I say kind of because it was also kind of a work trip to which we tagged along. But considering it was all volunteer work, maybe that counts as vacation. And considering, despite the pressure that JT felt organizing it all, that he also had a pretty good time, I think it definitely counts.We were pretty anxious about how it was all going to go. An almost 3 hr car trip with 2 boys who hate their carseats after 5 minutes, and also both have a history of motion sickness. And considering we hadn't travelled with them since Aquaman was just a little older than The Dude, and The Dude was only 4 months old...well we had no idea what to expect.
It was much easier than the last time.
We had a blast. We left early and the boys took drowsy but restless Dramamine naps during a cloudy, drippy, but strangely relaxing drive, in which we spent half of it sending mass text messages about hotel lobby meetings, and ensuring that all the equipment was going to make it down. We stopped at Cracker Barrel and Aquaman warmed his hands on coffee, and The Dude shoved pancakes in his mouth as if he had not eaten in days.
|The Dude, in front of our hotel. I want to go back to this moment.|
I could feel my body heave this big heavy sigh that came from somewhere I didn't know existed, and something heavy rolled off of my back, and the knots that have been in my stomach for a while eased. We were getting away.
They played with their cracker barrel toys, alternating between the beach and the pool while Daddy took a warm up swim with some of the other members of the team. At the pool, I didn't get a picture of it, but they made a friend, who said his name was "Peyton, and he came from heaven." Aqauaman spotted him from far off, and announced: "He has a lot of other friends in that pool, but he doesn't have any other friends with orange hair and blue eyes, and I bet that's just the kind of friend he's been waiting for." Peyton had a school bus monster truck and they were instantly connected.
Aquaman "surfing" on the swing. They had the most incredible playground.
I can't believe how much fun these guys are right now. Yes, they have their fights, but they are such good friends, and complement each others' personalities so well. I am so thankful that they have each other, and so awed by God's provision for them in each other. And though I hope we can hold off a little bit longer, I am already looking forward to seeing how our last one (God willing) will fit into the mix.
This will be a lifelong friendship, no matter how far away geographically life takes them away from each other someday.
When JT and I were still dating, he was working at a horrible job in a hotel as a housekeeping supervisor. He was way overworked, way underpaid, and constantly depressed. He did not even have the time or energy to work seasonally as a lifeguard. But he told me once when we were swimming together: "my dream is that, whatever I end up doing, you and our kids will go to lifeguard competitions together, and someday even the kids will compete too." I hadn't remembered that until this trip. It reminded me of how much we have to be thankful. No, this is not the perfect job. There are relational issues and there are financial issues, and there are definitely scheduling issues. But JT is doing what he seems most made to do. He is doing what we never dreamed he could do, back when there was no such thing as year round career lifeguards in our county. I can remember joking when pregnant with Aquaman that we would have them by the time Aquaman was old enough to start a career. And here we are, JT having been a part of the grassroots beginning of it all. It's an honor, really.
But what was most impressive about them was that there really weren't any superstars on their team. The winning team had a single girl who scored more than a quarter of their total score.
JT's team wasn't like that. They didn't win many events. They came in last on several. They dragged their beat up equipment out there next to sleek surfskis that cost 10 times what theirs were worth. They finished every single race. They worked together and they stuck together, and they placed 2nd because of not one person, but because of every single person on their team.
And the whole time, all I could think about was one of my favorite bible verses. And the one that always makes me think of my husband:
"Brothers and sisters, think of what you were when you were called. Not many of you were wise by human standards; not many were influential; not many were of noble birth. But God chose the foolish things of the world to shame the wise; God chose the weak things of the world to shame the strong. God chose the lowly things of this world and the despised things—and the things that are not—to nullify the things that are, so that no one may boast before him."
-1 Corinthians 1:26-29
Now we are back to the everyday grind of our lives.
JT came back to all kinds of work drama, and not nearly as much time to breathe as he had hoped.
I came back to dropping my boys off in the mornings and going to work. To unending laundry. And to working out the details of the ever changing future.
My stomach issues are mostly under control, thanks to drastic changes in my eating patterns, some medication, and a lot of prayer.
But the God who took us to the refuge of vacation: to see, for a few moments, the fruit of all our labor; the God who let me forget almost everything else and spend time enjoying my family for a few days; and the God who put many many superstars to shame by giving a faultering, floundering, but diligent team a 2nd place victory-
He came ahead of us home too.
"You are my hiding place; You shall preserve me from trouble; You shall surround me with songs of deliverance. Selah." Psalm 32:7