Wednesday, April 16, 2008

Nanny 911

A new adventure is quickly approaching for the Zambia Schwertfegers. We are moving (or shifting in Zamglish) to our new home on the Overland Missions base on April 21st, which is just a week from now! Our “Advanced Missions Training” will begin on May 3rd (a great birthday present!) So, we decided to make the move a bit early in order to get ourselves and Sunda settled and take care of a few details before we enter missionary boot camp for the next 3 months. We had the opportunity to visit the Overland base last week and chat with our director for awhile, as well as hang out with a few of the staff members. We left even more excited about future ministry with Overland, and anxious to get started with the Missions Training. I got a chance to speak with our director’s wife, Sharon, about quite a few practical issues (which always sets my heart at ease.) I had been prepared to hire a Zambian woman to care for Sunda during some of the day so that I could attend class for the first 3 months that we’re on the base. But Sharon quickly reminded me that it will be a bit more than “some of the day.” We won’t have a lot of freedom during those first three months, and classes are packed pretty tight. In other words, I need to find someone to care for Sunda from 8-5, Monday-Friday. Just like a normal workweek. We will be participating in the training earlier and later than that each day, but we really need to be focused and on target during the meat of the training, which will happen between 8am and 5pm. I didn’t expect this news to be as difficult as it is to swallow. I mean, many kids are in daycare while their parents work. We will still see her for every meal, get to say hi often throughout the day, and have our evenings and weekends with her. But it’s such a change from both Jacob and I being with her all day, every day. And, it won’t be daycare. She will be cared for by her own personal nanny . Just her. Not 15 other kids vying for attention. So...why did I burst into tears when I realized that getting a nanny was my only option?

Well, not it’s really my only option. I could opt out of the training. I could spend the whole day playing with Sunda and wandering around the Overland base, trying to catch what snippets of information I could from what the rest of the class was learning. But I really feel like it’s important for me to get this training. I feel as if I’ll regret it later if I just put it aside. There’s so much good teaching that I’m going to have the opportunity to absorb in the next 3 months, and I know that I’m doing myself a disservice to opt out. And, I keep telling myself…it’s only 3 months. A child isn’t emotionally scarred from not spending enough time with their parents for 3 months, are they? But, you know, she’s two. And she acts a little crazy sometimes. Is she gonna know that she can get away with stuff with her nanny and then be totally off every time we get back around? Or, is she going to grow socially from a situation where she isn’t around the same two people all the time? I realize this whole dilemma might sound very funny to all of you who haven’t even known Jacob and I as parents yet…because we’ve been here. But this little girl has been the biggest part of our life for the 7 months that we’ve been back in Africa. And I personally have not spent more than 4 hours away from her since she came to stay with us in late November. So. It’s a little emotional. But, this is probably a good thing. It’s forcing me to admit to fact that I absolutely cannot do it all. If I want to attend this school in order to be a better trained missionary, I am going to have to give up some of my ideals as a mom. At least for a few months. That doesn’t make it any easier. On the other hand, Jacob and I have put many, many days of fulltime work in, amidst caring for Sunda all day. It’s quite a challenge to keep her out of the village fire, water supply, and away from the dogs while teaching Bible study and leading worship. We spend a lot of time juggling, trying to keep her entertained and complete our to do lists. So, maybe this opportunity will be good because when we are with her, we won’t be working. We’ll just be with her. And when we’re not with her, we’ll be able to focus completely on the task at hand instead of trying to do both at once, which is probably not good for either party. It’s quality time that matters…not quantity…right? Anyway, at the end of day, we’ll be back to our normal lives after 3 months. (I’m not exactly sure what constitutes a normal life for us…but, you know what I mean.)

This week, we’re busy wrapping up business at Sons of Thunder. Organizing, packing, storing. I’m hoping we can forgo goodbyes since we’re not really going, just moving. If we had acquired the tourist VISA for Sunda, we would be eating Drover’s wings on the 21st of April, and I would be depending on grandparents instead of a nanny. Just saying.


Mama and Papa S said...

It's ok to feel weird about leaving Sunda all just are a loving Mama. The good thing is that you will be able to touch base with her throughout the day. Oh, and I was wondering if I could put MY application in for Nanny!!! Pappy wants to know if you would accept HIS as well!!! We might need some extra time to get there in the morning, though!!
Love you guys so much-
The Mama and Papa Schwertfeger

Brian & Brooke Barnett said...

NANNY 911. OMGosh!!!!!!!!! Great memories.