This morning I woke up and told my wife that I wanted us to get away somewhere for the day. Pack up the van with the kids, and take a day trip, far far away from the rigors of our everyday lives. I suggested a trip to the north Georgia mountains, go see a waterfall, engage in some retail therapy at the Dawsonville outlets…just anything to get a change of scenery. She looked at me (it was 7:30am) and already all three girls were laying in bed with us and with that tired, yet understanding glance simply said ok. Let’s do it. I could tell she wasn’t sold on the idea. Truth be told, neither was I. This happened to be our first weekend in 3 weeks where we weren’t traveling (Nashville, DC) or busy. I know she was looking forward to relaxing and literally not leaving the house until church Sunday morning (and perhaps not even then…we’ve been accounted for at bedside baptist more than a few times lol).
The thing is, we didn’t end up going anywhere at all. Literally didn’t leave the house (except to take out the trash a few times…I mean really, how much trash can one household accumulate?) And you know what? That ended up being perfectly fine with me. As we lay in bed, in my mind I started planning the day trip. Gotta pack the diaper bag, snack bags for everyone because you know that’s a must, i mapped out our road trip and figured that for the 90 minute trip, we’ll likely stop at least once to feed the baby…After about 5 minutes of planning in my head, my wife interrupted me to say that she needed to know our plan for the day, so that she could get her mind right for what was getting ready to happen. That’s pretty much when I knew that we weren’t going anywhere. It was going to be too much, and honestly…after we had our Saturday family big breakfast an hour later, it was pretty much game over. By then Samantha had started with the weekend long project of the girls hair, I had started on our taxes, the playroom was a mess, London had fallen asleep on my chest…and so the day went.
Literally these were my wife’s words to me in the morning after we’d reversed course and made the decision instead to stay home: you’ll feel better after a day at home, organizing our lives. (You gotta love the fact that she was willing to go along with the idea of a road trip, even though it was totally ludicrous and she was likely just waiting me out for a change of heart). A day at home, organizing our lives is exactly what we needed. In all the “ripping and running” we haven’t had too much time to do some solid family planning in a bit, so we got to have a few important conversations about what’s next in our careers, finances, etc. We even got to go down memory lane a few times, watching a few home videos and looking at some old photos from our time as newlyweds in our first apartment. And the truth is, I do feel better. Better rested? Not necessarily. But more prepared for the week and months ahead? Definitely. More on the same page with my wife about our financial future? Absolutely. A little concerned about our country’s political future? Unrelated, but sure. Smart lady, my wife, she knows her stuff. She knew what I really needed wasn’t necessarily to simply get away, she knew I needed to clear my head.
Mid-day is where I could be found working through our taxes in this scene below which perfectly captures the spirit of my mood at this point in the day. At the time I felt like the weight of the world was on my shoulders, a re-occuring burden I often feel as a father and husband trying to do right by my family. But if you look again at the picture, look who’s on my shoulders. It’s one of my kids. I was shocked when I looked back at the picture, because I thought to myself, is this how I look when I’m stressed? And then I remembered, oh yeah. I hate being stressed. About anything. It makes me miss the big picture, of everything. That’s also when I remembered how Olivia found herself up on my shoulders in the first place. Samantha put her there. We were all in the office, London in her little bouncy thing, Riley playing and Samantha just lifts Olivia up quickly and helps her climb onto my shoulders. I barely noticed her until Samantha took the picture. I was literally in a moment, not realizing that it was happening until I saw a picture of it afterwards. That’s when it dawned on me. Yeah, this organizing my life stuff is important…but only so much.
And that’s the other thing about my wife. She knows me well enough to also know that there are diminishing returns to organizing our lives…sometimes you just need step back realize that the life you’ve been planning for all along is happening all around you.