Monday, July 13, 2009

Family...ties that bind?

I recently took a 2 week vacation. I spent the first week with my 3 youngest children travelling to visit my sister for a few days, then going to my sister-in-law's for a few days before leaving with my sister-in-law and her kids for a 'Family' vacation on the Gulf Coast. My husband and his father joined the kids and I at my sister-in-law's home Friday evening. We then all packed up the vehicles and set out on our journey to the Gulf Coast to meet up with yet more family.
It was to be a fun-filled, action-packed adventure for the entire family! Do I sound like a commercial yet???
And in fact is was quite fun and adventuristic for just about everyone.
I was a bit distracted on several levels but had a really nice time visiting my sister before her mission trip ( and helping construct VBS craft kits) and then getting to spend a few extra days with my sister-in-law before our family vacation.
She and I had time to sit by the pool with coffee ( or wine depending on the time of day) in hand and enjoy the quiet and serenity of just being. Oh, you're wondering how I had the serenity thing going on when I was traveling with a 10,12 and 13 year old? One word- GRANDMA!
Yep- my mother-in-law took the kids on little outings during the day. A trip to the mall, to a movie, to her house to hang out and bake some cookies. What ever. She also took one or two of them to stay the night with her which made for much more peaceful bedtimes.
The money for this little vacation ( or as I like to call it VACATING my real life) was budgeted closely and I really did not want to over spend. AND my oldest daughter was expecting her first child- of course not for several weeks, but she was having some issues before I left so, Mom was worried.
We were doing really good in the budget department-able to eat out and do some little extras like mani-pedis with the girls, golfing for the guys and even a Guys Day at the spa for massages.
(And yes my husband enjoyed his!)
The kids got to go to a movie without an adult tagging along then to the pizza parlor for a little snack. Of course these are both located on the main street of the resort we were at and within our sight. But they were being given some responsibility and did really well with it.
I was able to relax and have some fun- thanks to the miracle of the cell phone.
And it seems that I was right to be worried and more than little pre-occupied.
Of course my daughter called me at 2am to let me know she was in the hospital with high blood pressure and was going to be induced- 2 weeks early. And I was 2000 miles away on the first family vacation in 11 years!
We did the labor support via cell phone and text message off and on through out the day, and shortly before 7pm my daughter gave birth to a beautiful 7.8 pound baby girl. I got the pictures on my cell phone while the adults were at dinner and the kids were at the movies. I was both relieved and upset -- thrilled to have everything be ok for baby and mom, but I was disappointed that I wasn't there when my daughter needed me. That I had missed this very important event in her life. The single most life altering and wonderful thing that can happen to a woman.
But in a way I think that my not being there was a good thing. Oh, not for me at all, but for my daughter and her husband. By not having "Mom the Nurse" in the room they had to ask questions, pay attention and work together as a team thru the contractions, the scary doctor language and the pushing and pain and WORK that is Having A Baby. And they came through with flying colors and a little girl with blue eyes and the sweetest little bow-shaped mouth... who looks EXACTLY like her mother did when she was born.
Side note: My daughter has often asked WHY I had her ugly baby picture hanging on the wall. I told her repeatedly because she was so cute. She now looks at the pictures of her infant daughter and sees her beautiful little girl. Funny how she still thinks her picture is ugly but her little girl- who looks like her clone- is precious and beautiful. She is starting to understand what I have been trying to explain all her life. She is my baby and to me is perfect and beautiful- no matter what.
Back to VACATING- the baby was born and celebratory drinks were had by one and all on the Gulf Coast, her picture on my cell was passed around the table several times, and the new aunt and uncles ( and Great Aunts and Uncle) spent the evening oooo-ing and ahhhh-ing over her and making fun of me- GrandMa. Although I refuse to be called GrandMa... I am still trying to come up with something better...
We spent the last few days of vacation relaxing pool side and shopping, then drove home. I was anxious to see the new addition to the family, and to see that my daughter was indeed doing well and being taken care of. Which she was- on both counts. And my grandbaby is perfect... well aren't they all? But she is especially more so than other babies I am certain.

Now we are back at home and back into our Real Lives... and I dream of when I can next go VACATING... and of the family here in my home, and close by. Of my sister and her family 600 miles away, of my in-laws in the place they have only recently come to realize is Home, and of my husband's brother and his family 1200 miles away- all of us living our lives day to day, all of us taking time when we can to touch base with each other on the phone, in email, via text or on FACEBOOK... we take the time to connect... to keep the ties that bind secure and intact... to keep the family together, even when we are apart.

Thinking too Hard? Or not Enough?

I will admit that in recent years I have wondered if I have missed my calling, or more so, perhaps I am being called to something more but have not yet answered...
my most fervent wish in life is that I make a difference in someone's life, that the lessons I have learned- most heartbreakingly- will be able to be turned into something helpful and positive to others...
Ok- it is time for me to go back to reading my email and stop philosophizing... or thinking so hard.
My weekend was quiet and productive. Steam cleaned an entire room, scrubbed all the hardwood and kitchen floors, cleaned out the cabinets and washed all the dishes in the back of said cabinets that were covered in dust and pollen and other... cleaned the pool then sat by said pool and read, not one, but two books.
But best of all, I got to spend the early morning hours outside enjoying the cool breezes, pale sunlight filtering thru the hazy clouds and listening to the music in the voices of the tree frogs, hummingbirds, chickadees and pileated woodpecker ( that insists on tapping away on my shingles!) and acknowledging that my wants will come when it is time (but darn it the lottery or a contract on my house NOW would be wonderful).
I am always telling my children that things happen for a reason, we just do not always understand or know the reason at that time. I also tell them that things work out the way they are supposed to, when they are supposed to. This is a lesson I have been privy to over and over again all my life, and one that I am still trying patiently to learn.
In the words of the great music legend, Freddy Mercury, I Want It All and I Want It Now!