Tristan made it safely to Urapan. The flexible plan was to arrive Friday afternoon and get settled in, spend Saturday getting aquainted and playing with the orphans, and Sunday was to be church "Mexico" style which usually means several hours of worship, fellowship and service. The week is to be spent on some work projects, doing VBS and community outreach.
How are we surviving without Tristan? Mark and I are good. As for the rest of the troops... Gavin is really missing his big brother. He is struggling with who he is without Tristan. I think he also is feeling like now I am the big kid and I am not really sure what that looks like. Terin seems to be doing fine. She misses him but is very independent. Payton, ah sweet little Payton. She too misses big brother a lot. Probably the most. Several times she has come to me and said, "I miss Tristan." I reply "I know you do. I do too. You come tell me everytime you think about him and we will stop and think of one thing to pray for him together. Okay?" This seems to help her. She loves praying for him and the others on the team.
A lot of people have asked how we are surviving being one less in the family or how is it with him gone. I was thinking about that on Friday. Gavin was acting differently and I was really struggling to work this out in my mind. What exactly is going on for Gavin and how would I feel if I were in his size 9 1/2 shoes. I spent time praying and asking God to help me with this one cause I was feeling pretty lost. I am not sure if I ended up getting this right or not but here is the conclusion I felt he led me to. While the team is gone, while Tristan is gone our family needs to be doing "more than just surviving life." We need to be living! This means carrying on with normal activities. I need to plan fun things to do with the other three kids. After all, they are very much still here and need me to not just be counting down days till Tristan is safely home. They need me to be mom and help them actively wait.
With this in mind I have set out to be more purposeful over the next 8 days. I am looking for opportunities to enjoy Gavin, Terin, and Payton. My late nights have been spent with Gavin and the Crib board. He does love a good game of Cribbage then again, so do I. If my eyes appear to be bloodshot in the not so early mornings, you'll know the reason why. Terin and I have been working ourselves with nightly jogs. This girl loves to have one on one time and chat and a nightly jog has been the perfect source for both. She and I also did a bit of berry picking out at Boxx's. Payton and I, well we both enjoy a good book and a snuggle on the couch with comfy blankets (even if it is way too warm for them). We also like to walk the gardens together in the morning and we enjoy spending time together in the kitchen cooking up a new recipe or two. That's been very delicious.
As a family we joined Tom, Cari, Tucker and his friend for an afternoon of bowling on Saturday. Can I just say that a few of us need some serious extra practice. Now, when I say practice, I am guessing your thinking bowling practice cause this seems natural right? Wrong! Actually that is not what I mean at all. We learned two key elements all true bowlers should aspire to add to their technique. First - in order to truly be a great bowler and demonstrate the high level of skill of someone like ... oh I don't know I don't watch bowling but anyway to truly be great it is all about "the pose" after you have released your ball. Watching the unargueably professional bowlers beside us we gleaned that ballet lessons are probably in order. The pointing of the toe seemed critical to the overall look. The graceful arc in the arm as it swept up into the air was amazing. and the extension on his leg was truly astounding. A sight to behold for sure. Secondly - We observed that the longer you hold said "pose" the better your chances of actually hitting multiple pins. And for an extra little finishing touch if you add in the "jump hop" at the end... Bingo! You are sure to score big! In our case it just may be easier, cheaper and safer to just join the kids and use the bumpers. Yikes. We laughed and enjoyed ourselves very much.
That afternoon I read my books with a rice bag on my should and wrist, at night I enjoyed my run without my right arm and shoulder being involved, and I played crib smelling like Bengay. In the end it was all good and for the next 8 days, we will do much more than just survive life.