I want to write an idyllic ode to vacations; on beaches and sand; tired babes and full wine glasses. I want to write to you about this last hurrah of summer – of flip flops and sand and ice cream melting way-too-fast. I want to write to you about moments of perfection. But instead, I’m embracing my moments of heart -tender realism, the moments of life in bits and pieces.
This is our week of down-time, our vacation to be savored at the end of a drought-filled summer. But much like the strong storms that have ended our dry spells, this week tends to be more of the swirling tight air and dark clouds than the calm breezes and billowy cloud pillows. After one and a half days of radiant sunshine filled with peals of laughter at shores edge, we face the next handful trying to will away the clouds and rain. But I’m not going to refuse to know this joy, this happiness, just because the whole puzzle isn’t perfect. I will take my happiness in these bits and pieces.
We have bundled ourselves in sweatshirts, digging through suitcases trying to find a pair of socks, refusing to close the windows. Rainy days at my own house pose their own challenges, but rainy days in a rental pushes us to be our most creative, our most patient and often bring us to moments of real beauty — the tender-heart realist (of course, paired with moments of exasperation and ‘you mean it’s only 9:17am?!’). These are the bits and pieces, aren’t they?
Like last night. The Little Ones are sharing a room for the very first time on this vacation. It is dress rehearsal for the shared living that will happen sometime this Fall in preparation for Number Three. Like most big parenting moves, (especially the ones involving sleep), I expend a lot of nervous energy. By the third night of this new sleeping arrangement, my husband, sister and I sat biting our lips trying to contain our laughter as we listened to the two Little Ones share not just the space of sleep, but those great moments before it, too. It is a great picture of their growing friendship, to hear them singing to one another, playing peek-a-boo under their covers, and belly-laughing at moments only they will know, only they will share. They are discovering their own adventures together, in bits and pieces. After an hour went by, and silent adventures in sleeping nowhere in sight, mama of course has to put her foot down. When I walked in, the two of them were snugged into one bed together, giggling under covers. Did I really have to be the one to put an end to this? This piece of joy, here, in strange beds. We may pay the price, Little Ones whining needlessly, tired beyond , but would I really trade these bits and pieces?
Today is not a picture-perfect vacation day. No ode to summer idyls here. We played at the playground, wiping rain off of slides and swings, instead of sandy feet in the water of the beach. But we laughed and ran and played, and I will take these bits and pieces. Today my husband is at work, and not with us. And it is in the happiness of bits and pieces that I rejoice that he will make the longer journey to join us here for dinner. I am thankful for this vacation of reality, these heart-tender bits and pieces.