The return home from the heightened frenzy of vacation living is always a mixed bag. After 2 1/2 weeks of early mornings, late nights, high stimulus fun, 10+ miles of walking each day, A LOT of junk food, and little in the way of routine…we were all whooped!
The excessive togetherness left everyone craving the quiet and solitude of their own bedrooms and all of us were missing our animals.
As much as we hated to see our amazing vacation come to a close, I don’t think we could have extended our trip a day longer without soldiers beginning to fall left and right. We were all tapped dry.
We arrived home on Monday night, unloaded the car, left to pick up the puppies from the kennel, and were in bed by 9:00.
The early bedtime was a result of two determining factors: 1. It was desperately needed by all after two long days of driving in a very packed car and 2. Our house was freezing!
It is “family tradition” to return home from vacation to some sort of crisis. It happens every time. Some “welcome home” surprises have been more devastating than others with lost pets or a deep freezer dying early on into our two week trip and coming home to a home that reeked of 50 pounds of rotting meat.
THAT was a FUN night!
I guess we should be glad this mishap only involved lack of heat.
We arrived home to find the house extra nippy. Upon checking the thermostat, we discovered the house was a frigid 43 degrees. It turns out we ran out of propane while in Florida despite our tank reading 30%. It turns out the device that measures the amount of fuel in the tank was broken and that 43 degrees felt all the more chilly after the 80 degree temps we had been enjoying for the last two weeks!
There was nothing to do except start a fire in the fireplace and add extra blankets to the beds. Some chose to sleep in the living room, near the fire, while other chose solitude over warmth. They were excited to sleep alone and were willing to endure the cold to get some quiet time.
But regardless of where each family member fell asleep, there was no real rest for the weary, for life began the next morning at full throttle when kids were shaken awake at 6:00 am to catch buses or prepare for work. Vacation was officially over and we jumped right into the craziness of life as we know it at Patchwork Farm with three appointments on the calendar that day. In the midst of beginning life again at full speed, we scrambled to get heat in the house. This wasn’t accomplished until Friday, when rain had finally cleared all the snow and ice off the driveway, making it possible for the propane truck to drive up.
It was a cold four days at Patchwork Farm!
In the midst of addressing the calendar obligations, much of our energy that first week home went into helping everyone navigate the post-vacation crash that inevitably hits all of us when we have to return to the grind of everyday life after being in vacation mode. For my trauma-affected children this crash is far more impactful. There is an ongoing fear that every good experience will be “the last,” having lived a life full of loss and final endings. For one of my kiddos there is a great deal of discomfort and guilt over creating memories and feeling connected to this family, feeling that they are somehow betraying their birth family by feeling love and connection with us. With these hard feelings inevitably come hard behaviors as he tries to “right the wrong” of letting down his guard and showing love, by lashing out with hurtful behaviors meant to distance us from him.
This led to us taking an unplanned trip to the ER for suicidal ideation. It breaks my heart how hard it is for my boys to feel worthy of love and to believe they deserve happy moments. The self punishment and distancing behaviors that must follow such a wonderful trip is so hard to parent and even harder for that child to live with.
Now that we are into week 2, since our arrival home, everyone has stabilized. We are back into a routine and all are in a much better place emotionally. With the “after vacation crash” we got hit with a nasty flu that led to half our family falling ill over the weekend. I think extreme physical and emotional fatigue created the perfect hotbed for the plague to hit. I was the first to be hit with the bug on Friday afternoon. On Saturday afternoon I lay down for a nap and woke up Sunday afternoon at 3:00pm.
I have never slept that long in my life. It was wonderful and so needed. The cough and headache lingered another two days but the fever and nausea were better upon waking up from my Rip Van Winkle nap.
I now find life almost routine again. The vacation laundry is all washed. The fridge has been filled. The vomiting has ceased and school is back in session. Now that life is back on track I will hopefully be able to catch up you, my friends, on the non-vacation happenings of our crazy crew at Patchwork Farm.
The next few months promise to be eventful!