We had big plans for last weekend. Okay, big might be an overstatement. Maybe it’s best to say we had “plans”.
A little get-a-way for the five of us.
We’ve anticipated this get-away for a month and a half–a combined birthday gift to our three fall babies. It wasn’t anything spectacular, really. It was just, well, us. . . away. After what is always a crazy fall, we wanted to get away and just be together. No work. No schedule. No practices. No games. No meetings planned or appointments to make. The weekend would be ours.
Meadow’s choice of activity for the weekend was Chuck E. Cheese. (Somehow, we’ve succeeded in avoiding that place during her first five years of life. Isn’t there some kind of trophy for that?) Certainly, there would be no distractions there.
Charlie and Chanelle’s activity: Sky Zone. Again, nothing distracting about dozens upon dozens of kids bouncing on huge trampolines and screaming at the top of their lungs while I hold a white knuckle grasp on Chad uttering silent prayers of protection for my little ones arms, legs and heads to stay intact. Nope, no distractions there.
Regardless, I anticipated our little get-away for weeks. I envisioned P.J. clad little ones lounging on hotel beds, arguments over who would press the button in the elevator, and wet bodies emerging from a hotel pool while declaring “this is the best day ever!” (It takes very little to impress our kids.)
Thursday night our bags were packed, notes written to the school so we could pick kids up kids early for something totally school-skipping worthy (shhhh, don’t tell), and all reservations were confirmed. The weeks of countdown was now only hours. . . big and little kids were equally excited.
And that’s when it happened. At 2 a.m. I feel a light tapping on my shoulder and Chanelle’s weak voice uttered, I got sick.
Bags were unpacked.
Reservations were canceled.
Notes to teachers were thrown away.
A new note was written to Chanelle’s teacher letting her know that she would be absent.
And our kids got another lesson filed in “Life Happens”.
Suddenly, our full weekend was empty. We had nothing.
Nothing except us. At home. With a sick kid. With nothing but time.
All day Friday, Chanelle laid on the couch while I sat on the floor beside her and Meadow nestled in close and we watched episode after episode of The Voice. Episodes that we never had time to watch during the Fall. Chanelle dozed in and out by the soft lights of the Christmas tree and rejected my offerings of soup and crackers while flames flickered in the fireplace keeping the room feeling warm and cozy.
Hour after hour ticked by and little more happened than inhaling and exhaling and the occasional pressing of the fast forward button on the remote and all I could think was this is the best day ever.
THIS. IS. THE. BEST. DAY. EVER.
We were going nowhere.
We were accomplishing nothing.
Not one ‘to-do’ on a To-Do list was crossed off.
Nothing spectacular was recorded in our memory banks.
Our scrapbooks would not be filled with pictures from this day.
Still, my heart overflowed.
A weekend with nowhere to go and nothing to do reminded me that, often times, slowing down requires as much discipline as the strictest exercise regimen. A weekend detoured by the flu brought me face to face with the truth that life isn’t happening “out there” or “over there”, or “at the end of that to-do list”, it’s happening right here, right now, right in front of me.
In the quiet moments of our unscheduled weekend at home, I remembered what it felt like to breathe–to really breathe. To Inhale. . . exhale. . . inhale. . . exhale. . .
In the absence of places to be and things to accomplish I was reminded that the most important things in life are really the simplest things. . .
And so begins a journey–to discover, rediscover what brought me to this space in the first place. Not just to see beauty, but to feel it. To slow down and take time to feel the breath enter my lungs, and notice, really notice, the simplest things that make this life such a precious gift.
This weekend reminded me that I don’t have to play a part in a script that’s already been written, but I can take part in the writing of the story. . .
And it can be as beautifully simple as I want it to be. . .
On to the journey. . .