"I want to play with Ava," my 4-year-old said this afternoon, with tears streaming down behind her adorable pink glasses.
"We can call her," I said, gently.
"I don't want to call her. I want to PLAY with her."
(I didn't quite know what to say..."Maybe in a year?").
This part is a little harder than I expected.
We miss our friends. We miss familiarity. We miss the hum and melody of daily rhythms.
Slowly, we're finding our way though. Together.
P.S. We leave on Saturday for Houston...then onward through Lafayette, Baton Rouge, Mobile, Tallahassee, and Orlando. Let us know if you have recommendations for how we might be able to serve in those areas...and/or if you want to have dinner.
That is hard, Stephanie. My heart is heavy for you both. As someone that moved around a lot as a kid/teenager, it does fade over time and you make new friends. Plus she's very young still and it's not a "long term nomadic" lifestyle. Roots will come and friends will, too. After all, when it's done, you're going to be settling here in the Pacific Northwest, right?! ;-)
There's a strong chance, my friend. Only time will tell. ;)
That is soo hard. It will lessen as time goes by and they get used to their new life. But ouch, that has to hurt when the request is made.
Oh my goodness we miss you guys! We are finally getting the internet situation figured out at our new place so at least I can keep up with you this way now. Thinking of you all and praying for you constantly. I have an old friend in Shreveport, Louisiana who would know of needs in her area, are you going near there?
We passed through Louisiana pretty quickly...only one night in Lafayette. The South is a different world. It would have been interesting to spend more time in the area.
When I was 4, the "reality" of being a missionary kid and going back and forth and leaving family became very REAL.
My mom/grandmother tell a story of us walking through the airport on our way to go back to Haiti with me clinging onto my grandmother's arm, wimpering, "I don't want to go, Granny! I really don't want to go!" Then my grandmother tells my mother, "She DOESN'T WANT to go, Bev!" And my mom says, "I know, Mom, but she has to."
I struggled all through my childhood & teenage years with this pull and wondering WHY God called OUR family to this life. I wish I could say that it got easier. But it didn't. However, the people I have met, the places I have gone, the experiences that I have had, I wouldn't trade for a "normal" life, living in the same town with the same friends forever. Although I missed some things, I gained SO MUCH more!! And that understanding at a young age -- how much I missed people, loved people, needed people -- has made me into a person who truly strives not to take life/people I love for granted.
Growing up and struggling with these feelings, the best thing that my mom did for me was just to listen and to understand and not to dismiss or pacify my feelings. She let me feel them and of course, also tried to often solutions and ideas but just "was there for me" if those solutions were not enough.
Thinking of you and praying for Little Pink as well as you gusy to adjust to this "new normal"!
Oh, that must have been absolutely heartwrenching for your mother (and your grandma too!). Sometimes it's hard to know what is best for our kids. In the end, I pray that God's grace will cover my daughters and provide them with the love/friendship/security/strength that they need.
Also - thanks for the reminder to listen well and not dismiss her feelings. She's a brave little girl, but I know she misses the familiarity of home too.
When I was at Oral Roberts University, our women's chaplain said something one time that really stuck and resounded with me because of my own childhood -- when God calls you, he calls your children too, and He gives YOUR children the grace to by YOUR children. He has not forgotten them when He called their parents. And I know this too be true....so, so, so true. It is such a powerful thought process.
I think just the fact that your sweetheart's love for Jesus is SO real and transparent is because that is the way that you and Tim live it for them. And along those same lines, people who LOVE BIG, HURT BIG. I didn't understand that as a child who felt REALLY BIG feelings, but as an adult, I know that I couldn't do it any other way....cause then it wouldn't be really living, right?
You are REALLY on my heart tonight....thinking and praying for you all...
I can't imagine how hard it is for them. I'm pretty sure we would never survive a year on the road. My daughter asks to go home about 2 days after we are at a new location. Good luck. And if you get up to PA/NJ we would love to have the girls come play (and you and Tim as well), although I know she still misses the familiar folks.
Um, Stephanie... I'm sorry I ranted on your blog :) it's been a tough week!
I think I got sidetracked and forgot to mention my primary point - those girls will be just fine and this time your family is spending serving others will be something that the whole family will always point back to as a very important and meaningful time of your life. It will work this way because one of your primary goals on this trip is to spend "quantity" time with each other. It would be easy to get so involved in serving others that you neglected those most important - each other and your children, but since you have made it a point this year to spend quantity time with each other as well you will be fine!
