Apologies for our recent silence. Reuben is growing up fast and keeping me occupied! Days float by in a haze of play, laundry, washing the dishes, changing nappies (diapers), e-mails, cooking and did I mention laundry?! Reuben likes to get out, so we often walk down to the store (we just have one shop on centre), go to a friend’s house, check our PO box (we love receiving mail, so please write to us!) or just go for a walk round our little Ukarumpa world. It’s a small world to be honest, but most days I am content.
Most days. It’s the small things that catch me out and accumulate until I feel stressed, emotional, tired, or all three. For example, about a month ago the store ran out of washing-up liquid. Ok, I thought, I have a few spare bottles…it will be fine. But the weeks passed and I worked my way through our supply. I began to wonder what to do and gradually got more and more worried. I started to dream about the household aisle in Tesco. Dreaming about washing-up liquid?! I knew it had to stop! We have an intranet with different forums and one of them is entitled ‘General Wanted’. Ashamed that I had not planned my washing-up liquid stash better, I reluctantly posted my request to purchase some washing-up liquid from someone. The problem is that it turns out that Americans have a different name for it (dish soap – perfectly sensible, but different), so it took a bit of explaining before it was clear what I wanted. Lots of people offered me their spare bottles, so that I was left in the surprising position of having to choose my donor. Where do they all get it from?! I felt relieved, but tired. I felt awkward because I could not make myself understood. I felt awkward that everyone else had washing-up liquid and I didn’t. I felt awkward because I had been so concerned about not having it. I wished I had bought more before I went home to have Reuben. But, in the midst of all the awkwardness, I also realised I had much to be thankful for!In spite of supply problems and cross-cultural misunderstandings, I experienced generosity and the start of a new friendship and all because there was no washing-up liquid in the store. God provided what I needed and more.
Most of the time we can get the basics in the store and my silly washing-up liquid story just made me more grateful for the things that are there. We live in a remote place, so you can’t always count on being able to have what you want. I have had to be more flexible about meal plans and often have a plan a, b and c. We are yet to reach d…my expectations have had to change and some days I cope better than others.
Whilst I dream about the rows of multi-coloured washing up liquid in Tesco (I’m still not over it I see...!), Duncan is out and about. The other day I had had a bad day. Reuben had screamed for no apparent reason for much of the day and I was struggling with mild flu. Duncan came home and excitedly showed me photographs and video from his trip that day. He had taken some dignitaries to a village where new school buildings had recently been constructed from money donated by this particular company. There was dancing, singing, traditional dress, stunning scenery and of course, the helicopter.
His eyes were bright and he was full of stories I was desperately trying to focus on. To be honest, I was thinking about the amount of washing-up preparing dinner had generated! You see why I need washing –up liquid?! Sorry…FOCUS! When it got to my turn to talk, all I could think of was how many naps Reuben had taken, number of nappies changed, games played, how much time Reuben spent crying and what I had bought at the store.
What very different days! We both do important stuff. I know that, but sometimes it doesn’t feel like it. Most days it does and I am so thankful for this special time with my gorgeous son. Most days I love it. Every day I love him and his jet-setting dad.