Wednesday, April 1, 2009

Spring Break --- Tuesday

I love the slow and sleepy mornings of spring break. I love waking up with one boy climbing in the left side of my bed and another boy climbing in the right. I love the dreamy whispers, the random thoughts shared, the quiet that settles in around me and my children when we have no where to rush off to early in the day. And so began our Tuesday... in the way that I love best.

After breakfast, we left for church where I help to run a MOMs Group every week. MOMs Group is not on spring break so all four kids were in tow... the younger two to headed to class, leaving the older two to play independently (and quietly) while the moms enjoyed coffee and conversation together. It was an interesting feeling to bring them all. Benjamin was only 2 months old when I helped to begin the group and I have to admit there was a strange sense of accomplishment or growth in bringing him with me now... as a 10 year old boy.

After MOMs Group, we came home so Elizabeth could nap and the boys played indoors to avoid the rain. In short order, the weather got the best of them and the noise level in my house began to climb. Precipitation does strange things to children... and our afternoon was spent swirling through conversation upon conversation. It was a time of deep breaths for me... and I found myself hunting for a corner of quiet in the midst of so much noise. It was a reminder for me though that there must be room in our world for children to be children. And in thinking it through I found that in all the words that were spilling forth and falling overlapped upon my ears, there was laughter. In finding space for their chatty little selves, I had the opportunity to watch their toothless grins and listen to silly stories and while I still yearned for quiet... there was joy in the chaos, as well.

After Elizabeth's nap (cut short by the voices filling my home), we loaded up into the van and headed into Chicago. Last Christmas, Josiah was given a special Lego toy that came with a box that he could bring back to the Lego store to fill with pieces of his choice. With the expiration date looming, we allowed the older boys to take some of their spending money and headed off to one of my children's favorite stores. We zipped past Mark's building and picked him up from work. To save on parking costs, I dropped Mark and the kids off near the Lego Store downtown and they ran in to find their treasures. I soaked up 25 minutes of absolute silence before returning to pick them up. They burst back into the van overflowing with chatter about the new toys they had in hand. (For those who are keeping track of our spring break on the cheap, this outing cost us nearly nothing at all! ) From there we headed off to Ed Debevic's for dinner... a splurge for us... but a fun outing for my kids on one of their days off. We ate hamburgers, listened to quick tongued-waiters and left full and happy.

We took the long way home and drove down through the city I love so well. We pointed out many of the famous buildings that adorn downtown Chicago and encouraged them to remember the "real" names of Chicago landmarks like the SEARS Tower and MARSHALL FIELD'S. Together, we looked out the windows at the lake, still boat-free, for a few more weeks. We watched a storm roll in and tumble over the beach, leaving bright sunshine before us and darkness behind. We enjoyed the ride, all six of us, tucked into our minivan driving toward home.

It was a day of opposites for us... silence and chatter, stillness and activity... but a good day nonetheless. We didn't find ourselves spending wildly but we were able to be out and about doing things together that matter to us. And in the end, that is what made this day fit... it was full of things that rank high on our priority list... slow starts, meaningful ministry, silly conversations, incredible Chicago, creative Legos, humble hamburgers and shared moments reflecting on it all.

We came home and left the Lego assembly for tomorrow. Mark read the children another chapter of Black Beauty and silence fell quickly in my babies' bedrooms. Mark and I didn't fill the space with the noise of the television then... instead sat quietly in the family room feeling full and happy and spent.

And then Tuesday was done and we were left with one nagging question banging around our brains... What will Wednesday hold?

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