When Dad is away

Having the hubbie gone for a week is good for me.  It always reminds me of how involved he is and how much he does around here.  I am not sure how he juggles going to school full time, working full time and still be a constant presence – but he does.  And I have thought of that often as I spent extra time in the van carrying kids to and from ballet and soccer, juggling homework help and making dinner, dried all the tears myself, put out all the fights (okay, well stopped most of them by separating the kids) and was the one up in the night with the bad dreams.

The girls always seem to go into a bit of a tail spin when Bryan is gone.  Nightmares, extra tears and drama are par for the course.  As I was in the midst of a big old drama (I will spare you the details!) I did realize that they are fewer and far between.  6 months ago when Dad was in Peru it seemed like the tears and drama didn’t stop for the whole ten days.  This time – bedtime is hard, but not nearly as bad.  Praise The Lord!   I guess we are finally feeling settled.  Beth has been established in our family enough to know that Daddy has not abandoned us, and will return.  Ruth is settled enough in our new home that she isn’t fearful of every bump in the night.  These are HUGE accomplishments.  Samuel is also going through a change (what is it about 4th grade that is growing my little boy up?!)  He says “I am the man of the house and I will help you out mom.”  So sweet.

So where is Bryan this week?  He is on a “scouting” trip in Nicaragua.  The goal of this six day trip has been to evaluate the need of the local church and see how we can partner with churches in the States to help.  Specifically he was going to look into ways to train church leaders and how to help with feeding stations for street children in the area.  Bryan called yesterday.  The first thing he said…”I have never seen poverty like this before.”  Seriously?  At first I didn’t believe him.  We are well traveled and have seen a lot.  “Worse than the squatter villages in Peru?  the orphanage in Africa?  the street people in China?”  I pushed him.  “Worse.  Tammy they are living on top of a garbage dump.  We need to do some work here.”  The call ended shortly after.  I heard the passion in his voice – we will see what plans come out of this trip.

The drama began again last night at bedtime.  The tears were coming and frankly I was grumpy too.  Beth (who forgets regularly where Bryan is) asked again why Daddy wasn’t there to kiss her goodnight.  Last night instead of trying to explain where Nicaragua is, I simply told the kids, “daddy is helping feed some starving children.”

That doesn’t make us miss daddy any less, but there is a purpose behind him being gone.  I think it is good for our kids to remember not all kids go to ballet, have three choices of yogurt in the morning followed by two more meals in the day.  Those kids don’t have a daddy who is usually home providing security to their lives.  We can survive sharing him for one week.

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