I wouldn’t call it a walk in the park (although it kind of was), but participating in Traffick Jam 2011 was the absolute BEST Mother’s Day gift three girlies and their daddy could’ve ever given me. For reals.
In a nutshell, Traffick Jam 2011 is a brand-new event put on by the Hard Places Community, a ministry in Cambodia dedicated to rescuing kiddos from sex trafficking, introducing them to Jesus, and loving on them in any way they can. We got to witness them in action when Gabe and I took a trip to Cambodia last summer. Amazing, amazing people.
So, my friends Sharon and Caitlin and I (S & C went to Cambodia last June) co-coordinated the walk for Columbus. Caitlin, a high-schooler, carried much of the weight on her shoulders, and there’s no way on earth we could have done it without her. I love, love, love seeing her passion for helping victims of human trafficking, and I pray that my own girls will follow in her footsteps.
The plan was that we’d arrive at the walk at 7:30 and start walking at 8:00 with the other 45 people. However. Livi and Ava had a make-up soccer game at 9:00 (and Gabe is their coach) and Nina had make-up soccer pictures at 9:30. So Nina and I arrived at 7:30 to “help” set up, drove 20 minutes to the other girls’ game, stayed for 20 minutes, went to Nina’s pictures, met the rest of our fam in a parking lot and headed back to the walk.
We took off a little before 11:00 a.m. The forecast was calling for rain around 1:00, and we prayed God would hold it off at least until 2:00. The weather was perfect. Cool, breezy, a little sunny. (All four of us were wearing the same size shirt.)
I was a little concerned about the girls’ ability to walk 10 miles. For one thing, Livi and Ava had just run their tails off for 40 straight minutes at a soccer game. And Nina (5) gets tired walking around the zoo. So we made the decision to bring the jogging stroller, and it’s a good thing. Nina ended up riding in it a majority of the time. (This picture is a little misleading. Gabe pushed Nina for 9.5 of the 10 miles.)
At about the 3-mile mark, Ava was done. Moaning, starting to cry, saying she couldn’t walk anymore. We offered her a little rest in the stroller (it holds up to 100 pounds) but she didn’t want to “cheat.” Some snacks and a few pep talks seemed to do the trick.
At around mile five, we stopped at a McDonald’s (right on our route–perfect) for double cheeseburgers and caramel frappes. The promise of a frappe is what kept them going for the first half of the walk. After a quick 10-minute stop to chow down and take a potty break, we headed back out, frappes in hand. Everything was fine and dandy for about 15 minutes and then Ava started to melt down again.
I prayed and pleaded with her and held her hand (and dragged her along). At one point, Gabe told her to look ahead to a stoplight in the distance. “When we get to that stoplight,” he said, “we can take a two-minute break.”
“Three,” she said.
“Three,” Daddy agreed.
When we got to the stoplight, miracle of miracles! There was a mile marker sign! Seven miles in the books! This was a HUGE morale booster because we hadn’t seen the Mile 6 Marker and had no idea we’d come so far. After our 3-minute rest, we all got our second wind. Livi and Ava and I played the Grocery Store Game for a good 20 minutes.
We went to the Grocery Store and bought Apples, Beets, Cherries, Donuts, Egg Salad, Fish, Green Beans, Hummus, Ice Cream, Juicy Gum, Ketchup, Lemonade, Meat, Nutter Butters, Octopus, Pizza, Quiche, Red Apples, Sushi, Tea, Underwear, a Vacuum, Watermelon, a Xylophone, a Yak and a Zebra Hat.
(Don’t ask me how I can remember all of that and forget what I walked into the kitchen for.)
From that point on, it really was smooth sailing. Two miles to go! Ava and Livi held my hand almost the entire 10 miles. It was a sweet, sweet time.
Right around the 9-mile marker (which I’m pretty sure was actually an 8.5 mile marker), it started to sprinkle. Then a little harder. Then a little harder. We jogged for a little bit to beat the rain, but we were too beat to keep it up for long.
Two minutes after we got to the end, it started to DUMP rain. Thank you, Jesus. Everyone else had finished long ago, except for our friend, Jennie, who got an even later start than us. She finished the walk in pouring rain.
I’m still sore (my shins and calves in particular–my Target running shoes are pointless), but I’m also still basking in the glow of doing something so awesome with my family. I’m so proud of them. We raised over $600 to help put a stop to human trafficking in a country that is very dear to our hearts.
If you sponsored our walk, THANK YOU!! If you meant to and haven’t gotten around to it yet (or forgot), it’s not too late! E-mail me here. Or you can go directly to the Traffick Jam site and donate there.
I can’t wait for next year! We’d love to have you join us from your neck of the woods!
p.s. Wishing a Happy, Happy Birthday today to my favorite mother-in-law, Janelle Taviano! We love you!