I cried some humiliated tears tonight. Before that, I said some angry words (including “hell” and “freaking”). Before that, I thought some sad thoughts, some hurt ones, some angry ones, all mixed together.

It seems silly now.

The past 10 days have been kind of emotional. A week ago Sunday, we got the shocking, heartbreaking news that my niece (29 weeks in utero) would most likely not survive outside her mama’s womb. On Monday, we found out she was with Jesus and got to hold her and take pictures to remember her by.

Tuesday and Wednesday were hard. Lots of sobbing. Thursday was a little less hard. And then I got sad that it wasn’t as hard.

Friday, Saturday, and Sunday, we shared lots of laughs and tears with my sister and her family, my other sister (who flew up from South Carolina), and my mom and dad. It was so good. And a tiny bit exhausting.

Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday–back to real life, except with Jubilee in heaven.

Real life is writing for pay, working on an e-book that might be the death of me, busting our tails to earn money for our trip to Cambodia, being neighborly, and trying to eat healthy and keep our apartment in working order.

We moved to Abbey Lane at the end of December. Winter was a time of hanging out inside together, not a lot of time with friends. Spring meant kiddos were outside after school, so mine were too from 4pm to 9pm.

Summer is a whole new ballgame. The kids play outside from morning ’til night. Up until recently, it was soccer in our courtyard, some time on the playground (which I can see from our balcony), hanging out on our porch.

But the past couple weeks, Livi and Ava have been hanging out with some “new” Somali friends. They’re not really new; they just haven’t hung out so much before. They’re a family of sweet, beautiful girls–16, 14, 13, and 11 (or something like that).

Liv and Ave will go to their place after lunch and stay for hours. I’m so happy they’ve found friends their age (instead of just little kids and boys).

So happy.

Until I wasn’t.

I’m not sure what it is, but this week it’s started to bother me. They’re gone all day. They don’t even check in. Today they were gone for eight hours. And I didn’t like it. Why not?

Part worry, part fear, part insecurity, part sadness.

They’re growing up. What’s happening to our tight little close-knit family? Do they still love me? Do they still want to go to Cambodia? All I’ve wanted the past couple years (besides going back to Cambodia) is some alone time, some space to myself. Now I have it. And, what? I’m all sad about it?

Then come the regrets. I should’ve had more kids. Like 3-4 more. I should’ve kept the babies coming, so there would always be someone who needed me. (Oh, goodness. This is really illogical.)

Gabe went to get the girls tonight after 8 hours. He lectured them kindly on the way home. Mom’s not happy. You owe her an apology. You need to check in more often during the day.

They said they were sorry. I let them have it. What in the hell something something. And I don’t freaking care something something. Why don’t you just go to school? I was acting angry, but really, I was sad. Hurt.

One went to her room. The other sat at the kitchen table. God nudged me that it was time to be honest, to be vulnerable, to show them my true feelings, not just the mad ones masking the ones that felt neglected.

I took the table-sitter into the bedroom and talked to them both, tears streaming down my cheeks. I could only look in their eyes for brief moments at a time. Told them I loved them, was sad about them growing up, that I’d prayed for them to find friends, and now I was afraid we were losing our togetherness. Did they still want to go to Cambodia? Or did they want to be normal girls with normal friends and go to normal school? Could we do both, or was that impossible?

They cried, I cried, they told me sweet words (and not just to make me feel better, although they did), and we’re good now.

They very much want to go to Cambodia. They very much do not want to go to school. They have a month left with their friends, then they’ll have lots of time inside with me all day (no more alone time–oy!).

This is a beautiful stage of parenthood and kid-hood. Growing wings, trying them out, but still longing to be a part of this family unit we’ve got going on. Still believing in our mission, still needing Mom and Dad (if not quite as much as before).

And my husband? He still has to fight anxiety daily, but holy cow, he’s a far cry from the mess he was just months ago. He’s amazing, really. And a far better parent of teenage girls than I’ll ever be. Ever.

Feeling very, very thankful tonight. And super-duper blessed. And ready to pour myself out on behalf of the hungry and hurting here and around the globe.

Take my life and make it yours, Jesus.