After completing four weeks of teaching Totus Tuus, the teams were rewarded with a week break. During this break, it’s time to relax, so we can really do whatever we feel like doing. So my teammate Alec went home to spend time with his family, Ryan went out camping with a bunch of friends from high school, Kendall went home to visit her family (specifically her 3-year-old brother and nephew), and I took a road trip to visit six wild and crazy kids.
The last four weeks have been crazy yet amazing and I’ve met a lot of wonderful people and kids who make my heart full of happiness. But these six kids—Xavier (13), Marcus (12), Valerie (10), Max (7), Israel (4), and Lydia (1)—will always hold a special place in my heart.
The Jirak family came into my life when I was a freshman in high school but truthfully it feels like they’ve been in my life for forever. Angie and Jeremy are like a second set of parents to me, but also like a set of best friends who just happen to be older than me. And their kids feel equally like my siblings, best friends, and even my own kids because I love them so much.
I have been babysitting kids since I was about 13 years old, but this family was the first family I babysat consistently for years. My friend Cleo and I started babysitting these wonderful kids together and we would both agree that there was and is something special about this family, and we would have said that after the first time we babysat them.
I only got to spend three full days with them but those three days were jam packed with adventure and fun. Anytime you have six kids together ranging from 1 year old to 13 years old, you are bound for adventure.
Saturday morning we went to a parade and then went out to a mountain lake for kayaking and fishing and for supper.
Sunday we went to a beautiful Mass, picnic in the mountains and out to the Teton National Park and hung out at one of the lakes where we also had a picnic supper, and we finished the day with river fishing.
Monday, the 4th of July, we went to another parade, well the back end of the parade, enough to get candy anyway. Then we bought some fireworks, went home and lit fireworks, ate lunch, took naps, lit more fireworks, had supper, and lit more fireworks. All of which seems simple and calm, but remember six kids… And then the worst part of the entire trip happened, I had to tell all six kids goodnight and goodbye and it broke my heart. Izzy (Israel) has been my little buddy since he was born, we just have a special bond, and his sad little face when he found out I was leaving literally tore my heart into shreds.
There’s a quote from Winnie the Pooh that says, “How lucky I am to have something that makes saying goodbye so hard.” And I am certainly lucky.
I couldn’t be more grateful that this family walked into my life when Angie dropped Xavier into my 1st grade CCD class about 7 years ago. And I couldn’t be grateful for the past three days spent with the Jiraks. But I also couldn’t be more grateful for my next adventure of going home to see my wonderful family who I also miss terribly and to relax before heading back to Totus Tuus.
Praise God for blessing me with all these wonderful, amazing people in my life.