I have been back home for two weeks now and I am finally starting to feel like things are back to how they were before I left. If that's what normal is. It usually takes about two weeks to get back in the home life groove after being gone for 26 days but I'm happy to do it.
Some people may think that a month in Tampa would be a great thing. And I also think it would be great if I could go see the sights and lay on the beach. I think it's only fun to visit a warm location in January when you get to enjoy the warmth and do things that you can't normally do in your cold weather climate. But for the most part, I was either in my car, in meetings or sitting at my desk in the office. I also tend to have a sick stomach the week of operations because I worry so much about something I forgot to do or something going wrong. And this year, as in years past, the city that hosted the Super Bowl was unseasonably cold. There were actually overnight frost warnings about one third of the days I was there. It was a big news story. That wouldn't be a problem for a person from Utah except that I packed for 60-70 degree weather. I wore my flip-flops two of the days I was there and my feet were cold both days. At least there is no Inversion in Florida. That is the part of winter I am glad I get to miss. Jim always tells me about how his throat and eyes start to hurt about a week after I leave. And I don't have to pick up a snow shovel any of the days I am away. (except for the year the Super Bowl was in Detroit!) Don't get me wrong, I did have some good times. I enjoyed reconnecting with the friends that I only get to see that month I am away for work. I got to make some great new friends. I get the opportunity to help contribute to the family financially. I get the chance to do something I am actually pretty good at (well, that is a matter of opinion, I guess).
But as I sit here at the computer, I can see giant, fluffy flakes falling outside the big window. And it is supposed to snow all day. I can see Macy curled up on her big round pillow. I can smell fresh bread baking (Really, I'm not that domestic, it's just a R.S. goal I have been wanting to pass off for about four months). I am still wearing my flannel p.j. pants and it's after noon and I can hear Fall Out Boy playing in the background (well, my whole life can't be a Norman Rockwell painting!). I guess what I'm saying is I am just so happy to be in our home. Even with the snow and the dirty bathrooms and the mountains of laundry and the boys' homework...the list can go on and on with things I don't like to do.
The challenges I face at home are, to me, "real life" challenges. What's for dinner? What am I going to plan for the next Enrichment activity? How am I going to show my husband/children that I love them today? Did I pay that bill? Did I think to pray? Am I raising productive, responsible, kind, thoughtful, respectful young men? What can I do to help my neighbors today? When I get dressed, are my jeans going to get up over my butt? I don't' take any of those things lightly. I personally feel like, however simple they may seem to some people in the business world, those things are more important than the things I worry about in the month of January when I am working. I know my work is important to a LOT of people, including me. I want to do a good job. They are just different types of worries.
I guess the difference is the Eternal Perspective I am so blessed to have in my life. It helps me know that being kind and helpful to others is more important than ruling with an iron fist. I know that in 20 years my kids won't remember that we had Hamburger Helper for dinner but they will remember that we had dinner together as a family often. I don't really care if in 20 years anyone remembers that I was responsible for getting the Steelers to practice on time or that I was able to get an extra bus for the Cardinals Friends and Family to be able to view the Saturday Walk-through. I just hope that in 20 years my family remembers that there was a good feeling in our home and will want to return often. Some people might think I'm crazy and my priorities are all messed up but that's OK with me. I would rather have my Heavenly Father proud of me than some random person who at one time worked with the NFL.
So I will help the boys with homework and I will fold the pile of laundry on my bed until 11:00 pm (so I can actually get in my bed and sleep for a few hours). And I will even scrub the bathrooms. I will try to do it the best I can even though it's not as glamorous as seeing Ben Roethlisberger and his teammates deplane and get on one of the buses that is on the tarmac because of the work I did.
I guess what I'm trying to say is I would rather be with my family on a cold, snowy day than in a warm place without them. I guess that's what normal is for me. Being home.