[Of note: this was suppose to post last Monday.... forgive the lateness, please]
My Girl came home from 9 days in Guatemala on Sunday. I rode with a friend 3 hours to Chicago to meet her plane rather than meet the team at the church in the very early morning hours on Monday.
Perhaps I was a bit anxious to see my Girl, no?
I knew I wanted Week 13 to be a photo of me and that Girl of mine after she returned.
I crawled into bed early Monday morning as the mister was crawling out to get ready to go to work.
Even if we both were running on 4 hours sleep and she needed rest.... the girl and I needed time together.
We chatted and sat close for an hour or so as night gave way to morning, then we crawled into our beds and slept away part of that morning. We had brunch since breakfast was way past.... I made special German pancakes topped with fresh strawberries and whip cream as her comfort food welcome home meal.
Besides the bit of fatigue, she meshed back into family life like she'd never left it and gone abroad and changed her world view and perspective and heart....
More than anything, it deepened her servant's heart for the right here- to serve her family. I hadn't quite expected that. She spent extra time playing with her brother.... the two of them sitting all cozy and sharing the Oreos she brought back special from Guatemala.
She cooked and baked with her sister.... laughing and listening to music and singing in the kitchen. The sounds this mama dearly loves.
She said serving in Guatemala reminded her that there is no size to service- no big or small or even medium sized acts.... size doesn't matter, its the giving and the heart of the giver that matters. She talked of her teammates putting a roof on a church, running electical wire and mixing and laying concrete by hand.... while she took pictures to document the trip and worked with the children under the shade having a short vacation bible school with them each day. The first day she chipped holes into cement to run wires, the next day it was picture taking and VBS working. She mentioned to a fellow teammate that she didn't feel she was doing her part as taking pictures wasn't hard work like mixing concrete by hand and carrying it's heavy wetness in 5 gallon buckets.... he told her, "You signed up for the job as one of the team photographers. I can use a shovel and haul cement but I can't take pictures. Its not my thing. If you weren't here to take pictures we'd have no documentation, nothing to show everyone what we did here. Every job matters."
Every job matters.
How is it the Girl leaves for 9 days to serve in a 3rd world country and I'm the one who's changed? What is it about parenting that leaves us constantly feeling like we're behind and there is so much more we must teach and instruct and they just won't stop growing up on us and we find we're the ones growing?
Sending her to Guatemala was one of our easiest parenting decisions.... leaving her with two suitcases, a tight hug, a kiss on the forehead and a prayer of blessing was one of the most difficult things I have ever done as a parent.
How is that possible?
I will not hold my children back
and I will always hold them close.
How is that possible?
"Mama, is it wrong that I didn't miss home while I was gone?" she asked me quietly.
"Oh no, Sweetheart. I prayed that God wouldn't let you be homesick. I asked Him to allow me to carry that homesickness and missing for the both of us."
And I did. Oh, I did.
This is practice for when she leaves for college or for good.... well-meaning friends and family stated after hearing of my longing for my oldest.
That's just not something you practice for, was my response.
We didn't practice her first plane ride or how to get through customs or what to eat and how to greet.... we just packed her with the necessities and a few extra band-aids and a whole lotta prayer and sent her off.
Which is what will happen when the day comes that she leaves this home for good.... we won't practice it, because, really who practices heartache? Instead, we'll meet the task head on, pack her with the necessities and few extra band-aids and a whole lotta prayer and send her off to her next adventure.
And I'll know that my job isn't done, it'll just be different. Perhaps a bit smaller role in her life not being together 24/7..... but I am aware-
Every job matters.
And that includes this mama job. No matter the stage of life, I'll always be the mama. It will always be my job. It will always matter.
She went to Guatemala for 9 days.
She came home changed.
That was expected.
I stayed home those 9 days and did the ordinary, every day things....
And yet, I was changed.
That was unexpected.
I knew God would rock my world when we put her on that plane.... I just didn't realize that he'd also turn it upside down and inside out and while I struggled, I'd learn to begin to embrace it.
Kinda like this camera challenge.... while I'm struggling, I'm learning to embrace it.
>>> Embrace the Camera is a year long challenge in which I agreed to take/have taken and post at least one photo of myself each week for 52 weeks. No editing out the wrinkles or digitally shrinking the waist line or cloning out the growing grey.... real pictures of the real me. Along with the photos comes bits and pieces of my heart- written out here as I walk this journey to capture the real me on camera for the remembering.
Click here for all cumulative weeks of the Embrace the Camera Challenge.