Monday, July 28, 2014

Different is Good, Right?

I mentioned last week that this summer both LadyBug and The Boss have some extra time on their hands. Unfortunately, The Boss's recent "extra time" is the sort that none of us ever really want to embrace. Due to a departmental re-organization, he has been on "summer vacation" with the kids and I since early June. It's been quite a strange summer. Most weeks feel like an endless string of Saturdays around here, as The Boss's presence at home during a week day tend to "take us all down a notch or two" as far as routine is concerned. There are definite plus's to that environment for The Gang, especially on the heels of the very difficult and high tension winter we all just survived. I'm trying to stay focused on the plus's but I have to admit, it's not easy most days.

Ironically, the Thursday before he was released from his position, we were sitting on the couch, catching our breath at the end of a fairly "routine" day. I said something to the effect of, "Gosh, I feel like we are really settling into a good new groove. Like our new normal is here and is do-able. It's kinda nice, isn't it?"

I'm not superstitious or anything even close but golly, you can bet I'm never uttering words like THAT again around here. Sheesh.

Anyway, as I was saying, there are some "upsides" to having Daddy home for the summer. We got the gift of extraordinary quality time together as a family before we sent our boy off to Basic Training. There's never going to be another opportunity to have all 8 of us home quite like this again, now that both boys are launching off into the next stage of their grown-up lives.

~ Father's Day, June 2014 ~

~ Time to leave for Basic Training ~

Letting go of Dr. D was is really hard on both The Boss and I. But knowing that he was moving on to do something he has always dreamed of doing and seeing the excitement and joy in his eyes as he prepared to go really has made it easier. He was born to do this life he is pursuing and while we miss him terribly (like, "I hate seeing his empty bed, parked truck, and my empty couch" kind-of-terrible!), we are incredibly proud of the man he has become and the path he has chosen. More substantive letters would be nice, but hey, I know better than to expect a novel! :)

Oh, how I miss this afternoon sprawl!

The Boss was also able to finish the renovation of our deck in record time, since it didn't have to be squeezed in on weeknights and weekends only. We are so grateful that we had planned this project in advance - both because of the good timing for him to do it and the finances required to complete it. I'm tellin' ya, if you don't follow the Dave Ramsey plan for budgeting and managing your money, our gang is a PERFECT testimony of why you should! We don't do it perfectly but losing his income didn't not derail this project financially. And that's particularly awesome considering that we had demo'd the deck in early May when we had some help available to do so. Living without a deck and all that mess out there all summer would have been SUCH a huge and ugly problem for this pool lovin' gang.

Isn't it so inviting?
Come on by, the iced tea is cold and the pool is warm!

And of course, the "Honey Do" list has gotten a lot of attention since the deck was completed. Little niggling tasks that we have been meaning to "get around to," things that we have needed to repair, re-decorate, or refresh, and so on. Those smaller projects are all getting checked off the list as the days go on. He is a putter-er by nature so while he does miss the routine and structure of a work day (eh, who am I kidding, he doesn't miss it yet), he is really enjoying the time to do all this physical labor and spruce up the house and the yard.

Finally, I'm getting to tackle some projects that I've had on my mental To Do list for a long while now. I mean, Daddy is BETTER than a babysitter and he's free for afternoon swim parties. So I've tucked myself away a couple times to sort through mountains of school papers and projects from the last two school years. I purged my closet and dresser. I went through my jewelry box for the first time in probably 3 years. I even got to go through 4 bags of hand-me-downs within three days of receiving them - a record in this zoo lately! I've been sorting, streamlining, cleaning out, and yes, I'm back to writing. A slow and easy start, but I'm back.

The extra bonus of the swim time with Daddy is that Mei Mei is really acclimating to the pool quite well and coming along in leaps and bounds in her ability to trust Daddy and the big sibs in the water. AND she has slept through the night pretty much every single night for more than 3 weeks now. All that sleep has drastically improved her day-time behavior (and mine). AND her language is just exploding recently. She lightens the mood around here daily with the new things she is learning to say and the mimicry she pulls out at the funniest moments! We can't get over what a difference we are seeing in her, now that her surgeries are over and her body has come to its resting place of her new normal. It's really quite remarkable and I know The Boss has enjoyed being here to see the daily little transformations that are yielding a happier more settled and peaceful little Mei Mei.

Mei Mei turned THREE at the beginning of the summer.
Actually, the night before Dr. D left.
This is her cheesey smile on her new Kai Lan bike.

So. It's a different summer than we had imagined or planned for ourselves. And a very different kind of productivity than we had envisioned. But we're finding the new groove to it and I'm working on appreciating the time we have as a family as much as I can without worrying too much about the job leads and paychecks and insurance issues. THAT kind of worry messes with my momentum in serious ways. I'm finding it to be an hourly choice to alternatively focus my attention. It's not easy and while I do enjoy that he and I are getting these tasks done with unusual (for us) timing and focus, I do have to work to not camp in the worry-tent. I guess I can be thankful for that - it's keeping me sharp and on my spiritual knees at the very least.

It's different. I'm working to find the good in this kind of different.


Joan said...

So happy to read about so many positive goings-on in your family. I am encouraged that your family is a testimony to Dave Ramsey's budgeting, we haven't been able to set something up yet, mostly it's the follow through portion...and maybe the beginning too now that I think of it :)
It would be my feeling to worry with any unexpected change, so I admire you for making the choice each hour to focus your attention on productive work.
Very encouraging, thanks!

Kelleyn Rothaermel said...

Sounds like it was a blessing to have hubby home as so many things were going on this summer, but I know what you mean. My husband was home too because he lightened his work load to stay home to bond with our newbie.

withgratefulhearts said...

In total agreement with you on the Dave Ramsey topic!! With you also as your young men head two oldest are heading off as well..Lord have mercy on our momma hearts :) Mei Mei is adorable.