kariskhaos


Alone?

Sitting by the window I find myself itching to write. Out the small oval portal of my seat I can find nothing but blue ocean and fluffy white clouds. I am alone, actually the flight is full, I have a couple from Australia next to me but for all intense and purposes I am alone. I have no husband here, none of my four teenagers, no sisters or other family, I am alone. It is almost a foreign feeling to me, a novel concept, a dream/nightmare where I am not quite sure how to behave. I can not remember the last time I traveled by myself. This is not a trip to see anybody, not because I am needed anywhere, not for an anniversary, birthday or another worthy occasion. This outing is a designed vacation to a beautiful destination just because.

I think I am in shock, I have not eagerly anticipated this trip, I have been almost embarrassed to tell people what I was doing. “Who are you going with?” “Whats the occasion?” “What will you do?” Alone? You are going alone? Well, not completely, my parents will be there when I arrive, they are generously giving me a couch to sleep on in the condo of their resort for five nights. I have not been alone with them for five days since I was last living with them twenty plus years ago.

I am going to a familiar place, a fabulous resort in Ixtapa, Mexico where my parents bought into a time share about 14 years ago. I have come every other year for Thanksgiving week with my whole family- my kids, my sister and her kid, my other sister and her husband, and my parents. This is the off year, the year my parents go by themselves. I have never been here alone. I do not know Ixtapa without my kids, and husband, and sisters. I have no experience, no memory, nothing to anticipate doing because I have never done it by myself.

I have been told that I do not take care of myself, that I do too much, that I push myself too hard and need to be better at self care. These are wise words from good friends and family. An opportunity came for me to go to Mexico, by myself and I actually did it. My amazing husband encouraged me to go, my kids said why not? My parents actually seemed pleased at the opportunity to have me alone.

The turbulence of the plane brings me back to reality, I hear the flight attendant droning on about the mileage program. I look out the window, see the ocean, the blue sky and I take a big breath in, exhaling slowly; letting the stress, the hurried chaotic life I live on a regular basis leave. I am here by myself but in reality far from alone.

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Day eighteen, the last night

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Sunshine warms my face, and Gus sleeps at my feet as I enjoy the breakfast/ lunch that Christian made for me. I slept in for the first morning of my time here, and had no agenda for the day. Christian had asked that we go to a beach since we have spent all our time working on the cabin. John wanted to work a few more hours on the property so the rest us took off for Bennett Bay. The boys and Gus venture down the beach to rock hop and climb to the end of the bay. Jessie, her friend Jas, and I sat down to soak up the sun.

It was hard to believe that this is my last full day on the island. I am so thankful for the time here, and the house is looking great. I created a little vignette of my grandmothers hats, purses, gloves and jewelry in honor of her amazing collection. I have loved seeing my children invest in the house that was built by their great grandparents. I am so proud of their hard work, and how their investment will pay off for future generations of our family.

We ventured down to jump off the dock, and even though Isaac and John did not jump, we all walked together down the hill and onto the dock. It is moments like this that I treasure. I etch the moment in my heart, and know that I will be able to recall this feeling, this smell, this special time in the future.

We end the night at the lighthouse. A beautiful sunset, a baby seal barking out to his mamma, and the waves slapping the shore. This is a perfect day, a beautiful night and fitting end to my special time on my special island.

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Whimsical Wednesday: A Day Off

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Whimsical Wednesday: A Day Off

The Sun woke me earlier than I had hoped this morning but it is hard to complain about sunshine. I had arranged to meet my friend Kim at the bakery, and then we would hike Mt. Parke. I was ready for a break, needed to be away from the kids and be out of the house. Gus and I walked down to the bakery, I grabbed a pastry and sat outside. Kim is a wonderful woman I met on the island about ten years ago when our kids were all in a day camp the island had. Her daughter Jas is Isaac’s age, but Jessie and she bonded and became fast friends.

Now when I come to the island she is someone I seek out. We walk and talk and have a friendship built on intimate moments together in a short time, while we are both on island. They have just finished building their home out by the light house and it is beautiful. Kim and her family live in a suburb of Vancouver and also ‘Summer’ on Mayne. It has been a wonderful to have a friend and kindred spirit on the island to look forward to seeing.

We loaded Gus into her car and drove to the trail head. This particular climb brings you to the top of the island and the views are incredible. It is always a must do on my list when we come to the island, and the chance to hike, spend time with a dear friend, exercise, and get space from my wonderful children was just what I needed. We caught up on each others year, shared our hearts, moaned about getting older, having teenagers and finding time for ourselves. It was perfect.

The view from the top is breathtaking. You look out over the water to other islands, ferries, and other boat traffic, mountains in the far distance, and eagles soaring below you. It is hard for me to believe that there is anything any more beautiful anywhere on earth. We finished the hike, and had a wonderful lunch on her deck. Life is good and a day off is just what the doctor ordered.

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Day sixteen on my island, contemplative

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The sun sets on day sixteen over the island. A lone seal swims as a sliver of the moon rises. The water is rougher than usual, but the sun set one of the most beautiful. Today is the first day I have been seriously annoyed and ready for a break from my kids. Isaac especially. That is a pretty good record for us. We have been living, working, and playing together for over two weeks and today is the first I have raised my voice in pure annoyance.

Isaac, who loves to push all of our buttons has been relatively calm and amiable. He has been a hard worker and fun to play cards, and other games with. Today he reached his limit at the same exact time I reached mine. This is not a good thing. Fireworks fly as we both express our isolation frustration.

The majority of the projects are done, my dad told me the house and property look the best they have since my grandparents were alive, and living here on the island. Jessie and I finished our four-year sea glass mosaic project, and the sun which had been hiding for a few days, came out again.

