I’ve been a little down the past few days. The adrenaline has started to wear off and the fact that I have uprooted my whole life and moved to an entirely new state and culture, an environment ridden with mosquitos, septic problems, and pent up children has rattled my faith in this journey just a tad. I’ve missed some of the freedoms that I had back in Michigan, one being the assurance of a great babysitter who came every Friday night to allow me and my husband a weekly date night, not to mention a few friends and family who would happily lighten my load by taking a few of the kids if I was feeling overwhelmed. I miss not having anyone to turn to in my new homeland, and I began praying that God would prepare the perfect person for our family as someone who could be reliable help, and more importantly, provide us a weekly respite for a few hours so that we could reconnect with one another.
I was anxious about how exactly I was going to go about this task of finding someone, in a place where I knew no one, to babysit 7 children on a weekly basis, including a severally handicapped child that most people have absolutely no frame of reference for. I found myself eagerly asking everyone I encountered, at the bank, at the gas station, the restaurant, I wasn’t picky, “Do you know of any teenage girls who babysit? “ and the answer was either, “NO” or “Well, I do but she’s leaving for college in two weeks” or “My daughter might be interested if you bring them to our house.” Uhhh, kind of defeats the purpose of a date night which to me revolves around a singular theme of RELAXATION if I have to bring all seven of them somewhere for a few hours only to have to pick them up, jammie them at home, and put them all to bed.
So I prayed and prayed and prayed and prayed, and worried a bit as well as I tried to remain faithful to God’s timing and leading of our family on this new journey.
Per my last post and our family’s recent excessive use of electronics, I decided to bring the kids to the local library to set up accounts and check out some books. They were very excited about this idea. I was very excited about this idea having visions of our family all snuggled together on a nightly basis, in the family room, with our books, soaking up information about faraway places, our imaginations being stretched to the limitations and our brains growing more and more glorious by the moment. I obviously read plenty as a child and have absolutely no lack of vivid imaginations :-) I loaded Tate, Caleb, Mabel, and Mya into the van with high expectations of discovering princess picture books, books on dogs and cats, and anything on mythology.
Upon our arrival, their four little bodies sprung out the car, eager to see what the new library held, flung open the heavy door, to be greeted by the librarian’s eager question of, “How may I help you?”
I replied expectantly, “We are here to open a library card.”
“Well,” the chirpy librarian said, “I just need to see a valid Tennessee driver’s license.”
“Oh shoot,” I said, “I haven’t taken care of that yet.”
So much for the library idea. “Come on kids, let’s go” I admonished while explaining why we wouldn’t be checking out any books today.
“Mom!” they whined. “I’m sorry," I apologized, “We’ll come back in a few days after I get my license.”
I turned to leave and then said to the librarian, “Oh, by the way, do you have a computer I can use?”
“Sure, help yourself” she pointed towards the back of the building.
I headed to where she had pointed and settled in next to one other younger girl who I guessed to be in her mid - twenties, while four disappointed bodies surrounded my chair. "Mom, what are you doing?" Mya asked.
“I’m going to make some babysitting flyers” I explained to my daughter. My plan was to make flyers and hang them in local churches and libraries, hoping that I might be able to find some help that way.
The silent girl beside me suddenly turned her head in my direction, “Did I hear you say you’re looking for a babysitter?”
“I am” I explained , “Do you babysit?”
“Yes, I do” and then continued, “I’m actually here filling out job applications because my seasonal job ends in Sept.”
I was excited, really excited, but I hadn’t exactly told her how many children I had nor had I told her about Luke.
“Well, I started slowly… I have seven kids,” I let that thought hang in the air a moment while she digested what I had just said.
She was not ruffled. “I have 7 godchildren” she explained, “I LOVE kids!”
“Well…” I continued, “I also have a severely handicapped 8 year old,” I paused, “And he has the mental capacity of about a one year old due to brain damage.” I expected some sort of excuse about how she remembered she did have work somewhere starting in September but instead the last disclosure on my part almost seem to make her excited to which she replied,
“I have a 35 year old brother who suffered brain damage in an accident as a child and now has the mental capacity of about an 8 year old, and I’ve spent most of my life caring for him! You are an answer to my prayers!”
No, I thought, you are an answer to MY prayers…
Thank you Lord.
With references checked out, Ryan and I finally had a much needed date night for a few hours last Wednesday. It was wonderful and we both came home refreshed, recharged, and ready to move forward on this journey.
Just keep livin!!