Family time (23/5/11)

The last month has felt a bit like a whirlwind – settling into a new house, orienting and starting work at the hospital, Andy starting to meet with people at the Bible college and hospital about various roles, daytrips into Nairobi with 90+ minutes commute each way to buy groceries, home basics, furniture.  Even in the moments that we haven’t physically been super busy, I think I have always felt like my attention is split 5 different ways.  So even though I’ve had days home with the kids, I don’t think I’ve felt like I’ve really been totally there with them – while painting with them, I’m thinking about my work schedule and how it’s going to fit, while cooking with them I’m mentally writing a grocery list so we don’t forget to get water, while playing dolls with Riley I’m reminding myself that I need to email about my work permit…

One of the things we’ve decided as a family is that our weekend is going to be Sunday/Monday.  I will need to work probably every other Saturday, and Saturday is often also a day of catching up on chores, and will become a day of work for Andy with preparations for teaching at Moffat Bible College.

So today was family day.  It’s the first Monday we didn’t have to go to Nairobi, so we decided to drive 45 minutes to Hell’s Gate National Park.

Despite its name, Hell’s Gate is wonderful.  It’s a small park, with a 16km loop trail, where zebras, giraffes, gazelles and other big, safe animals live.  Apparently, there’s also the occasional lion, leopard and cheetah.  But it’s a park that you drive to, then get out of your car and mountain bike or walk around, and there are campsites.

Today there was no-one there, except for 2 other mountain bikers we saw.  We got to drive around and spot animals with the kids, and then get out of the car and see how close we could get to a zebra before it got scared.  Liam found the giraffes before we did, and together we trundled over the grass to get a closer look.  We talked about gazelles and watched them run.   We ate lunch together at a cafe near a lake, and played together on the playground.  And the whole time, I was there.  And I didn’t have to be anywhere else.

Parenting can be such a tightrope walk.  Between consistency and love, discipline and grace.  We’ve had lots of those moments in the last few weeks.  It’s not surprising to me that today, when we could spend time with our kids, just with them, that they blossomed.  That the consistency and discipline weren’t something we needed to stress.  That love and grace are easier when your kids feel loved and important and don’t need to try in any way they know how to get your attention.

I love my family.

Author: steeres

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6 Comments

  1. Jonathan’s the same. If I don’t pay him enough attention and play with him, he starts to get ratty. Nice to know it’s not just my child 😉

  2. You write so beautifully Mardi – heartfelt words. Your mum said the other day what wonderful parents you and Andy are. I think aftr a hectic schedule you finally “took time to smell the roses” to realise the important things in life – one of them life itself. Adelaide will miss you heaps, but you will be treasured where you are right now! Love and Best wishes, Sue

  3. Hi guys!

    Great to see you go to experience the wonders of Hell’s Gate. I remember being there myself and great to see the kids enjoy it too!

  4. WOW so true and I really needed to hear that today! Parenting can feel like your constantly juggling (and dropping the balls)!! Love reading your posts, warms the heart and pulls at the heart strings! Bless you guys!

  5. Thanks Kirstie – would love to know how you guys are doing and what your next plans are… love to you guys x

  6. Thanks so much Sue x

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