Time seems to be catching up with me and I am tired tonight. I think about turning 45 next week, and for the first time ever I have mixed emotions about my birthday. I will have finished my goal of blogging everyday for a year, and our oldest son will be a senior in high school. I will be halfway to 90. This must be Isaac’s fault because my brain is in a negative space and he has been ornery today. That is one of the good things about having kids, there is always someone to blame.

Tomorrow is a new day, and I will spending time away from my kids, going for my favorite hike with a special island friend who I connect with once a year. We will catch up on each others lives, laugh, and enjoy the best view of the whole island. Maybe from the top of the island I will gain perspective, and find a new goal. Tonight I will fall asleep to the lullaby of ferry boats and the promise of another day.

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Day fifteen, games

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Day fifteen, games

The seven of us sat around the table. John has been talking loudly about his strategy, confident of his plan and then gets saddled with the Queen of Spades. Jessie, poor girl, can not win at Hearts if her life is on the line, and Isaac always wheedles his way in the top three. One of the highlights of being on the island is playing card games and board games with the family. As I type this at the dining room table, Jessie and her Granpa are playing cribbage. I learned to play cribbage at this very table with my grandpa.

We have broken the table playing “PIT”, and I have been in tears laughing as our family tried to explain “Apples to Apples” to a new friend. Isaac is the games master and loves to win. He has a very strategical mind that serves him well in most games. Our favorite in the past few years has been “Settlers of Catan” and night after night here you can find us at the table trading for brick and building roads. It has actually been one game that the winning is pretty evenly divided among us.

This year I bought a new game, “7 Wonders” a complicated game that has us all a bit perplexed as to how to win. It is very fun, and I think a new favorite, but it is yet to be decided. Throw in a game of Hearts or a few hands of Casino and this family is set. I love to play because it is multigenerational, and traditions passed from one generation to another. It is a fun way for all of us to connect and find more common ground. I know that this will be one of the memories painted on their hearts when they think of these summers on the island.

“Well Granpa we are even for the night, one win each” Jessie says with a smile. “I was just taking it easy on you” Granpa replies with a smile. Isaac comes back into the room and asks what game are we all playing tonight. I laugh and say well if last night was any indication it does not matter because I will win. This of course sets in motion a heated and animated discussion about who wins the most. The final word being Granpa because he has lived longer than anyone else and therefore has more accumulated wins. Not a bad argument, I will have to remember it for the future.

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Sunday Blessing: Rest
July 22, 2012, 8:50 pm
Filed under: blessings, nature, Parenting, prayer, Sleep, Teenagers, travel | Tags: , , , , ,

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Sunday Blessing: Rest

I enter the last week on the island with mixed feelings. As I sit on the deck with my dog at my feet, my dad resting besides me and my mom reading a book there is a real feeling of accomplishment. So often my dad arrives here with so much to do that he has little down time. It has become difficult for him to relax as his mind races from project to project that needs to be done. The kids and I have taken care of that, and so he gets to rest. Imagine that, coming to your ‘vacation’ cabin and actually resting.

Don’t underestimate the value of Doing Nothing, of just going along, listening to all the things you can’t hear, and not bothering. ~Pooh’s Little Instruction Book, inspired by A.A. Milne

There is precious little hope to be got out of whatever keeps us industrious, but there is a chance for us whenever we cease work and become stargazers. ~H.M. Tomlinson

Rest is not idleness, and to lie sometimes on the grass under trees on a summer’s day, listening to the murmur of the water, or watching the clouds float across the sky, is by no means a waste of time. ~J. Lubbock

“May the raindrops fall lightly on your brow. May the soft winds freshen your spirit. May the sunshine brighten your heart. May the burdens of the day rest lightly upon you, and may God enfold you in the mantle of His love.” ~ Irish blessing

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Saturday Story Time: a love from the distance

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Saturday Story Time:

I wandered through the gardens, meandering through the quilts and flowers. A quilt show of over two hundred quilts artistically placed throughout the Japanese Garden’s. I came by myself as the kids were not interested. I was happy to be alone, needed the space and the quiet. My mind was scattered and I was struggling to find my peace. I was in my favorite place, it was a beautiful day and I had even had my lemon tarts this morning. I sat down in the sun, on a bench in the garden,and searched my heart for the source of my discontent.

The answer came fast and sure like a splash of ice-cold water. I miss my husband. It has been two weeks without seeing him. Spotty Internet connections have made it difficult to Skype and texting is wonderful but not quite the same. It is said that absence makes the heart grow fonder, and this year has been a testament to the truth of that. We have chosen a life that puts us away from each other for most weekdays. Scott spends his weekdays working in Eugene, so the kids and I can stay at our home in Bend. It has been a sacrifice for all of us, but certainly the hardest for him.

When I am at home, in my routine, and busy with the life we lead in sports, jobs, and the chaos of four teenagers it seems a bit easier to be away from Scott. It is never easy and we both hate it, but time goes by quickly during the week. Now being here on the island, with time and stress on the slow side, my heart feels his absence in new ways. There is so much I want to share with him, so many little moments when I look up to catch his eye and realize he is not there. I reach for him at night and get a moan of surprise from my daughter.

This island holds amazing memories for the two of us. Scott has fallen in love with it as much as me, and together we have explored the beaches, water ways, and hikes as a couple, a family of three, four and six. We bought our canoe, arrived by boat, ferry and hopefully someday by sea plane. It is here we have dreamed together, walked together, and swam in the cold waters with eagles soaring over our heads. The island is my true north but the compass is useless without the magnetic force, my husband.

Sometimes just naming the issue is comforting. I text Scott, let him know my heart is hurting for his presence and remind us both it is just one more week. I get up from the bench and once again engage fully with my island. It truly is a beautiful day and I am loved. What a blessed woman I am.

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