Tuesday, July 09, 2013

life is like a little boat upon the lake

We just returned from our annual pilgrimage to Michigan to visit my sister Eileen, her husband Clark, and their beautiful family.


Our vacation was a few days late starting because the whole lot of our family came down with what I think may be the worst upper respiratory virus of the year.  When I woke up on the day that we were supposed to leave and couldn't open my left eye because it was swollen shut, I decided that seeing as I couldn't actually see - embarking on a 586 mile road trip might have to wait a few days.

So, we waited.


And then we wound up coming back a few days early because that upper respiratory virus didn't really give a Claritin-D that we were on vacation and decided to stick around and make us wish we were at home in our own beds .... or at least not laying on my nieces' bathroom floor from 3-5 AM wondering if I'd just die there?

OK, so it was my decision to truncate the vacation.  

There's nothing like your own bed when you're sick. 


We drove home over the weekend along with the 10,000,000 other Americans who were returning from their holiday vacation. The traffic was ruthless. It took us more than 14 hours to drive those 586 miles and approximately 10 miles from the house at precisely 11:03 PM, poor Carolyn threw up all over herself and the backseat when she had a coughing fit.  And then, approximately 2.85 miles from the house, at approximately 11:37 PM, Charlie was pulled over by the police.


My husband hasn't had a traffic citation in more than 20 years of driving and has now been in a minor fender bender AND has received a speeding ticket in less than four months. But I say nothing. Except, "Slow down and look where you're going!"  I also suggested to Charlie that he tell the police officer that we just drove 584 miles in 14 hours with four sick children, one of whom just vomited, and PLEASE for the love of all that is holy, won't he let us GO?  But Charlie wouldn't do it.  So I suggested that he at least tell the police officer that we needed an escort to the hospital because his wife really (really) needed an IV tranquilizer.

Alas, no.  So now he is scheduled to appear before the Judge on September 9th. And I expect our insurance to go up on or about the 10th.


As the police man walked up to the window, I requested that the children ALL start crying as hard as possible. But they'd have none of that. Instead, Henry was yelling from the backseat, "CAN I SEE YOUR GUN?" while William pondered if his father was going to jail?


I told him that it might be a nice break for his overworked father if he got to go to jail for a few days and not JUST BECAUSE he doesn't take my wise advice. Consider, Charlie's the only healthy one in our family at the moment, he might get a decent night's rest away from all the coughing and complaining, someone else would cook his meals,  do his laundry, and maybe he could read a book or two. Not to mention recess! Don't inmates get recess every day?

Charlie wasn't amused.


OK. So this post wasn't supposed to be about any of those things but I'll be darned if 97% of the time I sit down to write one thing and something altogether different possesses me.


THIS POST was supposed to be about our children and how I love to see them work together in harmony. I think it's important to note that they aren't always so synchronized in their alignment and cooperation (obviously none of us are!) But as I look at these photos, I am reminded of a little song that I learned 30 years ago at camp and will sing to my children whenever I sense we (me or them) are starting to emotionally derail:

Happiness runs in a circular motion ... love is like a little boat upon the sea. 
Everybody is a part of everything anyway ... you can have it all if you let yourself be!

More often than not, if you're happy, I'm happy. If I'm happy, you're happy.  And on and on it goes. Ultimately, we should all really strive to be happy. Because guess what?  Sadness and crankiness runs in a circular motion, too!

I'm also reminded of my frequent nagging analogy that the most effective way to get things accomplished is if we WORK TOGETHER. For example, a boat won't move very fast across a lake if only one person is paddling. And so it is with cleaning the house.  So put those oars in and row!! 


This trip, albeit shorter than expected, was a refreshing break from our everyday. We: Spent time in nature; worked our bodies through exercise; bonded with our family; laughed every day; and made an abundance of memories - at least 471 of which are captured on our camera.   Thankfully, the momentum of that happiness running in a circular motion, was strong enough to get us past the humps of frustration that came from our speeding ticket, insane traffic and sickness.

Despite those challenges that always seem to exist in varying forms, we had a big dose of the best life has to offer.  And It Was Good. 


  1. Well put me in the same camp as Charlie...I got a ticket for the first time in 20 years and dinged my neighbors bumper in a matter of 2 weeks! My neighbor was out of town when it happened and seeing how he is a Navy Seal I was STRESSED at his reaction. (he was super mellow about it by the way - probably because he just got back from Afghanistan and my denting his bumper is laughable in the overall scheme of things) So sorry to hear about the latest round of illness. : (

  2. Wonderful to read that all came out *relatively* unscathed. And that damn insurance-I hear ya; I'm on tenterhooks of my own after a camera took my portrait a bit earlier this year...

  3. You forgot to mention you sisters gift of of a B and B the first day you arrived. You are doing a super job of sailing thru life and I am so proud of you---give yourself a big pat on the back. I loved being with you all. Great job on raising a caring family.

  4. Oh boy.....I therefore will not complain about my 1121 miles to get to Grandma's with my four kids and the dog. Thunderstorms, traffic, and construction but barf and ticket free. God Bless ya! (I plan to visit you next summer when we visit some other friends that moved to VA too) :)

    1. Oh .... 1121 is a lot of time spent in a car. Sometimes, I wonder how we ever managed that nearly 7K mile road trip with four children under the age of FOUR a few years ago. Really, what were we thinking?!!?! I hope we do get to see you next summer ... you better hurry, we might not be here for much longer! :)