This October, I was out of town every single weekend. Four weekends in a row.
I’ve wanted to write about each of them. As I began to map out my posts, I realized they were a tapestry of what we need.
Ideally, they don’t all come right in a row because, you know, meal prep, house cleaning, catch up, etc.
But with great fortune, they each come.
Weekend One – celebrating kids. Intentional focused time on them. Weekend Two – family time. Time uninterrupted by life’s chaos. Weekend Three – girls weekend. Away time with friends to laugh and have good wine and talk about the big issues of life. Weekend Four – family friends. Time to spend with husbands and wives and kids that everyone in your family connects with and enjoys.
So I’ll cover each of them over the next few days. And I realize a romantic getaway with your person isn’t on there. That’s needed too. The reality is that it doesn’t come every year. Maybe it’s just a date night every quarter that tides you over.
The first weekend of October we celebrated the triplets turning 12! TWELVE! It’s almost impossible to imagine. I started blogging the month the trio turned one. I read over that first birthday blog post love letter when they were 2 and can’t even process how fast it’s all gone.
Instead of having a crazy big birthday party like we did ten years ago, or two years ago, all the kids wanted was to each bring a friend to the farm to fish and camp and visit the horses. I’d told them the next big birthday would be their sweet 16, so until then we do something fun with a six kids (when each kid gets to pick one friend, you land at 6!).
Bray was totally the man of the hour.
He was ON the whole weekend. It was a ton of work because he was the boat captain. We have this tiny aluminum boat at the farm, it’s been Bray’s family fishing boat since he was a kid, and Bray captains it through the gorgeous overgrown bayous and into the larger Gulf-fed waters until they find fish. This time, the kids jug-lined instead of traditional fishing and it was a HUGE hit. The kids said it was the best fishing they’d ever had and boy did they find some fish.
The four boys and Bray camped out down at the camp house which was in between tenants and the girls and I stayed up with Bray’s parents at the main house.
There were presents and desserts (pie and maccrons, per request) and gumbo and donuts, but most of all there was fishing. Fishing on Saturday and fishing on Sunday. The videos from the trip are some of the funniest I’ve ever watched. And while I stayed back at the house managing meals, Bray did the heavy lifting entertaining the kids on the boat.
There were some hiccups.
Stanley (our DOG who you know my feelings on) disappeared. He does this. He usually picks major events like birthdays to try and ruin (he ran away the night of Bray’s 50th birthday party this summer). When the kids got back from the fishing trip late Saturday afternoon, Stanley was nowhere to be found. He loves the farm and really doesn’t leave the main grounds when we’re there. The kids were beside themselves, esp the eldest. So, after an exhaustive search on the four wheeler, Bray agreed to take the boys out to search the bayou. Lo and behold, Stanley had followed them in the marsh, jumped across the bayou and was stuck on the other side in high water reeds. That dog has nine lives. He was safely returned no worse for wear.
Then, when we headed home, we hit a major detour. Bray had to come home Monday morning so it was me and six sixth graders. The trip from the farm to Houston is about two and a half hours. I left extra early, noon on Sunday, so I could be back in time to speak at church worship that night at 5 pm. After we got through Beaumont, traffic STOPPED. Not slowed. Stopped.
Turns out, the great state of Texas had decided to CLOSE Interstate 10 on Sunday afternoon. What could go wrong? After a noon departure, I dropped the kids back at their homes at 6:30 PM! That’s right, nearly seven hours in the car.
And yet. I have to say this was one of my favorite parts of the birthday weekend. All of these kids are massively awesome. The baby’s best friend crawled up in the front seat, swapping with the eldest’s best friend, and decided we’d have a sing along. Since we were parked on I-10, we rolled down the windows, waved at the cars around us, tried to get truckers to honk, and gave a Gatorade to a stranded motorcyclist.
And we SANG. At the top of our lungs. I have video proof. The song selection was HYSTERICAL! Y’all, these twelve year olds gave me hope for humanity. We had 12 year old boys singing Let it Go and Avocado. When we arrived at one of the houses (they all live in the neighborhood so I had an easy drop off), little bit’s best pal hoped out of the car and said I would totally do that drive again!
I can’t even with their awesomeness.
The thing I loved about this trip was really spending uninterrupted time with the kids and their friends. Their closest pals. Who are so cool. And interesting. And funny. At parties, I’m catching up with their parents. At sporting events, we’re all cheering. But on this farm weekend, we were having meals and conversations (extra long ones on the ride home) about a wide array of topics.
So weekend one was a huge success. Thanks largely to Bray and a passel of amazing kiddos. A twelfth birthday for the record books!