I should preface this story by telling you that the last few months have been totally bananas around here. In defense of my own terrible-awful attitude, I feel you should at least know that.
We have lived in the Forever House for exactly six months now. For twelve of those weeks we have had house guests. I just want to be clear on the math here- that equals three months! Did you hear me? Three months people! This means that literally half of the time we’ve been in our new home we have shared it.
I talk a big game about hospitality.
How I believe in it. How it’s not just about making people feel welcome in my home, but in my life as well. How it’s about making room.
God’s like, “That’s cute. That’s nice. Let’s test that one out.”
For whatever reason, there has been an endless stream of friends and family and pets through our doors for the last few months. While this has been at times a joy, and at other times exhausting, it has for the most part been a real eye opener.
Turns out I’m a big fat liar. While hospitality is something that comes naturally to me and that I usually even enjoy, I think I may have just run out of it for now. It turns out that sometimes I want to crawl under my covers and not think about the dog hair that’s collecting in my new carpet, or whether we have enough food in the pantry, or what I’m going to make for dinner, or where the kids are or whether they’re harassing our house guests.
I mean, let’s all be real here. Sometimes I just want to not wear a bra and fart whenever I feel like it. Sometimes I hate that there is never enough milk or coffee, the floors always need vacuumed, and the toilet seat is always warm.
I must be honest. I was not the best version of myself during this time. I began feeling a little bit claustrophobic. A little bit unhinged. A lot guilty. Hospitality is my jam, remember?! Why was I being such a whiner? Either way, I didn’t recognize this version of myself, I didn’t like it, but I felt helpless to change it. I arranged for a much-needed date night with Husband, and I told myself not to spoil our time together with my recently negative attitude. I sternly ordered myself to push it all aside and go have an enjoyable evening.
Then again…it is me we’re talking about. I just couldn’t stop the word bile from rising up. It probably didn’t help that I was off of carbs and on my period at the time. Poor Husband. I started sharing all my feelings about all the things, and I saw his eyes glaze over before we even reached the bottom of our chips and salsa. In retrospect, I should have held my tongue until they brought out our margaritas. That would’ve been wise.
Ultimately, we decided that a small family getaway over spring break was in order. And by “we” I mean “me.” Either way. Whatever.
We knew it would be another month of house guests and projects before things slowed down for us. We needed time with just our people. Away from crazy schedules and responsibilities and distractions. We needed a time-out.
So you must understand, I had a lot riding on this little vacation.
After hemming and hawing and researching where to get the most bang for our buck, we landed on Pacific City. We knew we wanted to take the kids to the beach but the Oregon coast is endlessly tricky. Where the weather is concerned, you never know what you’re gonna get. I always see people posting pics on Facebook of their amazingly perfect 75 degree bliss on the Oregon coast. We are not those people. It seems whenever we decide to make the drive to the beach, we bring the pouring rain and the gusting wind with us.
But not this time! I don’t mean to brag or anything but we finally got smart. We safeguarded our fun with an indoor pool. And good thing too, because naturally it rained for pretty much the whole vacation.
Suck it Oregon coast! Screw you anyway! We’re swimming inside like civilized people who don’t like sand up their bums.
I can’t lie, our trip got off a bumpy start. It poured rain the entirety of our 5 hour drive, like some kind of dark omen over the weekend. But I didn’t care. We were making our escape! Nothing could dampen my spirits. I sent up a small prayer of thanks that the kids are both old enough to be cool on long car rides, turned up the music, and turned my thoughts to all the fun we would have.
We arrived at our cabin to find our toilet in a serious state of disrepair. I will spare you the details but let’s just say it was “clogged.” We called the people in charge immediately and they assured us they would send the handyman out, pronto. What they meant is that the “handyman” would toss a plunger on our porch and drive away before we could catch him.
We made the best of it, but poor Husband spent the better part of our first 24 hours plunging the crap out of that piece of crap toilet. (See what I did there?)
