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Thursday, September 22, 2016

North Carolina Trip

I had a great visit with Jeshua and Julia and their kids. It was tiring to have a new baby to care for, but it was exactly why I went. I wanted to give them a break from holding him, feeding him, and juggling the other two kids. I wanted to get up in the middle of the night and let my brother get some uninterrupted sleep. I wanted to serve food, give hugs, supervise play, break up disagreements, read books, watch shows and basically be really exhausted after my time with them.

It was a smashing success. And Julia even let me take a nap! And we worked out together! And we both got soaked with baby barf on the same day!

I haven't had a lot of time to get to know Julia over the years, and it was my privilege to spend time in her home with her and watch her do her thing. She is a wonderful mother who gives her all to her children, and who seems to love her life even with the trials presented to her. She genuinely cares for others and I loved seeing the relationship she has with my younger brother.

The majority of my time was spent in the comfort of their air-conditioned home, but we did manage a couple of outings on Julia's birthday. She took us to the train expo, and I got to watch her kids (my toddler nephew, especially) get excited about all things trains. He loves Thomas with a passion and it was a delight to see his reaction to the various displays. My niece fell in love with battery-operated puppies at one of the kiosks and I had the chance to be that aunt who buys an obnoxious barking toy for the parents to enjoy in the years to come. But seeing as how the day before, my niece and I had played dolls together and she called all the animals by the name "Chihuahua," I knew the little dog was dear to her heart! It was fun and I'm sorry to J&J for the yapping. ;)

Later that night, Julia's parents invited us to their home for dinner and it was sweet to see the kids interacting with their grandparents. Being part of their day-to-day was a treat for me, and I can see why Seth and Sophia are often so willing to hang out with me and my kids regularly. It's delightful to be able to swoop in for a little while and enjoy little snippets of the nieces'/nephews' lives.

 And although I tried to work really hard and give all I could to my brother and Julia, they still managed to make me feel spoiled. Julia made delicious meals, let me borrow her car for a quick errand, and she and Jesh treated me to a shopping trip as a thank you. They hooked me up with new workout clothes of my choice from Athleta. I was so surprised and grateful.

Honestly, it was a trip I was happy to make. It was stressful and tiring and rewarding. I missed my own kids and husband and house and routine... but it was worth it! Caring for someone else's kids for a few days was actually a great distraction from my regular life. It made coming home sweeter because I was refreshed from the break from my own challenges. I'm grateful Kevin's sister Tiffany inspired me to consider doing a trip like this, and that Jeshua and Julia graciously welcomed me into their lives for a week.

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