Did you enjoy your holiday? was the question when I got back to work.
Where did you go?
Seebenstein, Villa Riehl. (http://www.riehl.at/seebenstein/index.html)
With all the family? No, just four of the boys.
What an understatement! Sure I went with four of my boys, plus 44 other kids!
What motivates a full-time working mother with five children, to give up her planned “holiday at home alone without the kids” to take the role of workshop mother at an Austrian HARP summer workshop?
Faith, hope and love these three. The greatest of all is love.
On Thursday afternoon, after meeting with a colleague at lunchtime and forgoing my Bible study meeting in favour of telling her “who I really am”, I had a couple more hours of work before beginning my seven days off. Looking forward to sleep in, to not having to cook and clean up after my kids, to an empty house where I can clean and organise and write to my heart’s content, I optimistically wound up the last few hours of work, wrote a report for my boss, set up an out of office message, until my mobile phone rang. I rummaged in my bag searching for the phone and was grateful that this new phone is patient and keeps ringing for a while, allowing me time to answer. It was OH youth leader.
“Would you be workshop mother?”
I laughed. How come they don’t even have a workshop mother yet, it starts next week? I’m on holidays in one hour and now you want me to be workshop mother? No way. Find some-one else!
I just thought you might be sitting at home by yourself and don’t know what to do without any kids.
Are you kidding? I know exactly what to do without any kids!
Well, as a matter of fact, I have taken the time off. I am now still at work, but next week I was looking forward to be at home without the children so that I don’t have to cook, wash dishes and clean up after the children. A holiday at home during school holidays is no holiday for a working mother.
Anyhow, three calls later and I finally agreed that if there really was nobody else who could come, I would indeed go to the workshop. How am I going to tell my kids?
I was actually really happy that all four of them were going. (A. is still working.) I know it is a great experience to go to Seebenstein for a HARP (High school Association for Research of Principle) workshop. I’ve been at a few myself and they have always been very moving. The first one a co
uple of years ago was when I was asked to be workshop mother at the European HARP workshop which was held in Austria. The fact that we spent the first year and a half in Seebenstein when J. and I came from America was just an insignificant memory. That was also a last minute decision. They had no-one else. I was not the first choice, but I accepted. After arriving, I asked if my second son could also come and was overjoyed that he had a wonderful experience too.
Then there was the Austrian HARP workshop when I finally began to get to know the kids of people I knew here in Austria. Then there was the Easter workshop earlier this year. Well, I guess this can be a kind of time tithing, mission work, like witnessing or fundraising.
So now I am preparing to write about this on my blog and need suitable language to sell it as a youth development project, character education, drug prevention and HIV/Aids prevention; which it is.
My kids knew that I was planning to spend the time at home. We were discussing the use of the car. J. had planned to collect the car after work so that we could take a few days off together. After all, we got a holiday voucher and were even planning a trip to the spa near Sbn. Forget all that. I would be in Sbn, so we don’t need to pick up the car. I packed my luggage and got ready to take the train to the workshop. What a surprise they will get when they arrive! Well, then they said they were asked to arrive for lunch! I had not heard anything. So I decided to go with them. T. ended up going later on the train and we just took his luggage. A. was home for a few days so they had a few more hours together.
When God calls, I’m ready. When asked, I say yes. I don’t hesitate to ask and am amazed at what comes back .
My plan for my holiday? No cooking or cleaning up after my kids.
My holiday? No cooking or cleaning up after my kids. Fun with 44 kids and a few grown ups researching the principles and reinforcing True Family Values and knowing that we really are doing something right. Swimming in the pool at Seebenstein where we lived for 18 months; Sharing with youth leaders and making a fool of myself singing the worm song; Getting to know lots of new kids and winning even more friends in FaceBook.