To Africa and To My Child…

I can’t believe it’s the middle of summer. With the traveling I’ve been doing, it seems unreal that school will be starting for my son in a little over a month. Ah, yes, and that explains why I’ve been on hiatus with the blog for a bit. Mostly I’ve been getting ready for a trip to Africa, visiting Africa, and recovering from my trip to Africa, just me and my oldest daughter (who just turned 11). I hope I will not forget this amazing experience any time soon.
Of course I loved getting to learn about the history of Cape Town, visiting the prison where Nelson Mandela was imprisoned for 18 of the 27 years he spent in prison, and seeing what life in the DR Congo is like, exactly (gratefully, we were nowhere near the areas of acute fighting, though we saw plenty of evidence of the country’s economic instability). However, when people ask me about the best part of the trip, I tell them that by far it was spending that much time with my oldest. It used to be her and me all the time, for 3 years, including years when my husband traveled a lot. I looked at her when we’d been there for about a week and couldn’t believe she was the same kid as that little toddler I played with, so many years ago. It has been almost 8 years since I’ve been alone with her like that.
We were able to talk about some real things (nothing like visiting a museum about what happened during apartheid to elicit serious conversations!). For 17 days, I didn’t have to mediate any of her fights with her siblings. We laughed at similar things, but I also noticed we laughed at different things. We saw each other at our worst (jet lag!) and at our best (I was amazed at how much courage she exhibited getting through some tough spots). I became reacquainted with this beautiful child of mine, and I will forever be grateful for the impact this will have on our journey together.
My challenge to you, then, dear Song of the Heart community, is to find a way that you can spend a few minutes alone with just one of your children. Please don’t think that means going to Africa. Can you take some time and go to the library? Maybe check out a book that you can read together? What about spending some time at the park with a picnic? Do you have other ideas for ways you can make such deposits into your children’s emotional bank accounts? Tell us in the comments!

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