As an often-uprooted kid I know exactly how your little one is feeling. At that age a month seems like forever to have to wait, much less a year. Familiarity and stability are so important to kids, we adults sometimes forget that. That said, those precious girls have familiarity and stability in you and Tim and this time of their life will be something that your oldest especially will always remember and it will shape her and give her perspective that she won't be able to get any other way. As an adult now I deeply feel the loss of not being from "somewhere" but rather from "everywhere" I don't run into people I've known since elementary school, I don't have any childhood friends that I'm still in touch with, I often feel like a mis-fit, an outsider. But at the same time I feel like I have an empathy and compassion and understanding of people that I wouldn't have if it wasn't for my background and childhood - and those are characteristics I want to instill in my children, I'm sure it's possible - even if we never move from this area - to teach them what I learned by moving around - people are simply people - the backdrop is different, but people themselves are just people - everywhere you go there are those who are "outsiders" those who are "insiders" those who have and those who don't, those who are hurting and lonely and those who are joyful and content, those who need a friend and those who aren't interested in being a friend and most importantly - just because someone is different from us doesn't make them something "better" than us or something "lesser" than us.
Oh, my. That would be hard. Hopefully the joys of travel will soon have her swept up. :) Wish you were coming a little further north! I'd love to meet you.
That is so hard! I live in Katy, a suburb just west of Houston. I'd totally invite y'all over for a playdate with my 3 year old son and a few friends, but I'll be out of town this weekend for a women's retreat. How long will you be in Houston? The Houston Livestock Show and Rodeo is going on right now. There's a lot of neat stuff for kids to do during the day (petting zoo, getting to see baby chicks hatch, learning how to milk cows, sit on tractors). That could be neat for your girls. I don't have any great suggestions at the moment for giving opportunities, but I'll keep my eyes and ears open!
Thanks so much for the invitation, Cara! We were only in Houston for a few days, but we loved Spring Creek Park in Tomball! Have you been there?
This post made me tear up for your sweet girl. And all of you. I am sure that is incredibly hard. I will be praying for you all. I have no brilliant suggestions. But I am certain that you ARE figuring it out- and are so thankful that you are TOGETHER.
Oh man so hard. Your doing the right thing mama! Hang in there!
When I was small and far away from my family we sent video letters. They were a lot of fun and helped bridge the feeling of distance somewhat. I had a Canadian pen pal too - maybe your 4-year-old would like to write regular letters/postcards to some of the friends she left behind?
Now that my parents are far away in Angola we rely on Skype, which is better than nothing, I guess. And my mom writes my daughter cute "duck stories" which are all about the things that my mom does on a daily basis.
Oh no! Reading that made me teary! I'm praying for you guys!
We treasure your prayers.
Aw, poor girl. That must be hard on her and you both.
So you're coming to Orlando? For the Disney Social Media event? I didn't get into the event, but my family will be in Disney at that time. Let me know if you want to meet up!
Ugh...it is sad that she misses her friend, yet so sweet that she loves them so and wants to be with them. You guys are doing a great job with them and even on these hard days, know that they are learning, loving, and growing so much - with you!
do you think you could look up a local mom group or maybe go to a playground with kids? Or maybe some play center/entertainment center where she can play with other kids?
My 4 year old (although full time in daycare) is always asking for playdates. I guess she reached the point where she she really likes playing with other kids (as opposed to always playing with me)
I dont know how you guys can do this trip. It is indeed, so hard.
We go to parks at almost every stop.
We also love it when families invite us to have a meal w/ them. It's such a wonderful gift for the girls.
Our 4-year-old also looks forward to going to "Kid's Class" at church on Sunday mornings. She's quite brave and always gives us a full review of the children's programs at the churches we visit.
Can you Skype of Facetime her on an ipod? I know it is not the same as physical contact but maybe seeing her friend would help her feel better.....
I have to say I think you girls are handling the change well. I don't think my oldest could make the adaptations you have made to your family life. The experience she is having now will stay with her forever. A five year old will pick up a friendship quickly, like no time has passed at all.
We do use Skype, but it's not quite the same as riding on the golf cart with Ma, meeting Gram for lunch at Chipotle, or swimming with cousin Ava.