Babykins and I leave for our Advent vacation in a few hours. We’re spending a week with one of my good friends from the seminary as she prepares for her second child’s arrival. The baby may or may not come while we’re there, but I figure I’ll either get to meet the new baby or we’ll just have a giant playdate all week if the baby stays put. It’s a win/win situation!
Additionally, the timing works well. When my friend first asked about us coming to visit in December, I was a bit hesitant. A week in December is a quarter of my Christmas preparation time. However, it turns out that my husband is swamped with sermon writing and a presentation next week, so I probably wouldn’t have gotten much work done beyond keeping our household at a functioning level. This trip allows my husband not to worry about the work/family balance.
The only downside of this trip (aside from the fact that Babykins and I will miss her daddy) is the 4.5 hour drive. I realize it’s not that far, but it’s the farthest I’ve driven without my husband since Babykins was born. Babykins isn’t the greatest car traveler and it’s difficult to drive with her without another adult. However, we had a bit of practice with our Thanksgiving travel and I learned some tips for keeping my 14-month-old somewhat calm in the car.
1. Have a stash of blankies and pacifiers in the front. Babykins loves her blankie and pacifier. Thankfully, we have multiples of both items. That means I can pass back a different blankie or pacifier when she inevitably drops one.
2. Be flexible with snacks. For our trip, I bought Babykins one of those fancy snack holders that helps keep the food from spilling (sort of). I also bought her some fancy baby puffs that quickly dissolve in your mouth. This way she can eat in the car without me worrying about her choking. Usually I would prefer her to eat something like fruit for snack, so the puffs will be her road trip treat (and I’m getting chocolate. Yay!).
3. Plan stops. I’ve looked at my maps and have plotted out several stopping points, including a McDonald’s for lunch (another road trip treat for Babykins). I’ve also planned for these stops to be 30-60 minutes so Babykins can properly stretch her legs. I’m hoping to only need 2 breaks–one for lunch and one before we go through a big city–but I’m also mentally prepared for more if Babykins is having a freak out.
4. Stock up on toys and music. I have a bag of toys and books in the front seat so I can something back if Babykins starts to get bored. I also grabbed all of our kid-friendly music that I can turn up if Babykins starts crying.
Hopefully my preparations make the driving portion of our trip go smoothly. Well, at least as smoothly as a trip can go when you have a toddler in tow.
It’s one of those weeks when extra duties for the church and a holiday crash into one another. An elderly church member died Thursday night, so my husband has a funeral service tomorrow afternoon. He also has an extra service this week on Wednesday night for Thanksgiving. We’re traveling a couple of hours on Thanksgiving to visit family. And then Sunday comes again and all the preparations that come with it.
Yes, it’s one of those weeks where my husband is busy at work and thinking about work when he’s at home. It’s one of those weeks where the majority of travel preparations fall on me. It’s one of those weeks were quality time for my husband and me is limited. It’s one of those weeks that the upcoming chaos of Advent and Christmas looms over our heads.
But you know what? This is okay. Not ideal, but okay. We will get through this week. We may be a little more tired than normal and our patience may be a bit short. Our routine may not operate as smoothly as usual. But we will live.
Being able to have this perspective is one of the advantages of being done with my husband’s first year in the ministry. I know now that there are just going to be weeks like this. Most people have them, even if their husbands aren’t pastors. Likewise, I understand that most likely it will be over a month before we can catch up on rest and relaxation, but there will be a quieter time eventually. It may not be when we think it should come and we may have to purposely set aside time, but it will arrive. That is the ebb and flow of our parsonage life.
P.S.–Lest you think I have this whole pastor’s family thing figured out, feel free to check in on my attitude in a few weeks when the craziness of Advent is in full swing. My guess is that I’ll still have a breakdown or two. 🙂
Christmas Day has come and gone and pastors take a breather before the chaos of Lent starts.
At least that’s what I always assumed what happened. Then I looked at January.
Apparently there is a small window of rest after Christmas Day and we used it to go see family. While visiting family is important, it’s also not restful (especially when traveling with a baby. I tried explaining to Babykins that we were going on vacation, but she continued wanting to eat and needing diaper changes). Then I took a closer look at our January calendar and realized that my husband starts his full schedule of Bible studies and meetings on Monday. Since he has to actually prepare for these things, as well as continue writing sermons for Sundays, he went back to work yesterday. Additionally, Lent will begin in about 6 weeks. Our little family will be back on the triage schedule that we had during Advent.
Maybe we’ll take a break after Easter. Maybe.