On the way to Maui we almost missed our flight. The gate agent informed us that the gate was closing in three minutes and they were pulling our bags from the plane.
I told her that we were quite prompt, then, arriving exactly three minutes early! Mercifully, they still let us onboard.
The two of us were late because I convinced Mike that we had plenty of time during our layover to grab a sandwich from the USO. I’m deeply invested in snacks these days. It turns out that we did not, in fact have enough time, and certainly not plenty of it. We made the flight only because I sweet-talked the TSA agents into letting us skip the security line and then sprinted down the tile floors of Terminal 7– all while carrying a neck pillow, carry-on bag, and 7-months incubated baby. Luckily and for now, I can carry the baby hands-free. It’s so convenient.
All the other passengers had arrived way earlier. They were seated, buckled, and half asleep by the time Mike and I boarded. These were the people with a vacation plan, a Hawaiian island plan. Most of the women had fake plumeria flowers clipped in their hair and the men had linen shirts with polarized sunglasses dangling around their unbuttoned collars.
We squeezed down the narrow aisle while I wondered if I remembered my sunglasses. I silently applauded myself for remembering both the neck pillow and the baby.
I am told that that our variety of vacation was called a “babymoon.” It is like a honeymoon, but different because the bride has gained lots of weight and everyone already knows the marriage has been consummated. Wikipedia defines a babymoon as the trip a couple takes to enjoy time together before sacrificing sleep forevermore. I try not to think about that last part. It makes me too tired.
The grown-up part of me categorized our babymoon as a strategic parenting conference for parents-to-be, a time devoted to coordinating a list of in-house parenting criteria.
Pinterest taught me that all good parents keep chalkboards in their house with neatly displayed household criteria: “In the house, we believe…” I thought that maybe in Maui we would figure out what to put on our chalkboard.
But instead of chalkboard-strategizing, Mike and I spent the whole week being our reckless selves, hiking and exploring and talking to strangers. We sat in silence at scenic lookout points, watched surfers dance on giant waves, snorkeled in a wild aquarium known as the sea. We climbed on lava rock and drove up serpentine roads that pierced through lazy clouds. We jumped into a waterfall at the end of one trailhead and the water felt like refrigerated betrayal. The island sun bleached my eyebrows into invisibility and the ocean mist gave my curly hair an untreatable case of rabies, but I didn’t care. On vacation you’re allowed to look like a lunatic. That’s what I kept telling Mike. He mostly looked like a sun kissed version of normal during the vacation.
By the the end of the trip I realized we still didn’t have a strategy. We didn’t have anything to put on a parenting chalkboard. Neither of us knew how to finish the sentence, “When we are parents….”
So on the flight home, I brought my laptop. I resolved to use the five hour flight to blog, write, or journal until a strategy surfaced. The plane took off, I fell asleep, read a book, and then accidentally watched an entire in-flight movie about magicians who rob a bank. After the movie ended, I spent a great deal longer contemplating how Morgan Freeman accidentally got cast in the movie as the bad guy. It didn’t make any sense.
Then the plane abruptly landed in California. I de-boarded, yet again, without a chalkboard strategy. I also de-boarded without the laptop. It had slipped beneath the seat in front of me while I was distracted by Morgan Freeman, my hunger, and the disorientation of traveling across time zones.
It’s now been a week and I’m still waiting on both my laptop and my eyebrows to be returned to me.
That is why this blog post has been sitting in my draft box for the past seven days. That is why I’m writing today on Mike’s college computer, the one without crumb confetti wedged in the the keyboard and without a single piece of file clutter on the desktop. It’s like writing in a hospital, but I’m doing it anyways.
And now– as I write and blog— some clarity rises to the surface. I realize that our real-life parenting strategy can be summed up in the highlights of the past reckless week. It seems that we accidentally cultivated a value-system through experience, which may be the only way to do it.
So in this house…
- We try to make it to places on time. Sometimes we do. Just barely.
- We value fitness, because in a pinch (and in Terminal 7), running helps us accomplish goal #1.
- We think the word “effortlessly” should be easier to say.
- We hike and explore and talk to strangers. When we see mountains, we try to climb them. Sometimes we jump into waterfalls, if only to remind ourselves to use better discretion next time.
- We understand that it’s okay to look like a lunatic. This comes more naturally to some than others.
- We prefer movies where Morgan Freeman is either a) the good guy, or b) the narrator.
- We disagree on how to properly maintain a computer.
- We are our reckless selves, for better or for worse.
- We are thankful for grace, because of #8. We forget things, lose things, risk things, and each time we recover, because grace lives here, because Jesus sources it for free.
That’s as far as we have gotten. It would be nice if the list rounded out at 5 or 10 things, but it’s still evolving. Like us. Like this baby. Like this house. It’s a reckless work in progress.