Have you ever noticed how families with young children go through twice as much dish detergent as everybody else? Partly because we wash more dishes, but mostly because we’re usually interrupted before finishing and have to run a second or third sink of hot water to get the load done.

This past weekend we took some time away as family. We visited a retreat house in the foothills, where I spent a year over a decade ago. So many memories.

It was lovely to see my girls running around with the other children and playing in the mud. Bella kept disappearing with a little friend of hers. I found them in our room once, on the top bunk. They’d both managed to climb up but couldn’t work out how to get down again. I was pleased they waited to be found.

We’re seeing more and more of this semi-independence lately. Yesterday she asked for cheese and crackers while I had my hands in the sink. By the time I’d rinsed the pot and dried my hands she had brought cheese, crackers and a table knife. Time for more ‘ask first’ rules I guess.

I’ll have to sit and think through some of my wanderings down memory lane. A lot took place there all those years ago. Friendships deepened, a friend lost to cancer, a lot of growth. I believe God used that time to prepare me for my next adventure, which in turn prepared me for this great adventure of marriage and motherhood. So many blessings.

I hope that one day my girls will have a similar opportunity to be somewhere like that. Being part of a community taught me so much. Especially about my own weakness. And how strong I can be with the support of a loving family around me.

I was always struck by the way people would turn up to visit looking for God or for direction. Really most of us are just like Bella; in a tight spot and waiting to be found. She’s ahead of many of us though – she knows she will be.

Now to get through the laundry.