After a worrisome and restless night of sleep (our room was closest to the condemned toilet) I stumbled out to the kitchen the next morning only to find that I had packed a bag of pancake mix instead of coffee grinds. Frick.
I stood dumbly staring at this bag and this mug for about 90 seconds, just willing it to turn into a hot steaming cup of coffee. I really needed that cup of coffee too. The children were starting to turn on each other and it wasn’t even breakfast time yet. At one point I heard my daughter shout, “Oh whatever Jaxon! You should be happy! I’m never this nice to you!”
We got dressed, put in another request for a handyman to come, and left our cabin in search of better adventures. We tried our luck at the beach but it was cold and wet so we loaded back up in the car and drove up the coast a bit until we found something do to.
We came upon a promising little hiking trail and decided to give it a go. This sign lured us in. Whale watching? Yes! Where do we sign? The kids were pumped. But wait, what does “spoken here” mean? Seriously? What is that?
We were a little confused, but we picked the shortest trail and headed out with high spirits. It was about 20 minutes into what ended up being a treacherous hike that Husband made the executive decision to turn back. The winding trail was steep and slippery with ankle-deep mud. Going for a family hike is one thing, but carrying a large 8-year-old body uphill because her boots are getting muddy is quite another.
As you can imagine the children were simply thrilled at having the prospect of seeing a real live whale be replaced with the prospect of spending more time in the car.
Back into the car we all went. For the next 30 minutes the kids took turns asking us when we could play in the sand. We kept our answers vague as all parents with half a brain do. This isn’t our first rodeo. We didn’t want to promise beach time unless we knew we could deliver. After the seventeenth time Jaxon asked and Nate answered with “I don’t know buddy. I don’t think the rain is going to stop anytime soon”, he was quiet for a minute and then said “Dad, that sounded like a yes voice. Your words say no but your voice sounds like yes. I’m pretty sure we will make it to the beach.” Ever the optimist, that boy.
What could we say? Not wanting to crush their dreams, we drove further up the coast to a different spot where it looked like the sun was peaking through the clouds and the rain was letting up. Right as the car pulled to a stop and the kids gathered up their beach buckets, it started dumping hail.
We sat in the car for 10 minutes in our windbreakers and hats and literally waited for the weather to change.
The weather did not change.
I would like to clarify that at this point, sitting in our muggy car all bundled up for subzero temperatures watching the rain/hail combo come down in a torrential downpour, we were still decidedly upbeat.
Husband and I were not to be trifled with. We were going to have some family fun, dammit.
Also, in these situations it’s vital that the grownups remain upbeat otherwise the children would steer the mood and frankly that is a rollercoaster I never want to be on.
Luckily our day turned a corner and things began looking up. We gave up on the beach and visited the Tillamook Cheese factory instead, which is pretty much the only thing to do when you are in Tillamook. I say things were looking up because on a normal day a trip to a cheese factory would be kind of lame, but on this day, the cheese factory was just the kind of win that we so desperately needed. Plus, CHEESES.
We even snagged about 30 minutes of rain-free beach time later that afternoon. Sweet baby Jesus in a manger! It was glorious.
The next few days were mostly spent at the indoor pool and lying lazily around our cabin. Rain or shine, we thoroughly enjoyed our little getaway.
It was just what the doctor ordered.
We laughed and lounged and ate and slept. We taught the kids to play Yahtzee and then coerced them into a Yahtzee marathon that may or may not have gone on well past everyone’s bedtime. We even watched What About Bob and The Princess Bride with them which was kind of a big deal for family movie night. We are finally moving away from cartoons people! Do you know what this means? I may never have to listen to Dora shout all her words ever again! Not to mention the deep pride we felt when they instinctively picked up on all the best lines from both movies. We feel like this is evidence that our priorities are aligned perfectly and that we’re pretty much nailing it as parents. We’re confident that it’s basically all downhill from here.
Also, I am refreshed and recharged and quite ready to share my home again. Even with a happy heart.
And that is the power of vacation.