Finley, facing her, “What? You tired?”
She started laughing, “Oh, um…yes.”
And as we drove home, Maria and I hear from the back seat, “Pooping on the potty…”
“Who’s pooping on the potty, you want to?”
“No…I think grandma is…”
To which we laughed, on and off…
for a while.
We are planting a tree, so what better place to hang than in the hole…even the chickens came to make themselves comfortable.
Although I wish they were already laying eggs, I am so happy that since we raised them from chicks, they are great with kids, and more of a pet than anything else.
|Can’t get enough. Just can’t…|
This weekend, we installed an outdoor shower, it is now their favorite hang out spot. Also, thank goodness. Perhaps my two boys can be presentable for once.
We walked Maria to school for her last day of fourth grade. She signed a paper year book, and said goodbye to sweet friends. We celebrated that night with cinnamon rolls for dessert, you know, the kind you pop from a tube with a spoon, it’s so hard. We even had a movie night and watched, Milo and Otis. We were so excited to watch the movie, Andrew and I both had fond memories of it, but that movie is cray! We spent a good amount of time googling what happened to those poor animals, hah. Oh well, the kids loved it.
|Last day of school|
“Mom, fourth grade in America so hard, it’s like so much hard books and everything, in Russia, so easy, you know like, ‘A’ say ahhhhh…”
Basically, she and her friends were in a glorified kindergarten for most of their lives.
“Well, you’re doing awesome, and I can’t believe what a good reader you are, you rocked fourth grade.”
“Yeah, I like it better here for learning, learn so much!”
She has a passion and zeal for learning, one I haven’t seen most American kids have, even when it is so hard for her. Her last week of school, she worked on a report about Russia, it’s grandeur and splendor.
“Mama, I no miss Russia, Russia so…so… grumpy, but here, here so nice…”
“What do you mean?”
“Like over there, everyone pushing and no nice, and here, everyone nice like say, ‘Please’ and ‘Excuse me,’ you know?”
“MOOOOOOM!!!! Mama!!! Try to find us! We’re in the box!!!!”
“Hmmm…ok, I’ll try my best….”
|This is literally their best attempt at pretending they are asleep|
Sometimes, it can be the largest, most present realities that we often don’t see or notice as we live our lives, like a goldfish unaware of what water is. It’s often not until there is a change to our reality so profound, that we are able to recognize not only our present realities, but we’re able to reflect on those of our past, see them with a new awareness.
At six months homes, with the continual onset and deeper ability in language, input, and love, Maria is beginning to share, what is in her heart, from a reality past, now in focus. As bodies and hearts heal, ‘family’ is the reality, not a novelty, as love is the norm, not frantically sought. As security and health are visible, she begins to look at her past with a new lens;
And at night, she smiles at us, as the tears slip down her cheeks, catching on her teeth, her hair. “Papa, mama, I talk to you?”
And every so often, and only recently, only a handful of times, we sit with her, as she buries her face in papa’s stomach, “Papa, I so happy, but I crying.”
“It’s ok to cry.”
And the tears come hardest at first.
When she tells of her friends left behind. She shares of her friends, the ones who were hurt, the ones who shared their hearts with her. The children who she shared a building with, the ones rejected and housed. The ones going to live with sisters; as she cries, “And she drinks, and smokes, and no money for food, she no have food to eat with her sister, hit her…”
And she pauses. “She no have husband, she no have money, no papa, like my papa. My papa, he love…” as she continues telling her story, but on the last words, she catches. Brought to reality, as she stops and looks up at us, as if she had just been somewhere else.
And it goes from a statement, to a soft question, “My papa,” she tries again, “he loves me?”
“Yes,” we smile. “We love you Maria.”
And she shares, and we listen, and she now cries over things which would have just been, “life,” in the past, not particularly sad. She breaks our hearts for little boys and girls, of their lives, their pasts, their desire for love and mommies and daddies, the words they would tell her, their broken hearts shared.
She carried a burden for her friends.
But there were a few glimmers of kindness, “The hospitachy (orphanage worker) told us to name our blankies in Russia, to name them ‘mothers hand’ so that at night, when we would hold our blankies, it’s like we were holding a mother’s hand…”
And as she shares, she cries less and less. She holds our hands, wipes her tears as she talks, such a new depth we see. Her voice changes as she remembers a funny thing Finley did that morning, wants to tell us about how far she rode her bike, how much Josephina loves having her diaper changed at the same times Elijah does, how Jasper likes to bat at blinds string…her voice brighter, her new reality.
“Papa, Mama, I so happy,” big sigh, “I love my family…”
And day by day, “THEY GROWING!!! My seeds, they growing! My flowers, getting big, and bigger!” They are so proud.
“And how long have you been feeling this way…actually, I’m going to need to take this call…”
|Off to Neverland|
Happy fathers day to a man who just invests it all. Blowin’ bubbles like a champ, holds nothing back. Invests time, energy, heart, everything I tell you. Who loves Jesus with everything, and a whole bunch of sweet kids, who adore this selfless father of theirs.
|We love you, Papa!|