One of the differences between my husband and myself is that I am not very spontaneous. So, when he came into the kitchen Saturday afternoon announcing, "We've got nothing going on tonight, we're going to the ranch!" I will admit my initial response was negative.
"The ranch" is a property two hours west of our house that some friends of our's bought last fall. In a nutshell, it's a 270-acre family escape which now boasts a 3 bedroom, 2 bath metal building they have lovingly spent months turning into a second home. In addition, they had just bought a new mule (no, not the kind with 4-legs and hair) and they were looking for some friends to come out and enjoy the view.
Right before I launched into the reason(s) why we couldn't just pick up and go away for the night, I took a moment to think about why the idea of doing so made me anxious. (Putting into practice staying in the present moment, pausing to evaluate what I am feeling, so that I can respond rather than react to life).
Identifying that I was dealing with the what if's of uncertainty, causing myself great angst for really no reason, I said, "It's just that we've never left the kids all alone for the night. Allen-Michael won't be home from work until very late, Brigham might have a tennis match planned and Maddux and Mia would have hours of free time on their electronics. I just don't know if it's a good idea."
"Okay, then we'll bring them."
Knowing my kids are about as spontaneous as I am, I brace myself for the conversation about going to the ranch. To my surprise they are on board, until I tell them we are spending the night. Then they decide they absolutely want to take a pass.
So, now I have a decision to make...just pack a bag and go (making my husband and my friends happy...ultimately knowing my kids will be just fine), or tell my husband we need to plan the excursion for a different weekend when I am better prepared to leave the kids...maybe when my mom can watch them or something.
I begin to think about the word just....it seems so limiting...how many times have I used this 4-letter word to describe feeling less-than (capable, deserving, ready, adequate)?
If I could JUST get to an average of a thousand views a day on the website I would know I am headed in the right direction, that writing is what God really wants me to be doing.
If Chicken Soup for the Soul would JUST send me an email saying they are publishing my story in their next book I would feel like I've accomplished something.
If I could have JUST gotten Brigham to see how important it was to do more volunteering during his high school career he wouldn't be so worried about the way his college application looks.
If I could JUST get my kids to want to go swimming instead of watching endless episodes of Dr. Who...
I've decided I hate the word just. It's so restrictive.
Ultimately I decided to embrace the offer put in front of me. My kids did fine, in fact, they absolutely LOVED the idea of mom and dad being gone for the night (I mean, who wouldn't get giddy over unlimited electronic use and unsupervised meals). Tom and I had the chance to enjoy several hours of uninterrupted conversation during our travels, I got to see an area of Texas I hadn't yet encountered, and we had the opportunity to ride the mule throughout the property during a beautiful sunset with our friends...
It was enough to let go and grasp the moment knowing the chance to be spontaneous happens just once in a while during these years of raising kids.
This is a picture I took of my view as I rocked back and forth on the porch Sunday morning.