Friday, March 15, 2013

March Madness

     For many people March is a time of year for kicking back and watching some basketball, getting outside and enjoying the beginning of spring, or just enjoying the longer days and warmer air.  For me, March is becoming a tradition of it's own.  For my family, March Madness has come to mean that my wife and her mother load all 5 kids in the van and drive for 2 days to visit relatives in San Antonio, leaving me at home alone for a week.  Yes, for one week a year I have the house to myself, without the noise and chaos that usually permeates my life. 

     Today Karlye and Dede and the 5 rug rats left on their annual trek.  Most guys might be planning a night out with their buddies, doing all the guy things that they never get to do.  I have no interest in that.  Tonight, I am going to go home and enjoy the silence.  I am going to take a few hours and decompress.  I  crave alone time, and this week I am going to enjoy every minute of it.

     Of course there is a down side.  I am studying for Boards.  I have 500 pages of study material that I am trying to transform into flash cards that I can then memorize.  I will need to spend the whole week doing that, because I won't get another chance to be able to study like this, completely undistributed.  I know myself too well and it is going to take a lot of will power to resist the temptation to squander this precious study time.  This is the best gift my wife could give me right now.  She loves her vacations and visiting her family and I love time alone and need to get this done, so it's a win-win scenario.

     As much as I am happy to be alone for a few days, I find myself checking my family tracker app on my phone every few minutes to see where Karlye and the kids are.  I see this little trail of blue dots marking their progress along I-35 as they slowly march south.  The farther they get, the more melancholy I get, because as much as I enjoy having them gone, part of me can't stand the fact that they aren't near me.  So even though it's completely quiet here in my office, I can still hear little voices in my imagination.  I hear arguments about who is taking whose iPod, I hear someone saying zip, zip, zip as they count horses they pass while playing our family's favorite road-trip game.* I can see the trash accumulating on the van floor, and hear "I'm hungry" every 30 seconds or so.

     With all this freedom that I have, what do you think am I looking forward to the most tonight?  Facetime with Karlye and the brood.  I just want to hear about the trip, because even though I'm not there, I want to be a part of it in some way since such a big part of my life is there and I am here and feel out of place not sharing the experience.

      So March has started to become important to me the last few years because it lets me get some needed peace and quiet, but mostly because it reminds me how much I need Karlye.  It reminds me that every minute I miss watching my boys and girl grow up is a minute I can never replace.  So I will sit quietly and relax tonight, all the while checking their progress on my phone and praying that God will get them safely to San Antonio and safely back to me.  Oh, and if He could make them come back a little better behaved than I remember, that would be even better. 

So have a great trip my little ones.  Enjoy the time with your family Karlye.  Most of all, hurry back to me so I can wrap my arms around you again and tell you in person how much I love you.

*We call the game Bury Your Horses.  I learned it somewhere back in high school.  I highly recommend it because it can fill up some monotonous travel time through rural areas on a long road trip.  Each person says zip each time they see a horse, only one person gets to count each horse and saying zip for another type of animal, like a cow, takes a point away.  You compete to see who can get the most horses on the trip.  When someone sees a cemetery, they say "Bury Your Horses" and everyone else's horse count goes back to zero.

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