The Final Countdown is Now!

This week is my children’s final week of school before summer break. Wait…Let me allow that sentence to sink down into my psyche.

Deep breaths. Where did this year even go?

I find myself somewhere in between anticipation, excitement and joy over all the fun to be had together, and a growing pit in my stomach over the two-week adjustment period they will need to remember what it’s like to be with each other ALL OF THE TIMES.

I’ve got the summer-break adjustment period down to a science people. For some reason it takes exactly 14 chaos-filled days for my kids to work out all their frustration, offense, annoyance and grievances, be nice to one another, not whine or throw fits over not getting their way. It can be hard to find personal space when everyone is around each other constantly. *cough, cough, middle child*

As a SAHM, I feel some pressure about summer break. There is a huge part of me that wants to let my kiddos do whatever they want to do all day every day  i.e. watch tv and play video games (while I attempt to do what I want). But I know better. I’ve done that in the past and it does NOT go as well as it sounds like it will….  I can admit right now that I will let my children play video games for more time than I will like to admit later. (P.S. I am quickly entering the uncharted territory of an older child not in school for summer.  I don’t even KNOW what I should be guiding him towards doing with his free time? Teach me oh Mommas! What in the world do you do with big kids in summer?)

Due to the 14-day adjustment period, I have learned instead that it is best to have an every-other-day activity planned or at least hoped for. Things will never go exactly as my heart desires, but instead of being rigid and letting the walls close in, I’m praying this year that I can be grateful, hopeful, open, and courageous enough to try something I wouldn’t normally try.

My favorite middle kid last summer at the pool.
My favorite middle kid last summer at the pool.

My goals this summer are pretty lose: read as many books on my wish list as possible, spend a gargantuan amount of time at the pool with my kids and their friends (and their friends’ moms), and have deep conversations with my kids. Summer time is my heart; it’s my favorite season because of all the outside time and options available. And not having to stick to a rigid schedule is totally glorious. It feels like the promise of a long sabbath to me.

Plus, there is an awesome community of Moms who are also SAHMs that I plan to trek with. That’s another goal of mine; to deepen existing friendships and press in/allow others to press into me. Keeping kids active is more fun when you can do it with other Moms. Community makes all the difference for me and for my kids. It’s great for them to experience boredom and think creatively about what they are supposed to do about it! (Please allow your kids to be bored Mommas and Dads. It’s a good thing!) Plus it challenges me when I see what other Moms are doing with their kids and all the “free” time they suddenly possess!

I love hearing little kids’ conversations over summer break too. Take some time to eaves drop on those precious relationships our kids are building together with other kids. It makes great dinner time conversation questions.

Just a few more days before the chaos and fun begin…may the Schwartz be with you fellow parents! May we be grateful, courageous, open and hopeful to what summer could bring in our relationships with our children.

When It All Goes Awry

This weekend has been lovingly dreamed up for months now. My best friend lives in Seattle. I live in St. Louis.  We met almost 9 years ago. She was Jesus’s most precious gift to me in a season of life where I was lonely and afraid and very far from home and everyone who knew me.

We lived and re-discovered our lives together for 4+ years out in the Pacific Northwest as new moms who had recently quit our careers to be official SAHMs. She helped me give birth to my second child, I cried with her through her long adoption process, her husband babysat my colicky child while my husband was deployed in Afghanistan and I was overwhelmed as a geographically single mom. We got in shape together and learned to eat healthy, we made up whole new words and phrases for our lives together. We call ourselves the “NevCalfes”, a combination of both our last names. We’re tight guys.

So each year, we work hard to make at least one visit possible. Our husbands and Moms and Mom-in-Laws all work to support and help us make these trips a reality. And this weekend was one such trip. We haven’t seen each other since February of 2015 (it’s January of 2016!). This is our girls weekend in the frigid mid-west.

But it all went awry on Friday night. My husband and I brought my bestie to our new favorite mexican restaurant close to our house. I drank more than I intended to (due to laughing and not paying attention to what our waiter was asking me). It was SO fun. After dinner, we went back home, dropped off my family, gave kisses and hugs and loaded up my minivan to head out to our fun hotel for the weekend. However. By the time we got checked in to the hotel, my friend was not feeling her best. She has a sensitive tummy so we weren’t sure if it was just a little thing or the signs of something bigger to come. We laid low just in case…

And then, it hit her. Like a ton of bricks. Food poisoning.

Yup.

If you have had a horrible case of food poisoning-just think of the worst kind you can have-and maybe multiply it by 2. That’s my bestie in our hotel last night. I ran to Walgreens at midnight in search of activated charcoal. I found something close but not the same as what I have on hand at home for such violent times. She was in the bathroom every 15 minutes all night long.

Sigh.

Sometimes, things just go awry. Life doesn’t follow the script of our expectations. She’s going to be ok. And one day far away, we will laugh about how awful this was. That Mexican place is so off the list of favorite places. They are dead to me.

The good news is that we realized her plane doesn’t leave early in the morning tomorrow like we thought; it leaves in the late evening! WAHOO! I’m holding out hope that we can salvage some fun, but if not, it doesn’t really matter. I would rather be with her while she is sick as a dog, rubbing her back and telling her I’m sorry-bringing her ice water and activated charcoal-than hearing she’s sick over text and not being able to do anything for her.

Even in this time where our fun trip has gone down in unexpected ways, I cherish this woman. If she’d let me I would totally hold her hair back while she puked. But she won’t let me, so I will just turn my music up really loud so she’s not embarrassed. And I remind her that she’s seen all of my 10,000 parts as I squeeze a baby out of my body. We’re cool like that…

As life throws it’s curve-balls at us, all we can really do is make the best of each situation. My prayer is that God would speed her healing (because planes and upset tummies do NOT mix), that we would be able to laugh through this and still enjoy the company of one another. There are very few women I feel this safe being with. I’m so grateful for her even in this time.

It’s our choice when things go awry. The situation is often what you choose to make it. So I think I’ll go grab some flowers and dry toast and hug on my friend while I can.