Today, we had another bad day with Anjali. Her emotional state is like a light switch, she is either in a really good mood or a really bad one; there is no in between and I just can’t figure out why. I have really started to pray and ask for help/guidance from God. Jeff is grasping at straws and he reached the end of his line today. I am not even sure what specifically set her off, but it had something to do with her doing her schoolwork in bed, which we have consistently made it clear that was not okay. She completely lost it and Jeff finally decided that either she and him were going back to Madison or we all were. Either way, we needed to get her some extra help because she was refusing help from us. While she finally expressed some of her feelings in a note to Jeff and I, we are still right back where we started–fighting with her about every other day about something. Right as Jeff was about to purchase tickets (he had the payment screen up on the computer and his credit card out ready to go), God intervened.
I happened to pull up the symptoms of sleep deprivation in teens. Since we started this trip, and even before we left, Anjali had been fighting us on going to bed by 8 pm and has been lobbying to stay up later and later. As I read through the symptoms, every one of them seemed to fit: loss of appetite, angry, aggressive, moody, inability to focus, difficulty falling/staying asleep, sad/depressed, isolated/loneliness, difficulty waking up, etc. By this time Anjali had calmed down enough to beg Jeff not to purchase the tickets because she really didn’t want to go back, but rather she wanted to continue with the trip. Honestly, Jeff didn’t seem to care that she wanted to stay, he was done trying to do this on our own and he had made up his mind that we were going back to the States to get some help. As I read these symptoms out loud, we all just looked at each other and I think at that moment, Jeff was willing to stick it out for a little bit longer, as long as Anjali was willing to work with us on getting more sleep. Up to this point, we have been lucky to get her about 8-9 hours of sleep when she is needing more like 10-11 hours every day. Anjali was willing to try this out and she agreed that we were in charge of making this happen. Jeff agreed that we could try this out to see the outcome and how committed Anjali was to seeing if this was the solution we were seeking all along.
This meant that from now on, Jeff and I would be putting the kids to bed before we leave for dinner and then we would be home be 8:15 at the latest so that we could sit in the room with Anjali and make sure that she was asleep by 9 pm. If she was asleep by 9 pm, she would then be sure to get at least 10 hours of sleep. This weekend would be a good indication of whether this was really the solution. Anjali was made very aware by Jeff that he was willing to give this a try, but that he was also very ready to pack up and go home should either this not work and/or she wasn’t putting in the necessary effort. This whole morning was exhausting and we also missed out of coffee with Sonia and Malcolm, but thankfully they were very understanding when I showed up about an hour late and explained that we were dealing with some family issues. We rescheduled for Sunday after church.
Today, I walked into town with Cathy and Truy today to pick up my Saree and suits, and Jeff’s new tailored shirt. Unfortunately my Saree was not ready, and though my suits and Jeff’s shirt were ready I was not able to pick them up because there was no money in any of the ATM’s in Banbasa. I tried 5 different banks and ATM’s to no avail–Banbasa is absolutely devoid of any money. We are down to our last couple hundred Rupees (which isn’t much), so I picked up a few necessary items we needed and headed home.
We were told that they usually reload the ATM’s after 6 pm, so just after sending the kids to dinner, Jeff and I walked into town to see if we could get any, but still the ATM’s are completely empty. We aren’t too worried because we still have a week before we leave, but it is a little disconcerting that we have money that we can’t access.
On our walk into town we were both lamenting at how much we are going to miss the mission and how difficult it is going to be to leave, just as it has been at the last 2 places, but there is a distinct difference with this place. The wonderful people on this mission have welcomed us with open arms and we very much feel connected and forever a part of this family. I am afraid that there will always be a piece of my heart here in Banbasa long after we leave.
We got home right as the kids were finishing their dinner, so we started the process of showers for the kids before our dinner at 7 pm at the Strong House. As we were waiting for David to finish his shower, Anjali gave me a beautiful tattoo with her new pens she got for Christmas.
I am amazed at the simple things that we find ourselves missing from home. Tonight, after dinner Lucia was commenting on how much she missed a bath. So after I washed her up, she asked if she could climb into the washing bucket to take a bath. I didn’t think she would fit, but she sure did prove me wrong–I even brushed her teeth while she was taking a bath! I couldn’t help but snap a few pictures because she looked completely uncomfortable, but boy was she happy in her make-shift bathtub.
After dinner tonight, Jeff and I made it back to the apartment by 8:15 pm and I sat with Anjali giving her back scratches and laying with her until she was asleep by 8:45 pm. I sure do hope this works. I really don’t feel that we are meant to go home just yet. I feel like He has so much more in store for our family, but then again, maybe this is part of our plan. There is really not much I can do at this point, but walk this path and see where it leads.
As I laid in bed I started reading a new book I found online called The Love Dare: For Parents. This book was written to be a challenge to be a more compassionate parent to our children. I guess I want to make sure that I am doing part by making sure I am showing my children how much I love them every day.