It has been a whirlwind of a week. Last Monday feels like ages ago, but at the same time the days are flying by. Time is weird that way. Most days this past week I’ve come home from CDP absolutely exhausted and slightly frustrated. With our younger girls misbehaving, I feel like I’ve been yelling a lot and losing my patience, and yelling definitely is not something I enjoy. And then I feel bad… for having a negative attitude, for being hard on the girls, for not valuing every moment I have here.

On Friday, I made a commitment to joy – to be joyful in the way I act and relate to the girls, even when they are driving me crazy. It is not easy, and there have been frustrating moments, but my own change of mindset has helped a lot. It seems like the girls are behaving better, and there have been some really special 1-on-1 moments that I’m grateful for. It is awesome to do activities like English class and art and aerobics, but it is just as awesome to simply be with the girls. On Sunday morning, after sleeping over Saturday night, I sat with three of the little ones and we read this incredible science book about everything for an hour. At night, I sang them “Hush little baby don’t say a word… mama’s going to buy you a mocking bird” because a few of the girls asked me to sing them a bedtime song my mom used to sing me. And we told stories and said prayers together, after the chaos and stress of getting them all showered, teeth brushed, in their pyjamas and in bed.
This afternoon I was the lucky one who got the girls to myself 2 hours while the tias had a meeting in the dining room. It is hard to occupy 14 girls of all different ages in a confined space for that long, with crying and crises and the whole bit, but it was all right! We had a great English class where we learned the colours and how do say “How old are you?” “I am __ years old.” And an incredible way to pass the time was by playing ‘Graveyard’, where everyone has to play dead and the gravekeeper or whatever wanders around trying to catch them move/make them laugh, but without touching them. The girls absolutely loved this game! And it was pretty hilarious seem them make each other laugh and to hear the ridiculous things they had to say.
It was great to have fun with the girls today. The past week I think I’ve been taking the fun out of my time with the girls, and much of it is my own fault. It feels good to be back 🙂 Whenever I feel frustrated, impatient, disenchanted, Henri Nouwen’s call for gratitude nags at me and I will share one of his thoughts with you to end:
“Gratitude … goes beyond the ‘mine’ and ‘thine’ and claims the truth that all of life is a pure gift. In the past I always thought of gratitude as a spontaneous response to the awareness of gifts received, but now I realize that gratitude can also be lived as a discipline. The discipline of gratitude is the explicit effort to acknowledge that all I am and have is given to me as a gift of love, a gift to be celebrated with joy.”

So, with joy and gratitude, I am excited to live the fullness of this week. Gracias!

– J