Our Georgia Journey
We are on an adventure! For the past two months — and for the next two months — we are in Georgia. Why? J has a sabbatical teaching for Kennesaw State University this semester. Though it all hasn’t been thornless roses, we have been super grateful for the breath of fresh air for our family. Here are some highlights of life and lessons learned…
Home Life Shifts After Kids Leave Home
We sent Addie off to college in June. Yes! She graduated in May and a few weeks later started her first semester at BYU in Provo. As overwhelming as that was for her, I think it was a great decision. She was able to ease into college life before the mad rush of fall and secured a great job as well.
With Addie moving out we began raising what J calls, “Our Second Family.” We have ONLY BOYS at home! The older three are off living their adult lives (John with Addie in Provo and Brooklynn on a mission in California). I love them and miss them! However, I will say life is pretty different now that they are all out of the house.
My oldest three were so close in age that they each ruled the nest in their own way. Transitioning to Joel being our oldest has shifted the dynamics pretty drastically. He’s quiet, calm, gentle and super thoughtful. He’s quick to jump in and help — and get the younger boys to follow his lead. This was the perfect timing for a sabbatical for the reason of truly setting a new normal tone for our home.
This has also been a great opportunity for our four younger boys to bond. Because of their closeness in age and the fact that we homeschooled for the majority of their time together, our three oldest bonded super quickly! They have stayed close throughout the years and it’s so fun to watch them grow into adulthood together. My younger boys are more spread out in age and have primarily attended public school. So, their experiences have been less intertwined. I could not have asked for a better opportunity for them to develop their own relationships with one another. Our middle two boys have been especially struggling to connect. It’s taken a minute, but just this past week I have watched the miracle happen — friendship, joining in one another’s hobbies, and discussing rather than arguing! I’m not sure it will last forever, but I will take it for as long as it will last!
Work & Marriage
The other blessing we’ve recognized being here is just how much our marriage needed a breath of fresh air and for J to evaluate his work situation without the rigors of the daily hustle. We both have had our own physical and mental stressors making our marriage filled with quite a bit of tension J still works diligently, but we have also created more space and time for play.
Play in marriage (and family life) is HUGE! In theory we know that. But in practice? It’s a bit more tricky. The last several years have been especially difficult for us to remember how to PLAY! Kids, work, callings, kids, work, callings… Whew! Just managing the day to day can really take it’s toll. I think if anyone asks me for advice in the future, this might be the thing I tell them — Don’t Forget to Play!
In The Family: A Proclamation to the World we are counseled that families are strengthened by faith, prayer, forgiveness…and “wholesome recreational activities.” The truth is, as life gets busy we really have to work extra hard at scheduling in the play. It would be nice if J and I were spontaneous people…but we are not! I am especially more rigid in needing a plan before moving forward. I’m working on it through this little adventure, but it’s still hard for me to shift gears when plans need to change. I also struggle with trying to make everyone happy. So, if we don’t have a plan and everyone starts to voice their opinions — watch out for the panic attack!
Boy have we played! There so much to see in the South. On the weekends, we have travelled some distances and explored locally. J and Joel have had a goal to try all the chicken sandwiches, rating them as they go (there is so much chicken here!). We have really enjoyed the restaurant selections here — Idaho just doesn’t cut it. We have gotten to know the ward a bit and hav reconnected with some old friends With not many obligations during our day, the kids and I have found opportunities to serve and enjoyed the awesome Acworth Community Center. We have played a lot of games and watch a lot of TV. I’ve even gotten them on some hiking trails (as long as there are no spiders hanging in the trees!).
I know this isn’t forever, but I really am okay with that. As much as we have enjoyed our time to rejuvenate and reconnect with one another, there is purpose in the normal daily life back home. I’ve missed it. And we’ve had our days of complete boredom. So, I think after all this is said and done we will be perfectly ready to enter “the real world” again. Fortunately, we’ll have this experience to rely on when life starts to spiral out of control again. And hopefully we’ll keep the messages we’ve learned along the way.