What Did the Rookie Executioner Say?
I think I’m getting the hang of this. (rimshot)
I think we are getting the hang of this and not just because we have a rope swing now. Thanks, Erik! Fourteen weeks ago, we boarded Fezywig armed with high hopes and whatever luggage we could fit in the back of a minivan. That first night we couldn’t even figure out how to start the propane stove. Fortunately, we all enjoy peanut butter sandwiches. That basically sums up the first couple of months on Fezywig. Everything was new. The learning curve was steep. Daily we engaged in the exhausting work of altering expectations, making high stakes decisions, searching for the silver lining, and avoiding sunburn.
On the rare night Erik and I were both awake after our heads hit the pillows, we fantasized about a life full of predictability. We agreed that we would have to deliberately establish routines. We were drowning in the default mode of spontaneity letting whatever seemed most urgent rule our days. We decided to start with ourselves. We both committed to writing daily. I keep a journal that helps me untangle my thoughts. I read my scriptures. I practice yoga. Those three simple things done briefly, daily allowed me to take the reigns again. What a relief! Erik keeps a journal, too, but he’s also tackling a new book one thousand words at a time. We both feel calmer and more empowered.
We decided to give the gift of met expectations to our kids as well. We set times for each meal and tasked the three older children with all food preparations. They’re each responsible for one meal daily and they rotate meals weekly. We just finished the first month and we have been eating well! The kids seem to enjoy the well deserved praise after each meal. They are acquiring skills for independent living. The best part is that they are serving each other. They’re thinking about each other. Alison made a chicken pot pie casserole and left a vegetarian corner for Sarah Jane. Karina made fried eggs remembering all of our preferences. They like knowing what is expected from them. They like knowing their contribution is significant to all of us. They also enjoy not doing dishes.
Eli and Lily have stepped up to provide all of the dishwashing. They have formed a company called, “Eli and Lily’s Wash & Go.” There is a full color, hand drawn advertisement on their cabin door. In the beginning, Eli was worried that school hinder their availability to wash dishes, counters, cockpits, etc. Now, he knows there will always be something to wash.
I actually spend more time standing in front of the sink these days because it takes the Wash & Go team about four times longer to wash and dry the dishes than it would take me to do alone. Fortunately, there is no rush. Eli asks great questions like, “How do they film the Muppets?” and “What was the very first Nintendo game ever?” Lily likes to have every single item she works on inspected. She never fails to give me an Aw-shucks smile and a ‘Thank you” for the praise. She is also getting quite good at pinning up the wet dishrags to dry which is strengthening her fingers and her coordination. Mostly, it’s just nice to be together.
Little Hinges : Big Doors Tiny Rudder : Large Ship A little predictability goes a long way towards maintaining balance in this uncertain life. Every day still holds many surprises. Maybe the other kid boats invite us to go inner tubing. Maybe the mechanic tells us we need a new part for our engine. That shouldn’t still feel like a surprise, but it does. Every. Time.* Maybe our mixing bowl blows overboard and we have to drop everything, hop in the dinghy, and chase it down. Maybe our friends invite us to pull anchor and sail to Anguilla. A few routines smooth the way for the inevitable surprises. I can live like this.
*Currently, the entire port engine has been removed and is being rebuilt. We’re patiently waiting dockside until it’s ready.