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Twenty at Twenty-One

About two years ago, I found myself with a desire to travel to India and love on some orphans with special needs. Six months later, with the help of family and friends, that is exactly where I was. Each moment I spent there reshaped my view of the world and reshaped me. It’s no surprise to say that I fell in love - with the people, the culture, the simplicity of life, but most importantly, my kids.

From July to December of 2013, I lived life as an Indian mother and wouldn’t trade it for the world. I started off with twenty girls but eventually transitioned to my twelve. Life with my girls was beautiful and messy most times. They were learning how to actually live in a normal apartment and be a kid that wears PJs and sleeps in the same bed each night. They were learning how to use a toilet and to pick up their dirty clothes from the floor. I was learning that these things take time, and oh so much patience. I learned that even the most well thought out schedule would not always happen, or rarely happen when it comes to India. With schools being closed due to a strike or kids leaving to Hyderabad for several days to see the doctor, consistency was hard to find. Through all of that I learned to let go of so much control and just live life with my daughters. Some times—most times—that meant cuddling up on the couch and watching a movie together. Sometimes that meant sprawling out across the floor, coloring and listening to Taylor Swift for hours. Sometimes that meant building a massive tent…and watching movies under it. Sometimes it meant throwing a kid on the back of my bike and going for a joyride just to escape insanity. On most weekends it meant taking a trip to the beach and getting thrown around by the waves till we reached complete exhaustion (benefits of living in a place that’s always hot). Essentially being a mom means you get to relive your childhood, because these were my favorite things to do when I was little. Which feels like just yesterday. Don’t be fooled. Amidst all that fun, we had plenty of tears and time-outs, girl fights and melt downs, screaming and pinching. But I loved those moments just the same, because that’s when I got to point them to Jesus and teach them what it means to love.

Before, during and since my trip there have been moments that I’ve doubted being in India, the time away from school, the relationships formed that I was ripped away from. It is this doubt that keeps most of us from the insane adventures being offered to us. This doubt that convinces us that living a “normal” life that doesn’t stray far from ‘the path most taken’ is what’s best. But it’s not. One of the greatest things I learned from my time in India is that adventure is awesome. Do something crazy. Choose the road less traveled. And hey…Do Good.


Jenny Gutierrez

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