Last night Kira and I had a girls night only in our home. Daddy swooped in mid afternoon, gathered all four of his boys into the van, took the dog, and began to drive towards the outer banks in North Carolina. They’ll be on the road for three days. They have all the movies, Burn notice episodes, cosby show, and NCIS programs stacked high. Kira and I, we are divas, and so they don’t want us crashing their man time. We get to fly tomorrow morning. A three hour flight will feel like a hiccup after what we just did flying home from Africa.
I fixed up miss Kira’s hair as pretty as one movie can allow me to do. Her speech is remarkably strong now, there’s hardly any baby babble. It is a relief for both of us that she can communicate. I think there will be fewer tantrums now. I hope. She’s quite content to be home again in her surroundings that feel so familiar to her. She even let me put her blanket in the washing machine. That was as generous as she gets. For some reason, doing laundry here has given me pleasure this week. I remember when I was shopping with George for Julie’s stove and there were washing and drying machines. He asked, is that how you do it in America? You put it right from the washing machine into a dryer? You don’t put it on the line? I nodded. He shook his head. Two worlds.
With our extra day Kira and I are going to do girl things. My hands and feet suffered neglect while I was “mama Tonya” in Uganda, and oh my hair could use some help too. I’ll spend some time at the salon. We might just go take a walk at the mall and see if there’s something pretty we can wear for beach photos. It wouldn’t be a date if we didn’t share a jamba juice together.
It’s not living in San Antonio if we don’t go visit my horse. Our reunion on Wednesday morning satisfied me immensely. Bleary eyed from traveling across the globe with four of my children in the expanse of more than twenty four hours, the first thing I did after waking and showering is go straight to the stables. I had errands to do, I was wearing a short dress, so I stepped into my big black rubber wellies. I found her grinding hay slowly, methodically among the other mares at the hay bale. The sun has bleached her dark chocolate into a lighter shade, and she’s shed all of her furry coat into a sleek one to show her beautiful muscles. She takes my breath away. As soon as she saw me, she walked right over to me and sniffed my hands, pressed her head into my body, and continued to sniff me down to my feet. What a kind welcome home that was for me. She usually wants to play hard to get in the turnout because she knows I have come to work her out. I put her halter on and walked her to the cross ties so I could rub her down, shine her up and love her with my hands. It is still hard for me to believe she’s mine. Several times she pressed her head into my body and let me hug her, and that is a gift. I just love it that she knows me. She and I are going to grow old together while Craig plays golf with the boys. (hopefully by then Kira will choose horses of golf…I hope it is horses, but she is a daddy’s girl through and through.)
Riding her yesterday was work as usual though. With a mare I have to check her “mood” before I know if we are going to have a good ride. There were men working on a pole and she didn’t like that at all. It took us most of the time to get over their intrusion. Feeling her under me again, and using my weak legs to direct her was a challenge. I’m out of shape. How quickly it can go. But now we have plenty of time to pick up where we left off in our training. It’s really good to be home at the stables. When I am there I am just the owner of Gwinny and I can have as much time alone as I need. I am one to need a lot of alone time, and sharing it with her does some magic on my own moods.
I feel a little lost this week because all of the things I think I should do are in Uganda. We have a family there too, and I’m missing them terribly. I haven’t shifted my mind from the work I do there. Then I get sad because I love the work we do together there and I’m far away. It is just not the same from here. And I have hardly had any time with Craig to really catch up since being home. It will be so good to have a week at the beach together and sort out some of the obstacles we have in our work to do in Uganda. It is harder to stop working than I ever thought possible. I remember all the years I would protest to Craig about working during a vacation, and here I am planning what I can do next week from the beach. I suppose when the work is something you love, it doesn’t need to be put aside. As with parenting, the work is never done and I’m never off duty, so it goes with being Mama Tonya. I’m always thinking about our family in Uganda and wondering what can I do to help them.
I’m planning the photo shoots I can do with my nieces on the beach wearing the wrap skirts and headbands I brought home to sell so I can raise money for our kids. I’m hoping I can find a beach shop willing to let us sell some of our beads. The churning in my mind never stops. I figure that is a good thing. I’ve got to raise some money to pay for all the salaries, rent and food! Good thing I trust God will reward our hard work. They are his kids first. I just get to come along, and what a joy that is for us.
Starting on Sunday there will be beach pictures of the LaTorre reunion! Following sixteen cousins around with my camera for a week is some of my best fun! Sharing it here is even better. I LOVE the Beach. Here I come.