Thursday, February 17, 2011

West Coast Serendipity

So far, while the benefits of The Boy's new job have been numerous, the benefits of his traveling for said job have not.  Mostly, for the three of us left at home, it has made things much harder. While I have the odd moment of mothering greatness, I hear myself getting impatient with the girls more often than I'm comfortable with. I am tired of working. I am tired of turning down jobs at work while bringing up my personal life again. I am tired of drawing attention to myself.  And, really, I'm just tired. I don't sleep well when he's away, staying up way too late (like I am now) for no good reason.

I mention this because this month is particularly bad.  This week and next, six days away, one night home, seven more days away.  Now, of course I know there are plenty of people who have it much harder than this.  I never intend to compare my life to that of actual single mothers or military families-- I know that's a whole other thing.  But this is new for me, and it's not what I'd prefer.  And even though it's not the hardest thing, it is still hard.

The second leg of three in this trip is four days in Anaheim at a conference where both my parents and my sister will also be.  We wondered if we could make it work for the girls and me to tag along. We could pay for half of the airfare with points, and then would really only need incidentals for the girls and me, the things that were not expressly for The Boy.  It was a small amount considering it was a cross-country trip, but we are in the midst of planning our anniversary trip and dealing with other financial challenges.

As I drove on the day the trip would need to be booked, I prayed a strange prayer. "Lord, if we're meant to go, please just let me find the money."  I don't really know what I meant, but I know I didn't mean "let me find it in our budget."  I was not comfortable with the idea of spending the money.  I never pray like this, but I meant something along the lines of winning a contest or a corrected bank error-- something I didn't have the creativity to imagine.  I really didn't think we were going to go.

Not 20 minutes later, visiting with a dear family friend, I mentioned we were debating the trip.  "Why wouldn't you go?" she asked.

"We're just not sure it's the best way to spend the money," I said casually.  I don't like talking about money, and this friend and I talk about many things, but that's not one of them.  As I gathered our things to go, she told me she wanted me to go to California.

"How much does the ticket cost?" she asked.

"About $300," I said, "so we'll see."

"I want you to go," she repeated, and she handed me $300 in cash.  She would not let me refuse, though I tried, dumbfounded, several times.

I called The Boy and told him to book the trip.  We had been toying with the idea of taking Mirabella to see Disney Princesses on Ice, so when we asked if she wanted to see the princesses, she thought that's what we meant.  "No, Mira," I said, "do you want to see them at their house?"  We showed her videos on Disneyland's website.

"Ohmygoodness...." she said lowly-- she could not believe such a place existed.  So we are excited to go, if for no other reason, to be somewhere we've never been and to be sleeping in the same place.  I am far less excited about a six-hour flight with a squirmy and screechy one-year-old who is inconveniently getting her canines. I'm thinking of wearing a shirt that reads "I'm sorry."

We are grateful for unexpected time together. I feel so loved-- because of our friend's generosity, for sure-- but also because God heard my ridiculous prayer and chose to bless us in this way. I'm grateful for the trip and the accompanying peace I have about it.  Now I just hope some of that peace rubs off on Emerie.

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