I am absolutely, completely muddled.
I’m trying to shut down the extra things in my life and nothing is going well. Yesterday, I desperately spun my wheels trying to pack a week’s worth of work in a few hours and instead making a mess of everything—deleting files, burning food, leaving the back door wide open while I went to the grocery store and sitting aimlessly at a stoplight while the light turns from red to green, then yellow and red again…why are those people honking?
Right now, I’m at the orthodontist while Stefan gets his braces removed (hurray!) and I’m determined to slow down and collect my thoughts.
How did I get so busy? Why am I so overscheduled?
OK, some answers are obvious. I’m a mother of six darling ever-needy people. But why have I added in so many other things?
Last week, before I knew my mom was so sick I decided to quit photography for a time– at least for the summer, maybe until Mary starts first grade, perhaps until she goes to college….
And I’m grateful for last week’s inspiration because today I know it’s the right decision. Don’t worry if I’ve done photos for you—I’ll still process and perfect them and give you the very best I’ve got. But I’m going to concentrate on just my family for now. Not one of my children or my cute husband has been getting the attention they need. This is my last year with all my children at home and also the last with my little girl at my side all day.
And I’m also glad for that little spiritual nudge back in January that told me to end scripture group two weeks early this year.
But I’m thoroughly and completely bewildered by our trip– the dream vacation I mentioned last week—to Europe this summer. We’ve been planning it for 8 years, saving for the last four and it’s been booked since November—every hotel and train ride and even Mary’s dresses have been planned to the last detail. The boys have been reading stacks of novels; studying European History and art and French/German/English Travel Dictionaries….
When I exchanged several hundred thousand Skymiles for flights last year I had the distinct impression to take the trip this year and not right after Ben’s high school graduation—that something would happen next year to prevent travel. And even in the planning I’ve felt guided from trivialities of the right museum pass to a free place to stay in Vienna (thanks Mara!).
And now it all seems wrong. Because with just weeks, months left of my mother’s life I simply want to be right by her side.
I know a trip to Europe is crazy in the first place and I’ve hesitated to tell anyone about it because for me it’s a sacred dream that few people understand. Our love of Europe is much of what attracted Erik and I to each other and we’ve cultivated this household of readers and musicians and artists and history lovers who’ve always regarded it as the homeland. I wanted one trip with all of my children to visit the places we’ve talked about and to eat and drink it all in.
We’re not a family who takes weekend trips to Park City or attends sporting events or even watches cable TV—we’ve been saving it all for this one grand vacation. Ben graduates next year and will go on a mission shortly after that. And when he comes home from his mission Stefan will leave. And you’d better believe that Ben will be married before Stefan comes home and Hans leaves, and then Xander and Gabriel and maybe little Mary too. So I’m looking at one short season before my family takes on new and different flavors, expands to an unfamiliar shape. That shape will be beautiful too, I know that, but I want to enjoy my little family right now.
My mom is better today. So much better. Mary and I will fly out on Monday to visit and she’s talking of driving to the beach and visiting beautiful gardens in San Diego. She says to go on our trip and not worry, but I know now how quickly things can change.
And I wish I knew what to do.