March 8th, 2007
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Tonight we have to get the six kids packed up for their youth group trip; they’re even missing a day of school because this is WinterFest. My church is sponsoring my children, I’ve budgeted for their meals, and tonight they get a math lesson in making their money last…don’t buy sodas, do order ice water, yada yada yada.

The girls want to pack hair dryers, hair straighteners and enough hair gear for two months it seems. The guys hardly want to even grab a clean pair of underwear for three days.

Our youth pastor is awesome, excellent with my kids, he’ll hug them if they need it, keep them in line and so busy that they won’t miss me a bit, they’ll come home so exhausted Sunday night but they’ll get some great teaching and entertainment. They’ll be too keyed up to sleep tonight, that’s what bus trips are for.

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Dragging out suitcases in a family like ours, where everyone once came here with a suitcase or a trash bag of clothes, rips off some partially healed scabs way too often. The little kids, who aren’t going, get alarmed that they’ll never see the older kids again. Their world view is damaged and unhealthy, and I’ll spend all weekend reassuring everyone that the others will be home soon.

However as soon as the six come home, three more are going down to a Georgia beach for a Science trip, the entire fifth grade does this, and I have three excited 11 year old boys who will worry me all weekend about packing. Their “recommended” list includes suntan lotion, something they hoot about what with them being Mexican, we don’t use bug spray since I abhor, chemicals and clean socks are a rarity. OK I can clean them, but matching won’t happen, they’ll be various shades and shapes of white.

They’re going to take a cell phone, a long distance umbilical cord, they’ll have a deep need to know that I’m home waiting on them, that nothing has changed. This morning I had to go to court with another son after I dropped the kids at school. Seeing me dressed up with make-up on was so disconcerting that early in the morning that I had three kids come unglued. A teacher emailed me to let her know when I was back home. My first grader was having a tough time imagining our house without me in it, like it’d collapse or something. Do they think I stand there all day propping the walls up?

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