Friday, August 5, 2016

Harris Family Reunion

I still have a proper post about my dad’s death just sitting inside of me. Scrambled and unwritten, but asking to be written. My own inner self I suppose – afraid of forgetting. Afraid of not ever fully processing or making sense of it all. And that is one of the things that has worried me – perhaps unnecessarily: that there has been no real time to truly sit and mourn and turn everything over in my mind until I’ve seen every angle, fully swum through each emotion and allowed the situation to become . . . learned from and properly understood. Instead I go about thinking all is fine and then weeping over various nonsense things. (One morning found me literally curled up in a ball – sobbing to Mike that I can never get out and run regularly. Haha. I like to think I’m too self aware for silly things like displaced emotions, but . . . I’m proving myself otherwise.)

At the same time, maybe coping and learning also occurs simply by . . . moving along through life’s demands and routines and joys; taking care of kids, folding piles of laundry, carrying on with adventures, trusting that the proper insights and growth will find ways to sneak into life’s demands. I don’t know this, really. I just hope.

In any case, as I mentioned in the last post, there has hardly been time for five minutes of thinking! For good or ill, life has been a whirlwind of activity since my dad’s passing.

First off was a reunion up at Bear Lake with Mike’s family.

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This year was extra wild for me. Two babies needing naps and whose tantruming demands begged early bedtimes meant I snuck back to our own cabin fairly regularly so that Mike and my older kids could more easily be a part of cousin activities.

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While I was a bit hyper-aware (particularly after just having announced another baby coming) of how frazzled we must have seemed; and while I would have truly loved having been able to more easily enjoy conversation and time with Mike’s siblings, their spouses and kids (I truly did get incredibly lucky in the in-law department! It hardly seems fair after already having come to such an amazing family of my own!); I was quite content to be at our own little cabin with things a little more quiet and calm there than they usually are.

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And, particularly after having abandoned my little family throughout much of the month prior, it gave me great happiness to have them enjoying themselves so much. I liked Mike being able to stay late at the bigger lodge to visit with his siblings. I liked my kids getting to spend full days playing and laughing with cousins. And they had so much fun! Beyond the usual – good food, pool games (as in with pool table and pool balls), movies, talent shows, crafts, etc. – Mike rented a wave runner one day, and, another day, Mike’s older brother paid for a lot of the older cousins (Abe and Daisy included) to try some hydro-flight adventure where they got to be pulled behind a boat while having water shoot them up into the air from some magical boots they were wearing. They had the best time!

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Lots of memories for all of us this summer!

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This Summer

We started this summer stepping onto an old merry-go-round. Still, a bit rusted, and long out-of-use. I put in a couple of quarters and the gears began churning us ‘round at a slow and laborious pace. Eventually it seemed to find its rhythm and we began moving leisurely but steadily . . .

We started to find our summer way of living. We began to sort the shocking new space of freedom into routines, activities and relied-upons. Abe had early morning driver’s ed classes. The girls began finding ways to fill their time. We established some predictable activities like letting the older kids each bring a friend to do baptisms for the dead at the temple each Thursday. It looked like summer was set out clearly before us. We thought we knew what it would be.

Photo Jul 05, 4 01 29 AMPhoto Jul 01, 6 58 57 AMPhoto Jul 25, 8 11 55 AMPhoto Jul 13, 5 21 07 PMPhoto Jul 25, 9 31 21 AMPhoto Jul 26, 9 50 39 AMPhoto Jul 26, 10 15 04 PMPhoto Jun 20, 12 29 40 PMPhoto Jun 16, 6 54 05 AMPhoto Jul 30, 7 52 14 AM (1)Photo Jul 30, 11 27 37 AMPhoto Jun 26, 9 17 59 PMPhoto Jun 12, 10 01 36 PMPhoto Jun 20, 6 37 43 AMPhoto Jun 18, 6 29 41 AMPhoto Jun 08, 5 02 02 PMPhoto Jun 27, 4 10 52 PM

But then, with no real warning and no gentle increase in speed, the merry-go-round simply took off – spinning at a dizzying pace: all of us holding on, clueless as to how it happened or how to slow it down, and unable to fully make sense of the ride at all!

My dad fell and broke his hip. None of us knew what that meant. What the road ahead for him, my mom, or us would be. The next weeks were the same type of blur for me that the sleepless first spell with a newborn are. Mike spent some of that time away for work. Abe was gone for camp. Our new routines were all put on hold as I struggled to be a mom and wife while abandoning my little family for several hours nearly every day (and several times nearly entire days) in my anxiousness to be with my dad. And then, after three weeks of that, he was gone. (An experience about which I’ve begun – and failed to finish – about 30 blog posts.)

Photo Jul 06, 3 36 04 PMPhoto Jul 13, 9 01 59 PMPhoto Jun 20, 2 51 56 PM

During that time Mike received news he would need to be in GA for nearly all of August (St. Simon’s Island – a place we already knew loved). He wanted us all to come, but we didn’t dare plan or commit to anything while things with my dad were so uncertain. Then there was a week with funeral planning and family. Followed immediately by a week-long family reunion with Mike’s family. One small week home to unpack and repack, arrange flights and drives, register for schools, arrange for things we’d be missing, work on a flooded basement (the night before and most of the first day that Mike was supposed to have left with half of the kids on the drive to GA). And then, we were all here! 2000 plus miles from home. On St. Simon’s Island. When we arrive home again school will be starting (the next day!). And this summer will have come to a close.

I can’t quite wrap my mind around it all! When I think of us at the start of this summer – my expectations and assumptions. And then see the wild and in every way (hard, overwhelming, happy and exciting) unexpectedness of how it actually all has gone I feel . . . a bit in shock. Not only, I suppose, because of this summer itself, but because it strikes me so strongly that life can do this – that it can, with each new day, week, or month, become something wholly different from what we thought we saw on the horizon. Which is both scary and exciting!

Photo Aug 01, 6 36 07 AMPhoto Aug 02, 5 27 03 PMPhoto Aug 02, 5 36 53 AMPhoto Aug 03, 5 08 55 AMPhoto Aug 03, 5 09 52 AMPhoto Aug 04, 2 41 06 PMPhoto Aug 03, 11 19 45 AMPhoto Aug 03, 9 26 41 AMPhoto Aug 03, 11 29 08 AMPhoto Aug 03, 11 32 05 AMPhoto Aug 04, 1 50 15 AMPhoto Aug 03, 12 08 42 PMPhoto Aug 04, 1 48 44 AMPhoto Aug 04, 6 16 34 PM

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