Making it through

The hardest day of my year is always the day before.

Let me go back four years.  I was visiting my dad and was wishing I didn't have to return after a week.  I thought about my vacation bank from work. It was plenty full. I ended up deciding to use that time and stay another week.  The next year, I saved my vacation time from work the entire year and stayed two weeks.  After that, I had an opportunity at my job to forfeit any benefits to have the flexibility to take even more time at camp.  Last year we stayed three weeks at camp.  This year we're staying a solid month. (We being the kids and me. My husband stays back and works, thank you, Justin).

While we are there, it's a good, good thing. It's just my littles and me the majority of the time.  We go for a morning walk. We swim. We read. We paint and draw.  We go for boat rides. We keep nature journals.  We see family.  We relax.  There is no internet, no phone.  No distractions. I keep meals so incredibly simple. It's the most peaceful time out of the whole year.  The kids cannot wait. It's the highlight of their year.

But the day before all this?  SO hard.  To pack what we need for school, recreation and necessities for a month, PLUS to get the barn, yard, house, animals, gardens in 'good to go' status, WHILE managing kids who are SO excited that they cannot find anything functional to do and they are either fighting or trying to help in a way that is not very helpful at all, AND deal with my emotions (I always cry leaving my beloved gardens and farmhouse).  The day before was today. And it was hard. 

I just put the kids in bed and I was thinking, did I even smile today?  Did I enjoy any of it?  Did I just bark orders and referee?  I am certain I was not at my best.

Just as I was finding myself spiraling down 'I'm a failure' lane, I spotted drawings my kids left for me.

The first is Adrian's. He drew me (in my glasses) with my wheelbarrow.  I had the dog following me and my shovel.  I was out to mulch the gardens, he said.  He drew me smiling.

 The next is Audra's.  She drew me laying in my hammock under the maple tree.  I was reading to the big kids, who were in their lawn chairs drawing. THere's a cat on the porch.  She drew me smiling.
 Anna-Kate keeps drawing me boyfriends. I know I smile at those.
Noticing their drawings brought me right to tears.  Even though my day was not the easiest, when they go to think about the day, they think of the times I was smiling.  My view of myself is that I'm never measuring up.  Their view of me is the opposite. 

My mind may be going at a speed that is too rapid for my liking, my to do list is way too long, the hours I have been sleeping have been way too few, but it will be worth it. This time tomorrow night, I shall be exhaling here, and I cannot wait.

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