Sunday, August 31, 2008

On My Own

Since Wednesday night I have been trying to play the role of mom and dad; something that I am not great at. I am pretty good at being mom until about 6 pm and then we are all ready for dad to come home. So what happens when dad is gone for several days and 6 pm roles around...a bit of craziness, stress, quick dinners, and early bedtimes.

Every year Birch relishes in planning, preparing, and going on his annual All-Brothers-Hike (it even has an acronym "ABH"). Each year the brothers try to out do themselves in cool gear, though I think Birch has lost that award for a few years now. This year he is the proud new owner of a plastic $2.00 pooper shovel. I'm sure his brothers were all drooling over his shovel and might have even tried to sneak it from his pack at night. They all hike in memory of their dad who was a true mountain man and passed away almost eight years ago.

Planning for the hike begins during the previous year's hike. Normally one of the brothers kind of takes charge with planning the hike after they all agree on a location. Then watch out...some years they have had t-shirts printed or special hymn books printed or vinyl lettering of their logo (yes, they have a logo) added to their nalgene bottles, but always you can count on an awesome DVD produced by Birch's talented brother, Kelly. These movies are right up there with Star Wars quality (or at least the Ditto family thinks they are). This year Birch got the idea of buying dry-wicking shirts and then having the logo embroidered on the shirt. He was like a little boy planning the whole gift out and couldn't wait to present them to his brothers. This year they will be missing Andrew as he is serving a mission in Mexico right now. They are backpacking in the Sawtooth Mountains in Idaho.
So how do I feel about this annual adventure? I used to dread it but I am learning to live with it and even try and be happier about its annual arrival. A couple of things have helped me with this paradigm shift--they no longer summit tall scary mountains where ice axes and crampons are needed and the last couple of years they have been able to go during the school year. The thought of losing my beloved Lover to a crevasse is more than I can bear the thought of, plus our life insurance company frowns upon such high adventure trips (you should have seen the smile on my face when the insurance agent told Birch that this policy did not allow such activities.). I figure once I am dead and Birch doesn't need a life insurance policy he is welcome to climb any mountain he wants.

Also, Birch has become very thoughtful over the years at doing secretive things prior to his departure to make his absence less painful for me. This year he left a sweet note sharing his love and also letting me know that he had arranged babysitters to come twice over the following four days. Plus he had flowers delivered one day and then last night he directed me to a gift that he had made--a cd of love songs. I love new music and just the thought that he had made it with me in mind made it extra special.

So how did the rest of us fare? We survived! Unfortunately several kids ended up getting Hand, Foot, Mouth disease so I wasn't able to take advantage of all the babysitting. We did have a fun movie party one night. I had been worried about handling six kids during church today (though Birch had asked a favorite family of ours to sit with us and help out) but since so many of the kids are sick we stayed home from church. Normally I really struggle at night with falling asleep on my own and getting scared but I've found that sleep deprivation does have one advantage--falling asleep isn't hard to do at all. Chloe still has just been getting up twice a night and I can handle that.

I'm not saying Birch wasn't missed; we are all counting down the hours until he arrives home today, but we did survive. Life is so much sweeter when you can share each day with your Lover.

I know Birch has been FLYING HIGH over the past several days but we are so excited to have him home today!
Birch flying high at Bumping Lake - August 2008 Scout Campout


Leah said...

Love Birch's thoughtful gifts. So sweet. Glad you survived!!

Jessica said...

That is so sweet of Birch. Way to go. And how did so many get "hand, foot & mouth" disease anyway?!?

Ditto Family said...

Hand, Foot, Mouth is super contagious.

Turns out our good friends also have it. I think we were doing a bit too much sharing last week when we were all playing. Guess it was out turn, though. Last year we gave it to their family.

It is most common during late summer, early fall from the ages 2-10 years old. Fits us perfectly! It normally starts out with a fever (which somehow we have either skipped or just had really low grade) and then you get little sores or blisters in your mouth, hands, and feet. No fun.

I actually think that I have it too--just a more mild adult version.


A big happy family said...

I'm glad you survived, this is the first year where I actually enjoyed myself some of the time. Although we are all watching the clock for Daddy to walk through the door. I enjoyed your blog about the kids going back to school and feeling like you didn't do enough with them. i feel the same way. good intentions, didn't always follow through. Maybe next year. :)

emily a. said...

I don't know how I missed that Birch was on his brother's hike- sorry. what a good hubbie to plan all of those little gifts and help along the way. Hope the hike was great, Birch!

emily a. said...

I forgot you got the checkered dress for Chloe as well. Sage was all dressed up last week in it but then threw up right before we went out the door so she wore her cherry dress instead. I wish we could get pictures of the girls together in their dresses.

Matt's Blog said...

Tell Birch that the shirts are awesome...and when does this ABH include B-I-L's?

Amanda said...

I love the fact that the Ditto "boys"still do this! And that their wives are so supportive. I wish that my husband would do something of this sort because I know it would be as good for him as scrapbooking is for me! I need to get his brothers or my brother's to get something going! (My brother's won't hike though! It would have to be something else!!!) Anything to give him a good break too! It looks like your summer was very similar to mine though! I am looking forward to tomorrow! OUr first day of school!!!

kg said...

Glad you survived! Like the new banner :) :)

Heidi said...

I'm glad you survivied. You're such a trooper Sara. Birch is such a sweetie to you. I hope I find someone that loves me that much. :)

Anonymous said...

Congratulations on surviving! As if anyone had any doubts! PS... this reminds me of someone... hmmmmm BEAR GRILLS maybe! A LOGO? Too funny! Love it.

Anonymous said...

PS...LOVE, love, love the new header! The ducks are so sweeet!