Life in abundance comes only through great love.
Elbert Hubbard

We are absolutely blessed and utterly lucky.  We are also flailing around trying to get our wits about us this summer.

The flailing is certainly a result of a combination of things, a culmination of things.

School’s out.

We have traveled.  Grace and I went on a girls trip to Chicago. 

Dan and Max went camping.

We said goodbye to our nanny of nearly four years.

Dan went to the beach with college friends for five days.

And while Dan was eating, I mean, at the beach in Rhode Island, Ellen made her annual visit (thankfully).

All of our routines are turned upside down, shaken about, hokey pokied and then batted out the window.  We’ve had sleepovers and pool time galore.

And somehow there’s a clinker. 

We had planned a trip for the kids to visit my parents in Kansas City for the first time without us and it didn’t work out. Another way to look at it: the kids went ape shit and we had to go back and get them. I don’t even know what that means, but the sounds from my mom’s car when she called us to come back and get them were of two wild apes loose in her backseat, so I’m guessing it qualifies as ape shit.

We didn’t handle it well, as individuals, as a couple, or as a family.

We tried to regroup but there’s really no getting back the four days you thought you would have kid-free but instead had kids-plus-the-worry-that-something-is-terribly-wrong-with-them-because-they-are-afraid-to-go-to-grandma’s-house-who-gives-them-everything-they-could-ever-ask-for-plus-the-worry-that-there-is-going-to-be-something-terribly-wrong-with-you-if-you-don’t-get-four-days-away-from-the-kids-plus-the-worry-that-maybe-all-of-your-need-to-have-a-break-made-them-believe-you-really-would-give-them-up-for-adoption-if-they-keep-fighting-and-this-“trip”-to-grandmas-was-really-an-orphanage-drop.

We decided the kids need about 3 more hours of sleep every night. So we tried that for the last couple of days.

We did have a sort of nice Father’s Day. Dan’s a great dad! and yadayadayada (next year I’ll  just write a post about what a great dad he is a quit my constant bellyaching). But walls were closing in, walls of fussing and whining all around. And around 10pm they closed all the way in. Gaskets were blown when it took three hours to get the big girl to sleep.

We didn’t handle it well, as individuals, as a couple, or as a family.

I woke up this morning with a strong dose of the bourgeois blues, thinking that I couldn’t take it today. Not another day of …

And here’s what I discovered. These are fabulous kids. And we have more than we could have ever asked for.  All they wanted to do this morning was to paint, but only after we straightened up the house. All they wanted to do at the pool this afternoon was be really good swimmers and have some of my hands-on attention. They took baths, played with neighbors, helped set the dinner table, learned a new song on the piano, played a board game and then went to bed.

There was a lot more hugging and kissing and closeness between us today. Somehow that has been missing in all of the summer fun.  Maybe that’s what did the trick and it wasn’t that they finally understood from my yelling and mumbling and muttering and stink eyes and generally bad parenting that they should shape up. Maybe a little extra sleep did us all some good.

We have been blessed with so much.  I would like to honor that by every minute of our lives being lovely.  But what’s lovely?  My expectations have been focused on the wrong things.  Honestly, I have been a little tiny teensy weensy bit miffed that I’m not a stay at home mom with a swimming pool in my backyard so that my kids would enjoy summer in the perfect way.  What in the he!!?  My kids want for nothing.  I want for nothing.

The only thing we need more of are hugs and kisses and good, solid, no holds barred attention between all of us.  And to quit all the misguided flailing and honor our simple good fortune by being more patient, kind and giving.  To one another in this house and to the greater one another.  That is the abundant life.

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