Family surprises

I knew when I moved home that, should I have the pleasure of becoming a parent someday, my mom would be hands-on with the kids. But I didn’t bank on all of the help from my brothers and sisters, and my dad, and family friends and new friends!

Dave was out of town for a few days, and I have never had more support. My sister came by and one of her dinner runs and stayed to help with bedtime. My brother covered swimming and tennis, because my parents were out of town. Friends checked in, and people at work commiserated.

This “village approach” was one of my temptations when I moved home. It’s one of the most charming aspects of the Midwest, that militant goodwill and helpfulness. The gratitude continues to grow, and the unending support when we need it feels like a regular miracle. It keeps us laughing even when it feels like the wheels are coming off the bus.

School starts soon. Joy will be home, the school buses will appear, and our routine will shift into fall. The favors we need will change from swimming and tennis lessons to school pick ups when we have meetings, and running forgotten backpacks and boots to school. I know who I will call, and I am grateful to everybody who answers those calls! When we get to the “pay it forward” part of our life cycle, I am going to be generous to a fault to make up for the kindness we’ve been shown. My sister and brother in particular will receive all kinds of favors! It will be our turn to help with dinners and school runs.

In some ways, I relish a few days alone with the crew. They miss Dave, but I get to snuggle all four of the kids into bed at night and go to bed early. That only lasts a day or two though, and then we are all missing him as we go through our nightly routine. We keep life as predictable as possible, and our random solo parent weeks are few and far between. As trite as it may be, absence does make the heart grow fonder. When we are back together again, our energy has renewed and be ready for the next round of adventures. And that’s its own miracle.