The other day I was at the pool with all four of my children and I looked around wondering to myself, "Why isn't there a crown on my head? Or at least a tiara?" Seriously, four kids in a huge body of water…nobody got kicked out, nobody pooped in the water, and everyone went home exhausted. It was a complete success. (With the exception of me accidentally spraying sunscreen directly in Faith's eyes. I'm not using that stupid aerosol stuff ever again. Ever.)
Summer sure isn't boring. Yesterday all the kids and I piled into our car to do a little shopping. Jack informed me that he didn't have any "hipster" clothes as he's moving into high school this fall. Will also needed a new deck of cards for his new hobby (card shark), Faith asked for new flip flops, and last but not least, our toddler needed sippy cups, as we have decided to leave all her other brand new ones everywhere we go, rather than bring them home to re-use. So, list in hand, we were off. I also packed snacks, water, diapers, epi pens, among other items to help us survive if we became lost in the woods. Or Supertarget. In the end we had 5 new hipster shirts, 3 decks of cards, 1 pair of flip flops, four bras (surprise purchase) and gum. Can you say PRODUCTIVE? I can, and I will. In fact I just did.
Summer wouldn't be complete without our evening family bike rides. I recently found a brand new bike trailer at a garage sale, and with that, the 6 of us can head out on the open road. Fortunately for you, we actually only stick to the Dry Creek Trail that runs near our house. Our loop is about 3.3 miles long, and we usually only have one catastrophe on the ride. Last week Faith was sassy to Billy about not watching where she was going. Seconds later, Will stopped short right in front of Billy as Billy plowed into Will. As he fell onto our son, Billy thought to himself, " I am going to crush my son to death". I was a ways back watching it all play out, calculating copays and family deductibles. It was only seconds before they were both standing again, brushing themselves off unscathed. It was at that point I laughed out loud, as watching people fall might just about be the funniest thing around. Well, that, and watching a chimpanzee bathe a cat.
As if our life wasn't exciting enough, this past weekend we got to spend the evening with my dad, who just turned 70. I won't publish his name, in case he's angry I just announced his age, but if you are up for a guessing game, it rhymes with Mary Mockhart. My dad and his wife Jane had us over for dinner along with one of our oldest and dearest friends, Roy Miller, and my brother Matt, who flew in from Ohio. Our time visiting and telling stories was so much fun. At one point Billy played my dad's guitar and we all sang along while he led us in "The streets of Laredo". In my opinion, there's nothing better than a sing-a-long. The kids didn't appreciate the song nearly as much as they appreciated the food. My nephew Taylor, who is 21, announced at breakfast the next morning, that he got the "meat sweats" from all the food he ate. He got up and ran 9 miles and as you might imagine, all the meat came back to bite him. My only regret were all the deviled eggs I ate. They always seem like such a good idea at the time.
And so the lazy days of summer pass by at warp speed. I am trying to appreciate the quiet time spent at home, with the kids never more than a few feet away. My mid-50 year old friends remind me that someday I'll be sad when these days are gone. I try to remember that when I’m hot and sweaty, with a 2 year old in my lap and an 9 year old showing me "just one more card trick, please mom?" Truly these days will be some of the very best of my life. The ordinary days where we get up late, have no agenda for the day, and ride our bikes together in the coolness of the evening—these will be what I hold dearest in my heart.
The kids and I heard a new song on K-Love the other day that put into words exactly how I feel about this season of life. The song's message is a challenge to live more than an ordinary life. We are not called to survive, but rather to THRIVE! With" Joy unspeakable, Faith unsinkable, Love unstoppable, Anything is possible "! Sure, life doesn't always deal us the hand we think we deserve. We feel lost, angry, let down. All we do is wake up and do the same thing every day. Survive today, keep your expectations low, and you won't be disappointed. Or maybe not. Maybe we can look around and see the ordinary day in and day out as something more. What if on the days when my toddler is throwing a fit, and my 14 year old is complaining that he's bored, I could see them as God's sweet gifts to me, rather than be frustrated by the circumstances. What if I saw our hardships as momentary, and sensed the bigger purpose in my life at work? I bet I'd grumble less, and hug more. I might even wake up happy and speak kindly before 10 am. And maybe while I'm cleaning my house and feeding my babies, I'd whisper words of thanksgiving to God, for another chance to be fully alive. Today I'm thankful that He reminds me what it means to thrive!