Per the norm, we are spinning like a record over here. Rod says he never wants the spinning to stop. While I certainly never want the plates to drop to the ground, sometimes I get a little dizzy.

Two big things are happening right now. One is that Paige is officially, really, truly starting homeschool. the letter of intent is being drafted. The curriculum is chosen. The first assignments have been assigned. We are doing this.  It feels a little crazy to me, in spite of the fact that it also feels right.

Meanwhile, in just a few days, Rod and I leave for Colombia… COLOMBIA… with Compassion International. We’ve known about this trip for several months, but with all the plates spinning, the reality of it has only been in the forefront of my mind for a few days. Tonight, though, the reality spun to the forefront of my heart.

Our little sponsored boy, Jhordan, lives in Colombia. On Monday, we will meet him. We will give him a backpack filled with school supplies and trinkets and letters from the girls. We will hug him and try to convey in smiles how much we love him, in spite of never having met him before and perhaps never seeing him again. I will feel very American, spoiled, guilty, overweight, wasteful as I take in the conditions in which Jhrodan lives and grows and think for the millionth time about the overflowing pantry and closets and toy chests in our house.

Tonight we took the girls to Target to pick out things for Jhordan. Naturally, this involved explanation… this backpack is for Jhordan; you already have a backpack. No, we’re not buying toys tonight. (Rod even uttered, ‘Remember to ask Santa”). It also involved still allowing the girls to choose something from the infamous Target $1 bin (a book for KK, a tutu for Randa) and picking up much-needed ‘new flip-flops.’ ($3.78!!) For whatever reason tonight, in spite of my trepidation about our trip and how unfair the world is and how much junk is in our garage waiting to be given away or sold on eBay, I wanted to buy them EVERYthing they wanted.

As we dried and dressed and cuddled the girls after their bath – and honestly, at the end of a trying few days in the world of ‘toddler-dum,’ I cried. For no reason and every reason. Rod asked what was wrong and I had nothing to say, really… except I love my kids with all my heart, it’s tough being a parent sometimes and trying to seemingly no avail to teach them and discipline them and strike a balance between emotion and reason and responsibility, and I have no idea what to expect next week except to miss my kids and worry and likely have my heart broken in brand new ways.

All of this comes together, though. Each of us picked something out for Jhordan tonight: the girls found an Elmo backpack and some cars, Rod found a dry-erase board for learning to write the alphabet, I found a puzzle and some paper. Paige chose a book called Whoever You Are, and she was misty-eyed after reading it, and I took one look and knew I couldn’t read it just then. It looked perfect. And Paige said, “I know it isn’t in English, but maybe the pictures tell the story…”

And a few minutes later, we realized we could do one better.. because school has started, and Paige is working on level 4 Spanish, and why CAN’T we just interpret the book for Jhordan?

That was 2 hours ago. She’s already done with the words…now she is working on an artful way of pasting them into the book… a school assignment birthed from life, a gift for Jhordan that is truly from all of us.

Dear Family: We can do this thing. And other things too. We have each other and God and a sense of humor, so we’re good, here!

Dear Jhordan, We love you and pray for you and can’t wait to see you!

Every day all over the world, children are laughing and crying, playing and learning, eating and sleeping. They may not look the same. They may not speak the same language. Their lives may be quite different. But inside, they are just like you. – Mem Fox