If you know me at all, you know how important Haiti is to me. You should also know its been two years since I've been able to go. An earthquake, having a baby, sickness, work and lack of babysitters has kept me from being able to go. But, now I leave in less than week! (Thank you so much to all of you have supported me financially and with taking care of my children so I can go. I know I owe it all to you.)
There are lots of things that need to happen to prepare for a trip to leave. (passport, shots, money, tickets, donations, etc.) I'm used to this, because I also travel for work. Being the parent who is primarily home, there are many family related needs to be met and prepare on top of trip things. This next week will be all about preparing to leave.
Today I made four dinners to put in the freezer for my family to eat while I'm gone. I will also make sure there is a batch of Hard Boiled eggs, whole wheat pancakes in the freezer, cereal, and fruit available for breakfast. I want to make sure that Elle has enough diapers, formula, medicine, wipes, clean clothes, bibs, and snacks. I want my kids to have had baths, clean sheets, clothes, snacks, and activities planned. There will be extra toliet paper, garbage bags, paper towels, crayons, coloring books, food, bottled water, and laundry soap. Did I miss anything? I'm sure I did. I will have all baby sitters phone numbers listed, my contact info, Paul's and other important people who know my kids listed. I will have lists upon lists upon lists for the wonderful people who are supporting my ministry by watching my kids. I'll even make sure I have back up sitters. I will also need to walk through the house and pull out into the open all the things that we generally need during a week. (I am often rearranging our things, so it makes it difficult on my poor husband who can never find anything. It changes almost weekly, so its hard for him to keep up if I keep moving our crap.)
If you read this, you may think that is bit on the crazy side of things. My husband used to think it communicated I thought he couldn't do it. That I didn't think he was capable of taking care of the kids. (we've talked through this though.) That isn't why I plan the way I do.
Something always goes wrong. Its a truth in life. If we can accept that, than we won't be disappointed. A truth in our life, is something always goes wrong with the sitter, usually. You can also count on Paul being swamped at work, but he can't stay late, because he needs to relieve a babysitter. Then when he comes home he has three kids to play with, take care of, dinner to serve and clean up after. Then after everyone is in bed, he pulls out his computer and works some more till about midnight or later. In the morning he will need to get ready himself, make lunch, feed the kids, get them dressed, and clean up from breakfast while getting ready for the sitter to show up. It's a lot. By preparing the way I do, I try to free up a little of his time to deal with those things, instead of EVERYTHING!.
When I leave I realize I throw a wrench in our life. I throw us off balance. I get that. Now, I fully believe in what I'm doing when I leave. Traveling as a speaker is something I know God has called me to. Traveling to Haiti and having that be apart of our life is something I believe God has called my family to. But it is also a big sacrafice on the ones I leave behind.
I love my family. I love my husband very much, and doing all the prep is my way of saying "Thank you". Thank you for supporting me and never holding me back. Thank you for being a single parent for awhile so I can do what I do. I make dinners for you so you can come and be with the kids. I have already taken one parent away from them for a few days, I want their dad to be there with them, not cooking in the kitchen. To have the house the stocked up with all the things we might need, allows my husband to get done as much as he possibly can at work and not be late for the sitter because he has to stop at the store. There are a million things to do as a parent. The more I can do for my husband allows him to be present with our children. To play with them. Have patience with them. Teach them and instruct them.
Sometimes we judge others in their relationships and how they work and function. Some would have said that I find my husband incapable because you didn't know the reason for my actions. But now you know that I find my husband very capable. I just know what it means to take care of three kids all day long alone. I would take help everyday if I could get it. But in this way, I can help and still be present, even when I'm away.
I will be leaving on Thursday morning for Haiti and I will be gone for five days. For me its a short trip, but worth every moment of getting ready. Today my friend Joanna will drop off my two large bags of donations for me to take along. The preparations have begun!