If my life was a sitcom rerun, it wouldn’t be “Touched by an Angel.” It would be closer to “I Love Lucy.” Except that I don’t have an Ethel and Paul is a much better husband than Ricky. Like Lucy, I’m always messing up and getting into zany, stupid – and often funny – situations. Here’s an episode of my life from this week.
5:30 – Get up and spend a short but sweet time with the Lord. This is a goal I don’t always reach – which is one reason I picked this particular day!
6:00 – Fix breakfast for ten and have it on the table by 6:30.
6:45 – 7:10 – supervise the kids’ chores.
7:10 – Have moment of extreme panic as the van which takes the kids to school pulls up in the driveway. He is 20 minutes earlier than yesterday. Scream for the kids to get out to the van and rush around helping people find backpacks, socks, pencils, etc., all the time aware that a van half-full of people are impatiently waiting in our drive. Almost get them on the van when someone remembers that I have not given them their snack money, and in Jay’s case, lunch money. (The government provides free lunches until seventh grade.) I dash back into the house and up the stairs, looking frantically for my wallet. I dash back down and begin handing out 20 baht bills for snacks. (Exchange rate is about 35 baht to the dollar.)
Molly: I need money for notebooks. 100 baht.
Danny: I need money for (Thai word I don’t know).
I have no more small bills so press far too much money on both of them and tell them to bring back the change. The driver looks on disapprovingly.
Me to Driver (in Thai): I’m so sorry. Tomorrow I will……(switch to English) have them ready on time.
He looks puzzled, then says hopefully (in Thai): You go, too?
Me (trying again): No, tomorrow they will come…. (in English) on time.
Driver: You go tomorrow?
I give up, shake my head, and wave goodbye and blow kisses to the kids who are waving out the van windows. He will figure it out. Must look up how to say “ready on time” in Thai.
Rest of morning: Put Paul’s lunch in the crockpot, wash and hang out three giant loads of clothes (thankful for my oversized washing machine!) do the chores the children didn’t have time to finish, and clean out the storage area which keeps turning into a junk room when I’m not looking.
Afternoon: Go to the Home Pro store with Paul to buy some necessary items. I try not to buy anything unless I am certain we really need it. For one reason, I know all our money comes from sacrificial giving. I don’t want to waste a penny! Secondly, I know that the more stuff you have, the more work you have to take care of it. But we really did need more fans as the weather has been so hot and we have been moving our big standing fans around with us when we go from room to room. We also needed a triple-decker drainer because we have so many dishes, heavy curtains to block
the sun in the family room, more clothes hangers, etc. By the time we have purchased these items, we are exhausted – or at least I am – and I talk Paul out of going to the big box store and the grocery store as we planned. (It was an easy sell.)
Came home to find that William had not only brought in the laundry, as I had asked, but also folded it. (Brownie points awarded!)
4:30 – The kids get home from school and I’ka brings dinner. She has been our cook for the last two years. Until we moved here, she lived in, but now cooks at home and brings the dinner to us. (She can’t cook in a western kitchen.) She brings supper and also enough food for breakfast the next morning so I only have to warm it up.
4:45 – One of the children checks out the food carrier to see what we are having and accidentally knocks it over. The carrier crashes and food flies all over the kitchen. We are able to retrieve a little. I have nothing I can cook to augment it, because I didn’t go to the grocery store. I have also used the last bit of rice and there is barely enough to go around. Not enough to make fried rice. Our neighborhood restaurant and convenience store is closed today, so no help there. We do some figuring and decide that if Paul and I eat something else (I wasn’t sure what), there will be enough. Barely.
5:00 – Get the message that the parents of Jan, our newest girl, will be arriving at dinnertime to bring some school records and to check on their daughter. They will, at best, see that we don’t have much food for dinner. At worst, they will be expecting to be fed, and there just isn’t enough for them. We put on our thinking caps, but can not find a solution. We decide to feed the kids fast before they get here.
5:30 – Parents arrive along with a truckload of other people. The kids have eaten and there is not a scrap of food to be had. We are thankful to learn that the folks from the village have already eaten. God is good! We show them around and have a nice visit.
8:00 – Family devotions and we send the kids to bed. I remember that I don’t have anything for breakfast, but decide to waken early, send Paul to the convenience store which will surely be open again, and think about it in the morning.
6:00 a.m. – Realize I did NOT awaken early, have no food, and must have breakfast for ten people on the table in half an hour. Rush down to the kitchen and stare in the cupboard and refrigerator hoping against hope to find something – anything – to feed them. I discover some packs of noodles – like Ramen noodles except HOT. They like these for other meals and I decide they will be breakfast, but I’m afraid they won’t be filling enough. What else? I can boil the last of the eggs. (They won’t eat my scrambled eggs.) And I can make waffles. They may not like them, as they don’t like American food in general, so noodles stay on the menu. We have a non-nutritious breakfast consisting of noodles, waffles, and boiled eggs. I’m pretty sure that will eliminate me from the “mother of the year” competition! At least we still had enough milk to go around. I make a note to always have a hidden stash of food for emergencies in the future.
7:10 – The van arrives and the kids aren’t ready – again. I once more scurry around to get them off complete with snack money. I give hugs and kisses, avoid eye contact with the driver, and return to my house. The kitchen is a disaster area since my kitchen crew didn’t have time to do their job before leaving for school. Stacks of noodle bowls and sticky plates cover every surface not spackled with dried waffle batter. I put on the first of the daily three loads of laundry and another episode continues.
The encouraging messages I get on Facebook and on my blog are balm to my soul. I read them over and over. However, I have to admit that I often feel like a fraud. My supportive friends just don’t know me as well as the Lord and I do. For example, a put-together person would have managed better – would have put going to the grocery store above cleaning the storeroom, for example. But, like Lucy, I tend to do everything the hardest and most convoluted way.
How does a complete doofus survive raising a houseful of kids who come from a different culture? How do the kids survive? The grace of God! He is ever present and always enough for the challenges of every day. I don’t know why He chose me for this job, since I’m obviously unqualified, but I’m so glad He did. I do love these kids, and they know it. Perhaps that makes up a little bit for noodles and waffles for breakfast!