Mother’s Days in Arequipa, Perú

Today is the actual day. We had a lovely time of fellowship with the church this morning. As I was eating my delicious “pan con huevo y palta” (egg, avocado sandwich), Greg told me not to fill up… they were taking me out to lunch. Special food that I don’t have to prepare or clean up always makes my day.  He knows me well. Also, sweet, dear Etelvina gave me a gift this morning. She said, “Megan, I wanted you to have this.  It is your last Mother’s Day in Arequipa.” For the record, I am having a hard enough time trying to cope with the grieving stage of leaving here.  It is not helping when these people that we love so much remind us of that fact.  But it is true.  And the truth makes me sad. I celebrated my first two Mother’s Days in the states, but every other one (there have been EIGHT in all) has been here in Arequipa.

Mother’s Day 2009 (Ana was still our single child, but Maggie was in the oven)


Mother’s Day 2010 (Maggie had been in a harness.  We are in the park in Miraflores.)


Mother’s Day 2011 (we just became a family of five.  Cohen was 3 weeks old.)


Mother’s Day 2012


Mother’s Day 2013


Mother’s Day 2014 (taken on our roof top)


I chose La Italiana for my restaurant of choice today.  I ordered the shrimp stuffed crab with steamed veggies (one of my AQP all time faves).  La Italiana is a lovely atmosphere.  It sits on one of the city center streets in an old sillar building.  They sat us by a window on the second floor, and I couldn’t help but wonder if I would ever see Volcan Misti on a Mother’s Day for the rest of my life…


I will be in a super reflective mode throughout the remainder of our time here for sure.  This last Mother’s Day has caused me to reflect on all of the beautiful experiences I have had in my time here as a mom.

  • sending all three of my children to their first day of school
  • experiencing a natural birth in Clinica Arequipa when Maggie was born
  • experiencing the birth of a baby boy when Cohen was born (emergency c-section style)
  • watching all three of my children develop vocabulary for Spanish and English at the same time
  • learning how Greg and I would work in a partnership to discipline our children in a foreign culture
  • throwing birthday parties for all three of my children (Peruvian style at times)
  • learning to make natural baby food from the delicious fresh produce of Arequipa (mango and palta being two of my favorites)
  • learning to potty-train my children in a culture that doesn’t offer public restroom spots throughout the city
  • learning to privately change my baby’s diapers when there are no changing tables or good spots to change babies in public
  • taking advantage of the public bus seats for mother’s with small children or pregnant women
  • navigating the doctor’s appointments and doubts when Maggie was diagnosed with hip dysplasia
  • an ER visit with Cohen when he came down with croup
  • attending award ceremonies (the clausuras and promociones of both Ana and Mags later this year)
  • teaching our children what the family of God truly means especially since we do not have blood family close
  • learning how to travel alone with children internationally
  • developing our first traditions as the McKinzie Family (Christmas, Easter, and other special days)
  • knowing how to use Skype really well, and our children knowing our blood family by Skype calls and furlough visits
  • making count-down calendars for special visitors and special visits we make to the states
  • all of the memories of grandparents and friends coming to visit for 2 weeks at a time or longer
  • receiving care packages or letters from people in the mail
  • hearing “I love you” from the three most precious pieces of our marriage
  • Arequipa being their first “home”
  • moving 3 different times in the city (we are a super flexible family)
  • falling in love with our Peruvian family and Team Arequipa teammates

Arequipa, you have taught me so many things about being a mother. These years have been formative years for my marriage and for my development as a mother to three children.  Out of those three children, two were born at the foot of Volcan Misti.  They are true Arequipeños.  Our first was 17 months old when we arrived.  She is a true Arequipeña in her heart.  You are their first real home, and we will be leaving a huge piece of our hearts here when we leave.

Mother’s Days in Arequipa, Perú

My Mother’s Day 2012

On Friday evening, two of the sweetest little girls in the world had a Mother’s Day performance.  Ana performed a Russian dance (which cracks me up that she was among all Peruvians dancing to a Russian song).  Maggie danced (or should I say, shook her skirt) to “Rock Around the Clock.”  They were adorable.  To add icing to the cake, they drew Maggie’s name out of the three-year-old class pot, and I won a gift basket!  I absolutely LOVE this picture of me with the girls.  Greg captured this moment, and I couldn’t ask for a more perfect genuine smile from each of my daughters.

Saturday, Greg told the kids they were taking Momma out for lunch.  Unfortunately, my little Cohenator had gotten worse over the course of the day.  We took him to see Judith and she saw that he had an ear infection.  Bummer.  He was a world-class traveler on our whirlwind trip to the states to see Granny Bills.  I am so thankful the sickness hit after we returned.  He is doing much better now (still on his antibiotic), but that 20 hours of traveling wore his little body out.  Here he is before we headed to the Nashville airport.  You would never HGH know that he would feel like he did on Saturday by the look of this picture.  Oh, and we ended up doing the Chili’s takeout.  This momma didn’t mind that.  🙂

with his Gram

On the actual day, our house church decided to meet later (4 pm instead of 2 pm) to just have dessert together instead of lunch.  We ate Peruvian pound cake with whipped cream and strawberries.  Two other moms are in our group, Anita and Etelvina.  Both of their daughters have become some of my good friends here.  It was a fun time, and Greg bought the three moms in our group bouquets of flowers (what a sweet husband he is!).  I attempted to get a photo with all three kids.  Miraculously, there is one with all three looking.  We had to give Cohen a Kit-Kat candy bar to not constantly squirm while sitting in my lap (that would explain why his fist is in his mouth).

So here I am Mother’s Day 2012 with my sweet McKinzie Three.  Ana is 5, Maggie is 2 months from turning 3, and Cohen is 13 months.  My cup overflows…

a miracle pic captured by their Daddy
My Mother’s Day 2012