Wednesday, June 26, 2013

Painful Transitions and Joy

Oh, my poor abandoned blog!  It's been a 7!  A lot has happened in the half a year that has past including a trip to West Africa with our 11 month old and almost 3 year old, but more about that in my next post.

When my husband and I decided that we were going to take a trip to Burkina Faso with Bugaboo and Doodle, I was pretty naive about the transitions they would have to go through.  I figured it was ONLY a 5 hour time change so they'd breeze right through that.  I didn't really think about the fact that they'd be expected to shake hands for the first time (not something 2 year olds typically do in our culture) or that I should have prepared them for many eyes staring at the very white girl with blonde hair walking down the street.  But probably the biggest thing I left out in preparing them for another culture was the heartache that would come when we left the joy of new friendships behind.  Though we don't feel called to full-time international ministry, I think it's safe to say that my husband and I do feel called to full-time support (prayer, financial, visits) to those in full-time international ministry.  This means taking trips like the one we took to West Africa which also means saying goodbyes...making new friends, loving new friends, and saying goodbye to new friends.  This is hard for anyone, but especially for a 3 year old! 

Bugaboo talks about her African experiences and her friends, L, D, and M, almost daily.  This is wonderful because it allows her to personalize our trip, keep it alive in her own way, and talk about the friends she made.  But it's a double-edged also means she misses L, D, and M a lot.  It means she doesn't understand why they didn't come back to the States with us.  It means she can't wait until she gets to see them in October, but it also means she doesn't understand that October is 4 months away.

Recently, Bugaboo had to say goodbye to a dear friend as he and his family moved overseas.  Again, the pain and the joy of my daughter having friends across the globe and the international opportunities we've been able to give her struck me!  I cried many tears as I told my dear friend goodbye, but a portion of those tears were for my daughter as she said, "Mommy, I don't want J to leave.  I will miss him, Mommy!" 

I am so fortunate that we have been able to give our daughters cross-cultural experiences at such a young age and I hope we continue to be able to do so.  I'm sorry that leaving friends behind is so hard for little ones (and big ones for that matter), but I do love that Bugaboo talks daily about a country that American Airlines claims isn't in existence (lol)!