Yesterday was pretty much the same old story in the morning. Where things got interesting was when #1-3 got home. I helped them with homework once this past week. All the other days I forgot to remind them to do their schoolwork. So yesterday we did homework for three and half hours which is pretty long for little kids. Correct. Check Spelling. Read Instructions. Not my cup of tea. But for three and half hours we conquered all their work. Although I don’t enjoy helping the kids with this stuff I did find great satisfaction seeing how much they grew in their academic skills. Reading, math, etc. I really do wish I could bottle them up and have them never grow up.
After homework was done we did something that the kids have been asking to do for a year…ride the metro (above the ground subway for you east coast folks). Made all the kids pee before we left because I truly despise public restrooms. Went to the metro. Picture is above.
We get on the metro and everyone is staring of course (used to that though) and it was fun to see them enjoy this trip (two stops). They looked like they were riding a roller coaster. Kind of funny, kind of sad. Sad because it seemed like they were so fun-deprived that riding the metro was a huge experience. So we get off the metro but in order to get to the restaurant which is right next to the station, we had to cross over the tracks. I ask my kids to stop in the middle of the tracks and take a picture. They didn’t like this idea. It went against their instincts of self-preservation. See my facebook for photos.
NOTE TO READER: Next week I am starting a new series called Survivor: Kid Edition which will talk about different ways kids try to get out of trouble. I will flush out in more detail this self-preservation aspect of kids.
We take the picture and run into the restaurant. More stares. The kids were awesome. They shared, they behaved, and they ate like immigrants who ran out of food on the boat ride over and then landed in the U.S. of A. They pigged out. I have to say that watching my kids this week I was shocked at how much food they eat. They definitely get it from my side of the family. I don’t think anyone fully comprehends what I am talking about. Maybe one day I will share in detail what they go through in terms of food. Its pretty intense and costly.
We train it back home (two stops) and all agreed we had a great time. Got the kids ready for bed and they were gone. I cheated that night though…I really missed my wife so I asked her to come over and watch a movie with me. The rule was that she could only stay in the living room and not go upstairs (because the cleaning people are coming Friday : ). She enthusiastically agreed and drove over.
It really felt like were dating especially when she left to go back to her hotel. She brought over some sweets. We made out. Hahaha! I love saying that. Then started watching Brothers with Natalie Portman, Jake Gyllenhaal, and Toby Macguire. Horrible movie. Great acting. Then we agreed to say our goodbyes at 11:00pm and talked by the door till 1:30am.
This experience has taken our marriage to another level. For the first time in ten years I have been able to more clearly see our family through her eyes and experience. Obviously time will tell but I really do feel like this was a life-changing experience. There were so many times I was such a jerk…jerk doesn’t do justice to the way I was and am sometimes…I was an a**h*** so many times because of my self-absorbed nature. We talked about the changes that need to happen in our family life. We are both looking forward to deconstructing our marriage, parenting, and overall family life only to put it together according to our values and vision we have for our life.
It may sound crazy but this experience has given both of us a renewed hope and energy to not just get by and maintain but rather to live life and not let great things pass us by. The reason I wanted my wife to take this trip……one night a few weeks ago she was crying in our room. I asked her what was wrong. It was one of those times she was so flustered she couldn’t put two sentences together. She was overwhelmed. She was confused. She was tired. For the last ten years I have done the typical dumb guy thing and try to solve her problems. Try this. Do that. Change this. TEN YEARS!!! Sometimes I surprise myself with how stupid I am.
This time was different. For some reason, ten years of failure provided me a little bit of wisdom. I told her that she is an amazing mom and wife. She has a gift and is really wise. I said to her that she just hasn’t had time to process and utilize her God-given strengths to move forward with family stuff. Remember I told you she is an introvert and thinker…but my life as a church planter (starter) has robbed her of this. The pace of my work life and its implications on our family have really placed my wife in a disadvantaged position. Anyways…in short, I said, “Babe, you gotta get away. YOU can figure this out. YOU can sort this out better than anyone I know. The problem is that you never get time for yourself to just sit or walk, or think. Just get away. Treat yourself to great food. Take long walks with no time limit (within reason cause I do need her to come back). YOU can do this.”
Ten years it has taken me to figure out that my wife can accomplish more by hanging out with God and being alone, than she can with me trying to make every suggestion known to mankind except sharing the load. This experience is bittersweet. It is sweet because my wife has stuck around with me long enough for me to finally get it. It is so bitter because I feel like my foolishness has cost our family so many precious years. Can’t look back. Gotta look ahead to the hope and energy we now have. I know this. But my folly is the thorn in the side of my flesh.
Okay enough drama and serious talk. I know most of you read these entries for the humor. So I have posted an additional blog today that I hope will make you smile. Next weeks series should be fun. Thanks so much for reading and have a wonderful weekend.