I think, if you sat our family down on the front steps of our home and took a photo, we would look like the perfect microcosm of average suburban America. Three kids, two dogs, 2,300-square-foot home….it all screams “average.”
I forget in how many ways we are different, and are living life in a simpler way. We haven’t gotten too off-course from my goal of “enough” (in spite of birthday season), and we really aren’t quite “average.” The past few days reinforced that idea for me.
In a way, it started Monday night; the last night of a four-week Bible study I was attending. We usually have very quiet evenings, and me being gone four Mondays in a row was a serious shock to the family system. (Obviously, they all did fine.) Bedtime hugs and kisses were doled out at 6:40pm since I wouldn’t see kids until morning…..
…and the next morning we hit the ground running a bit harder than usual. I dropped my youngest off at her preschool, then stopped by the library on my way to a chiropractor appointment. I had a bit of time at home (long enough to flip laundry) and then collected my older daughter to tag along as we picked up the youngest from preschool and headed straight to Target for a quick lunch (um…ick) and a shopping trip involving birthday gifts for their brother. We were having all sorts of fun, wandering and smelling candles, when I literally gasped so loud it scared the girls.
“I’m supposed to get your brother to his appointment at 2:00!” I hastily explained, and once I checked my phone I realized we were fine. There was no more moseying through the aisles, however, and we headed straight for the checkout line. As I pushed the cart towards the door, my youngest reminded me, “Don’t forget his treat!”
Oh, yeah. We stopped back by the deli and grabbed an Icee.
Headed for home, unloaded stuff, loaded boy, sat in a waiting room for an hour, and tried to breathe.
Back home I collected the girls and RETURNED to Target WITH the Redcard to get our 5% off all that stuff we just bought earlier. (Sigh.) One last gift for brother. A few clothing items for my older girl, who is rapidly (again) running out of clothes to wear, regardless of how often she does laundry. Got home and started dinner and ate together--on days like today, I consider the fact that we still managed to eat together a HUGE win.
While my husband and older daughter cleaned up dinner, my son and I jumped back in the car so I could drop him off at a homeschool group event. I hung out to talk a bit, then headed home to put my youngest to bed while my husband ran to the grocery store. Once both girls were down, I headed back out to make sure I was there to pick my son up at 9:00; only to check my messages in the parking lot and realize the group was running late and maybe push pick-up back to 9:30?
Well…..guess I’ll gas the car now.
Returned for pick-up and more talking. Home by ten. Completely sacked out by 10:45.
I knew going into the week that Tuesday would be the worst, Wednesday would be a bit better, and by Thursday, the end was in sight. At some point mid-Tuesday, I stopped and looked around and had a sudden, deep awareness that some people live like this all the time.
Mine were a crazy few days, but for many, that is everyday.
That is how countless people are going through their lives: a bit like pinballs, bouncing from one thing to another in an endless–and sometimes mindless–run. That is what an average day looks like, for an average person. And thankfully, SO thankfully, that is one way we’re different.
Today we are home. Home for an entire day. The bigs are at the kitchen table with me, coloring while I write. The four-year-old is camped out in the living room with her My Little Ponies My laundry for the day is done and my daughter has started hers. The kitchen is clean and the coffee is fresh. We have discussed a library run, and put it on the back burner. All the kids are still in pajamas. It is the best kind of day–especially after the week we’ve had. I’m so, so grateful that this is our normal; that we are, actually, a little bit different.