Saturday, July 15, 2006

Mission: Unload?

Almost as interesting as our family's vacation activities in Florida, was what we did when we got home.

Mind you, our family went sans media, cold turkey – seven whole days of no telephone (well, we could get cell phone coverage if we stood in a certain spot about 50 feet from our cabin door), no TV, no video games, and, hardest for me and my well-wired hubby, no internet.

I thought for sure the kids would run into the wide open spaces of our home (compared to the cramped quarters of the Suburban for the last two days), and want to turn on the TV.

What ensued, however, was a fascinating study in character:

*Daughter (almost 13) – straight to the computer to check on her friends

*Son (11) – straight to his room to check on his guitar and play some tunes

*Daughter (8) – straight to the back yard to love on our old yellow lab Buster (a neighbor fed and watered him during our 95 degree absence, but there’s always a silent hush of “what if he’s keeled over from heat exhaustion” as we open the gate for the first time – that poor, tolerant guy). This girl also volunteered to ride along to get Cowboy (what can I say, we’re in Texas!) our Schnoodle, who was cared for, and even given a bath, at the luxurious (I’m sure for a dog), air conditioned Pet Palace

*Daughter (just turned 5) – straight to the craft cabinet, out with the watercolors, and then the inevitable: “Mom, could you get me a bowl of water?”

*Daughter (2 ½) – straight to her toy kitchen and then the dress-up box (then to the watercolors, now dressed as Snow White)

Each of them had a mission – something that was important to them, something they hadn’t been able to do for a whole week. They helped enough getting some things put away (some got farther than others, by the looks of the big kids’ bedrooms, I might add), but they were chomping at the bit to get to do the things they’d missed while away from home.

I really wanted them to do more. It is a big job to get unpacked. I inwardly sighed as I saw my hopes of “getting things back to normal” on my timetable (i.e., NOW) slipping away before my very eyes, yet again.

But my husband Dennis is a wise man. His comment: “It was a lot of work for them to sit in the car for two days.”


He was right. Here we go again. Could something I think of as an inconvenience (sitting in the third row of a Suburban for hours on end with two small kids) really be considered “work” to a child?

The kids got along remarkably well and complained relatively little. They scuffled only occasionally. They listened to three entire Narnia books on CD. They did a good “job.”

Being a mom, I can find my kind of work -- the kind that involves hauling, lifting, organizing and cleaning -- to do from dawn until dusk (and that’s pretty late this time of year!). I find myself being quite the taskmaster – hey, if I’m working, you should be, too! And like any descendant of good Norwegian stock, I oft repeat the phrase, “Work before play.”

What I find myself doing, however, is, “Work before MORE work.”

Okay, deep breath. Lighten up. Let them unwind from one type of work before embarking on another.

Getting back to normal could take a while.

But I already knew that.

To every thing there is a season, and a time to every purpose under the heaven.

Ecclesiastes 3:1

Oh, and I suppose you are wondering what Dennis and I did, once we got to a stopping point in the unload process?

Dennis – straight to get the oil changed and to get the truck professionally de-beached

Me – I feigned interest in several loads of laundry while I waited TWO WHOLE HOURS for the computer line to go down before heading over to check on all my blogging friends. I missed you!


Joy @ SAH Missionary said...

Wow! Isn't it amazing how much work has to be done on both ends of a simple vacation?? I'm so glad that you guys had fun! I love the kind of vacations that you described hype, no media, and a cabin to stay in!!


Jen said...


Glass Half Full said...

I love this post! Vacation -- is that was it was. :)

Nicole said...

I loved reading what everyone did right when they got in from ya'lls vacation. So glad ya'll had a good time. Your hubby is pretty smart (is that the right word? HA) for thinking that riding in a car is work for kids. Never would have thought of that myself. Glad ya'll got back safe. And we missed you too!

Unknown said...

Missed you, too. But since I had an incredibly busy week and now have a houseguest, it was nice to have one blogger down on my "can't miss" list.

Susanne said...

Glad to have you back! I can so relate to the comment: "If I'm working you should be too!" OUch. I've done that so many times. Great post.