Friday, July 31, 2009


Christopher has left the building.

My husband is an introvert. This may come as a surprise to some of you who know him. Let me assure you; he does not like groups, he is very uncomfortable chatting with strangers, and social interactions cost him a lot in emotional and spiritual energy. Nope, he would rather a quiet, intimate conversation which happens to pepper large stretches of solitude.

We have seven children.

He married an extrovert (reread everything above, but reverse it).

You can imagine how often he gets quiet, intimate conversations peppering his large stretches of solitude. Ha!

So he left. Actually he took time to enjoy one of his favorite pastimes - hiking. This week he is off to Inyo National Forest to climb 3 mountains, all of them highest points in their respective counties. It gives him time alone. He needs it! He comes home exhausted, bone weary and blistered, and even a little lonely. But he is also refreshed, more capable of enjoying and appreciating our family, and reconnected with God in a way that 20 feet above sea level fails to do.

I get to stay home with the kids. 20 feet above sea level is just fine for me.

But the alone time is good for me, too. I enjoy the quiet nights, the bed to myself, the dinner "cheats." I often find a project that requires concentrated focus, and throw myself into: repainting a section of the house; organizing that black hole in the laundry room; building some piece of furniture; or simply getting into a mad panic of spring cleaning. His being gone forces me to take on some of these more solitary tasks, because when he is home I would much rather be hanging out chatting than sticking my head in a bucket of ammonia all day.

I thought about what my Alone Project would be this time. I considered a major overhaul of our garage, but that requires the purchase of several shelving units, and we are really trying to cut down on expenses as we prepare for our backyard landscaping. There are still some smaller paint jobs left, however I am thoroughly uninspired for colors, and if I force myself to pick something I know I will end up with wasabi green and mustard yellow stripes distress painted across my hardwood floor. Yikes! I could list so many more "little things" that ought to get my attention, but I decided that my project this time was spending time with my kids.

I am working to really invest, emotionally, in my kids. It is so much easier for me to take care of their physical needs than their emotional ones. So, my Alone Project is to make a priority of hanging out with them. So far I have done puzzles with Leah, listened to 3 of the LONGEST dream sequences I think possible by Bethany, and appreciated a few of Caleb's new tricks on his skateboard. Tomorrow I am taking just Leah shopping with her birthday money. Josiah is getting extra hugs, and stories from me throughout each day. Mary got her hair cut today, and I used a blow-dryer when I was done to make it "fluffy." Finally, I am reading a book that Hannah just finished so we can talk about it when I am done.

I think this year's Alone Project is my best, yet.


  1. Anonymous8:21 PM

    I'd say your kids will agree too. I find it takes time and effort to think about what you can do with your kids but it's the best effort and time spent EVER. I hope and pray that you all continue to enjoy this year's Alone Project!!! :)

    Love, Jen Schwatka... your cyber friend on the east coast, Love you! :)

  2. Thanks Jen :D I appreciate your kind words, and your prayers even more!

  3. Anonymous11:47 PM

    You are so right. It requires real attention to make sure they all get that 1:1 time they need. And, as the stories go on...and on...and Ryan's do - you just have to sit back and smile...knowing you are making their day by listening. Love ya girl!! Anita