Friday, July 5, 2013

minnesota mother of 5 left alone for 6 days!

i fear if i write this post i'm going to lose a few readers. maybe even a few friends. but regardless of where the chips (or readers or even friends) may fall, i'm feeling the need to come clean about my past week.  since it potentially could be picked up by the 11 o'clock news tonight, i thought i should just tell you myself.  i've heard it's better that way.

in fact, you might want to sit down for this.

ready?  okay, here it is:


completely and absolutely alone for six days my own home, no husband and no children hiding anywhere alone. (trust me, i looked, just to be sure).  just me and the two dogs...oh, and the cat.  i always forget the cat.  

i know. 

i'm sorry. 

i can hear some of you shrieking from a thousand miles away at this very moment.

this just isn't right.  it just isn't fair.  no mother of five should have six days to herself.  

so, to that i say, i'm dreadfully sorry.

except really, i'm not. 

i'm not sorry at all.  actually, i'm rather delirious.

now, i realize that sounds a bit strange.  i don't want even one of you to think for even one minute i don't love my family to pieces.  because, you know I DO!  -- every last one of them...even the boy with the smelly feet and the girl who shoves dirty dishes underneath her bed.  i love them all.  in fact, i love them wildly.

but, when a woman's husband offers to take the children on a road trip cross matter what level of love or fondness she has for her brood, this woman replies, "well, that would be nice....i suppose i could get a few things done...i'm sure i'll be able to fill my time somehow."  


okay, let's go back to that love thing.  i realize after that last comment i had better capitalize the following declaration:


but, as a mother of five i have to tell you, the idea of a few days "off" was highly appealing. (that's called an understatement). i mean you have to realize if i didn't dig this mama thing, i surely would have stopped earlier on with our collection of kids.  you get that, right? i don't need to spend my precious (alone time) convincing you, do i?

i've said it before and i'll say it again, i wouldn't trade my job for all the tea in china.  but, i will happily send off my kiddos with their dad on an adventure when the opportunity somehow (supernaturally?) arises.

rick left with the five in tow last saturday morning.  they headed to his parents' house in south carolina for a few days. my super hero husband drove 23 hours straight and arrived at his parent's door step early on sunday.  (if you are a little geography challenged and unsure on how far a road trip this really is...check the map...i want to make sure my husband gets full credit...about 2,800 miles worth of credit). they spent a few days with their grandparents at the beach and then headed over to georgia to drop off the older three for a teen conference at our old church in atlanta. he's leaving the older ones in atlanta for the week and rick and the littlest two will pull back into our driveway sometime late tonight. i am pretty certain bella and connor are currently on their 38th car movie today.  oh well. you do what you have to do. (i'm certainly not going to complain).

i have been getting little texts and messages and pictures from my kids all week.  it was a long haul from minnesota to the deep south, but so very worth it.  worth it for the kids to spend time with their grandparents and worth it to connect with old friends.  yesterday when they arrived in atlanta, i swear i could hear the whooping and hollering from here on my back porch in minnesota.  it has been an incredible thing for them to reunite.  honestly, i got all teary-eyed the hour i knew they had arrived in the arms of their buddies.  i wasn't there to see it all, but i didn't need to be to imagine the scene.  i know, quite well, how much my kids have missed their friends.

this week alone, however, wasn't just a random thing.  it wasn't a go shopping, get your nails done and read a book in the sun kind of week.  the main reason rick gave me this time (and i do say "gave" because it was most definitely a "gift")was to allow me to write and prepare for a conference i'll be attending at the end of the month.  i have the opportunity to attend the incredible proverbs 31 She Speaks conference in charlotte, north carolina.  and can i just say I AM SO EXCITED!

this is an incredibly popular and powerful conference for writers and speakers. i had planned to go three summers ago, but it just wasn't possible with our adoption of bella.  i was sure i'd go the next summer, but then, well, you know, that cancer thing happened.  and last summer, guess what we were doing the very weekend of the conference...yep, moving across country.

so, you can probably understand my excitement.  this year, i have my registration in place and my plane ticket already purchased.  and friends,  I AM GOING.

while i'm there, i'll  not only be attending workshops and seminars, but will also have the chance to meet with a couple of publishers and pitch my book ideas.  yes, i have a couple of book ideas.  i am not going to go into any detail, because it literally petrifies me to speak about it publicly, but because of this week spent alone, i am hoping to have 2 different book proposals ready to pitch.

nothing may come of it, so let's just leave that all alone for the time being.  as confident a gal as i may sometimes appear, i am scared to death of this process. i'll probably throw up six times when i get there.  but i have to do it.  by God's grace and with rick's gift of some time alone, i am hoping to be ready.  i can tell you, i have worked my tail off this week.  i won't say a whole lot more on this subject because it's just so ridiculously emotional for me.  but i'm incredibly thankful for the chance.

