So, I know it’s been awhile since I have posted here on this site. Between back-to-school preparations, doctors appointments, a visit to the DMV for a certain new driver, and… full disclosure… all the times I catch myself with my eyes glued to my phone reading the news (ok, and maybe a little Facebook) you probably think I have been too busy to worry about this blog. Truth is, I have been wanting to get back to writing since we returned. I don’t know how many brilliant notions I have come up with in the last couple weeks while driving, folding laundry, or grocery shopping, of course without a pen or a computer in site. (Dare I get one of those dictation devices? No, Ang, that might be just a little over the top.) But by the time I arrive home, put the laundry away, and/or unpack the groceries, I have not only completely forgotten my Pulitzer Prize winning paragraph, I have also forgotten the original thought behind it. My brain has moved on to more mundane but equally critical thoughts about cleaning the house, checking on my 95 year old neighbors, ordering new shoes for band and fixing the damn front lights on my house that keep going out. (I literally have OCD regarding these lights. Since we moved in, we have not had one night where all 7 of them are working at the same time. Currently, we are 3 for 7. I cringe every night as I flip their switch on.)
My brain is moving so fast these days that I am honestly surprised at how quickly it adjusted to being suddenly thrown back into the harsh reality that is the back-to-school season in a fast paced city with two teenagers. My first time driving a Dallas highway in over a month, I caught myself going 55 in the slow lane and it feeling too fast, but then I looked around and remembered where I was. My little fast car reminded me what it likes to do and I quickly obliged. The funny thing is, while my brain seemed to come back overnight, my body lagged behind for days. Jet lag is for real, people. And I had no idea how much my sinuses and skin liked that salty, humid air until I returned home and woke up every morning (late) feeling like I had slept in the Sahara.
So, here I am 26 days home, without one word about my reflections on our trip, our re-entry, or what we have been up to since we’ve set foot back on the mainland. Until now…
Friends, I CANNOT even begin to tell you how much I miss that place. I will be honest and admit that I think about some memory of our trip every single day, sometimes more often that that. My 900+ iPhone pictures are worth more than gold to me right now. But as much as I miss Hawaii, I am infinitely more grateful to have the most amazing memories of 100 different ‘holy’ moments with my family, surrounded by natural beauty. It is really a minor miracle that our little unit not only survived such a trip without incident, accident, or illness, but that we all had such a wonderful adventure, together, and we came home not wanting to kill or maim each other.
The truth is, I knew that the return to Dallas would abruptly change the amount of ‘quality’ time with my three favorites. Fortunately, I have new reasons to be grateful for this season of our life. Casey is excited and ready for the new school year with her friends. Other than a bad case of Strep that kept us from seeing our friends in Tulsa last weekend, she is healthy and happy and just as sassy to her mother as any teenage girl can be. Meanwhile, Dan has spent a lot of time with his Band since our return, rehearsing for their upcoming marching season during Band Camp. I volunteered last spring to be Co-Chair of Marching Uniforms while coincidentally he was elected as one of 4 Uniform Officers. (#serendipity) so I had to spend a whole day with him and his bandmates measuring for new uniforms. Why am I grateful for the opportunity to fit marching uniforms onto a gaggle of high school boys and girls, with their sophomoric sense of humor and their smelly socks? (I was assigned the enviable task of adjusting their pant hems, ugh.) Because it was a rare sneak peak into the inner details of how high school band mates interact. It is really quite fascinating and I loved putting faces to all the names Dan has mentioned over the last year. I also witnessed my boy in his element. Those opportunities are a bit rarer than say at the elementary or middle school level, especially at an all boy’s high school that likes to keep parents at arm’s length (in a really good way) to aid in teaching independence and responsibility, so I took this one while I could get it.
My boy also completed Driver’s Ed and is now the proud owner of a Texas Driver’s License. Lord, help me. I’m trying to be cool about this (there are definitely perks to this new shift; he will run errands for me) but it’s hard to keep my worry in check.
I’m sure he looks at his shiny new driver’s license as a ticket to a freshly opened door into freedom but, for me, it feels like the end of an era. I think the four of us have shared no more than 23 quality minutes together since our return flight home on July 30 (that includes my day measuring uniforms in his presence.) Between Band Camp, movies, parties, dinners with friends, and just recently an all boys trip to the Ozarks for some boating and eclipse watching, he is living his life to the fullest, exactly the way he should as a 16 year old boy. And I am just as grateful for that as I am for our amazing trip where quality moments together were plentiful.
He is starting his sophomore year in a school he loves, with friends to whom he feels connected. He is ready for the heavy classload, and he knows how to find the band hall, the library, and the Sophomore lounge. We couldn’t say any of that this time last year, when my Mama Bear instincts were so strong and fierce, I worried and prayed everyday for him as I dropped him off at school. I still worry and pray for him everyday, but it’s much easier to add in some gratitude for where he is at this place and time.
I hope to return after this weekend with some reflections on our experience in July that have been lingering around in my head the last few weeks. But meanwhile, here are a couple photos of the last few days that have me awe struck, for different reasons.