I haven’t been on my computer for a month, not blogging or facebooking or even emailing. Life has been jam-packed with living. Up until July 17, when I went out to Eagle Fern Camp to direct Girls’ Week, I didn’t expect to be ‘on vacation’. Those days between school getting out and camp beginning were spent on the phone soliciting counselors and finding prizes for the competitions and planning the schedule.
The camp week went well! Amanda and I said to each other a few times, “What is going on? Aren’t we supposed to be having problems?” But the Lord really blessed and things went very smoothly. On Thursday, our speaker had an emergency at home and had to leave suddenly to drive back to Spokane, but she appointed Amanda to step up in her place and even though it was out of her comfort zone at first, Amanda spoke to the girls and really grabbed them with her life story and on-going faith. It was no surprise to God, as Sue our speaker had been teaching us all week.
I came home from camp and dumped my stuff in the living room and went to sleep for 4 hours.
The next day was a reunion brunch of my dearest high school friends: not the full scale reunion but a get-together of ‘our group’ in honor of our mutual 60th birthdays. We think we are pretty unique at having hung together as buds all these years. There is Richard, the priest; Tim, the Mayor and developer; Janis, the retired city finance person; Lee from Texas, the teacher married to the psychologist; Paul, the California science charter school Headmaster; me, the I don’t know what, exactly; absent Floyd, the big city investment guy, and David, the violinist turned geologist who is missing to us. At 60 we are experiencing some of the same life issues: parents of adult children, grandparents, children of aging and infirm parents, facing retirement and new options in life. We had a beautiful afternoon at Janis’ home in the country and learned a few things about our adult selves that made us laugh again. Laughing is so good!
The next day (camp detritus still in living room) we took my dad to the beach. Neskowin. The place of my childhood memories and sweet dreams. These 2 days were bittersweet because my dad has passed his share of the cabin to his younger brother and what it was to our part of the family has been lost to us. It felt like a goodbye trip. The kitchen has been remodeled and Grandma’s dishes were gone. The ocean has even changed the configuration of the beach and riprap has been brought in to (literally) stem the tide of erosion. Dad and I both grieved some over the changes, but he was full of talk about who used to live where, the names of the original store people and who built the Chelan that borrowed money from my grandpa. I know a great hunk of history is inside his head and I’d like to write it down.
The next weekend was the start of Ron’s vacation and we had planned a camping trip to Central Oregon. Two events interrupted the packing plans: Dad asked me to accompany him on a tour of historic Portland homes, one of which he was keenly interested in because of his childhood associations. That was on Saturday.
While I was still out with Dad I got a call saying my husband’s family was converging at our house and would be there when I got home. There had been an accident and the family was coming to our centralized location in Portland.
Two of my husband’s brothers married sisters. Their 3rd sister’s son had been killed by a train a few days earlier. But this morning, the mother of these 3 girls and her son and sister were driving up for the funeral from Texas and hit a semi-truck head on. The mother was badly injured but the son (my sisters-in-laws’ brother) and the aunt were both killed. How instantly life can change. The grief at our house was hard to witness, but we were glad to have something useful—space—to offer. At times there were 5 cell phones going at once while arrangements were being made and news was passed along. I was glad for every clean sheet and towel I had.
We did a scatter-brained job of packing for camping and left the extended family to use the house. When we got to our site we got the tent up before nightfall and slept.
The next night our friends joined us just before night and in much the same state of exhaustion, glad to be away from rigors of home but not quite there yet to relaxation. True to camping, I realized once again that it gets best at the end of the week right when you have to pack up. That’s when it seems that everyone knows where everything is, the meals get more casual, and you are just delving into the book you meant to read first (but didn’t) and now it’s time to go. Their son Jerod came for a few days, and our daughter Amanda, and then on Friday our son Brett and Nichole and daughter Emily and John. We played ‘Hand and Foot’ for hours. One night I lay in my tent hearing the kids play a game “I have never…” and their muted laughing around the campfire was music to me as I went to sleep. Having grown children be friends and love each other is the best!
We got home in time for me to go to a baby shower. Some of the extended family was at our house, and by the end of the evening, more had gathered. Unbelievably, the brother of the boy who had died first was on a train coming from Seattle which hit and killed 2 people on the tracks. So two men in the family hopped in a car and went to pick him up in Seattle as there was fear that he wouldn’t make it down in time for his brother’s service the next day.
The last of the family left on Wednesday. We haven’t unpacked our utility trailer yet from camping because there was no room to bring the stuff into the house. But today I am doing laundry, loads and loads of it, all the way back to Girls’ Camp.
Tomorrow our boy from China arrives. My plan was to have had the basement room ready but we are putting in an egress window to fire code so I will keep him on the main floor for a few days. In a week our boy from Korea comes with his mother who is coming to help him get settled in. I am more concerned that it will be unsettling for her! I can’t imagine taking my 9th grader around the world for his education. It seems such a tender age to leave home, and during such formative years ahead. We will do our best to honor these parents by being faithful guardians of their children.
My dad has asked me to go with him for a few days on his “farewell journey” with his travel 5th wheel group. Just before I went to camp, he was driving on the freeway with his trailer and when he had to brake suddenly, his trailer didn’t brake hard enough. It swung around and clobbered the cab of his truck, breaking out the windows and crunching the door in. Fortunately, he was not injured, but shaken as the truck and trailer did 180 degrees across 2 lanes of freeway and ended up going the opposite way. They were both totaled. We are so very grateful for Dad’s protection and that no one else was hit while his truck was out of control. He had planned to give up his 5th wheel at the end of summer, but not like this. Because I often went with Dad and Mom on these outings I want to say goodbye to their group of friends, too. I am unsure of leaving our new boy so soon, however.
Then the new window in the basement, then dusting it all out, then the Korean boy and mom, then another camping trip with friends from Lake Havasu City who have been to Alaska by way of Minnesota—now, that’s a camping trip! We are going to the beach which I am very much looking forward to! Then school starts—but not for me! My position ended and unless they call me back in an emergency I plan to have extended time for laundry and being a Mom to these 2 new boys.
And that’s what I did on my summer vacation. Each event deserves its own blog and pictures but I have to go fold my clothes now.
more pictures after darling techy husband comes home