Monday, 24 September 2012

Harder than I thought (Ethiopia - Part 4)

A least a couple of times a year I go away for a night or two, be it with work, girlfriends or to a conference, so my children have grown up with me doing this and have always seemed really happy to be left with their daddy.  My husband is a super hands-on dad and this makes it very easy for me.  I don’t have to worry about whether they will get fed well or go to bed on time.  He has it all in hand.
In fact the kids normally have a ball when I am not there as dh organises to do fun stuff with them.  He seems to come alive when I am not there and they disappear off to have fish and chip suppers down at the park and a quick paddle in the river, on a school night! Does he think to do these things when I am about? oh no,  I have had the odd jealous moment in the past where I have wondered if they have more fun with him than me. It’s not helped by them sometimes asking me when I’ll go and stay in a hotel again so they can sleep downstairs with daddy and watch a DVD and have popcorn.

I realise now though that I need not worry. Mums seem to hold a very special place in their kid’s hearts, whilst they want me to go away for one night to a hotel; it is a completely different thing when I am going away for a week and on an aeroplane.  I’m off to Ethiopia in just under 2 weeks and the kids have known about my trip for some time and everything has been going along as normal.  Then in the last week both of my girls have said they do not want me to go.  I was mock packing my case yesterday to try out the weight and unprompted Miss E came up and got in my empty suitcase and said ‘pack me, I’ll go with you Mummy’.  I explained I was not going on a kid-friendly trip and she would have much more fun at home with daddy but she told me with quite a lot of passion that she did not want me to go, she loves me and I’m her mummy, not other children’s.

I instantly realised that she was referring to photos of dh that the kids saw when he came back from his mission to India a couple of years ago.  There were loads of photos of dh playing with the kids at the orphanage that he stayed at and they all looked very happy as he gave them gifts of pencils, small cars and balloons. But I remember at the time the girls being quite adamant that he was their Daddy and not other children’s.
Miss M is my tougher twin and will often go to her dad rather than me but again yesterday after we had said family prayers at Church she said to me that she would miss me whilst I was away and of course I reassured her I would miss her too but the time would be over in a flash.  She then said ‘I did not miss Daddy when he was away, but I’ll really miss you Mummy’. Very heart-warming to know I’m loved but a bit heart-wrenching to leave my little ladies when they feel  like this.
Luckily for me JJ seems much happier about me going away; I suppose those extra four years make you a bit more secure.  He knows I’ll still come back as their Mum and we’ll still swim, play games together and do the fun stuff that we like to share.
People kept saying to me to prepare myself for when I go away but I thought they were talking about being prepared for when I am in Ethiopia, not prepared to leave my babes. I will miss them, of course but I know that it is right for me to take this journey and to do what I can to help put an end to social injustice and extreme poverty.
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If you think others will enjoy taking this journey with me, then please share this and my other ONE Ethiopia posts and don't forget to sign up to ONE and offer your voice. I am taking this journey with Jennifer Howze of BritMums, so do follow her journey too and follow #ONEMoms on Twitter.

From 6th October I'll be travelling with a group of 11 other inspirational Mums and Moms to Ethiopia as part of an expense paid trip courtesy of the ONE Campaign. Our trip is about success – Living Proof -- of what is working and why it is important that we continue to support projects that are making a huge, measurable difference for less than one percent of the entire US budget. It is about letting more people know what a tremendous difference the US and UK are making in the lives of millions around the world.  And it is about adding thousands more voices to those already letting their elected officials know they support these life-saving programs.

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