The Chinese National Holiday arrived on October 1st, which granted us a glorious week off of school and work, and sent us to Beijing for a long weekend with old friends. We came back home and perhaps from a combined result of needed rest from travel, housework that needed attending to, a man hot on the trail of completing his final Master's class, and the incessant gloomy weather, we have mostly remained in that very place... at home. It has been altogether quite good though, for all of us. You may wonder what exactly a family of five does in their little apartment in China over the course of a few days. Well, some of us...
created board games, complete with playing pieces, game board, and list of rules (they are priceless treasures, though sometimes a little confusing to play.)
researched and wrote, and researched and wrote, and lost files, and kept writing, and finally finished.
typed... letters to friends and grandparents, little notes to mom and dad, newspaper articles, reviews of the day, seven year old thoughts on sibling rivalry and ways to solve it.
organized long overdue piles of photos and albums, closets full of linens still without a home, and the pile of wintercoats finally hung in the newly emptied (thus homeless linens) wardrobe.
read to one another, to ourselves, in the morning, before bed, during naps, with mom helping, or all by ourselves, with playful voices, in monotone, by memory (so sweet to listen to)
played outside: hide and go seek, tag, on our bikes, falling off our bikes ("he looked just like a motorcycle crashing mom... it was awesome!")
played inside: restaurant, olympic long jump competition, Newsies, cowboys, superheros...
watched some good stuff with the kids like The Cosby Show and Newsies... and some good stuff with just mom and dad like The Beaver and The Tree of Life.
talked about our future and the here and now and things we can do to not merely survive, but thrive in this place, in our family, and with a new member coming into our family soon.
danced with each other, inspired by the myriad of clothing changes our littlest one goes through every day.
imagined with markers on windows, crayons on paper, pins and pincushions, jars of buttons, and even sometimes the food on our plates.
enjoyed, really and truly enjoyed the presence of one another. It was a gift to me, to see it at all, and to take note of it, to give thanks for it-- all of it, the working through conflict, the sharpening (that can feel like grinding) that living in close quarters can bring, the giggles and hilarity, the imagination and companionship, the solidarity and loyalty, it is all there and often not in equal measure, so for these good days I can and must breathe it in with a whole lot of gratitude.