Preparing for Haiti: Part 3

I often wonder if I am a woman of my word. OK, honestly, I hate that I’m really not. I also think, what memories will my children choose to remember of me? Am I someone who played with them? Am I someone who was busy all the time? Yelled a lot. Calm in the face of struggles. Their encourager. Then there is the issue of 100 times a day my kids loose their cool over something, and I hear the words pour out of my, “Take a breath. Relax. We can’t think when we are upset. Take a breath and let’s think about this. We can be angry, but we don’t have to loose our cool.” Then it never fails, I am tested five minutes later, and yes, I loose my cool. I feel like I loose it a lot and honestly I feel like, how are my children ever going to believe anything I say when I’m not a woman of my word? When I tell them to behave one way, and then act another?

Today was a day of pushing all sorts of limits. After starting breakfast at the request of my children, my cousin called. He wanted to know how flexible my travel time was because of all the weather around the country. He wanted me to leave 12 hours earlier than expected. Oh. OK. We can make that happen. I call Paul, I find a sitter, I wash a dish, I turn the TV on for the kids so I can pack, and we’ll make this happen. Then I go to grab my passport. Not where I left it. I look in the second place I keep it, our files. Not there. There are three places I keep my passport, all of them void of my one absolute critical traveling need. I call Paul, he doesn’t know. While my heart starts beating faster, I am trying to retrace my steps. Really difficult for me, when so many of my days feel the same. Then I have this vague memory of starting to pack for Haiti a month ago and moving my passport with my jewelry. Yeah. The Jewelry box that was stolen off my dresser at Christmas. I don’t have it. I don’t have a passport and I am supposed to leave for Haiti in four hours.

I stood their paralyzed. I started to cry, then I started to weep. A really hard cry from deep within. I hadn’t felt violated with the burglary until just then. They finally had taken something critical from me, my opportunity to go Haiti. I was looking at yet another trip cancelled. I couldn't breath. I was crying so hard. I called my friend Lindsey. She could talk me out of this place. Speak truth to me. Pray for me. I’m pretty sure she thought I had been attacked and when I told her what happened, she responded, “It’s OK. We can do this.” She found a passport emergency office here in the Twin Cities. There are only a handful of offices around the country, and wouldn’t you believe that one of them is 10 min from our house. It was noon. My kids hadn’t eaten, and I got an appointment at 1pm. I’m printing off applications, yelling at my kids to get their coats on while they are still in their pajama’s. Somehow we did it. I got my kids to the downtown office, after getting them upstairs, we had to go four blocks to the Post Office and get my photo taken, go back and finish the application, then go back outside to feed the meter. It was a crazy two hours and I yelled at my kids a lot to walk faster, stop complaining, stop touching everything, stop interrupting, you name it. Then I got my passport. It was a miracle. In two hours I went from having no passport to having a passport and leaving for the airport.

But I wasn’t proud of how I treated my children. In the face of hardship and struggle and stress, I wasn’t the woman of my word that I wanted to be. We would pray and then I would just freak out again. My kids saw me crying and tearing apart my room looking for my passport. When my son looses his favorite blanket and he starts freaking out and yelling that someone took it, I tell him to calm down. Retrace his steps. Yelling isn’t going to help. I get that a blanket and passport aren’t on the same level to an adult, but to a child, his absolute favorite possession is missing. Just like mine. We are in the same place and I expect more from him than I am able to deliver myself. Most days I disappoint myself in how I behave. I want to the woman I trying to raise my kids to be.

I live by the promise of “one day at a time, sometimes one moment at a time.” God is gracious to me as I learn.