This week my oldest son came home after a two-year LDS mission in Washington DC.
Eight missionaries came home on the same flight and at least five of those were met by parties. There were friends, neighbors, and cousins with banners and balloons. My mom has seen people bring the family dog to missionary pick-ups.
We are a low-key family. Since we didn't want our child to be left out, we asked what he wanted. Luckily, he was fine with just us: Mom, Dad, Brother.
His mission was a great experience, but he's glad to be home and we are glad to have him. In fact, the last two days I've felt better than I have in a month.
But even the best changes come with adjustments. Our lives have been very quiet with our missionary away. Oldest is my most sociable. While he was growing up, we usually had extra boys here. Youngest is content with his own company, or whatever company big brother brings home, so we haven't had visitors for a while. Except for yesterday when Oldest's best friend joined us. Our phone calls doubled overnight.
We rearranged our house with social adult kids in mind. The boys each have their own rooms upstairs by the kitchen and living room. We have a cozy nest downstairs. That way, they can have most of the house to entertain in and we don't have to stay up (or get in the way).
Cooking and shopping will change too. My oldest is less picky and willing to eat leftovers. But he is a healthy eater, so there will be more food to buy. Plus, our far-too-usual take-out will be about $40 per meal instead of $30.
The nice thing is, he also likes to cook. Each boy will cook one meal each week, which takes a lot of burden off of me. Both of my boys are helpful around the house and with projects too, so I have plans for them.
Right now things are a little weird. We all want to get caught up, but we don't want to be overly-demanding. We're treating our son a little like a guest. It will take a while for us all to get into complementary rhythms again.
HOW I'M DOING
I would like some kind of rhythm in life. After over two decades of teaching, I'm conditioned to a strict schedule, changing tasks every hour. Now I'm kind-of floaty. My husband leaves for work at 8:30 and comes home around 6:30. That is all the schedule I've got. If I listen to my body I lie in bed all day playing a jigsaw app on my iPad. If I listen to my head, I overdo it and hurt myself.
While I'm talking about my family merging back together, it seems appropriate to introduce my felting project.
Felting is shrinking wool on purpose. With friction or temperature change, the fibers pull closer to each other. This creates a stronger, denser fabric that is great for coats, slippers, and bags. My goal is to make a messenger bag the right size for a laptop. I figured out how big I wanted it and knit something 50% larger. It's been through two heavy-duty washings and is now roughly the right size.
Unfortunately, it is not a good shape. the grey wool felted more tightly than the white and the edges I knit in a different pattern didn't shrink enough. That makes it too irregular for what I need.
My plan is to throw it in the wash one more time in hope of getting the white to felt more. Then I need to rig some kind of frame and try to stretch it into drying in a real rectangle. I'll let you know if it works.