babysitters, bike rides, and San Francisco

My air conditioning kicked in this week.  In April.  Early April!  This can't be a good sign.

Yes, we are still here, despite the blog silence, and doing well!  In our Oregon brains, April is not often a month of frantic outdoor activity because it's usually raining or pouring, and you know that the really good weather is probably still ahead.  But here in the Sacramento Valley, it's kind of flip-flopped.  I know this summer is going to scorch my kids, so we are getting out as much as we can, anticipating that broiling temps will confine our weak selves to air conditioned buildings only.  I have even managed a faint tan, which upgrades me from "blinding white" to just "pale-skinned."

We are continuing with lessons, but also riding our bikes to run errands, going to the park regularly, and being overwhelmingly blessed by new friendships.  We finished up our Classical Conversations year, and while I shed a few tears over pictures of our Oregon CC friends, we just love our new group.  It's very different in terms of size of the group and ages of students, but so warm and welcoming.  Our California group celebrated the end of the academic year with a trip to Funderland, and my kids buzzed around with their new friends like they had all known each other for years.  All the prayers for friendships are being richly answered.  I even met a family at the park this week who homeschools and just moved from (wait for it) Oregon!  In other news, I was able to meet with three potential babysitters this week - sweet college girls from nearby UC Davis - and now I can build some margin into my life again.  Amen!

So the move has gone well.  The hardest part right now is the same hardest part as always. . .mothering.  I've been thinking about this comment people make sometimes: "I wasn't sure I would make it."  It came to me when I was hiding in the bathroom after our weekend trip to San Francisco.  The trip truly was fantastic.  We went very spur-of-the-moment (that's SotM, for you acronym people), joining up with a fun family that also recently relocated to California for Target.  (From North Carolina - makes our move seem paltry by comparison!)  (Yikes - I'm really heavy on parentheses today.)  We took the train down to the city, stayed on Fisherman's Wharf, rode the cable cars and trolley cars and walked all over creation with kids who didn't even mention their feet until well after my own were about to fall off.  Not to mention treats at Ghirardelli Square. Such fun!

 As a reforming perfectionist, however, I found certain behaviors of certain of my offspring very stressful.  There was too much running hither and thither next to busy streets, too much whining about Executive Parental Decisions, too much child-like behavior. . .oh wait.  I was reminded of something Jill Savage (author of No More Perfect Moms) said on a podcast, something like: I would have enjoyed these activities more if I could have realized they didn't have to be perfect.  So I tried to relax, and we had an interesting and exciting trip.

And then Monday came, back into the weekly routine, and the bickering and whining started promptly at 7am, and by 10am I was about to abdicate my throne.  So I hid in the bathroom and I thought about other difficult journeys - about people who finished something huge and seemingly impossible - like raising three little sin-filled humans in a fallen world while trying to overcome the fact that you are a sin-filled human yourself.  And I thought about people who made it to the other side and said, "Whew, I didn't think we were going to make it through that one."

 Have you ever thought about what this really means?  We're not just talking doubts.  We're talking staring-down-death, my-life-flashed-before-my-eyes.  Or maybe head-in-your-hands, drinking-wine-before-noon, I'm-not-ever-getting-off-this-floor.  I hadn't ever thought about it like that before.  We truly cannot imagine getting through, or putting one foot in front of the other ever again.  But we do. . .and I think those moments are not a sign of being unfit for the task at hand; not moments of failure, but rather points we all come to in whatever journey we are pressing through.

Thank Me when things do not go your way, because spiritual blessings come wrapped in trials. . . 
Sit still in the light of My presence, and receive my Peace.  These quiet moments with me transcend time, accomplishing far more than you can imagine. . . 
Hold My hand in child-like trust, and the way before you will open up, step by step.

Sarah Young, Jesus Calling 


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