About an hour-and-a-half ago, I bathed my girls in their familiar bathtub, and put them to bed in their own little rooms, the way I've done so many times before. But this time, after I had closed Annie's door and went downstairs to where a dirty kitchen and the rest of my night awaited, I felt such profound relief it was absurd. My steps were lighter, and the tension in my body started to ease. We had just gotten back hours before from another 36-hour long house-hunting trip to New Bern, NC.
As I was saying, it was only 36 hours. We only spent one night in a hotel. I'm a little worried about just how happy I was to get home, unload the girls, unload the car, start the laundry, start the dinner, and just get back to normalcy. I think I have an unhealthy obsession with normalcy.
It might be because the feeling of relaxation I was craving at the end of a long, hot (and I do mean HOT!) day of touring houses, was not obtainable even in the nice hotel where we stayed. Annalise wandered the room, fretting, fussing and sometimes crying hysterically, for hours until bathtime. She had been unhappy all day long, squirming, whimpering and clinging to me every time we brought her into a new house. I guess she doesn't like change. Bathtime was nice and Annie even cheered up a bit. As soon as she was in her PJs and she saw her pack 'n play all set up, she only wanted in. She would have gone right to sleep right away if her sister had allowed her to. I finally took Delaney on a little walk around the hotel to allow Annie to get to sleep. Once she was out, she was OUT. That was around 8 or 8:30.
Delaney, who had behaved so well all day long -- and honestly, Tim and I have always been able to count on Delaney to be the versatile, easygoing one -- decided that bedtime was time to play. No big deal, we kind of expected this. She enjoyed all of us being in one room, and she didn't see any reason why she needed to stay in her bed. She wanted to wander. It annoyed me, because all I wanted to do was sleep, and she was making so much noise. But once the lights were all out, and Tim finally went to bed, she conked out too. Then she woke up at 2, wanting to play. Poor Tim was up with her for an hour in the dark while Annie and I slept on. He never did get back to sleep. At 6, she finally succeeded in waking us all up, and we began our day.
I think what I just described is a pretty typical hotel stay for a family with two children under three.
These are the kinds of things I have a hard time being flexible about. I have started to pray about this as we get into summer, with all of our travel plans ahead, please God, help me stop being the way that I am. I want to be more relaxed and accepting of the way life is when traveling with two small children instead of getting stressed when the crumbs get all over the nice new car and Annie cries for no apparent reason. I wish I didn't feel so unmoored when we're traveling, adrift and full of anxiety away from our perfect and happy routine.
I just envision us all settled in to our beautiful new home for the next three years, and I just want to already be there, and be there to stay. At the same time I know that there are many good times that lie ahead between now and then, if only I can relax and enjoy them (and if my poor Annie can too, that will help!).