It’s been a rough few nights (I don’t know how many exactly) with teens I want to talk to as they come in from work or play in the late night hour, and babies to get up to in the earliest hours of the morning, a lot on my mind to keep me from dozing right off at night lately and a lot to do which keeps me working as much of the day that I can.
Today I had left the babies for an hour with my friend as I ran to the high school to watch the play my son and his friend directed, then I went directly to drop my little one (friend and sweet companion this year) off to preschool. When I climbed back into the car, alone, as so very rarely happens these days, I took a very deep, deep breath.
It’s only in those completely quiet moments alone that the depth of my exhaustion since babies have arrived starts to become evident, even to me. I realized in a very keen way, I needed respite. I needed REFRESHMENT of the soul.
How, when, where, what would POSSIBLY push the REFRESH button for me? (that I so desperately needed this afternoon!)
I must admit I was desperate enough to seriously ponder it, and then to pray.
I am SO GLAD I DID THAT!! 😉
In a moment my phone rang. It was my good husband, I still am not sure why he called. He asked how I was and I was honest, “I need REFRESHMENT!” I do not know WHAT will REFRESH my soul…” then I paused as I realized I had a great tease on my hands, “except maybe a kiss from you!” (I knew that was impossible.)
“Where are you?” he asked. “Just finished dropping Clara off from preschool, ” I responded my voice rather dull thinking we were back to business.
“I’m just headed to the hospital from clinic, I’ll meet you at confusion corner”, my super gallant husband responded.
(Oh, husbands out there, remember to do this for your wife! Though you couldn’t even plan timing like that, it was just a gift from above – but as husbands just be THAT in tune – to call your wife the minute she needs it and the timing would just work out GREAT! (And wives, don’t be mad at your husbands if this exact scenario doesn’t play out like this for you!)
Confusion corner was less than 30 seconds away from BOTH of us by chance and we drove up at the same time to the park attached to it. Both of us lacking time we just jumped out of our cars (and I feel bad for whoever had to watch us kissing on the side of the road – hope we didn’t add any more confusion to that intersection!- enough there already!)!
It felt sooo GREAT to see each other completely unexpectedly in the middle of our busy, demanding days! So good in fact, we didn’t want it to end. Mike said impulsively, “Come to the hospital cafeteria for lunch with me! I have a quick job to do, then we can eat while they prepare my patient for surgery”. Ahh! I felt like a swept-off-my-feet teen or something! I could NOT refuse an invitation like that! (I know, you are all thinking,’ is that what my dr does right before surgery??’)
In minutes we were passing sweet older ladies in wheel chairs that smiled grandly at us holding hands on our way in to the hospital and then we were running up the stairwell of the hospital toward our ‘date’. Mike took the steps very easily 2 or 3 at a time, well practiced I could tell. I know from his colleagues that he doesn’t stop and sit down for lunch like normal people, just eats as he walks to his next task, so this was something special for him and for me! (And I knew we only had approximately 10 minutes, but I was totally good with that!)
It was just so FUN and REFRESHING to snatch an unexpected minute of day together! A moment that seemed as if we both had nothing else to do but meet up and go to lunch in the hospital cafeteria together! LOL! We were both rejuvenated by it!
Mike was so kind and thoughtful even under pressure, as I knew he only had moments to where he needed to be next. I thoroughly enjoyed the moment, but ate fast and talked and then to my happy surprise he didn’t leave me there but helped clean the table quickly and said, ‘come, I’ll walk you out’. That meant out of the cafeteria together, back into the stairwell to where I go this way and he goes that way. One last kiss goodbye. Now those are the refreshing moments of life.
But happily my prayer had more answers coming.
For a few months now I have had a special family home evening I’ve wanted to do before Isaac leaves home. I’ve had it stashed in my drawer, waiting for the opportune moment. I knew tonight was finally it, and with it being here suddenly I didn’t feel so prepared, how could I really make it special enough?
That would be a gift from heaven too.
I must admit I got a little grumpy (tired, my husband says so nicely) just before family home evening, a Monday night tradition for us (that we occasionally change to Sunday night when there are TOO many demands on the kids’ or Mike’s schedule). I felt no one cared about this except for me. (Moms? Anyone?? Feeling this way from time to time?) When I vented to Mike, “I wanted this to be really special!”, he reminded me gently, “then don’t get irritated, that will ruin ‘special’ most of all.” (Anyone been through this?)
OK, another deep breath. Calming down. Finally we gather everyone and out the door we go. It was SUCH a GORGEOUS night Mike had suggested a park as the setting. It takes a LOT of effort and more time than one would expect to get a family of twelve into Fat Boy (the Excursion that seats 12-got a back bench looking backward put in a few years ago). But it always feels super good once you are all in there and buckled in together!
We did it, we were on our way. Anna, who needs more driving experience with Mom or Dad available to get her license, was at the wheel. We backed up, got turned around and started out of our driveway.
We didn’t get down the driveway when there, in front of us, was pure natural beauty itself in the form of the sun setting brightly behind the forest that surrounds our property, it’s light spilling across the freshly cut lawn, the lush green of June in full force all around us. It was breathtaking for a moment and Mike and I in a one or two sentence conversation made an executive decision. “We’re here!”
We all jumped out of the car, mid-driveway. I thought some children might protest, get mad, be disappointed, but watched in wonder as they spilled back out of the car that had taken such effort to gather into doing cartwheels across the lawn, dancing, catching each other and tumbling to the ground, kicking shoes off and landing and laying around on the grass. Clara ran around on the front lawn both arms above her head saying something like, “This is the best park EVER!!!!”
As I watched them, something really wonderful started to creep into my heart, refreshment! Real, true, rejuvenating refreshment.
We all eventually assembled in the streams of evening sunlight on blankets Mike had grabbed from the house, the grass soft and plush. The children sat and laid happily, leaning on each other casually, as we did our lesson. The grass afforded Clara just the space she needed to be dancing around us while she listened (always on the move). The Babies lit up about being outside and sensing the joy of being all together were extra happy and content sitting on the blankets with their siblings.
We let the kids teach us, each of the 5 big kids reading a section of the lesson and then asking what it meant to them. Our lesson, by the way, was based on Elder Anderson’s talk “One Day I Will Fly“, comparing our steps of becoming to a caterpillar turning into a butterfly. It was very simple in the end, but the family talk was as refreshing as the gentle breeze that swayed the trees above us.
The kids opened the butterfly house we got them so that we can watch caterpillars turn into butterflies, reminding each of us that through the Grace of God, we can reach our fullest potential and FLY!
We were all so HAPPY! We closed with prayer and headed off to play soccer at the park until dark, then ice cream and HOME!
Why do I share all of this? I just wanted to share how enlightening it was today to find out… well, REMEMBER, that FAMILY is the BEST REFRESHMENT of ALL!!
Find refreshment with your family today! So many other places to look for it, no place like HOME and FAMILY to find it!
Good luck finding that refresh button for you!!
Love, The Hoffmans
Please share with us how YOU find refreshment IN your families with us!
p.s. If any of you didn’t see it, maybe you should check out ‘cupcake launching‘ by my friend Brigitte’s family!! That looked like a GREAT refreshment!!!! LOL!!
Love to all of you, M&C