Secondhand Treasures

I button up the brown and pink flowered shirt on my daughter. I work fast before she squirms away to do busy toddler things. Wow. She looks just like Katie—my friend’s daughter, who wore this shirt a couple years ago, back when she was my daughter’s age.

My son, now 3, spent his first couple of years as a sort of third twin to another MAF friend’s twin boys, walking around in their hand-me-down clothes.

But what may look like second-hand things to others represent treasures in my life.

Even after years of training and preparing and months of packing, when I moved to Indonesia six years ago, I came without a lot of things: knowledge of how to make yogurt from scratch; ability to drive on the other side of the road; and…without kids, or any of the stuff that comes with them.

I wanted to be prepared. But how do you pack for three and a half years’ worth of life on the other side of the world? What book do you read to prepare you for geckoes on the walls? And what course in college do you take to learn how to wake up to a newborn’s cry when you’re exhausted?

But I soon discovered Treasure Number One. Community. One MAF friend handed me her yogurt recipe. Another sat beside me, giving calm advice, on my first drive. And when the kids began arriving three years into life overseas, my MAF friends gave me Treasure Number Two. Provision where I’d lacked.

One by one, friends came over, carrying clothes, toys, car seats, cribs, a baby sling, high chair—all handed to me with nostalgic tears. Soon my nursery overflowed with others’ memories attached like finger paints.

And Treasure Number Three? Comfort…for the hard days where the mixture of overseas living and motherhood leave me feeling sweaty, unprepared, lacking. Just a flustered phone call away, these friends who understand are ready to offer more than stuff. They give me the hand-me-down advice that I use and wear proudly, hoping I look a bit like these special mom-friends of mine.


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