Apr 27 2009

Day 16: Family Day

by andrew

You may think this title a little ironic – aren’t we supposed to be on a Family Life adventure or something? Why need a Family Day? Well, yesterday… actually it built up to yesterday, but we’ve seen cracks forming in our children’s behavior pretty much since we got here. It just took one good, epic Walmart session to shake the cracks into chasms and inspire a good bit of frustration in all of us. By the way, I hate shopping at Walmart. I’m not sure what it is, but I almost always come out of there worked up. Maybe it’s all the people, maybe its the fact that Walmart is a pretty good poster child for the materialism that I’d just as soon escape completely, maybe it’s something else. But4 hours is more than I can take, and I can understand how it would demand more than the best behaved child’s capacity. But we had a LOT of decisions to make as we continue the Revolution of Organization in our tiny home, and that takes time.

Putting them to bed, reflecting on some of the disobedience that surfaced (and our own shortcomings as parents who are still learning patience and all that good stuff) we concluded that we needed a Family Day:

  1. YHWH first – give Him the day
  2. Each other second – Love > Respect > Serve each other ALL day
  3. Whatever else happened to work out.

It was a great, full day. I let Renee sleep in because she almost always lets me sleep in (hey – she’s the morning person in the couple), I whipped up some semblance (impostor) version of the homemade granola she spoils us with, we had Scripture Study and prayer, then we hit the chores: Zach did dishes, Reayah cleaned everything off the floor so Bennah could vacuum, I mounted a baby bouncing seat thing in the trailer so that Renee could free her arms up a little more often (this project took a bit of improvisation since RVs typically don’t have the kind of door frames those are designed to take advantage of), Renee got the kids bunk room in order with all the Walmart supplies, then she made Fruit Salad for lunch, then I went rollerblading with Bennah (he was riding Zach’s scooter) down “the lane,” then back in the creek with everyone, then we borrowed a sprinkler for the kids to run around in and invited the friends over…

Speaking of friends… I have a theory about one thing that contributed to the meltdowns (aside from, of course, the normal difficulty of adjusting to such a big life change, which we expected and knew it would throw things off balance for a period of time). We also realized that the kids have spent a LOT of time with their friends here – which has been great. But it isn’t “normal,” and despite the fact that we are now redefining “normal” for us as a family on a daily basis, it is at the very least not good if we aren’t balancing quality family time with quality friend time. We’ve been so busy getting settled and trying to stay on top of all the things that seem like they have to get done that perhaps we were just kicking back to be a family and have fun together as deeply as we should. Perhaps up until today (and I already had a tendency to do this anyway) we were subconsciously treating family time as just one more thing that had to get done during the day so that we could get onto the next chore.

Anyway, the whole point we’re doing this is to learn how to take our own personal expression of Family to a deeper level so that YHWH’s purposes in love for others can pour out of that. Today was certainly a neat milestone on that journey. There were still issues, but we were in a new place of strength to deal with them.

…so after all that (around 4pm) when the older friends got home from school and since it was so hot – all the sprinkler running and creek wading quickly deteriorated into massive water gun battles, pond throwing, and that sort of thing. We collected our children from the fun-tangle for dinner together as a family – one thing that we DO want to guard as “normal” – and feasted outside under the awning on grilled salmon (cooked over a new grill we are trying out that is a gift if we decide we can take it with us) and grilled asparagus (from our family friend here – she cut it from their garden today). After that: family movie time and popcorn in our cool A/C’ed mini-home and then bed time. Overall, a marvelous day together.

And we really needed it too – we are basically down to ONE week before we plan to pull up anchor and get underway again. Hopefully, this has recharged us a bit, as there’s lots to get done yet. I have to finish the desk project that I’ve been working on (wait till you see this thing!), we still have to get our overall weight down (we’re going to jettison the bedroom doors at least – replace them with curtains, ditch the blinds in the kids room – they just kick them all night in their sleep anyway, and anything else we can eliminate), replace the fresh water pump with a quieter model and keep the current one as a backup, make our reservations at campgrounds in Winnipeg and Oregon for the next few months, etc. etc. I could go on and on.

But I actually have to go take care of all that kind of stuff now… Some REALLY cool show-and-tell posts in the pipeline though… just taking longer to finish the projects that will inspire the posts. Renee and I are also trying to get $$$ work done somewhere in this all. This is really a lot of challenging fun!