Returning to Normal Life can be a challenge.
It’s not just Colorado that’s dreamy with its Pike’s Peak and its no humidity and its no biting mosquitos.
What is also dreamy is pushed aside deadlines for work and zero meal preparation and no daily chores and a sense of time standing still.
Exchanging all of that for high humidity and a one hundred plus year old house and e-mails pouring out of their inbox is a sort of brutal position right off the bat.
To add more insult to the injury of rising early after an excruciatingly long road trip, the car dashboard has set itself in a bright array against me. Service engine soon. Washer fluid low. Exclamation mark. Dust and bug guts covering every inch of the car.
You know you missed an important email that somehow slipped through the cracks and you’re pretty sure you missed a payment that you thought you had already made.
Your body can’t decide if it is still on mountain time or coastal time and your old friend Insomnia has settled in for his nightly visits. You set your alarm in time for the next day’s task – take Bergen to his last day as a volunteer at Carl Sandburg’s house. The alarm goes off. You hear it. The humidity is oppressive already before the day has even begun and it’s not Florida here, so what’s the problem and you decide to just sleep a few minutes longer. Sudden panic startles you awake again and the clock reads 8:35 and you should have been in the car at 8:25. Welcome back to life.
All of this is true.
All of it.
And yet there is so much good too.
The kids and I came home extremely late Sunday night, nearly one in the morning. We spent the entire day in our car. The. Entire. Day. We left Dallas, Texas before 8 am. And we never really left our car all day long. We stopped for gas three times. We stopped at one Starbucks and drove through one Arby’s fast food lane. We didn’t pull off the side of the road for bathroom breaks or for sight seeing. We never left our car. We just drove. On that same Sunday I imagine you got up, ate breakfast, showered, maybe went to church, hung out at home, had lunch with friends or family, spent the afternoon relaxing or doing errands or swimming, the evening you had another meal, perhaps saw more friends, accomplished something, maybe watched a movie, got ready for bed, fell asleep for a few hours. You did ALL of those things and during ALL of that time I was sitting in a car with my knee bent just so and my hands resting on the wheel in nearly the same position for the length of an entire day.
We were exhausted. I was exhausted.
But when we came home there was a poem from Hannah on our counter and food in our fridge. There was cereal for breakfast and hummus and carrots and cucumbers and pita chips for lunch. Milk and chips and a chocolate treat. There were supplies for tomorrow night’s dinner because everyone knows that what you don’t want to do after a fifteen hour drive is to get in the car the next day and go to the grocery store. What a ridiculously thoughtful and kind gesture.
And then the next day, my daughter texts. “Hey. We want to hear all about your trip. We’ll bring dinner to you guys.” My grown up daughter prepared dinner for all of us and that’s really so very kind. And her family came over and we watched all the videos and every single picture we had taken over two and a half weeks and how very generous of her and Aaron to sit through all of our fresh memories and to listen to our stories and to let us wash over them with a flood of this and that from our journey.
After the delayed wake up call the next morning for the Carl Sandburg volunteering, I take Bergen in late and then I drive over to a nearby bakery in the charming little town of Flat Rock. It’s the mountains and it’s still early and the weather is not oppressive and the trees on the porch of this shop, coupled with the breeze, make this a downright dreamy spot to sit for an hour. I drag out my computer and I publish the article that was delayed and sitting on my shoulders. I have a list of eight time items to do and I get four of them completed and that’s half an it’s not even noon and I think that’s success. Then, the breeze is just my best friend and the temperature is kind and my cup of English Breakfast tea is warm and satisfying. I sit there and I type and I do my work. There is a man at the table behind me and he’s doing the same thing and there’s this mutual vibe we’re both sending and we pause to say it out loud to one another. Two strangers. What a rare privilege to do our work, outside, warm beverage in hand, to do our jobs under shady trees on a Tuesday morning in a picturesque town with a cute name like Flat Rock. We both know that, right then, our lives are lovely and good and we’re grateful. The two girls at the table in front of me are enjoying this morning too. Smiling and laughing and having a fantastic morning with their scones and with one another. I pause on my way out, stop at their table for a brief moment. Tell them I’ve enjoyed watching them love their lives that morning. What a gift – laughter and good company. Also, I tell them that I like the girl’s tattoo placement on the back of her arm, directly above her elbow and I wish them a good day. And they return the favor and talk about their scones and then they tell me, sleep deprived forty-three year old human that I was right then, that they liked my style. They liked my outfit that day. And I thought how pleasant that was, a compliment. Nice words spoken freely and without an agenda. I needed to hear those nice words. They didn’t know that I overslept and got dressed in the dark. That I absolutely chose that outfit because I have yet to open my suitcase and so I was left to choose any article of clothing that had not made the cut to go to Colorado, whatever had been left in the closet and in the drawer. The not good enough to make the trip clothing. Hair assembled in the dark in two minutes.
You guys. Say nice things to people. It’s really kind.
This is a good life. There is so much more good than bad. I think of that Anne Frank quote.
I don’t think of all the misery, but of all the beauty that still remains.
Who says that? Who believes that? Anne Frank???
Yeah, so there are lights blinking in my car and I was late this morning and I’m wearing my second rate clothing choices.
But it was a good day.