I am tired. I am not even going to sugar coat this…. I am just plain tired. This summer is unlike any other in our home. My husband Mike is working a summer job for the first time since we’ve been married (because two college kids…enough said), I am tutoring 20 hours each week, I have one kid living in Grand Rapids, and two almost-flown living here. We are juggling schedules, cars, late nights, early mornings. We are trying to let our grown kids have some freedom while trying to squeeze in more college visits for #3… the whole thing has been more mentally exhausting this year than any before. Let’s not even start on the school prep that is occupying brain space. It’s just just plain exhausting.
And then Mike says, “Ya know Jacob is getting married. It’s in Green Bay. I love that kid…. we could do this.” I totally hemmed and hawed….remember, I am tired. Another scheduling nightmare was all I could see. So we delayed. And delayed. Up until the rsvp date (yes, we are those people) when Mike came back and said, “Kar, I really want to go.” So I concede. Yes, please, call them…I hope it isn’t too late. We can do this. Let’s roadtrip. After I nap….because I am tired.
The Friday of the wedding weekend arrived. Mike had done hotel arrangements; I had called my best friend in the world in Chicago and told her we were coming by for dinner. We had the code to my sister’s garage for a pit stop, my Amazon dress was packed, we threw a couple water bottles and a five-hour energy in the car, and we were off…just the two of us.
Waking up along the way
You see, Mike and I vacation together a lot. We try once a year to get away alone. But this time, it was so needed. For the first hour, neither of us even talked. We just sat there….soaking in the fact that we needed to make ZERO decisions in the next 3 days. And that felt like a giant weight of exhaustion just sliding away.
We slowly started talking– about us. About those first years of marriage when it was just us. He remembers so much more that I do, and listening to him retell those stories made us laugh out loud.
We rolled into Chicago, up to my best friend’s house. And another layer of exhaustion left– she and I don’t get to see each other enough, and here, totally on a whim, we are all together, as if days – not years – had gone by since I saw her last. Years ago, Mike slid himself into our friendship, not entirely smoothly, but in a way that he will sit and chat with her hubby while Ann and I try not to pee our pants, laughing at what was and what is the best friendship ever.
A hug goodbye, and Mike and I roll into my old hometown. Mike knows it like he lived there (see, he remembers so much more than me.) We decide to grab a drink at a local dive bar, and then walk around town while I tell him stories of growing up there.
Exhaustion being replaced with the calm familiarity of us.
By the time we roll into Green Bay on Saturday (with time to spare to look at Lambeau), I no longer feel tired. I haven’t had to solve a problem, haven’t worried about who needs which car, or worried about that college tuition bill. I have simply enjoyed the ride– figuratively and literally. And it felt better than getting a month of sleep for my tired soul.
Heading home refreshed
The wedding was adorable. We danced, laughed, talked, celebrated. But there was one thing that Mike said that will always stick with me…..
“Kar, they remind me of us.”
Yep. They are young, excited, dying to begin their lives together. Exactly like we were 25 years ago…before we let the exhaustion of real life sneak in. And suddenly it was all back into perspective. Deep down, we still feel very much like those 22 year-olds, ready to conquer life together.
The trip home involved the Upper Peninsula’s two-lane roads, a big mighty Mac bridge, beautiful scenery…but moreso, conversation. We talked effortlessly about what we hope for each kiddo, what we pray about God’s plan, how each of us pictures our empty nest. We talked about US.
Now home again, I am so thankful Mike wanted to go on a nine hour road trip in the middle of an exhausting, busy, crazy summer. My brain needed it. My heart needed it. My marriage was craving quiet time alone with each other. But I was too tired, spread too thin, to verbalize it; yet, God used this for good, to refocus on the most important thing.
So there’s hope if you feel tired too…
In the lazy days of summer, it’s exhausting. I hear you. My best advice…. take inventory. Reconnect with your best friend, revisit your old town, watch two young kids promise forever to each other, and then look at your own life, and realize this stage will pass. But this life we are building is too amazing to spend being exhausted. Instead, keep your eyes on the road ahead, hold hands, and enjoy the ride.