19 December 2012

day 6: back up

{i made it to day 6. for those of you joining late in the game, let me bring you up to speed. yours truly is taking on the 12 days of christmas to write and muse over a few of the people whom i love.}

i had never taken a long trip without my husband let alone a vacation. business kept him at home. but the beach called and when the beach calls, i always answer-on the first ring. my friend stephie agreed to come along to help with the kids who were 9 and under{the unders were the ones i was most concerned with losing to the waves}.
cookie dough and stephie, 2008

our time could not have been sweeter. stephie figured out how to work the dvd player in the car. she created mind puzzles with the boys to play during our long drive. she navigated our route so that we arrived just in time for sunset. 

my father has a place where we stayed while we did all of the things we love like fighting the waves, swimming from sun up til sun down and walking around seaside. she was the best mother's helper i have ever had-anticipating my needs before they arose. taking charge with ease and confidence. playing, really playing with my children when i had long lost my second wind. she wrangled the boys with great dexterity and enjoyment. at one point i was resting on the balcony when she brought out a fruity drink. "this is from the boys at the bar". i peered through the glass door to find four little boys giggling. 
compliments of the boys at the bar
after an uneventful stay that included all of our favorite rituals including a family photo in the courtyard and trip to sundog, on the last day two were sick which had me running back and forth to the clinic and pharmacy. undeterred, stephie threw together some black bean goat cheese quesadillas to feed the two who had managed to stay well and packed some plain quesadillas for the ones who were en route to see the doctor. i was impressed, but that was nothing.
seaside courtyard: a favorite family photo op

the next day it was time to pack up to head home. with all of the sun-kissed babes in their seats, we pulled out. we were not 2 hours into the ride, when the 5 year old threw up all over himself. without thinking, stephie-the-great jumped over the seat with a container to capture the second round. before we pulled over, she had wiped him down and was pulling a change of clothes out of his suitcase. he opted for his batman jammies. she obliged. and we rode on home without incident. 

that moment of sheer bravery. taking on the puke of another's child will forever remind me that we are indeed called to jump feet first into the lives of one another-mess and all. stephie, a young girl, displayed the most graceful example of joyful servanthood i believe i have ever seen. 

the other day i was thinking about her. she is a mother now to 2 very young ones with one on the way. i was beating myself up because unlike stephie i am not clever and resourceful. i don't invite whimsy and creativity into our home as much as i'd like. when we were at the beach, she found dice and a moleskin pad that she used to make up the most fun math games* for my boys to play. she does stuff like that with ease, it's her nature. she makes handmade napkins and teaches herself how to plumb a bathroom and fashions giraffe murals in the bathtub out of torn paper bags. she is the better version of a martha stewart. when she creates, she doesn't forget the love. 

and i would be remiss if i did not mention her Mister for whom we owe a huge debt of gratitude for the many, many times he has been our eyes and ears on the ground as we attempt to landlord from afar. our renters call with a question, and he has been more than willing to troubleshoot problems we were unable to figure out from 700 miles. 

i have said it a million and one times, community is where it's at. we all need a little back up. we all need someone who we trust who's got our back. and i am forever grateful for this family who never shied away from jumping into the thick of it with us. 


side note: stephie so wooed me with her genius jedi math tricks that she was hired to tutor the two oldest in math. that was a few years ago. now i am their math teacher. i really miss her.

No comments: