I read Psalm 100 2 weeks ago; I can’t believe more than 100 days have gone by. As these days tick by, I want to freeze them somehow but that is not one of my superpowers. Days seem to get easier, but there is always this ache. I ache as I look at my kids, as I see people in good marriages enjoying life, as I think of losing Kara. I know this ache will be with me the rest of my days, but in these days I have also enjoyed life.
For 5 weeks the kids and I traveled the east coast. We covered every coastal state from Texas to Maine. It was a great trip! I enjoyed time with the kids, talking, laughing, and sometimes—like any normal parent—ignoring them. We are home now and I am so tired. The trip was great, a once-in-a-lifetime trip; yet as I reminded the kids, “We will never do another one this long.”
Five weeks is a long time to be gone and to be the only parent in a traveling house. On a crazy note, while all of the kids said they would do it again next summer, none of them will step foot in the House Truck again this summer. Or so they say!
I asked each of them the best and worst of the trip:
Favorite part: Outer Banks or Maine. Come to find out she does not like lobster.
Worst part: Long ride back home. Like any 14-year-old girl, she missed her friends.
She was so helpful and responsible. I so enjoy seeing her grow up.
Favorite part: Outer Banks and kittens in Nebraska.
Worst part: Eating lobster and leaving Nanny Mickey.
Harper is a joy to be around; no one lights up a room like she does. Her life is built around relationships and she never tires of them.
Favorite part: Seeing old friends (Luke Whipple, Jefferson Stanley…).
Worst part: Mosquitoes and jellyfish.
This boy, outnumbered by girls, does a great job of being a boy and loving his sisters. Kara and I joked that his love language is wresting and getting hurt.
Favorite part: Kittens in Nebraska and catching lightening bugs.
Worst part: Getting stung by a jellyfish in Florida.
Story seems so little to me but can easily hold her own with her siblings. The world is still a magical place to her. On our trip I did have to break it to her that mermaids aren’t real. She then began to ask about fairies, sea creatures, princesses…
Favorite part: Outer Banks of North Carolina and the Maine coast.
Worst part: Living out the reality of being a single parent. But there was also the reality of how many people love us so well. It was great to reconnect with so many friends across the east coast.
I was reminded of how much my kids talk and need to communicate! And being the only parental ears, eyes, and affection is overwhelming. I am adjusting to it but it is another trying adjustment. On the trip, I let them all rotate in the front seat; each kid got 30 minutes. This worked well and turned out to be really funny. Lake had about 20 minutes of conversation in his 30-minute turn and then he would start over. His start-over question was always, “Dad, have you ever seen a Lamborghini?” And we would have a 10-minute repeat conversation about fast cars.
I love my kids. They each have so much of Kara in them. This trip was good for our new normal; it helped us wade some waters of what our life will be like as a family of five. I am thankful for the opportunity to be with my kids and to create memories with them. I know these days of young childhood will go by so fast, which helps me lean into Grace, meeting my children’s hearts, instead of trying to avoid them in my pain.