Lately I have been thinking about things that I have done that I never, ever would have imagined myself doing 4 years ago. Here are a few that top the list:

Driving a stick shift

Not only were my attempts at driving a manual transmission in the states dismal, they were laughable. Ok, only laughable looking back, but at the time there were many tears and small children yelling at their father from the backseat “Don’t make mommy cry” and “Stop yelling at our mom”. Now, not only do I drive a stick shift all by myself like a big girl (I even went to the mall in Pretoria without Darin a couple weeks ago), but I can drive the combi, which is like in a category all by itself.
As you can see from the photos below, the gear stick of the combi is laid out all nice and normal, however, what you see is not actually what you get. 

In the combi, reverse is the only gear properly labeled and the rest you just have to remember as you go along. Not only that, but 3rd gear only works some of the time. In fact, if I manage to shift into third, I give myself a “yes” and pretend like I am accepting an award for my super talents in driving. Another quirk is that you cannot downshift from 4th gear to 3rd, which hardly ever works anyways, or even 2nd, but you must start all over at 1st. This means that you need to look behind you at all times to make sure no one is driving too close behind as they do not know that you are about to slow WAY down. Good times for all!

Killing a snake

You are thinking “Oh no you didn’t girl”, but I am here to tell you “Oh yes I did” and I would do it again if I had to! I went to prayer time on Wednesday night and when I came back home I thought I saw something on the front stoop. I knew Tyson had recently replaced his shoelaces, so at first I thought “Why can that boy not throw things away!!” Then I looked a bit closer and saw that it was not a shoelace, but a snake, lying right in front of our front door. Ew! Darin was gone or I would have been taking a few giant steps back, but instead I grabbed one of Darin’s shoes, which happened to be laying outside and took aim at the snakes head. Whack, whack, whack, a few times on the head and then up and down the body until all movement ceased. The kids didn’t even notice as they were inside watching a movie.

As a rule, we don’t go around killing every snake we see. Darin usually catches them and releases them outside the fence. However, on this occasion, Darin was not home and the snake was lying between me and my front door. I didn’t know, and still don’t know, what kind of a snake it was, but even if it had been a harmless bush snake, I would not have been able to sleep thinking that I had crawled under my front door and was in my house! So, whack, whack, that snake ain’t coming back!

Caring for physically disabled children

I have often imagined myself caring for a disabled child, but not a physically disabled child. When I worked in mental health I absolutely LOVED the developmentally disabled (sorry if this is not longer the PC term) children and adults that I worked with and often would think that I could handle parenting a child with such delays (and yes, I realize that I had a simplified view of things at that time, but that is beside the point). What I did know was that I could not see myself coping well with a physically disabled child. The limitations and equipment and stretching and responsibility (again, I realize that children with developmental disabilities also have a lot of needs, which goes back to my simplistic view at that time…) I just couldn’t imagine it. Yet now, for two different periods of time since living in South Africa, I have found myself caring for a physically disabled child in my home. Willingly! And do you know what, it isn’t perfect, but we (that is the key word) have managed. Do we always stretch limbs and open hands and engage minds…nope, but we are doing our best and the crazy thing is, we love it.

Oara giving Amo a hug
Papa helping Amo get the junk out of her lungs
Gram and her special girl
We had Oarabile in our home for a couple months before moving to Tshepo ya Bana and now Amo is staying with us. We have entered a world of therapists and specialists; physio, speech, occupational, dietary, etc. We have taken children in for EEG’s and MRI’s and swallow studies and we have been learning and praying and growing. Our house is full of equipment; a Madiba buggy, standing frame, support cushions, nebulizer, syringes for meds, pureed veggies and fruit in the freezer and all sorts of odds and ends to simulate brain and motor development.

Oara and her big smile making music with a pill box and bottle

Amo in her buggy playing with her favorite book
Amo the mighty 
As you can see from the pictures, the last item tops the list and is the thing I will do willingly, although if I have to kill another snake I’ll do that too!


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