Road Life: The Ups & Downs
I'm tired today. My girls came downstairs at 6:30 this morning, squealing with excitement for another day of fun with friends. I wasn't ready.
But I will say, it's a different tired than normal. For almost a year, I've woken up tired every day, and there has been very little I can do to wake myself up fully. It was the kind of tired that comes from stress...work problems that had us feeling defeated and undervalued that led to anxiety and uncertainty, which caused us to withdraw from our normal life...the mom I usually am is not the mom I've been lately. I was so tired and frustrated that I no longer wanted to read to the kids at night, or play games with them, or bake with them. I was doing the bare minimum, going through my days, trying to make it to bedtime. I began to pray each day that I would be me again. And not just me, but the best version of myself, instead of the sluggish, grumpy version that wore a continuous crease on my brow.
Today however, I'm summer tired...the kind of tired that comes from playing with my kids, traveling long miles, hanging out in the sun all day, and staying up late with friends and family. The time I'm giving my kids now is once again quality, and Chris and I are having such a great time finding campsites and local attractions, cool restaurants with unique foods, and re-visiting special places we used to frequent together pre-kids.
Is it hard? Traveling thousands of miles with a 3, 5, and 7 year old is bound to come with many challenges, and yet not as many as we thought. The hardest parts to this summer on the road have to do with sleeping in different beds and the constant vacation feel where you play hard, stay up late, eat fun foods, and spend all your time together. Foster has always struggled with his behavior around other kids his age, but right now it is exacerbated by a lack of sleep and irregular routine. Living in such close quarters definitely leaves us all wanting a little alone time here and there. And my neck pain that I've lived with for years is creeping back, not only from nights spent in new places, but turning around to help a kid in the back seat every 5 minutes.
But I tell you the truth, I wouldn't trade our hardest travel day for a single day we've had over the last year before this trip began. It's been fun, it's been special, and we are healing. Our kids are expert travelers. We often go 2-3 hours in the beginning of a travel day with no entertainment save music, and one day Harper even asked to keep riding in the car after a 7-hour stretch. We've seen lots of family and so many friends, and we still plan on seeing more. The idea of moving someplace new, which has been a hard concept for our kids to grasp, is slowly becoming more appealing as they see new friendly faces in every place we visit.
We've seen bison, prairie dogs, snapping turtles, a bear, fireflies, pelicans, and caterpillars. We've played countless games of Uno, we've gone fishing, we've gone swimming, we've eaten s'mores, and we've ridden a boat. We've seen Mount Rushmore, Lake Superior, the Rockies and the Smokies, Lambeau Field, the Cincinnati Zoo, mountains and prairies, rain and sunshine. The memories we're making are worth everything to me, and I'm so glad this trip isn't over yet.
I don't know what's next for the Holohans once this summer adventure is over, and some days that adds to the list of cons. But most days it excites me, and I am confident that this summer has brought our family closer on a new level, preparing us for change and newness ahead. We have much to look forward to because we are together, and that's all I could ever ask for.