We are in Michigan for 6 weeks to visit family, take a break from being home owners, and focus on togetherness. There has been much, much, much togetherness since we are six people in a two bedroom apartment. John tries to get some work done everyday but is mostly available for family activities so we are in the feast half of our feast or famine school-year life.
Spending time with the people we love here is obviously the best part of doing this. We are usually in such a rush to see everyone that it’s just a whirlwind of social engagements and marathon visits. It’s wonderful to be able to see people without the pressure of saying goodbye immediately. And, of course, there’s the babies. Two of my brother’s and their wives just had babies in the past few months and they are our first cousins on my side of the family. Cecilia is nearly beside herself with joy at this regular exposure to babies. Babies: they make everything better.
It has also been great being up here and spending time doing the things that never make the priority list when we are only up for a week and need to fit in all the socializing. We’ve spent mounds of time at the parks, the zoo, the library, and the pool that we frequented when we lived here. It’s fun to watch Anthony recognize things and feel a sense of connectedness here. I want all my kids to feel some ownership over this place, not just experience it as a foreign land we visit to see family.
It is an extremely different pace of life and lifestyle then the one that we usually have so it’s been a transition with all of the regular and expected ups and downs that you would expect. In general the kids and I don’t leave the house much during the school-year. We do have a few outside activities in the evenings but there can be several days in a row that we don’t leave the house. And I don’t mind that. We don’t exactly live in a metropolis that bursting with tempting family-outings, we only have one car, and I love the routines that we live by. It’s a pace of life that I find generally peaceful and it’s how I feel called to live 90% of the time.
By coming up to Michigan and living in an apartment which has people living both above and below us we basically signed up for several outings a day…quite a different pace of life then I’m accustomed to. We have traded in routines, yard work, home projects, school planning, and housework for zoos, bbqs, parks, story-times, pools and family/friend visits. I think that for 6-weeks this is a great idea…it’s a real break from our day-to-day existence, it forces us to see each other more and in different contexts, and gives us opportunities to experience new things together. But man…is it exhausting. I am reminded why it is that I don't live like this on a regular basis.
The hardest thing so far has been the decision fatigue. Nothing is a given. Nothing is a routine. There are no anchors. Everyday it’s a new day of opportunities, experiences, togetherness…and decisions. Ugh. It’s might kill me. Meals are especially hard because there are so many options: eat out, carry-out and eat in, bbq at the park, eat at relatives or friends or just snack through the meal on the way to something else. God bless the Burg but a plethora of meal-options are not really a problem there. :)
So we are here and we are doing fun things every day, seeing wonderful people, enjoying beautiful liturgies and getting accustomed to a life-on-the-go. We’ll probably get used to it just in time to come home and feel like we’ve been stopped dead-in-our-tracks. But both parts of life are worth living and I’m extremely grateful for the opportunity to be here and to not be cleaning out my closets right now, which is almost certainly what I’d be doing if I were home. “The closets you will always have with you…”
Thomas has been zooming all over the place on his new-to-him bike. He’s gone over a mile at a stretch on those little wheels. He did get chased by one of those geese and now we have to go in front of him shouting and clearing the path, like he’s the sultan.
Thomas and Uncle James throwing some root beer back after a long day of swimming.