Thursday, August 6, 2015

What I Did On My Summer Vacation: The Good, The Bad and The Ugly

The Good
We went to Disney World!  It was great/fun/hot/expensive/magical!  We rode lots of rides, ate lots of frozen lemonade, battled emotional terrorism every time we passed a gift shop, and got to spend time with each other without the pull of work and responsibility.  That's been my favorite part of going to Disney.  You are just there for your kids to have fun.  That's your only mission.  The grind of daily life has been suspended and you just get to watch those you love experience new things.  Jeremiah was Alex's shadow and Sarah and I were partners in the park.  All of us would try to get to the park as close to opening as possible and do a few things together before splitting up to divide and conquer.  We'd try to head back to our hotel around lunch time to cool off and swim and then Sarah and I would sneak back a little ahead of the others to maximize our Disney time. We did each park and spent the last two days of our trip at Magic Kingdom.  Ideally, I would build in a rest day instead of going multiple days to the parks because it's an exhausting pace and you start to wear down.   We definitely had "The Disney Experience" and even though I doubt we'd take a big trip like that for several more years, I'd jump at the chance to go back.  Here's the link to our photo album if you're so inclined >>  Disney World Pictures 

The Bad 
Too much togetherness can wear you slap out.  Our family vibe was a bit surly leading up the the trip in late July, and I have to admit that Fun Mommy was quickly replaced by Mean Mommy when we returned home.  I've joked that after seeing Inside Out  I relate to the Anger character most-- frustration is my fall-back personality.  It's not a pleasant realization--no, you're not just put out getting ready for a big trip-- you're just a grump, a lot of the time, if you don't choose act better.  We came home on a Saturday and because I never turn down a chance to hang with a friend, the following Monday we took another small road trip to a water park a few hours from home. Oh, friend, 5 hours in the sun making sure children don't wander or drown will fry you.  I had big plans to just lounge and veg the next few days, but that looks different when you have dependents that require "meals" and "clean clothes" and "basic sanitation".  So after a few more rough attitudinal days, I packed in the dollar kiddie movies (or sixteen dollars to keep everyone's mouth full and rear end seated) and one last day at the pool.

I would like to say that we ended the weekend before school in a family devotional with a heartfelt prayer time for a new school year, but it was more like  "Here's a slice of pizza, let's get you rinsed off, now go to sleep" kind of end to the summer.  A 6:50 wake-up has been a challenge for Sarah as a most decidedly UN-morning person, but we've risen to the challenge and the kids even walked in solo the past two mornings.  I've taken zero back-to-school pictures because EARLY.  Sarah was so confident and eager that first day.  She had no problem separating from us and I was likewise dry-eyed.  She'll rock Kindergarten, I have no doubt.  Jeremiah likes his new teacher and has adjusted back to the school routine quickly.  We have one more early wake-up and then a no-plans Saturday, the best kind there is.

The Ugly & The Bottom Line

I follow Jen Hatmaker (like every other woman in my demographic) and she shared a recent cover story in which she is featured.  Her words on giving grace to yourself aren't new or profound, but they perfectly capture my end-of-summer "ugly".

Speaking personally, when I am being unkind toward others and when I am struggling to be gracious, forgiving, understanding or compassionate, [it] is usually because I am in a really bad place myself. It is when I am unhappy with something in the interior of me or I am privately struggling with something I am too embarrassed to discuss with other people or even admit, times when I am in a cycle of self-condemnation. So when I am really ugly to others, I find that I am being ugly to myself. If we can develop a kinder inner voice, we automatically develop a kinder outer voice. There is high correlation between the two. When I am healthy and I have developed a high level of care for my own soul, I am able to be so much kinder to others.   - See more at:

That day we went to the movies, I had a frustrating afternoon with my kids and then went out for a few hours and was able to talk with some other women, but still carried that "Why Do I Make This So Hard And Why Isn't It Hard For Everyone Else?" feeling.  We had received a package that I hadn't noticed earlier in the day, and Alex mentioned it to me.  

"Hey... Did you know your friend sent you a brush?" 


"You must not have seen it.  It's downstairs."

So I go to investigate and find a brush.  A Wet Brush, specifically sent to me by a friend who saw me struggle to brush out Sarah's hair in line at the water park earlier that week.  (Yes, who cares about hair at a water park?  Me.  I guess I care. Because I care that my child looks like Cousin It and that makes me seems like I don't have control over my child and guess what-- I DON'T-- because she's a free moral agent and I'm her mother, not her trainer, note to self.)  Anyway, my friend sent me a special brush and didn't mention witnessing my embarrassing episode where I'm tugging on my kid's hair and threatening to leave (because be honest, we both know I'm not gonna leave).  My friend showed me grace and kindness and it reminded me to show myself some too.

Last little nugget:  In all my Mother-Of-The-Year-End-Of-Summer-Angst, I was feeling very disconnected from J.  I just let the girls watch too much Netflix and let him take his IPad and watch The Chipmunk movie waaaaaay too many times.  The only time that day he tried to engage me, asking to go outside together, I told him "not now."   (I know. Cringe.)

Anyway, later that night, I pull him on my lap and we do this little game where I pretend to eat his face by kissing it and tell him it tastes like donuts.  I lean and and ask him "What does my face taste like, J?" 

And looking straight in my eyes, he says with a smile, "Spaghetti."  And my very mean inner voice shut right on up, because my kid loves me and he understands everything and just because he can't respond to my many verbal demands the way I expect, HE GETS IT.  He gets the humor and context and you know what, inner voice?  Yes, I need to spend more quality time with him and meet goals and learn new things to help him learn, but it's all good because we love each other.  We are just people, not projects, and when we love each other, we do our best.

I feel like I should close with a Be Blessed...

And a sincere Show Yourself Some Grace...


1 comment:

David and Kate said...

Disney is the best! Glad you guys had a good time :)