We have a wooden sign hanging in our kitchen (well, it is leaning against a random fireplace now). It says “FAMILY RULES” in large block letters. I picked it up at a Garden Ridge one morning when I should have been working out. I bought it because I liked its dictates:
Help each other
Know you are loved
Try new things
Respect one another
Laugh out loud
I would like to think that we are teaching our kids these things, that we are living this way. So I hung the sign over the breakfast table in hopes that is subtle presence would remind us and penetrate our kids’ subconscious. Pretty good deal for $10. When Ryan and I came up with the idea of leaving our lives behind for a year we dreamed that we would have so much more time to REALLY live out our rules. When we were just beginning to entertain this adventure, we would sit around at night and talk about all the things we would do on this grand adventure: We can teach the kids math by letting them figure gas mileage! We can run a 5K in every town we visit! The big kids will teach Harper to read! We will sleep in hammocks! We will slow down and just be! Well, once we had thought of it we had to do it. And then we started trying to keep living our lives (school, baseball, piano, work, swim lessons,class parties, etc) while simultaneously undoing them (interviewing prospective renters, packing, planning, renting storage units, and doing tons of research ). And it was overwhelming. Some nights when we were lost in a sea of stuff, sorting through 12 years worth of marital bliss, one of us would ask “whose idea was this anyway??” I mean, we like our life. It is comfortable, safe, and easy. We have lived in Austin for 20 plus years (!) We have awesome friends and neighbors. HEB,Target, our gym and Starbucks are within a 5 mile radius. It seemed like folly to pack up an entire house and then try to recreate life in unfamiliar places with out the safety net of old, dear friends and comfortable surroundings. While those same friends were cheering us on, Ryan and I both were a little doubtful. It is one thing to dream big and talk about trying new things but putting those ideas into action takes it to another level. A level involving lots of details and work and weird, prospective renters. But, we persevered and I am so glad we did. I realize that we are only a week in and I am an eternal optimist by nature BUT it feels great to be away. In Austin, we were navigating so many immediate demands/to do’s that we could not even think about what lay ahead. But, now, having unmoored ourselves from our permanent home, we have a clear view of the new horizons awaiting us and it is exciting.
Yesterday, we set out for a hike and it was a great analogy to the last few months of planning. (I hear the collective groan…I do love my analogies). It sounded like a great idea-a hike to a mountain lake. The word ‘mountain’ should have caught our attention but it did not. We picked a trail, packed a pic nic and headed out in typical Teague style: we just left. The scenery was breathtaking. The kids were pumped. The weather was perfect but the hike was long. What we thought would be an easy stroll was a killer hike, straight up. Once we passed the tree line (!) the terrain turned steep and rocky. The website had promised that a pristine lake waited a top the mountain. Was it worth it? The first hour was amazing but at about two hours in, we talked about turning back and settling for a pic nic by a small pond we had seen. We did have to get back down, after all. But we kept going. And, yes, it was worth it. The whole trip was a good 4 1/2 hour hike which is a lot for little kids but they never complained. Lindsey even reminded us, while we sat freezing by the gorgeous lake, that we had tried something new today: we climbed a mountain.