For the past two weeks, I’ve been driving my minivan around town and faithfully performing the following duties:
- Dr. Appointments
- Dental Visits (all 5 kids need their teeth cleaned and ISAAC has cavities….)
- Orthodontic appointments (Isaac again)
- New Driver’s license
- Walmart (to buy a fresh supply of underwear and socks for the next 9 months…)
Actually, looking at the final three items, I’ve been ignoring some of the above mentioned duties…oops.
This list can probably be found in every suburban mother’s home, complete with children and the minivan with the sticky seats. Unfortunately, my official job description is not “stay-at-home Missouri Mom,” but “international missionary mom home on furlough.” The key word in both descriptions is “Mom,” and there’s no escaping the fact that motherhood trumps fancy job descriptions and reduces you to that lady who never has enough hours in her day….
Our furlough home has been interesting. I had this secret wish list of things to do upon arriving in Missouri:
- Visit family
- Hang out with friends (show them I’m learning to drink coffee…. Actually, I don’t think “official” coffee drinkers consider a “Latte” to be true coffee, but I’m breaking a non-coffee habit of 36 years…)
- Indulge in the following hard-to-find foods in Latin America:
- DR. PEPPER
- Steaks cooked Medium Rare with no fear of food poisoning
- Sour Cream. On everything… Except the Lattes.
- American Candy, especially Reese’s Pieces.
- Catch up on some needed rest
- Take long soaks in the bathtub with very hot water
- And, hey, maybe asking too much, but it’d be nice to see some snow. (Just the pretty kind that falls and doesn’t stick or make the roads dangerous.)
My actual time home has been much, much busier. Our crazy schedule has made the above list a bit challenging to accomplish. On the bright side, my list looks like a solid plan for “How to Gain Weight Effortlessly,” so it’s probably for the best.
To give you a little idea of what a five-week furlough can look like, in the last 5 weeks, we:
- Drove 2,500 miles (not counting Rob’s 1,500 mile drive to Juarez, Mexico, & back)
- Changed time zones 3 times (4 if you count going onto daylight savings time)
- Traveled through the states of California, Arizona, New Mexico, Texas, Oklahoma, Arkansas, Illinois, Indiana, Kentucky, Tennessee, and Missouri
- Visited 6 different churches and one para-church ministry
- Went to 10 office appointments
- celebrated 3 birthdays and an adoption
- Unpacked/Re-packed/Unpacked (again!) a total of 8 suitcases
- recorded a radio/podcast interview (here’s my plug for NextGen Worship, you should take a listen sometime)
I don’t know if you’ve picked up on the trend yet, but I’m become very proficient at making lists. (Maybe I should’ve used the word obsessive instead of proficient…?)
Where am I heading with all of this?
Please know, first of all, I’m really not complaining. It’s so great to see our dear friends, family and supporters!
I’m blogging about this because it’s such a contrast of roles:
One minute, I’m sharing my great passion for the beautiful people in Mexico and Panama, and the next moment I’m sitting in the car singing “On the Road Again” with the kids. The slide shows, highlight videos, and RKMissions T-shirts morph into another round of suitcases, our trusty GPS unit, and another pile of laundry.
Hold on a sec. I WILL complain about that! Do any of you ever feel like that pile of laundry should really be called “Mt. NEVEREST?” As in, it will NEVER get done, EVER(est)? I have been stepping around it, my kind husband has been stepping over it, and my 5 children just run over the top of it. What’s with that anyway? I know it wouldn’t look as cute as the pink Energizer bunny marching around and around and never stopping, but, seriously, my laundry pile WILL EXIST into Infinity and Beyond!!!
Which brings me to another pile that seems to keep growing: the un-matched sock pile. Every few months, I throw away a gallon-bucket-sized pile of socks that have no mates. Only to turn around and find the “Un-matched” pile has appeared again, daring me to believe the other sock will turn up as I do the laundry.
No matter where I go, what I do, or how much I check items off my to-do list, the laundry never goes away. It patiently sits there, awaiting my next energy spurt.
But, for all my complaining, I’m still having the time of my life. (With a little less sleep than originally hoped…)
Nothing replaces our excitement to visit with our families. Nothing compares to seeing people weep as we share about loving the Ngobe Indians in Panama. Nothing erases the effects of hearing our loved ones pray for us and encourage us.
Not even the laundry pile can steal the simple joys of enjoying the fickle Missouri weather, talking with friends, and laughing with family.
We are blessed. We are loved. And whether I can see it or not, we are advancing the Kingdom,
…..one dirty sock at a time.