Back in May I told you about our weekend regroup. What I didn’t tell you at the time was that the last few weeks of school were difficult for our entire community. Over the course of a few weeks, five young people from our school took their own lives. It was gut-wrenching and for many in our community there will be continued struggle for quite some time. While my daughter wasn’t close friends with any of these young people, she knew some of them. At any age it’s difficult to understand but as middle and high schoolers it can quickly consume one’s thoughts. It’s especially difficult when it happens over and over in a short amount of time. My daughter, along with all of the students at her school, felt the impact deeply and the anguish was palpable. When my daughter looked at me crying and shaking and asking, “why?” I had no answers but I knew I had to do something. My immediate answer was: Regroup. For me that meant reconnecting and getting back to the basics for our family. It meant limiting outside influences and making sure my daughter knew deep in her gut that we were there for her no matter what. Words were not enough. I also knew it was going to take more than a weekend to heal her little soul. This is when I began thinking about instituting a “summer regroup” for our little family of three (and sometimes four or five). It meant simplifying.
It’s now mid-July and as I drove home from the mountains this weekend with my daughter sitting shotgun and playing DJ and I couldn’t help but smile. We still have about a month before school begins and there has been real healing. We have done A LOT since the beginning of June. It’s fair to say we have hardly been home and as I write this we are planning to take off on a 10-day vacation. What is interesting to me though is that most of our plans have involved being outside and away from the TV and social media. Not what you would expect with a 14-year-old girl in the house. Now I will say she has participated begrudgingly in some of our activities but participated nonetheless.
So what have we been doing that makes me grateful during a time of such unrest in our community and in the world? Well there have been the usual things that a high schooler has to be strong-armed into doing most days. She participates in a weights and conditioning class three times a week at her school, she is taking Geometry online, which involves work with me and some tutoring and, of course, her summer reading list. These things do not make her smile but brain work and body work are good for the soul. Not to mention I am being forced to relearn Geometry. I didn’t enjoy it the first time around so this is character-building for me as well.
Now for the good stuff. We took a road trip to Nashville to pick up our rescue pup and visit our middle daughter. My hubby kept insisting that we fly but I just kept feeling like we needed to put the miles in, so we drove. There was a lot of music, talking, bathroom stops, are we there yets, snacks and full on belly laughs. We spent almost a week there and it was all about friends, family, connecting and our sweet little rescue dog. My daughter doesn’t have a TV so we spent our evenings on the living room floor telling stories and catching up.
I flew my dad down to Nashville and he road tripped back to Colorado with us and stayed for a week. We grilled out, went to the zoo, and enjoyed just spending time together.
We began to breathe a little deeper.
Feeling like we needed more miles, I encouraged my girls to run a half marathon with me at the end of June. There is something about not just accomplishing the goal of 13.1 miles, but really overcoming your thoughts and limitations. They did it and the joy was worth the pain.
G came out to visit and we spent most of our time in the mountains. There was hiking, kayaking, fishing and a small town 4th of July. I am talking parades with bikes, pets, local businesses, fire trucks and lots of candy being thrown. Picnics in the park, ice cream and fireworks over the lake were the icing on the cake.
We began to exhale.
While none of this is extravagant it sometimes feels indulgent in the face of what is happening around us and in the rest of the world. I feel guilty some nights for turning off the news. It feels like I am burying my head in the sand, but then I think about that 14-year-old who came in crying after school back in May and realize I am not. I am protecting my daughter from the onslaught of negativity. Oh, she still knows it’s happening and she questions like we all do, “why?” I don’t have the answer but I do know that we have taken back our lives. I know that what we feel isn’t being dictated by what is on the news. I know my daughter talks openly about what she is feeling and that she shares more with us. And I pray that she knows beyond a shadow of a doubt that we can handle anything that comes our way together.
Sunshine & Sarcasm,
Lowi & G