Monthly Archives: June 2021

smallish to biggish (i know they aren’t words)


When Emily, John, Samantha, and Juliette moved back stateside from Ecuador, it was a big move. They had spent five years serving on the mission field where they had built good things: long-lasting programs and relationships that would endure. My daughter had health issues, they needed family, and an incredible opportunity in their missions organization appeared out of nowhere.

When they left the U.S. Sam was six months, and Juliette hadn’t arrived on the scene. When they returned home, Sam was now in American kindergarten, fluent in Spanish and English and Julie was two.

Sam seemed so small to me when they arrived, but she always was the energizer bunny with no fear, climbing to the highest point at our park. That summer I remember her calling out a dad on the playground who was smoking a a cigarette, always wanting to know the why of things. Her birthday was in July, and all of us were excited to celebrate their arrival and her birthday, as I recall. But in the middle of the festivities, Emily randomly asked,

“Mom, I always get good brainstorms, don’t I?”

“Right now— you have another brainstorm for this party that I have planned? ” I was pretty used to her big ideas and creative juices flowing when I least expected it.

“I think when each of the grandkids are ten years old, you and dad should take them on a trip of their choosing.”

I thought, well, ten isn’t exactly around the corner, we only had two grand-girls, and at least I’d be retired… and I randomly thought, Sam is the type to choose Tim-buck-too(sp) or Nova Scotia maybe.

I smiled at Em, “So in five years, you think, it might be nice to be away from your rosy-haired hummingbird for about a week… you won’t miss her terribly?”

Em eyes widened, and she winked, “I think John, Julie, and I will manage just fine without our firecracker for a few days.”

Fast forward five years…

Samantha’s birthday is in July, and we’re scooping her up for her chosen camping vacation in one day, not Tim-buck-too or Nova Scotia. We have the itinerary, and as long as we keep changing activities every five minutes, we should be good. She has become a fabulous cook, campfire builder, smore maker, hiker extraordinaire, swimmer, horseback rider, crafter, reader, and writer. She loves gardens, mountains, beaches, and airplanes. She is fast-moving and friendly. It will be hard for her to wear her mask… but it won’t stop her from making fast friends— this I know.

This I also know, her mommy, my girl, will miss her exuberance and light every day in the quiet moments and will be silently counting down the hours until our return. We are hoping to build biggish memories, and I’m silently hoping I can keep up with our sweet, girl. I won’t be beating her in a foot race, this I know for sure!

Sam with her first horse near Quito !