Getting back into the swing of things is never easy for me.
I feel like a walking paradox sometimes; I love adventure, I love to change things up a bit, and I love to take trips, but these very things always end up piquing my anxiety, getting it churning and leaving me feeling a little unsteady. Returning from trips always leaves me wondering if I should try to lead a more predictable, controlled lifestyle that doesn't include the nuttiness, but then I get bored and need to shake things up again.
My friend Sara and I returned from Michigan last night...well, I returned to Buffalo-- she is most likely finishing the last few hours of her road trip to Massachusetts as I write this. This is what Sara said to me this morning as her two girls 1 and 3, and my two girls almost 3 and 1 were all meandering around our house this morning, taking turns in the drama department, she said, "Well, Lisa, this has certainly been an adventure!"
It had been.
She drove from Massachusetts to Buffalo last Tuesday after teaching her college writing class that morning. She left at 3 and arrived around 11. The trip can take as little as six hours, except when you are one momma and have two little children in the car and then it gets to be dinner time and bedtime. She ended up sleeping at my in-laws house that night because Ella threw up that morning after my sister had called me to tell me that her son had thrown up all night and Ella and Noah had been together the day before. Follow?
So after driving all day, and sleeping at my in-laws, we did let our two older girls play outside together for a couple of hours the next morning (Ella seemed to be doing better) and then packed everything into her new, and now fully mommy and child christened mini van, and drove eight hours to Hudsonville, Michigan. We stayed with her in-laws Wednesday night, left the next morning for Calvin College (40 minutes away in Grand Rapids) to attend the first day of the Festival of Faith and Writing and then spent the night at her sister's apartment (while her children were still with the in-laws). Her sister picked her girls up on Friday afternoon and did a wonderful job playing with them and watching them Friday and Saturday while we attended the rest of the conference.
Sara and I had a wonderful time attending 3 days of lectures, talking and reading and looking at books. What could be more fun for a couple of word lovin' English majors?
In the midst of all of this Sara spilled her youngest daughter's antibiotics on her sister's white rug, leaving her sister's rug kinda pink and needing to drive all the way across Grand Rapids on Sunday morning before we left to pick up a new bottle of antibiotics. Then we started our trek back to Buffalo.
We arrived at 6:30. My girls were quite happy to see me and I to see them and the next 2 1/2 hours until all children were in bed were an absolute circus.
My husband and lovely mother in-law, bless their hearts, painted the entire kitchen while I was gone and then started into painting the kitchen cabinets-- a project that went wrong in more ways than they were anticipating and therefore went on much longer than they had hoped.
Sara and I walked in with two hungry girls, one of whom eventually had an overdue meltdown (she had been SOOO good the entire trip, but finally got a little homesick), to two girls who had deeply missed their mother and a crazy, messy kitchen. We threw food at everyone, managed to eek in bathes, console several more meltdowns from all four girls it seemed, one at a time, and finally sat down with some wine at 9:30 after we cleaned out the gunky, gunky mess of her van.
We all got up early this morning. Nancy (my mother in-law) had an early flight, Ava crawled into our bed at 6:30 and both of Sara's girls foiled any hopes she might have had of sleeping in.
We all fixed breakfast. Our girls danced in princess dresses. And, Sara, the poor momma, had another 410 miles to go. She, by far, gets the MVP award for this particular trip. They left around 10, I showered, took the girls outside and made a few meager attempts at unpacking and cleaning.
I'm finally sitting here taking a deep breath. Scott just came upstairs and said, "Welcome home. Sorry things are a little crazy." To which I replied, "That's o.k. it's giving me something to blog about." So much has happened in the last six days-- my mind has been bent, and crazed, stimulated and encouraged, saddened by missing my girls, and thrilled to return to them and my husband again.
It's true when they say time apart strengthens the heart. I feel so happy and peaceful to be back with Scott and Ava and Ella. I feel like I'm right where I should be physically and emotionally. I feel affirmed in my desire to write and peaceful about my season right now.
While I don't feel like I'm "swinging" to my usual rhythm quite yet again, I do know that I will be.
I'm glad I took the trip. I'm grateful to have spent some time with one of my favorite friends. I feel priviledged to have heard discussions and lectures from some incredibly talented people and I'm relishing in the sweetness of home sweet home.
I'm going to spend a little time putting a book reading recommendation post together over the next couple of days based on authors that I heard from at the conference.
What's my point in all of this? Hmmm...If you're restless and fearing doing something you think is going to cause you anxiety, but you know will likely be fun, like a family trip, or a weekend away with some friends, or signing up for a class, or conference, I recommend that you think about it no further. Just do it!
There will likely be a zillion reasons you can think of to not go (Sara and I had a LONG list), but letting them overshadow the potential enjoyment would be a mistake. As Sara said to me before we left (I'm paraphrasing), "Life is going to be crazy here with the girls anyway, so why not let it be crazy with some new scenery."
Glad to have experienced crazy with some new scenery over the last several days and also glad to be back to the old scenery...well, except with differently colored kitchen walls and doorless, almost painted cabinets!