We have been living at my parent's house for a week now, all eight of us evicted from our usual surroundings, and dropped into a beautiful three bedroom home in a seaside village. We left our home because our kitchen is being expanded, our master bedroom turned into a dining room, and our office/old dining room is being turned into the new master bedroom. My parents are not living in the house because they are living la vida loca in Florida for the month of February, but due to return home in a couple days.
|I mean, really, why do we all not live in Florida? Smart move, Grace.|
There have been some definite perks to this situation. For starters, I love the village in which my parents live. My two sisters and their families live there also, and it's so nice to meet up at playgrounds and let all the cousins play together. When Phil and I can escape for long walks, we walk to the beach and say hello to the ocean and walk back and admire the gorgeous beach houses along the way. There is a sense that we are on vacation when we stay there. Even though we are still going to work and school, there seems to be less demands on our time as when we are at home - no house projects to do or bedroom furniture to rearrange, or yard work calling
our his name. Even our cat, Evie, seems to enjoy the new digs, picking the best spot on the couch as her own.
|Trying to hide amidst the choas|
But of course, when you're not living at home, there are some downsides. We are living out of suitcases and have very few outfits to choose from each day. This works great for the kids, who wear school uniforms, but I'm wondering how long people at work will realize that my outfits are on a four day repeat. Because we don't know exactly when we will be able to return home (contractors, electricians, and building permits can't seem to align in a time sensitive manner), we are sort of meal-planning for each day. I find myself stopping by the grocery store much more frequently, purchasing meals for that day only, like I used to watch the village ladies do in Austria when I was in college. We are so euro chic. All the kids' activities also seem so much further away now, basketball practices are 17 minutes away instead of 6, games are 20 minutes away instead of 5, etc. Phil keeps popping by our house to check in on the work, but also to pick up the items we forgot to pack, and there seems to be something desperately needed each day from at least one of our family members.
But, as small as these annoyances are, we are so grateful to be able to escape the renovations and live in peace and quiet (well relatively speaking...it's just the normal hustle and bustle of the children). Look at the mess our house is in...
Living away from home, out of our comfort zone, has been such a great Lenten thing for us to do. I always feel like no matter what I choose to "do for Lent", God gives me what I need more. And this Lent, He's private tutoring me in detachment.
The hardest detachment for me has been from our nightly tv shows. That is so pathetic. Yes, my parents have a tv, but all of our previously recorded shows are on our dvr at home, and we never watch tv in real time, we're always an episode behind, so I can't watch the new episode as it airs since I haven't yet watched the previous episode recorded back at home. #firstworldproblems BUT, this means we've been reading more, talking more, and sleeping more.
The longer drive times everywhere means we have to get moving even earlier than normal in the morning, and that's hard for this pregger to do. BUT it also means more time in the car which means I can pray a whole rosary on the way to work, and have great one-on-one conversations with the kids as I chauffeur them around. Yesterday, while driving to and from the orthodontist, JP and I had a lovely talk about what's going on in his world. I love that boy so much and feel so lucky we got a good egg to lead our pack.
The clothing, as I already complained about, is another big detachment for me. I'm no fashion diva, but sometimes I try on an outfit or three before deciding what to wear. BUT this forced capsule suitcase wardrobe has saved me time, energy, and from the temptation to vanity. It also means we are very on top of the laundry game, and having the washer/dryer on the first floor has been so nice! Especially for Phil as he is the basement launderer at home.
Having our home renovated without seeing it happen (my choice, it stresses me out), and having to constantly make decisions and choose appliances, light fixtures, cabinets, counters is very hard for me. (Yes, I would like some cheese with my whine.) I can usually think about it for about five minutes before I shut down and become exhausted, which is super fun for Phil. BUT, letting go of some control, letting go of some financial savings, and letting go of my selfish, lazy desires has pushed me to grow up a bit.
And the most widespread detachment of this nomad life has been letting go of the daily comforts I indulge in. The snacks that are hidden away, normally munched on at night, the comforter I wrap myself in as I watch tv and fall asleep on the couch, the kids toys/sports equipment/books/movies that keep them occupied without involving my attention, my king sized bed that once was a splurge, but now feels like a necessity, my jewelry and shoes and various coats that can change up a look, my scented lotion I use daily, the sound machine we sleep with, I could go on and on. BUT denying these small things each day has reminded me to "offer it up" for those suffering much (MUCH) worse. If somehow my tiny sacrifice of not eating sour cream & cheddar chips can be a prayer for a sick child somewhere, then I should be happy to do it.
Above all, these nomad life lessons have taught me to be grateful for all that I have in my life. Some detachment lessons were long overdue, and I hope I can take these reminders back with me when I have it all at my fingertips again. Absence makes the heart grow fonder, right?
You win, Lent. You always do :)