We went on vacation a few weeks ago. I recently heard about an article titled the difference between a vacation and trip once you become parents. I guess I should say, we went on a trip last week. If you have kids, you understand this.
After packing, grocery shopping, cleaning the house, packing some more, running back to store for forgotten items from the first trip, putting clean sheets on beds for when you get home, baking treats, cleaning out the fridge, getting your mail, trash and flowers taken care of while your away and then running back to the store one last time you're ready to go. Exhausted but ready.
Then you get to where your going and if you're like me, a little psychotic, you reclean the entire cottage you are staying in. Which includes changing the current shower curtains with the new ones you bought on your third trip to the store because nobody wants to shower in others soap scum (yes, I actually do that). All the while your very sweet sister-in-law just sorta stares at you and since we are close she does mention that thinking to buy extra shower curtains "is a little over the top".
Then you order pizza, make a fire and by 10pm you're telling your kids in that fake sugary, sweet voice to really please go to bed, now, like right now! You don't want to lose it because it is vacation after all. Then you stay up super late learning a new card game that you think you mostly understand, but clearly not at all since you lose terribly the first time and finally you go to bed.
I woke up the the next morning tired but I had a moment where I decided that I was just going to have a fun trip, err vacation with my kids. It's easy to get a little overwhelmed on vacation with kids. Everyone is sleeping in different beds, you are together all the time and in our case we rented a cottage with my brother and his family. We had nine people together, in a cottage, for a week. And unfortunatly we are unaccostumed to slowing down. The pace in which we live is rapid. We get what we want, when we want it and we don't like to wait. Most anything can be figured out by swiping a few times on our phones.
At home I have responsibilites and I find myself often saying "just a minute" , "not right now" or "mom is busy". I wanted my kids to see a difference, to intentionally make a memory for them, to say yes. I'm glad I did. I could have missed so many things.
We built sandcastles
We hiked the dunes
We swam until we resembled prunes
We stayed up too late and ate too much food
We sat around a campfire telling stories
We slowed down... And it was good. Not perfect, not completely without some issues, not always happy but good none the less.
I wonder how many other things we miss by not slowing down. Do we miss Him speaking to us about the person in front of us at the grocery store because we are anxiously waiting our turn at the checkout? Do we miss moments to share a kind word or reinforce Jesus to our kids amongst our everyday activities because the laundry is not folded? Do we miss moments of reconnecting with our spouse because once the kids are down, the to do list is long. Do we miss quiet time with Him because of what is recorded on our DVR?
What is this life about anyway, being busy? Are we so filled to the brim with activity that our souls struggle to calm down?
Easier to read than to do but it's not a suggestion, it's a command.
During our week away I witnessed delighted smiles and silly behaivor. I learned a little more about my kids and how they handle new environments. I actually won more than one round of the card game. I read two books, which for me is a true vacatoin. I took mental photos of my boys as they enjoyed themselves. I breathed in the beauty of His creation and I wondered if I was "still" more often what else I might not miss.