“Oh, so you’re an evacuee…” As those words sunk into my head and soul a lot of things started to make sense. The anxiety, the feeling of being displaced, the poor sleep and the 14.5 hours logged in the car. Uh, that’s why I feel this way.
Just over a week ago Dave and I both heard that this hurricane Irma might actually be “a thing.” Then last Wednesday we hashed through why we’d leave or why we’d hunker down and weather the storm. For me, I was at my limit of what I could handle in terms of the unexpected and stress of waiting for a hurricane to come visit us. I’ve kind of had my fill lately. Thursday we hit the road at 10 A.M. and headed to Athens, Georgia to stay with sweet friends Chris and Carrie and their two little ones. Traffic was horrendous. What should have taken seven hours took fourteen and a half. We wove between back roads and highways, hoping to keep moving. Our kids watched tons of DVDs (thank you mom and Brad for lending us your van with TVs- that’s slick). We had enough gas to get our car there but man, were we thread bare emotionally and physically. At 11 P.M. all kids were asleep but Jack and Chloe cried out in their sleep every five minutes, complaining of their legs hurting. Ahhh… I felt so helpless at their mom. But, we made it.
The next morning we got to have breakfast at a little French bakery in town and then went to a lovely park. A funny moment was when we walked out to the car to go to breakfast Chloe took one look at the car and said, “No! Walk!” and turned away from the car and started walking down the sidewalk. She’s two years old! That girl did not want to go back in that car. But she handled the ten minute drive well.
Another hidden gift was the weather; it was gorgeous! We had three days of splendid fall weather with no humidity! I got to wear leggings and a sweatshirt and even saw three leaves fall. One night we took a walk after dinner and saw a deer. It was like being back in the Midwest. Time with our friends was rich and helped add humor and kindness to our venture as “evacuees.” Oh man… did this really all just happen?
Yesterday, Tuesday, we made our way back home. Home. Hmmm… that’s a strange concept right now. Seeing the “Welcome to Florida” sign was a great relief but then four hours later when our garage door went up, it didn’t feel like home. We’ve slept in a lot of different beds in the last two months and I’m still waiting for one to feel like home. I could add a throw rug or put more pictures on the wall but I think what I really need to do is slow down. Stop making “one more stop” when I drop Jack off at preschool. Stop trying to figure out “one more thing” before bed. Stop tiring my mind with how I could make our apartment feel more like home. My soul is the thing that needs to arrive and that usually means stopping a bit longer. While in Georgia, I stayed back from church on Sunday and sat in a chair and drew and journaled and talked to God about the spinning in my heart and soul. It was a start and showed me how much I need to take that time to let those things surface. My goal is now to find a babysitter one morning a week so I can go do that a bit before our son is born at the end of the year.
School is canceled tomorrow and Friday- that will make a whole week of no school. I look forward to seeing my kids play again together. Lexie and Jack are deeply missed les matins (mornings).
I don’t know what the storm is in your life or soul but I hope you take time to sit in a chair, stare out the window and ask God through your tears or aching to help you through it. And, if you aren’t in a stormy season, enjoy it. Linger a little longer in the sun and say, “thanks.”