Tuesday, June 22, 2010

Hitting "Reset"

My kids are pretty social, gregarious wonders who love people...but even they get overloaded sometimes.  The day their grandparents left last week, we were planning on heading out to our friends' house.  We love going to visit these friends.  They are the fill-you-up type of friends. The never-run-out-of-things-to-talk-about friends. The we'll-feed-you-amazing-food-every-time-you-show-up friends. And as an extra bonus, they live far out in the woods, which means we get a nice long drive through gorgeous country, and a chance to have those always-interesting car talks that inevitably involve death, birth, or sex. Really. But I am straying from the point...We said good-bye bright and early on Friday morning and pretty immediately our day exploded. There was yelling, screaming, slamming, threatening, crying...it was an unholy mess.  Not the kind of day you want to blog about...Sometimes it is clear to me that the answer to such a trainwreck is to Get Out and change the scenery; this is most often the answer for us and always has been.  Friday, however, what we needed (and by We I am talking about myself and the girls) was connection.  Together.  Alone.  So I made a tearful call to my very understanding friend, telling her that the girls and I had talked about it and decided that we needed to focus on being together in a peaceful way, spending time loving each other.  While I knew that a lot of my cup would be filled by visiting for a few hours, I knew I would not see the girls save for the 10 minutes they would run into the house for a muffin or some carrots or to change their clothes again and the day would pass without any connection.  I felt confident about my decision, but wary about how the day would go.  What it meant was that I could not expect to Do anything but be there with and for my kids. 
Ani started with concocting while Eliza drew in her room for a bit.  No, this does not look good to me (ummm...black beans, coconut, raisins, nutritional yeast and black olives. EW!!) and yes, she ate it.
We coaxed Eliza down for a game of SET, and then we settled into our guest room (where the bed was still out and made up for the grandparents) and began the Chronicles of Narnia, which E received for her birthday.  We read 7 chapters of The Magician's Nephew, taking short breaks to watch the drama unfolding outside the window...
We watched this spider and her mate guard their egg sac for hours.  They also almost captured a huge wasp that blundered into their web.  When it was over the girls exclaimed, you HAVE to blog about this mom!, so here is the mini-drama: the female zoomed down to approach the struggling wasp.  She ducked here and there, trying to get close enough for a debilitating bite, but the wasp was strong.  Suddenly it looked like the spider had the wasp and was dragging it up towards a stronger part of the web, but no! The wasp had managed to grab ahold of the spider's leg in its mouth and the spider was struggling to get away! As the wasp freed one leg after another from the sticky web, the spider's leg finally detached, and she hurried back to the egg sac.  The wasp escaped.  It was Awesome.
We took a break from the reading and Ani wanted to sew - she had a million ideas all at once and by the time she had decided to work on a little pillow, Eliza had joined in and finished what she called an "amulet" for her papa for Father's Day.  

The day wove in and out of tears and frustrations and small corners of peace.  We are working really really hard here, and I felt exhausted and yet like we had accomplished something significant.  Eliza and I are both working on our tempers, working on how we speak to each other.  Let's just say that the day was devoted to Starting Over and trying again.  I feel like it is one of my greatest duties as a mama to know when to say "not today" and retreat from the world to figure things out on our own.  There are opportunities every day to see friends, go to the park, the library, meet at the beach, the pool...we could be busy, and not together, every day of the week.  It would not serve us well.  

By the end of the day there were kinder words being exchanged, and things being worked out.  There was this...
and in the waning hours of the afternoon, this arrived, by special teenager delivery (both the teenager and the delivery were special, that is)...
and what had been a long and challenging day became a little sweeter (literally) and lighter knowing that our friends had been with us in thought all along, supporting our need to retreat and reset.


Anonymous said...

So lovely to have SUCH great friends. -Debbie

Stephanie said...

I always call it Recalibration. Sometimes it's intense and deep (and intentional), and sometimes it just happens and I just sigh and sigh.
Either way, it is absolutely what sustains me.

Erin said...

That was such a lovely post Debbie,helps me to remember to take some time just for Esme. I read this post twice. After the first time I read it, I kept remembering it as "Connect the dots" like each person in the family is a dot and it's time to connect, but not just in a chain, but each dot connecting to each other dot. There are a lot of connections! I know this is sounding crazy, but after i thought about this I decided to draw some dot to dot family pictures. They came out pretty cool. Anyway Debbie, Nice post about " REset" or "connect the dots" or however you remember it!!