March was long and pretty difficult this year after our horrendous winter. In fact, it was so dark and cold and sad that I’ve blocked a lot of it out. It seems like a bad dream now that it’s in the past. March is hard for me here in Boston. Always. My Utah blood feels like the world should be thawing out by then. But it just doesn’t. And my bones feel cold and my muscles ache from trying to stay warm. Of course there are worse things in the world than cold bones and long winters, but moods and sadness isn’t rational. And my march sadness doesn’t respond to me telling it to snap out of it, to count my blessings.
Our trusty old mini van broke down. The engine just seized on the freeway one day while I was en route to pick up Hazel from her YMCA homeschool class. It’s quite possible that this engine seizing was an answer to Jeff’s prayers. He pretty much detested that rusty old car, was kind of mortified to be seen in it. I, on the other hand, loved that car. I love driving an old dented up machine. It’s free of worries, I can smash into snow banks and it makes me feel free and like I’m saving up my pennies for things that matter more to me than the car I drive. I wanted to create a bumper sticker for the thing that said “Excuse the rust, we went to Europe instead.”
But then it died. And as I sat on the side of the road waiting for that tow truck to come my dreams of the Europe trip I had been planning for years started to die too. How could we afford to buy a new car AND go to Europe this summer like I had been scrimping and saving and working to do?
I felt pretty stuck on the said of the road that day. Stuck in my life. Unable to make anything I really wanted to happen happen. We’ve all felt that way, right? Sometimes the stuck situation is much more grave than a broken car and crushed adventure dreams. But stuck is stuck and it’s not a very powerful or happy or hopeful feeling.
I sat with that stuck feeling for a few weeks and even though the world began to thaw around me, I felt like the ground under my feet was frozen in place. During those weeks I searched for affordable cars and airplane tickets. And slowly I buried my dream of taking my kids to Europe to visit family by telling myself over and over that it was more important for me to be responsible than adventurous.
And then I started to feel buried myself.
And then one day, sort of out of the blue, we found a great deal on a *very used* car and incredibly cheap tickets to Europe. I kept searching Kayak and the prices kept going down. So in a frenzy of we-might-miss-these-if-we-don’t I booked the tickets and we bought the car. All in the same crazy irresponsible day.
Here’s what went through my mind as I made these quick decisions that day: this moment will not come back. How do I want to spend my life? What will my kids remember? Money comes and money goes. Would I rather have $6000 more in my long term savings or the bank of memories and knowledge and perspective we’ll save up on this trip? Would I rather have a newer car or an adventure?
And this thought process brought me to click the click submit button.
I had butterflies in my stomach for days.
And I felt suddenly alive. Like I had woken up from a deep long sleep that I never really realized I was in. The world felt colorful again, and things felt right. And that felt good.
Now, I am NOT saying that the answer to the question of responsible vs. adventure is always adventure. Nor am I saying that it’s better to spend than to save. And I do realize, very keenly, how incredibly fortunate I am to be able to even have a choice about what to do with money. But I am saying that I followed my heart rather than my logical brain that day and I’m so glad that I did. It’s exactly what our family needed. And I’m also saying that there is often a way to make things work out in a way that enables you to follow your dreams. I believe that God puts dreams in us to push us in the direction He wants us to be.
Anyway, I set out to just post a few funny shots from our real life March, and that whole spiel came out. I guess it needed to be documented somewhere. It was a real defining point for me this year. Here’s Em and Peter saying goodbye to our van before we sold it for scrap metal. That old car carried us through so many adventures as a family. We bought it when we had one child, and we’ve run it to the ground. I hate seeing big pieces of your family life go away. Peter went to Sky Zone. Look at that hair!Emmeline and Charlie waiting for their carpool ride. Look at that yucky snow. For me seasonal defective disorder is more about the ugliness around me than it is about the lack of sunshine. It’s hard for me not to behold beauty in the world around me. But the ugliness of March does make me take a deeper look at how beautiful my children’s faces are to me. They are the most beautiful sight I see during those non-spring months. I love these sleeping people. One of my very most favorite things about being a mom is watching my children sleep. For some reason on this night these two were put to sleep in our bed. We never sleep with our kids, so it was pretty novel and beautiful to me to see them curled up there, safe and secure. Joyce had a birthday. Heidi and I got to take her to breakfast and buy her her very first eggs benedict. I love that woman and the love she brings into our life. Hazel continued her party planning business. Her sibling even commissioned her to do parties for some of our stufties. We had a few thank goodness it’s Friday family tea parties. I wanted to make this a thing, but it was too much work become consistent. We sure did have fun when we did pull it off. I love having a little time at the end of the week to just sit and be and talk and eat. Maybe next year it will become more regular. Then again, maybe not.
And, last one for now, I love this scene of these kids playing together. One of my very most favorite things in all the world is when kids play nicely together. I need to write a whole post on this topic because it’s really one of my kids talents. When the stars all align and they get into a groove they can play crazy intricate, imaginative games together for hours. It doesn’t happen all the time, but when it does, it is golden.
So, to tie this random post up? Life is good. March stinks. When the world around you is sleepy and ugly you need to find the beauty in little things. Adventure makes me feel alive. And sometimes it’s the right thing to not be totally responsible. To seize a now or never and not look back.