Moments...we fail to stop...we fail to feel...we fail to pray and thank and relish.
Tonight, walked into the kitchen, Olesya leaning on Dominick, eyes closed, gentle smile, enveloped in her Daddy's arms. She remained there, unmoving, arms wrapped around his big strong ones. Safety, security...finally loved unconditionally.
This afternoon, in the office, I am copying adoption decrees and birth certificates to finally send off to the agency. Angela walks in, picks up the decree terminating parental rights of her birth father. She looks up at me through lowered eyes, asks if she may read it. I hesitate only for a moment. It is her life, it is her history, it is not mine to deny despite how much I wish it all wasn't true. I quietly remind myself it is not my job to protect from the reality that already was, but to walk through what will be hand in hand. I nod, she sits, she reads whispering out loud as she goes. She points out something in the English translation...who is this person? I try and explain it is her grandmother on her father's side whose statement is printed on that piece of paper that effectively removed her biological father from her life forever.
She is finished and turns to me. What about Matthew, Kenny and Joshua? I open the file drawer and take out their files, one by one, laying them upon the bed. I offer them to her, we are family, we share it all...the pain, the joy...there will never be secrets here. She is free to read what she wants. She opens Matthew's file, gently turns each page, smiles and points out his immigration photo. "Malinky!" she says. "Very sick" I respond, "Very malinky baby.". She stares, it seems to effect her more than her own history. She reads, she mentions the name "Galina" and looks up at me questioningly when I explain that Galina was our Irina for Matt's adoption, our coordinator. She reads on and closes it, reaching for the next brother's file.
She thumbs through Joshua's and without looking up says "Kazakhstan Mama's all bad...Matthew, Kenny, Joshua, Angela, Olesya...Mama's all bad."
Thump goes my heart, this is not true. How can I get that across? I turn and look at her, she puts down the paper she is reading. "Not all Kazakhstan Mama's bad...maybe malinky and too young to be Mama. Not all drink vodka, not all bad Mama's". She stares at me, eyes wide, considering this information as if it is new. She then says "Matthew, Kenny, Joshua Kazakhstan Mama not bad, me Mamma bad, bad. Olesya Mama bad, bad. You Mama good Mama."
Unable to go further, wanting so badly to go deeper, I simply say "I love you." and go back to copying. It is broad daylight and "Good Mama" is as much as she feels safe offering. Someday, maybe, eye to eye there will be a recipricle "I love you", but not today, it is too soon. There will be other times, there will be other conversations. How I wish we had the language between the two of us for more intimacy on this issue. She struggles so to express herself, yet inviting anyone else in to partake of this intimacy to translate negates it all. It will have to wait. But we will come back to it, over and over again.
One day, she will be satisfied. Maybe I will be too.
A cold, near blustery early evening on a soccer field. The sun peeks through ocassionally, reminding us of its presence. A teacher and I speak, we share, we get to know one another a little bit better. Our children are growing older, we once met in the halls as we picked our respective beloved kiddos up from Kindergarten. Middle school looms large, our families are changing gradually, as do our roles in our children's lives. Common threads, we all share so much by simply being human and living this life.
A young boy stands next to me, my arm around his shoulder. His eyes are shadowed by darkened lenses of ever present glasses. His wicked, sharp humor always makes me smile, his gentle spirit is sometimes not caught by others, but I see it in little gestures...he loves his mother and never hesitates to show it even in public. He hugs his friends good bye. He is inclusive of all around him. What a wonderful spirit he has! Standing there, I say "We are so lucky to have you as our friend...we love you...you are always welcome with us, thanks for being so respectful and kind.". He struggles in school, yet is a bright star in some way I can't put my finger on. But then, isn't EVERY kid if given a chance? He looks up at me, the ever-present smile disappears as he says "Thanks, I like being with you guys.".
Standing in Dairy Queen, Josh kneeling on a stool next to me, chocolaty lips curved upwards in a gentle grin, the tiny freckle on his chin 2 inches from my face as we face one another, his arms wrapped around me while his spoon no doubt dribbles ice cream down the back of my shirt. "You are a silly Mommy!" he declares. "You are a silly son!" I shoot back, then he leans on my shoulder, remaining there for a few precious 7 year old moments that will soon pass us by. How I love him, how I love them all.
The rushing back and forth of the week, the constant movement and chatter and controlled (sometimes) chaos. Within all of that lies the moments that need to be carried around in our hearts a little longer. Contained therein is the secret of a real life. We forget, it is SO easy to forget.
Help me see it better, God. Keep my eyes open for the good stuff, the real stuff, the important stuff. Let me not be blinded by schedules and commitments. Let my heart never harden so much that I am not touched by the beauty of the day to day interactions that surround me.
Let me walk in full awareness, let me drink it all up, let me suck it all dry.
Fill me up.