We have been living in Orlando for two months now, yet each week there are still plenty of “firsts” to experience. For some reason, this week seemed to have a lot of them. It started Tuesday by shopping for the first time at a wholesale store (think Costco or Sam’s Club). Is that shocking? I’m 37 years old, have a family of five and never bought a twelve pack of Annie’s mac n cheese? Well I have now.
It actually wasn’t that overwhelming to be at BJ’s (that’s the wholesale store nearest our apartment) as I thought it would be. I was quickly granted my promotional three month free membership and made my way to the food section. Chloe was my sidekick and we did well. It seemed like every item was $4, $7 or $12 but I still managed to walk out with less than $200 worth of groceries. My appetite was wakened for using coupons as I watched the lady in front of me at the check out rock her coupon book like a boss. But, one step at a time.
Another first was eating at Chick-fil-A. It was a lovely experience, oh, except for totally smoking my faithful sidekick with the door as we walked into the restaurant. Mama swung the door smack dab in the middle of her precious two-year-old face and sent her flat on her butt. She forgave me quickly and we enjoyed sharing a free breakfast bowl. (Free is a theme for me.) Maybe I haven’t eaten out for a while but the flowers on the table, food delivered to the table and a very friendly lady to help get Chloe settled in her high chair were all very nice touches. Well done, Chick-fil-A. I’ll be back for more free stuff.
Animal Kingdom was another thing I checked off my “firsts” list this week. One of the perks with our job this year is that we have (um, free) annual passes to the Disney parks. Now, please don’t spit on me, but I’m not really a Disneyland girl. It may have to do with the fact that it has been 90 degrees with 90% humidity and I’m 26 weeks pregnant. But, it may not. Anyway, there was a friend who stopped by Friday night and talked about the shows at the different Disney parks and I thought, I could maybe do that. So Saturday morning we headed to Animal Kingdom to watch The Lion King and Finding Nemo shows. Sitting in the air-conditioned theatre and introducing a well-loved musical to my kids was special. I still remember going to see Cinderella and Meet me in Saint Louis as a little girl, and now as a mom I want my kids to have a love for theatre.
Then, there was the first time one of our kids got stitches. Friday night, the kids had been particularly whiny but finally found a past time that got them all laughing. I was happy to see them having fun together and relished the idea of a few minutes downstairs with Dave preparing dinner– alone. So, contrary to my better judgement, I left them jumping off their beds into a pile of comforters, pillows and blankets on the floor. It seems our five year old’s love for order got the best of her; she decided to lay the blankets out flat and line the pillows up. Needless to say, we had about four precious minutes downstairs by ourselves before we heard her yelling, “Jack has a booboo!!!!!” I ran to the stop of the steps to find Jack bleeding and ran down the steps holding him and yelling, “Dave, shut the stove off! Come here! Get a cold rag!” (I can’t stand the sight of blood but I sure can holler orders to make it stop bleeding.) Dave is perfectly steady in those moments and had Jack in the mini ER clinic asap. I don’t know how he did it, but he held our son’s face in his hands and chatted with him about Paris, his bike, Micro Machines and the like until the doctor had finished giving him five stitches. What a dad. By God’s grace, Jack was so brave and didn’t have pain this morning.
Some of the “firsts” in moving our family to America have been quite overwhelming (Lexie starting kindergarten and evacuating for the hurricane), others luxurious (having a reliable minivan to drive and having special time with just Chloe in the mornings). Many of the “firsts” have brought out fear which I express as sarcasm, criticism and anger which often boil over into tears that speak of the pain of leaving a place that I knew and loved dearly… home. At home they didn’t sell mac n’ cheese and only one of my kids actually takes pleasure in eating it. (“Lexie, take two bites of mac ‘n cheese and then you can have more veggies.” Uh??) At home we’d have paper sacks from the market to recycle instead of many plastic bags with ziplock tops that housed pre-picked cherries, peppers and grapes. (Can’t I pick my own cherries??) There were plenty of things that brought me to tears at home but I had built coping mechanisms to deal with them that had worked for a long time. Until they didn’t. That’s part of our story of what brought us to Florida for this year. Probably the biggest challenge is to push through the coping mechanisms (the sarcasm, criticism, busyness, etc) and sit with my fear, listen to my unmet desires and longings and let God into those places.
I don’t know, but I have a feeling it is choosing to do things differently in the little moments that will help me hear God’s voice. Sitting in silence, waiting longer to react, admitting I’m wrong more quickly, admitting I can’t… It’s a journey to learn a healthier way of doing life, and I look forward to celebrating what God does this year in particulair.