute by minute basis…. I hope so. These are the conditions where miracles are welcome….perhaps necessary. I’m tired and I have so much yet to do.
See me now in my office typing, and the boys are eating empanadas from the Argentinian bakery, and Craig is driving home from San Antonio after a day’s work where he loves his job, and Kira is at her high chair eating a sandwich from the same bakery. A sandwich I might add that makes a non bread eater wish upon wish that I could taste it. She says “mmmmmmmmm”. I understand and salivate. But my mind is over there, on the conditions of the move.
Moving is hard. It doesn’t matter how cohesive the family is, how much Dad loves his new job that causes the move, how sparkly the incentive might be, it’s just plain disruptive. My things are about to be scrambled like a dozen eggs on the hot pavement on an Arizona afternoon in August. Disorganization is my enemy. The younger me might have a minor panic attack while anticipating a move during a summer like this one where I’m away in Africa and then whisked off to the shores of NC for a week of what might otherwise be beach relaxation. I don’t think I’ll be relaxing. No one relaxes in a house with twenty-five people. But I will be having fun, because if you can’t have fun at the beach, you shouldn’t go. And if you ask me, though I’ve not been to the beaches in Australia, or the south of France, I have stood on the coast in Italy, Chile, Spain, England, Ireland, California, and Lake Michigan (don’t laugh, Michigan beaches rank very high)…despite all that… North Carolina has the best vacation beaches I’ve ever known. I want to go.
But I really hope I can relax on the beach taking long walks while the sun comes up and before anyone who calls me mama is awake. I need some lingering time with my bible on my lap and my pen poised in hand so I can write long prayer letters to God. I hope to memorize the sound of the waves hitting the surf so I can hit replay in my mind whenever I need soothing. I want to keep my camera around my neck every minute and not miss a single great photo of sixteen cousins who have grown up together on the shores of the Outer Banks for one week every year. I’m going to use my bike as transportation exclusively. One week without getting into a car sounds like heaven to me, especially after the traffic jams of Kampala. And I’m going to try not to think about details of the move. They’ll be pressing in on me, choking me when I get back. There’s no point in rushing that scenario. If at all possible to be in a house with 25 people for a week I really hope I am able to find some calm before my storm.