a light goes on

This evening’s festivities included (between the hours of 6 & 8pm): washing the chlorine “green” out of one child’s hair in the kitchen sink with catsup (thanks to a tip from some new Danish friends), bathing 2 kids in a bucket, preparing dinner for 4 kids, feeding those kids, administering 9 rounds of medication by headlamp (most definitely the trickiest part), changing diapers, and putting on PJ’s. All with no power and no running water. Is there a badge for that? It felt like some kind of rite-of-passage for sure.

2 days and nights with no power and water had me feeling pretty confident in our parenting skills (I mean, if we can happily make it through that with such young kids in a different country when we are in the midst of such a huge family transition, living at home with all of our comforts and 4 kids should be doable, right?). All the kids loved it (they have no idea how much work it is), and we were fine (although I don’t smell very good), and I was silently applauding myself for that while serving up the meds in the peak of the chaos.

After dinner everyone was gearing up for a round of hide and seek in the dark when suddenly the lights came back on. Tyra did a little dance and Macy joined in with shrieks of excitement. Something switched on in me, too. I all of a sudden went into “get it done” mode. Was the laundry working? We have at least 10 loads to do (we haven’t had any laundry since we got here because of various daily complications). Did we get the purchases we’ve made put away? They had been left on the counter the last two days because it was too dark to see (and I can’t stand stuff laying around). Where was my speaker? I’d been wanting to play some music in the house. Was there food in the fridge that had gone bad in the days without refrigeration? It did smell pretty bad in there… You get the idea.

It seemed like the power coming back on suddenly triggered in me a to do list I didn’t even know I’d been keeping. I felt like I needed to be productive and start getting things done right away, all because the lights came on. I was also more bummed about our lack of water once the lights were restored. There was no, “oh, at least we have power” moment of gratitude. Just, “dang it, I really need the water back on too if I’m going to get anything done.” 

I’m not proud of this, but I share it because I notice that there is a disparity between where I want to head, and the reality of where I’m at (and how blind I am to the actual state of mind I’m currently operating from in this arena). Somehow, I need to figure out how to live with modern conveniences (even something as simple as being able to have access to lighting whenever I need/want it) without operating in such an entitled and productivity-based mentality. It’s a fine line between enjoying luxuries that make life easier and allowing those same luxuries to fuel my compulsion to “do” more. I’m working on that.


A sweet spot in my day for sure. 

Wish you could see the view out that window… it’s fantastic in the evening hours.  

1 thought on “a light goes on

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