“Uh Mom…..” I hear my 1st grader call from the living room. I enter to see my 19 month old daughter covered head to toe in baby powder, not to mention the carpet under her. The baby powder had been in a gift bag for our newly adopted 3 week old Elena.

“Oh my” I say, then “Thanks Luke. Now get dressed for school honey or you’ll be late” (for the umteenth time)

“Micah, have you see Anne Louise?” I ask our second son later that afternoon.

“I think she went that way,” he answers vaguely as I dash out of our house.

There are no fences on our mission station and she could wander freely anywhere she chooses. After several minutes of rising panic, I see my neighbor carrying her to my house. “Thank you Lord!”

Over the top of Elena’s crying, is that water I hear running? Sure enough Anne Louise climbed onto the toilet and turned on the faucet in the bathroom sink. Now water was flowing onto the floor and out into the hallway. Precious water that we try hard to conserve on our station after 2 1/2 years without significant rain.

Lunchtime… “Mom, I spilled my milk!” Well I know I don’t need to cry over

it, but I really am low on milk. My “milkman” only brings me 3 cups a day – his cow just doesn’t have any more to spare. The nearest store to buy it in is an hour away (granted, that is close for Africa, but still).

“Here honey, have a few TUMS instead.”

Finally, it is bathtime. Minutes after getting in, Anne Louise lets the water out of the bath. Usually we save that water for flushing the toilet (another luxury we have on our station – flush toilets).

“Oh my,” she says as she smiles up at me from the waterless bath.

“Mom, are you tired?” Luke asks me with concern. Shampoo is still in his hair and dirt on his face as he wraps himself in a towel.

“Yes,” I reply -if only you knew how tired. Then I look into their faces and listen to Elena fussing on the couch if for no other reason than to establish her own place in this family. Suddenly I think of the REASONS why I am tired and I know I would not trade them for anything. I am overwhelmed with thankfulness for them, these precious children of mine. I am so grateful that they are healthy and that illness is not one of those reasons. What joy they bring. My fatigue stems from happy causes.

Anne Louise toddles into the dining room while I clean up the bath towels. When I follow her in a moment later, there she is on the table, which was partially set for dinner, pouring the boys’ milk onto the floor. I reach for the TUMS again while Luke grabs a rag to help me mop up.

Surely my cup runneth over. Thank you Lord, even if it floods the floor occasionally!


©2002 Thrive

View the original print magazine where this article was first published.