Monday, April 13, 2015

Wedding in Arizona - Lesson in Parenting

We had a really great time with Amy's family in Arizona back in March. Mike and Carly got married. The weather was just right as we were leaving Indy at 15 degrees and getting into Arizona at 70 degrees. And we all stayed together in a big rented house. It was a good setup, but travel lately has proven to be really exhausting.

The Wedding

Weddings are fun. They just are. It is such a happy occasion with a couple being celebrated. People come from long distances, take time off, spend money and vacation days to show their support, and it's a big planned party.

What made this one more fun was the fact that this was Mike. Of all the single people we know, I don't know that we pulled harder for anyone to reach this stage than for Mike. I think every day since we have been married we have prayed for him to meet, fall in love with, and have a relationship work out for him. You pull so hard for somebody and after years of wanting it, when it finally happens it's just so great. That's what we have felt for Mike.

I won't get into all of the details about the wedding, because that's not really what I care about.

The celebrating events were really fun. There was a wedding party dinner the night before the sealing ceremony that was really nice. The reception was at a perfect venue to host families with kids and it was a really fun atmosphere.

The actual sealing ceremony was beautiful. It's such a special feeling to be in the temple and with so much of your family and loved ones around. The Waltons are a wonderful bunch. I can't say enough about how great they all are.


Traveling west with our kiddos has been hard. The flights are long and it's a constant battle with Peter in particular to try and keep him entertained and still. He doesn't care about electronics so that aid that can put Jane into a hypnotic trance has no pacifying effect on him. The kid just likes to move and in the last couple of months has taken to more yelling and screaming when he cries. Not great, but he did okay when it came to the actual travel. About as well as we could have expected.

The worst part was that he just wouldn't sleep soundly at night. We had him in a nearby walk-in closet, which was a decent enough setup, but he would moan through the night and never get good sleep. With Jane our solution is just usually bring her into bed and she cuddles right up next to you and sleeps perfectly. We tried that with Peter and he will lay down to start, then two seconds later he sits straight up, turns himself around, and just flops down, seemingly trying to find a comfortable spot. He ends up kicking both of us in the face at some point and almost like he's doing it deliberately, turns himself perfectly horizontal to how everyone else is lying down. It's almost comical the way he does it, but the fact that he's only 14-15 months old makes me think that he's not quite looking for laughs.

The weekend was just exhausting for us. He never slept well, which meant we never slept well, and with the busyness of a wedding and being in a new place, he never really got much opportunity to nap either. He would fall asleep here and there, but it just seemed like he was all emotions all weekend long because he's just not able to cope as well.

I think this is where our inexperience as parents starts showing up. For Amy and I, we wanted more predictability for our kids. We wanted them to get some opportunity to sleep at a regular hour, take naps, adhere to some kind of schedule. We have two kids, but we've only been parenting for about two and a half years. Truth is, our kids, even when pushed to their limits, still behave pretty well. Jane is an amazing traveler (if she's not actually sick, which is rare anyway), and while Peter gets out of sorts, he's getting better.

Watching Amy's siblings and their families helps us to realize sometimes what kids can do. Even in our most recent jaunt down to Nashville last weekend, we tried to get back into the hotel at a regular hour and put the kids down in our room like it wouldn't be any problem to just tell a 15 month old that it was bed time, and even though we were in a bed five feet away, just lay down and go to bed because you really are tired.

That just doesn't work. Amy's brother Dan has said this and the longer we do this, the more I realize how true it is, but vacations are really for parents. They might be for kids of a certain age, teenagers, but they definitely aren't for babies and little toddlers. You know what those kids need? Stability. Regularity. Routines. You know what vacations are? None of those things. That's kind of the whole point to vacations, right? They're meant to break routines and get you out of the doldrums.

So flying out somewhere, visiting with people you don't really see, having things to do and one event after another, there really isn't going to be an opportunity for routine. Granted, you can't be extreme, with them, but they can usually do more than I think they can. And then they wear themselves out and fall asleep in the car while you're getting to the next place, and then you do it again. It's just kind of how it goes.

The Best Part

For me, it ended up being Sunday after everyone left. Normally I hate being the last person to leave the trip. Everything has wrapped up, there's not a lot left to do, and you're just wanting to get back home and get back to your regularly scheduled programming.

But it turns out that I really like my wife and with arrangements as they were, I never really just got to talk to just her the whole trip. We went to In-N-Out and got to recap the wedding and the weekend, different thoughts that we had, and talked about our kids and I just really love those times with her.

Afterwards we went to the Mesa Temple and walked the grounds and it was just the thing that our kids like to do these days. They love being outside and being in new places. They to wander. Peter likes walking over uneven surfaces (yes, really, he does) and Jane can always spot wildlife and loves to point that stuff out.

While on the grounds we stepped into the visitors center and watched a video about families and both Amy and I really got wrapped up in the spirit that we felt there. The senior missionary asked us if we had anyone pass away recently, and we remarked that her grandfather actually just passed away a few months ago, and that we were in town for a sealing for her brother. We talked about the circle of life, all in one ten minute conversation.

I'm just so grateful for my little family, as well as the bigger one that connects us to the Waltons. It's an amazing thing to be a member of this church and to be seeking after a Christ-like life, receiving the blessings of peace and unity that is available to us.