anyway enough of the drama queen ramblings, this time alone has been really wild. i've never been alone for this long. since getting married 23 years ago and having children 17 years ago, i have never had this amount of uninterrupted life. an hour or two, here and there, or maybe a short weekend alone, but it's an incredibly rare occurrence.  seriously, think about it, how many mother's of 5 do you know who get a week off?  it's right up there with blue elephants, pink kangaroos and kids with clean rooms. so don't think i didn't treasure this opportunity and take complete advantage of it. i haven't been this focused since...well, since i have no idea...i guess i've never been this focused.  i've hardly done anything more than sit on my screened in porch and write. i wrote and i wrote and i wrote. taking a break only to water flowers or walk the dogs.  that's honestly been it.  and after 6 days of this, i am feeling a little burnt out (i won't mention that to my husband when he arrives home after 20+ hours of driving -- i'm smart that way).  but i am a little tired of my own voice and my own words and i'm quite ready to rejoin the land of the living.  i am certainly ready to see my family.

one morning, i did take a break for a few minutes and experiment with a new hairstyle.  (i have absolutely no idea why, but i did).  i then took a picture or "selfie" (as my kids would say) and i sent the "selfie" to my girls.  we then all immediately decided i had been left alone entirely too long.  (i probably shouldn't be telling you this).44 year old women do not take selfies and send them to their daughters.  i promise you, i have nipped that right in the bud.

but this living alone experiment has been quite interesting.  almost surreal.  there's not a scrap of laundry to be found anywhere in the house.  the counters aren't sticky and  the floors have been clean since monday -- an all time record. i left my favorite chocolate sitting out on my desk on wednesday and miraculously it was still there on thursday.  the television hasn't been turned on once and there are just two tiny bags of trash in the big toter outside.  i have used the same coffee cup and spoon all week because you can do that you live alone.  it's easy,  i just rinse them off and put them right out for the next morning. this was a new concept for me. there aren't any doors slamming or kids screaming or odd things beeping.  the dog occasionally barks and the birds occasionally sing. but that's about it.  i hadn't realized how many birds we have singing in our yard almost all of the time.  it just hasn't been quiet enough for me to hear them.

but this week i have heard.  and it's been truly delightful.

as kind as this week has been, i'm really, really happy to have some of my family returning tomorrow.  i have missed all of them.  tomorrow morning i will hear the sound of bella's tiny feet on the stairs as she comes to find me. and just the thought of that makes me kind of giddy tonight.  i can't wait to squeeze my 10 year old tightly and hear all about his week.  and oh, that husband, i sure will be glad to see his handsome face. though, i'll probably let him sleep in a little.

i think it has been an incredible gift this summer week alone, but i also am certain, more than ever, that when God created adam and said, "it is not good for man to be alone," He meant just that.  it's really good for a little while -- like this week -- but we are designed to be relational, we are designed to be together and this little bit of time solo has reminded me of that more than ever.

this probably won't happen again for another decade, so i wanted to capture the moment in a blog post.  this isn't about bragging this is about recording an important part of history.  well, my own personal history and headline:  minnesota mother of five, left alone for a week!

women, i sincerely wish you all some extra time to yourself, some stolen moments, some hidden hours. it is healthy. men, i wish you the courage to give your woman a little time off as well.  i realize we all come from different circumstances and scenarios, so i apologize if i'm making some assumptions here.  i realize also, some of you reading may be alone and not by your choice.  please know that my intention in writing this piece isn't to cause sadness.  i've thought about that this week too.  i've only enjoyed my alone time because i knew all along my family, by God's grace, would return.  but several times i thought about what if i really was always this alone. that is a different thing altogether. and in no way do i mean to take that for granted or poke it for fun.

so my writing tonight is simply to celebrate the gift of time and space and quiet and calm and simple celebrate a husband who would lovingly offer these things to his wife.  it may not be good for man or woman to be completely alone....but it's good sometimes...
and it has been very good in this week of mid summer.

here are a few pictures from what a week alone might look like...(but i'm so not posting the new hairstyle "selfie")!

this is how we spent our mornings and afternoons AND evenings...

when you have over 250 pounds of dog at your feet, i guess you're not really alone.

 though i've always been fond of this guy, i'm ready for a little time away from him.  
why i am actually writing another blog post tonight, i'm not sure.  pure junkie, i guess.

 my morning coffee!

 and an evening glass of wine!


DiJo said...

Well, you know that your introvert-extrovert friend is a tad bit jealous of this week off you have had.. Understanding completely you were a busy girl while the crew was away! I know I got those 10 days off in China.. But, it does not feel the same as a little retreat in my own home, solo! What a blessing that Rick new exactly what you needed to get ready for your conference. I am SO excited for that recap! Can't wait to go to your first book signing.. I'll be there with my camera!!!

Get ready for re-entry!!!!! Hugs, Di

Paula said...

Your week sounded and looked divine! When you publish your book, I'd love a copy up here in Canada - I so enjoy your writing. I have no doubt your pitch will be a success.

Look out counters and floors! Here come the kids! :-)

Simply LKJ said...

Wow...and I thought it was quiet when Katie left for college last fall. All 5 gone at once?!!! Praying all goes well with the conference and when your book (yes, when) I want to know right away. Our CBS Leadership team is reading Lysa Terkeurst's book Unglued this summer (I love Made to Crave as well).

Aus said...

Rick - you are a MENSCH!! Glad you had a little alone time - and come on - let's see the hair! ;)
And looking forward to seeing your book in a store somewhere - so I can say - Hey - I "know" her!

hugs - aus and co.