Monday, December 5, 2011

Gonna Have a Green Christmas - Kenya here we come!

We are trading foggy weather in the mid 50's for rainy weather in the low 70's and a Santa less Christmas! Trying to get a family of 6 (and with 3 little ones) means frequent trips to the store despite having packed 3 weeks ago! I think the extra time just allowed me to think of one more thing that seemed a "necessity"! Nothing like having an allowance of 12 pieces of checked luggage to convince one that you must pack a box of cheerios because that is baby boy's favorite cereal and we may not be able to find some in Nairobi!

I don't know if I am not really worried about being in transit for 24 hours with the little ones because I am learning not to borrow tomorrow's troubles or because the kids are pretty good listeners. However, as usually happens, well behaved kids always pick those times when they have an audience to act up - and they will have a captive audience of a couple hundred travellers in a confined space! A friend who recently travelled from Austria with a 2 year old and a 3 year old advised me to have very low expectations and hope to be pleasantly surprised! I also have prayer warriors on high alert! Our plan was to travel on the same date with my sister and her family for extra help, but our schedules did not allow for this.

I am so excited to see the little ones' sense of wonder as they go on their first safari and big brother playing the guide with one safari under his belt. I am also excited to spend a Christmas without the distraction of so much commercialization and to be able to fully contemplate the reason for the season! I told the kids Santa does not visit Kenya and it did not even faze them one bit! I think sometimes we project on our kids what we think they want, but they are totally okay with no gifts and just spending the day eating and playing! The kids are totally excited and telling everyone they meet they are going to Kenya. I wonder what they will be thinking after 11 hours in a plane on the first leg with another 8 hours to go for the second leg after a 10 hour layover

Friday, December 2, 2011

No Parenting Awards for Me Today!

Yesterday was a parenting failure day. Big Brother normally gets to borrow books from the school library on Fridays. He started looking for his library books yesterday morning before school and he was getting upset thinking he had lost them. I did not remember seeing new library books this week and since they had a field trip last Friday, I assumed they had not borrowed any last week. Instead of taking the time to really listen to big brother who was trying to tell me they went to the library on Thursday because of the field trip, I simply decided I did not have time to deal with the tears and worry. I was more stern and impatient than I should have been and left him even more upset – nobody likes not to be “heard”. From my actions, it was obvious that my priority was to get to work a little earlier than to spend an extra five minutes being kind and empathetic. And for that, I let Big brother start his school day sad and I spent the rest of my day feeling like a failure and disappointed at myself. And also feeling like a total fraud because just that Sunday during lunch out, several people came up  to us telling us how impressed they were at how well behaved all the kids were and what a good parenting job we were doing!

The fact that big brother was right – I found the missing books later in the day – only served to make me feel worse. However, I used this as an opportunity to apologize to Big Brother and let him know that mommy sometimes messes up. Hopefully, seeing a person he thinks the world of humble themselves enough to admit they were wrong and apologize planted a seed in his heart. And precious boy that he is - his forgiveness was immediate and unconditional. I think of how many times the Holy Spirit convicts me and instead of humbling myself and asking for God’s forgiveness, I dig in and make all sorts of excuses and justifications. Hopefully, this is a lesson for me to be quick to take correction from the Holy Spirit so that I can delight in the freedom found in God’s forgiveness.