Tuesday, January 26, 2010

Really? He's Old Enough?

I remember it like it was yesterday.

Josiah Paul Hefft was 9 pounds, 9 ounces, dwarfing all of the other babies in the nursery at BroMenn Hospital in Normal, Illinois. My claim to fame during his birth: I laughed all the way through it.

No, I'm not superwoman. [Superwomen are those amazing ladies who do the whole thing without drugs.] The anesthesiologist couldn't get my epidural to fully kick in, so he "did it up right" and I couldn't feel a single thing. I couldn't even wiggle my toes. Bless that man.

Josiah wouldn't really eat for the first 24 hours, which worried me a little [ok, a lot], but on the plus side, he slept all the time. I should
have taken those God-given opportunities to catch up on sleep, considering I hadn't really slept much the week before he was born. But, good grief, I finally had my own BABY! I had to hold him and admire those cute little fingers and toes. I had to trace the beautiful curve to his chubby chin. Those were good days. [Well, except for the lack of sleep part and the crying part and the messy diapers part.]

I remember it like it was yesterday, which is why it blows my mind that my just-yesterday little one is now 5 years old and going to school.

His first day was Monday. He's normally an early riser, but we heard him up and at 'em especially early yesterday morning. He was overjoyed to pack his new backpack that Grandma Helmers had given him [even though in the Reception class all they bring is a snack] and get on the carpool bus to head to school.

I was nervous that he might be a little apprehensive, being that it was his first day and that he was starting class mid-year. But when the teacher rang the bell for class to begin, he buzzed passed me like I wasn't even there. Nope, he was definitely not nervous. I'm sure it helped that two other kids from our housing compound and another little girl we got to know at language school are in his class too.

I'm grateful that, at least for now, he's loving the idea of school. He has many, many years of school ahead of him.

But it still seems like just yesterday.

Tuesday, January 19, 2010

A Weekend in Dar

Our week without a husband/daddy was a long one. [Single moms - I have a whole new respect for you!] But I'm happy to report that we made it.

Sure, the kids watched more movies than usual [How else is a mommy on her own supposed to get a shower?], I never seemed to get a cup of hot coffee in the mornings [it was always cold by the time I had the time to drink it], and - even though I'm ashamed to admit it - one night after the kids were FINALLY in bed, I sat down and cried out of sheer exhaustion [just so you know, it was highly cathartic]. All that said, we made it just fine.

Paul was gone to Dar es Salaam all last week with the translation team to check portions of Acts and Revelation with a translation consultant. He had a good week learning the ropes of his new role on the team and figuring out how he can best use his skills to assist the project. They worked hard.

So, after a long week of working hard in different ways, we decided it would be fun to reward ourselves with a short weekend holiday in Dar back together again as a family. The mosquitoes are horrible there and it's hot and humid this time of year, so it's much more comfortable here at home, but in Dar, you can shop for things you can't get in the smaller towns and you can go to the beach. We jumped at the chance.

Thankfully, the kids and I were able to get an affordable rate flying with Missionary Aviation Fellowhip from Dodoma to Dar es Salaam, so our trip was only 2 hours as opposed to 6 or 7 by bus. We got to fly in a six-seater Cessna 206, a model affectionately referred to by my missionary pilot father-in-law as "the Sky Pig."

I don't love flying, but my kids do - thanks to my dear father-in-law and his aviation-loving son, my husband - so they did great on the flight. And "it was only a little bumpy," as Anna took to telling people when asked about her experience. I must admit, it was cool to see Dodoma and other parts of Tanzania from the air.

We had a nice weekend together as a family. I found a few more things for our house and we had a blast swimming at White Sands, a lovely ocean resort on Mbezi Beach with beach front access, clean pools [that can be a problem here in Tanzania], good food, and affordable day rates.

We had so much fun, we were all exhausted - in the good, sleep-inducing way.

It's good to be together as a family again.