I confess that I didn’t think I would survive the last ten days, but here I am, so I must have! Let me back up a little bit. One of John’s courses for school was a ten day pilgrimage through Ireland and Northern Ireland which took place September 1st-10th. Eleven students and three leaders traveled to different holy sites and followed footsteps of Saints that came before us like Saint Patrick and Saint Brigid. They had a wonderful and meaningful time spent in meditation, prayer, lots of hiking, scripture-reading, journaling, and learning about Celtic Christianity.
Because I didn’t want to leave the kids, I didn’t go with them, but stayed behind with a missionary friend who lives in Wicklow, Ireland. Wicklow was the starting and ending point for their pilgrimage, so it just made sense that I would be there for those times and she would keep me company while I took care of my kiddos.
I spent ten days with the boys without John’s help and it was quite the task! They were pretty well-behaved, especially considering they were in a new place with new surroundings, and one of their “constants” was not there. I was continuously on the move trying to keep up with them. I was pretty proud of myself and how I managed to stay patient throughout the whole time, that isn’t usually the case. I think between John and me, I’m the one who gets impatient more quickly….
During those ten days, I managed to brush my teeth (and my hair most days) but always with a little one pulling at me. (I won’t confess to how few showers I took, only that the boys bathed more frequently than I was able to…) Sometimes I’d put Moses down for a morning nap or we’d go on an outing. We went various places like the grocery store, on a walk to feed the ducks, to charity shops, to the park, etc. often accompanied by friends who lived in the area. Once back home, we’d have lunch, then afternoon quiet time, play outside, eat dinner, then BEDTIME! We all slept pretty well, but 6:30 still came way too early every morning.
One of my favorite things was when Moses would take a morning nap, because then Hosea and I got to paint together! I’m not crafty AT ALL but went to Poundland and got some paints/paper/brushes a few weeks ago to prepare for this time away. Hosea absolutely loved painting “pictures for daddy” and 3-D cardboard animals. We’d have great conversations about things during this time too.
“Why are tigers orange? How did God stretch out the elephant’s trunk so long? What sound do giraffes make?”
I love his curiosity.
I enjoyed those ten days more than I thought I would. I was exhausted, yes, but we had so much fun just being together! I wasn’t preoccupied with getting things done, I just made it all about them.
By the end of the day we were covered in paint, dirt, food, and sticky from who knows what, but we were happy and we all felt loved. (Yes, even me.)
One day our friend took us to find sea glass at a nearby beach. Hosea was in his element: jumping in puddles, finding and burying sticks, filling his pockets with stones, and climbing giant rocks. I managed to find several pieces of sea glass despite constantly fishing sand and rocks out of Moses’ mouth (he was exploring in his own way). John and I always talk about how cool sea glass is, because it starts out as a sharp shard of a broken glass bottle or something, then after tossing around in the waves for a looooooong time, it becomes this lovely piece of smooth glass! It’s a great image of how God refines us over time to become more like Christ.
Exhausted and back at home in Millbrook, we are all four happy to be reunited. I confess that it wasn’t just John who had a meaningful time away, but me too. Just in a different way. This is all just part of the crazy journey.