Tuesday, April 7, 2015

We Made It

Y'all would not believe how much I dread school holidays.

I'm sure many of you can sympathize with this.  I really hate that I don't look forward to having my kids home with me for extended periods of time.  And I trust that this is a season.  But for me, time off school, while Joe is at work, usually means begin stuck at the house.

I am not able to take all 3 kids out in public by myself. At the beginning it was because I was afraid Baby A might make a noise and Joshua would throw a fit.  And if I can't do much about it in the house, public will be that much worse.  At the end of last summer I thought we might be ready.  We set off for an outing with the best possible assistants: my friend Abi and 3 of her (much older) kids, all who are a huge help and love my children.  And yet, while walking into a farm, Joshua had a huge tantrum right outside the entrance.  Like 20 minutes long (? is that right, Abi?) all out screaming, trying to hurt himself, fit.  All I could do was sit on the ground in the parking lot and hold him in as safe a way as possible.  It went on for so long that I didn't know what I was going to do.  I thought I was going to have to call Joe at work, an hour away, and have him get in the car and come for us. I was so hopeless. Thankfully the others were looking after G and Baby A, but it shook me up big time.  It finally ended, but all I wanted to do was cry and cry and cry.  But I went on with the outing and finished the day.  (Until Joe got home from work, I'm sure.  At that point I probably curled up in a ball and lost it).

It was decided after that, with affirmation from our therapist, that neither Joe nor I should take all 3 kids out alone.  Good plan, but gets a little tricky over school breaks.

This past Christmas break Joe worked only half days to help out at home.  It certainly saved me, but even with Joe home, 2 weeks of Joshua being out of his school routine got really rough. It was a dark time.  Not as bad as last winter, but close.  Those times continued throughout the winter with numerous federal holidays, teacher workdays and 12(?) snow days.  It just gets old.

So Spring Break has been a dark cloud hanging over my head for a couple of months.  Thoughts in my head turned into "after Spring Break I'll deal with this/take care of that/start planning those things".  It was like this big hurdle that I couldn't wrap my mind around.  I knew that Joe really shouldn't take off if possible, and my Mom had been visiting the week before, so I was on my own.

And then, an idea!  Some dear friends of ours, actually Abi and co. from above, would be traveling overseas for all of the break, maybe we should go housesit at their (large) house in the country and take care of their dog?  They agreed, always looking to bless others, and it was a plan!

I was slightly optimistic about the week because they have a few acres of land for Joshua to run on, lots of square footage inside the house that he also loves to run in, and Mary would be staying with me for part of the week.

And you know what, we had an almost perfect week.  We really did. I enjoyed my kids so much that I felt bad for being so cynical beforehand about the possibility of us having a nice time.  It was a great reminder that God cares for me even when I doubt His ability to work things for good. And Joshua.  That boy was so, so happy all week long.

Here are some highlights:

I'm not sure why we thought it was an OK idea to let all 5 (walking) children on the trampoline, but it worked for a few minutes.  This locale was popular all week.  

Here's a few things I remember about this moment: We had just gotten a kite stuck in the tree out front after flying it successfully for only 3 minutes.  Mary didn't care because Joshua had not only asked her to hold him, he had stopped and KISSED her.  (Besides immediate family and grandparents there are only 2 other people he has done this with).  She was giddy, which blessed my heart.  Carolyn was completely distressed that her kite was up in the tree. G was sad that we never got his kite off the ground (his was from Dollar General, dang).  And as usual, A is just happy to be in the big middle of things. 

For those of you with kids, you know what a miracle this picture is.  Our whole crew.  Want to know how we got everyone to look and sit still? See below.

Jumping up and down, clapping and Knick Knack Paddy Whack, Joshua's current favorite.

Our last night we built a fire and roasted marshmallows.  You can tell there has just been a fire safety talk by the placement of the 3 in the back, holding hands somberly.  BEHAVING of all things.  

The next morning we had a lovely Easter Egg hunt before leaving. Same Knick Knack song and dance going on here. I love how I haven't bothered to change my kids out of their jammies.

Scene of the crime.  After taking a bath in this glorious tub the first night Joshua decided it was his own personal pool.  The following days I would realize he was missing, sprint upstairs, and EVERY time find him fully clothed in this tub filled AT LEAST halfway.  I didn't find the key to the bathroom until the end of the week, at which point I was able to lock him out.  Those knobs were just a little too easy for him.

Monday (teacher workday), was the most beautiful Spring day.  Behind our townhouses is a huge park and we took the kids for a picnic.  All the kiddos even sat and ate their lunch!  Besides Joshua biting G when he tried to re-direct him, we had a lot of fun.  Oh sweet G, what a good big brother.  

We had one rough spot during the week when Mary and I ventured to Chick Fil A and Joshua almost ended up in the middle of a busy intersection. But it was over quick; most of the trip was a success.  It was a good reminder that even after a good week I can't play fast and loose with public outings. And I'm not going to pretend it didn't take the rest of the afternoon for my blood pressure to return to normal.

But overall, I am so thankful for the gift of Spring Break with my family.  While I still want to have realistic expectations about what I can and can't handle with these three, this week gave me a little glimmer of hope that we have sweet times ahead.

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