The last nine days of vacation have been glorious! No- I didn't go to Hawaii or the Bahamas, and I haven't been to the spa. Actually, I haven't traveled more than an hour from my home at any time over the last nine days, and each of those days has involved baby cries and bickering children at some point. But it has been glorious. All five members of my family have been together around 98% of the last 200-plus hours. And it has been wonderful! No, Alex and I didn't get along the entire time, and yes, the children drove me crazy on more than one occasion, but I can honestly say I would rather be with all of them on a very bad day than with anyone else on a good day.
During the week of July 4th it has become tradition for Alex and I to both take off from work, and for our family to take day trips or little outings, and just enjoy being together. And this year, I feel like we made the most of our time off!
Here's a recap of our week:
Saturday- We spent the day at Dan Nicholas Park in Salisbury. The kids loved the miniature train, carousel, gem mine, zoo, and Splash Pad.
Sunday- Spent the morning at church and enjoyed Sweet Frog after lunch at our favorite Mexican restaurant.
Monday- Visited the Greensboro Science Center. So much to do and see there, including a brand new aquarium exhibit!
Tuesday- Went to visit my dad and mom and one of my sisters, and the girls were able to have a play date there with their cousin. Alex and I slipped out for a little while and took Daniel to see a brand new friend and her mom and dad (as in, about ten hours since birth new). Welcome to the world, baby Clara!
Wednesday- We met some dear friends for a play date at the mall. After the carousel and the "fruit" play area, the kids got spoiled a bit at Build-a-Bear. (We had a great time, Nicole and Caden!)
Thursday- the Fourth of July! We made a visit to Tanglewood park where Alex and I each took a turn with one of the girls riding a pedal boat on Mallard Lake. Then we took a stroll through the arboretum and showed our babies the spot where Alex asked me to marry him. So special! Then we were off to an awesome cookout with lots of neighbors, and watching some great fireworks from the end of our street.
Friday- We spent some time at the photography studio getting the kids' pictures taken, with good results. Then we enjoyed an evening swim at Grandma and Granddaddy's (aka Alex's parents) pool and some great grilled-out burgers at their house afterward.
Saturday- Yesterday was a mostly lazy day, in part because Elizabeth briefly ran a fever. But, one of the highlights of the day was the five of us sitting around the kitchen table as Alex, Elizabeth, and I played Monopoly, Jr. (Sarah was my helper and Daniel was Alex's).
Today- Sunday- was again a great morning at church and having a nice lunch and visit with Nana, PaPa, and Auntie (aka my mom, dad, and sister.).
It has been a wonderful vacation, but tomorrow we go back to our normal routine; where we (Alex and I) cart our babies off to different places, five days in a row, week after week so we can go earn a living. Don't get me wrong. I'm extremely grateful for my job. It helps keep my children fed and a roof over their heads. And I'm also grateful for excellent and loving childcare providers for my children. But anyone that knows me well knows my "dream job" is to be a stay-at-home mom, at least for a little while.
And so, my dread of leaving my babies makes for a melancholy Sunday evening. I mean, a normal Monday is tough enough, but a Monday after a long vacation is downright heartbreaking.
But, I think there is a spiritual lesson here. As much as I loved my nine days with my family away from my computer and cubicle, that joy absolutely pales in comparison to the joy that waits for us in the place that Jesus has gone to prepare. While there are surely many, many wonders of heaven, I think two of the greatest will be the same things I appreciated about my vacation- being with my loved ones and no labor.
I'm pretty certain there will be no punching a time clock in heaven, because Revelation 22:3 says "And there shall be no more curse". And part of the curse, because of sin in the Garden of Eden, was that we would have to labor: "Cursed will be the ground; thorns and thistles will it bring forth. Cursed be man, by the sweat of his brow shall he earn his bread" (Genesis 3:18-19). So since the curse is broken in heaven, that basically sounds to me like a permanent vacation!
I believe I will have lots of friends and family members there, too, but even better than spending eternity with loved ones, is spending it with the One who is Love.
John 14:3: And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again, and receive you unto myself; that where I am, there ye may be also.
Being with Jesus, plus the bonus of not having to work- that sounds like a perfect vacation! And it lasts for eternity! Not just a week plus a weekend.
So, I'm thankful for the few days break I had from my job. And, I'm thankful for the time I had to make memories with my husband and children. But, I'm also thankful that God allowed me to see those things from an eternal perspective and get a little glimpse of heaven in the here-and-now.
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