Sunday, August 23, 2015

I used to think...

I used to think being a good Mom meant making a home-cooked, hot breakfast every morning for my children. I used to think being a good Mom meant taking my children to a daily summer adventure: swimming, library story time, the farm, and amusement parks. I used to think being a good Mom meant having a clean, orderly house. I still think those are good things, but I've modified my definition of being a "good Mom."

This summer I've learned a lot about myself. Since June 20, we have been homeless. Not in the live-out-of-our-car homeless. But more like living a gypsy-life-style as we've moved from place to place living with friends and family. We sold our Ivandale house (a true blessing!) in early June but our new house has taken much longer to finish than we ever expected. It's still not finished.

We've made ten moves since June 20th. The following pictures show move number 5; there was no room in the car for Charlotte, and she is very unhappy about it.

This summer, I've made a home-cooked, hot breakfast for my kids maybe three times. As we've lived in other people's homes, I haven't had access to a kitchen on a regular basis...and even when I did, I couldn't always find what I needed (where's the mixer? where's the baking soda? where's the muffin tins?).

This summer, we've been to the swimming pool once. It was a three hour escape while I helped a friend out by watching her children.

This summer, we have not attended library story time, the farm, or an amusement park. Not even once.

In some ways, I feel like this is a lost summer. It was swallowed up in Home Depot visits, hours of painting, online shopping for tile/fixtures/and flooring, and packing re-packing and un-packing. I feel a lot of guilt when I think about it. But in other ways, in lieu of being a "good" Mom (at least in how I've traditionally defined it), I've become something completely different. I've been a strong Mom. I've been a Mom who keeps trying. I've been a Mom who falls apart, but then picks myself back up and keeps going. I've been a Mom who faces complication after complication and postponement after postponement and have remained somewhat sane. Emphasis on somewhat. And maybe those things are better than "good" because they're real.

When we look back on this summer, we will categorize it as the summer where we learned we can do hard things. As the summer of realizing how generous and amazing our family and friends are (thank you to EVERYONE who opened their doors, shared their trucks, painted next to us, and invited us for Sunday dinners!) As the summer of learning to work hard. Of painting - lots of painting! Of working (yes, it was work) at the Pickwick Drama Camp!

But we will also remember it as the summer of Sunday afternoon walks. Of morning runs. Of a glorious trip to New England and visits with precious friends. Of beautiful sunsets. And of the rare, rare moments of calm family time and even rarer, home-cooked family meals. But the rareness has made the moments that much more meaningful.

Sunday, August 9, 2015

4th of July

I know, I know. It's been more than a month, but I'm still playing catch-up.

It has been three years since I've enjoyed a Purcellville 4th of July parade. And it does not disappoint. We park our car at the Blaylock's house and walk to Main Street. We sit on the lawn in front of the Cardinal Bank with our friends. Truman and Charlotte, with grocery bags in hand, wait eagerly on the curb for the candy-tossing to begin. Everything is so familiar, but I see it with new eyes. From the American flag, to the cleanness of the streets...I'm so grateful for America.

Tractors, scouts, politicians, horses, and every fire engine within the county (it seems) roll by. How I love a parade!
 We gather at Magen's house for her annual BBQ. It rains, spoiling the outside plans, but Magen opens her home to all 35 of us! Pulled pork, hot dogs, salads, Holly Davis's applebars (I had four - no joking), and root beer. The tastes and smells of the 4th of July I have missed the past three years.
My favorite moment of this day, however, has nothing to do with tradition. Elise and I realize we need some camp chairs for the fireworks show - and all of our camp chairs are currently in storage. We dash to Walgreens to see if they have any for sale. Elise decides to tryout the chair in the aisle - test its comfort level. We struggle to set up the chair (it's more complicated than our tired brains can handle) and so this is the result during the test-sit:
The chair folds up around her, practically eating her. Elise gets stuck. Somehow the locking mechanism engages, and we really can't get her free. We laugh so hard, we become the "disturbance in aisle 3"! Tears roll down our cheeks as the chair situation becomes more and more ridiculous. 

How I love laughing with my children!  

Sunday, August 2, 2015

An Escape

I'm about to do something I've never done on my blog: post a very unflattering picture of myself. 

Here it is:
This is my "MOVING WEEK" face. This is the "I'm living in my own personal horror movie" face. I decided to post this because it truly sums up my emotional turmoil, and it serves as evidence to a decision we made in the middle of the moving process.

We needed a break. An escape from the hard work. A reward. So Friday night - in the middle of our packout process - the girls and I escaped down to DC to see Newsies (Owen and Truman were on a scout camp out).

We went to the National Theater on Pennsylvania Ave. and entered their ticket lottery. Even though we didn't win one of the $25 tickets, we did take the offer to buy a remaining ticket for $50 each.
It was worth every penny! The energy of this cast was amazing. We clapped and stomped our feet as they danced. We laughed right out loud and felt relief from the gruelling schedule of the week.

And as is customary for us, we waited outside the stage door to meet the actors. Our favorite was the actor who held a cigar in his mouth almost the entire show...even while spinning pirouettes and leaping across the stage!
I loved sharing this experience with Madi, Elise, and Amelia. I love the way musical theater provides both escape and inspiration. I'm so glad we made this spontaneous decision to jump in the car and treat ourselves to a fun night out on the town.