Vacation, 2011. Emerald Isle.
The weather is perfect. A little rain now and then, blue sky and sunshine most of the time and bearable temperatures. Of course, I spent the entire first day in the house. Never left once. I forgot my swimsuit. All things considered, that's not a big deal. It is enough to be here in a spacious (though oddly decorated) house, surrounded by family.
My parents are in and out. They have their own place here, but they are currently challenged with a wide variety of broken things. Shower heads, door locks, awnings, air conditioners. Sadly, their vacation time is not so leisurely. But they can come whenever they want, so I don't feel too badly for them. They pop in and out of the rental house and hang with us here; napping, reading, snacking, talking.
Sarah is home, on American soil and (hopefully) snug in a comfortable bed at her dad's house after a long day of traveling yesterday. Her final flight was delayed three hours; not until my phone rang at 12:30AM could I truly relax. I'll take the final step when I see her later today.
The kids are older, their maturity and growth obvious when we sit together to play a game of Mexican train dominoes. Everybody is old enough to play now, and the dynamic they bring to the table changes who we are. When we are together like this - when the cousins are playing and laughing and interacting with us other and the adults - I have lots of those little moments of pleasure, what feels like a 400-level class of parenting. I am so much more aware of how our kids are growing up when I watch Levi, the youngest, turn to his mom as she coaches him through his first game of dominoes and says, "Mom - I hope you are not using me to your advantage." When David is able to wield the sword of sarcasm and irony as well as his sister. When Emily joins in with the rest of us in appreciation of a well-timed word.
They grow older and our family expands, takes in more air, rounds out the rough edges. It is a beautiful thing.
But is a constantly changing thing. I'm reminded today of the song we used to close Sunday's service at church - one of those "I never thought I'd hear THIS song in church" moments. It tied fairly well to the message but I'm not sure the takeaway isn't something broader for me. It must be, because the lyric keeps echoing through my head this week.
I knew it had to happen - felt the tables turning
Got me through my darkest hour...
So if you're tired of the same old story
Turn some pages
I will be here when you are ready
To roll with the changes...
The changes in our family are obvious this year. We are not all together; Shannon is with us only via Skype. Sarah is not here yet. Daniel is not here yet, due to his passionate (and honorable) commitment to band camp. Tony and I will leave today for a doctor's appointment; he'll stay home and I'll bring Daniel and Sarah back tomorrow.
Roll with the changes. That's sage advice. Never thought I'd be reflecting on an 80's pop song during a vacation in 2011 as the mother of five kids, but there you go.
It's been a good week so far. I've no doubt that if we simply keep on rolling, things will be great.