Sunday, September 13, 2009

16 X 16

It’s raining. Not just sprinkling but pouring. “Drops are plummeting” is what Julia said earlier in the evening. I love rain, but not necessarily rain at the lake. Not when we brought the boat. This was supposed to be our last weekend to take it out before parking it for the winter. The only water our boat has touched is the kind that is “plummeting” out of the sky. On our short lake trips, we stay in a 16x16 one room cabin at a church camp. One room. 16x16. It’s raining. Jeff and I knew the forecast but this is a big county, right? Scattered thunderstorms could be MILES away from us. Determined to have time together, we risked the weather. The weather certainly has scattered ALL over us and we certainly have had time together. Thanks to rain and a 16x16 one room cabin.
Unfortunately, this was the first trip I was determined to practice the minimalist’s method of packing and it turned out to be the trip I needed every good idea that ever passed through my head. I only brought a handful, not a bagful like I usually do, of books and we finished those before lunch. I brought no cards or games of any kind. I didn’t pack s’more ingredients because it felt like it was 100 degrees when I was packing and I could not imagine a fire being any fun at all and tonight we found ourselves sitting on the porch wrapped in blankets. Chocolate and hot marshmallows smushed between two graham crackers would have filled our empty sweet corners perfectly.
Since we couldn’t do anything about the boo-koodles of rain falling from the sky and the dimensions of our cabin, we decided to remedy a couple of things. We made a quick trip to the local Wal-Mart and purchased the game of LIFE, one small Lego kit for Brighton and a new book for Julia. So while the clouds emptied themselves continually, we sat in our 16x16 space and learned to play LIFE. I think Jeff and I found out we had never actually finished a game of LIFE before. The only things we remembered were how fun the spinner was to spin and how difficult it was to put those plastic kids in the back seat. As for the book Julia chose, I got completely sucked in. The Doll People. * Delightful. As we reluctantly put it down this afternoon, I noticed we had read over a hundred pages already. It’s a tale about a dollhouse family who comes to life when the owners are away or asleep. They were handcrafted in 1898 and have been handed down four generations. They have seen a lot over their one hundred years and yet they are all still the same age.......of course. It is wonderfully written and I have enjoyed every page, especially the ones when the youngest sister brings in the Rancher family for a visit. Jeff and Brighton mastered the Lego kit giving Julia and I time to read Doll family adventures. We were wishing Jeff had purchased a half a dozen Lego sets.

To pass the time before bedtime tonight, I decided to “interview” Julia and Brighton – you know, ask them all those typical questions like, what is your favorite color, what do you want to be when you grow up, what is your favorite thing to do etc. Some of their answers were funny, like when I asked B how old I was, he said 60. (Well, kind of funny.) When Jeff asked him how many children he wanted once he was married, he said ten. When I asked Julia what MY favorite thing to do was, she answered, “Spend time with us and take naps.” Hmmm…… She thought Jeff’s favorite thing to do was to go to Lowes and work on house projects. My favorite answers were when I asked Brighton where he would live when he got married, he said, “By you.” When I asked Julia what her favorite thing to do with Daddy was, she said, “Have hot chocolate with Daddy early in the morning.”

Most of their responses were what I had expected, but what I am still thinking about is that even after being “stuck” in our 16x16 cabin, a theme still ran through their answers. “Just being with you.” “Spending time with my family.” “Loving you.” “Being together as a big happy family.” (That last one has been a phrase of B’s since he was 3.) Needless to say, these answers are highlighted in bright yellow in my mind. This uninterrupted time and focused attention on them meets a need I sometimes forget about. Sure, I home school them. Sure, Jeff does fun things with them, but honestly, we normally have an agenda- something to accomplish, a time constraint of some kind. Do I dare say it is difficult to completely “unplug” and engage with a 7 and 5 year old? Well, it is, but after this weekend, I say the effort it takes to shift our mind set is well worth it and an easier groove to get into than I think. But it is definitely a choice to make. So, now that everyone is asleep and the only sounds I hear are the rain still pinging the roof of the cabin and a squirmy sleeper in the bunk above me, I am wishing I had gotten a little deeper in the groove. I promise not to wait until the next time I am in a 16x16 one room cabin at the lake on a completely soggy weekend!

B found my OLD stash of pull-ups in the "lake tote"--- the effects of rain in a small space

* If you check the link on the book, you will notice it is a series. I know nothing about all the other books, but we LOVED this first one.


Dondra said...
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Dondra said...

Sounds like fun! It makes me want to curl up somewhere with my family of 3!

Alyssa said...

Sounds like God knew just what you needed--a little rain so you could be "wrapped in rain"? I love the interview idea! You should do that every year!