i’ve been gone so long, my memory foam forgot about me.
i remember speaking to one of my neighbours in may, about how relaxing this summer was supposed to be. i was just going to do one camping trip, two weeks of vbs and the usual cottage week at the end with my sisters & parents.
halfway through june, the summer calendar started getting a little congested, and by the end of june there was barely room to breathe. an opportunity to go on a missions trip that i’d passed on for several years in a row, came up and everything aligned to enable me to go. elliot also wanted to go to day camp this year, so we tried out a week of that as well. then there were friends that we wanted to visit, and the blank spots on the calendar were the logical place to do just that.
so here we are, at a place in between a missions trip and a road trip, and capitalizing on the few hours i have after elliot’s birthday party and before a wedding. i feel overwhelmed with the amount of information that i have to share here, but i’ll be point form-ish and if there’s anything to elaborate on, i’ll just do it in a separate post.
the last week of july started a string of events that would have me away from home for 2½weeks.
first: vbs at my parents church. for the last few years i’ve played gym teacher as i run the games department of their vacation bible school. it’s a smaller church, and half of the kids are the kids of people i grew up with (or just behind) when i lived in niagara. i look at this week as a mini-missions trip each year, and i enjoy having a chance to show God to a bunch of toddlers through grade 6’s. my kids also enjoy having a whole week to spend with their cousins, whom they don’t get to see very much of.
oh, and my kids brought home the chicken pox.
second: i was home for 22 hours before heading off on an actual official missions trip to toronto with they sr. high youth group that derek and i have been working with for 10 years now. we were a group of um…16? and we headed to toronto. half of the group worked at a day camp, and my half of the group worked at a soup kitchen each morning. when we weren’t at the kitchen, we were handing out water bottles or bagged lunches to homeless; or playing with the kids at regent park, or being educated on the truth of sex trades, homelessness, and poverty that are daily ignored in the city just 45 minutes from our doors.
for my part, i not only enjoyed investing in relationships with the clients at the soup kitchen, but also investing in the teens who accompanied me on the trip. it was a growing experience, but also exhausting as each day began at 6:40 and ended around 12:30.
third: when fatigue threatened to overtake me towards the end of the week in toronto, the hope of relaxing on the beach on saturday constantly encouraged me. my mom and i had scheduled our annual camping trip long before anything else was added to the calendar, and because we booked at a popular provincial park, it would have been difficult to move the dates.
i was home for 4 crazy hours of doing laundry and unpacking and repacking and being reunited with my derek and my kids before printing off directions and heading to emily provincial park to meet up with my mom.
the first night it rained, and my tent leaked. the following morning (elliot’s birthday) i re-staked my guy wires, and while making elliot’s birthday breakfast a deluge of rain flooded us out of our site. we were at the bottom of a hill, and that was the closest thing to a flash flood that i’ve ever seen. we ate soggy pancakes and sausage in my van before heading into town where we got changed into dry clothes in a walmart bathroom. we then drove around aimlessly before checking showtimes at the local cinema and settling down to watch the smurfs on the big screen. it wasn’t at all the beach that i’d been hoping for, and it wasn’t quite the awesome birthday that i had planned for elliot, but it was a fair plan B, and the next day was sunny and sunburn-y and we had a great time at the beach (at least i remembered sunblock on my kids!).
when the rain pushed us out of our site early on the final day, the kids and i headed home where i promptly sat on the couch and died. the previous 2½ weeks had drained me of every ounce of energy that my body had to offer, and now that i was home it had no reason to put on the charade of being awake any longer. when derek woke me up a second after i shut my eyes, he’d unpacked the van and made lunch and wound the clocks ahead by an hour and a half.
i had a day of laundry and cleaning and planning a birthday party yesterday, and today was full of executing those plans for a perfect birthday party for my 7 year old. from the time i woke up to the moment the last child left tonight, every thought was “birthday party, birthday party, i’m never going to get this done in time for the birthday party.” i even prayed “God, please give me more time that i actually have, because there’s no way i can pull this off.”
thankfully, i was sweeping up the last dustpan-full when the first guest arrived, and the party was a success. elliot felt loved, and that was the ultimate goal.
despite the fact that tomorrow will be another busy day of cleaning up after a party and packing suitcases and finding food to eat without doing groceries, and despite the fact that this has become my normal routine, i’m having a really great summer! my only lament is that with the fullness of schedule, the time seems to be flowing by more quickly. thankfully, when i look back on the summer in just a few short weeks, i’ll have a great many things to fondly reminisce about.