Maybe it is all so intense right now that I can only handle so much. But I miss myself, if that makes sense. I keep waiting to reappear, and I am forcing myself to keep on doing things when at the moment they often feel awkward. I am hopeful that a week or two of no school, no soccer, no running, no stress, no school planning will give me the chance to recenter. I say that as I spent half the afternoon and all evening basically working on creating a schedule and finalizing what we are doing the next several months with school. Just as I think I have it figured it, I realize I am working with a moving target and need to re-organize as the girls are making bgreat strides, as new information helps me see Kenny's needs differently and realize we will step back further than I thought.
I also have had some wonderful, wonderful people approach me and ask if they could work with the kids and help in that way. I don't know how we have been so blessed to have people actually ask to spend time teaching our kids, and it is hard for me to say yes and even harder to figure out ways to incorporate them. I am really not a control freak, I think it is because right now I am still getting my own feet wet and making it up as I go along...sort of like a first year teacher not having a clue how to utilize a volunteering parent effectively in the classroom where a 20 year veteran says "Bring 'em on...I have a million things they can do!". I guess I don't have that level of confidence yet.
I also am recognizing that part of my internal self being unsettled is this feeling of taking, taking, taking and giving absolutely nothing back right now. I think perhaps if I found ways in which I could help out others I might feel better. However, I am going to gratefully accept help with the kids, particularly with reading, as I can't for the life of me figure out how in the world I can teach 4 kids to read who are all at slightly different levels and 2 of whom have some mechanics down and can sound out nicely but don't have a clue what they just read because their vocabulary needs to be built step by step. But these blessings in the form of volunteers have all been educators in former lives, and will instinctively know how to direct the kids. What a gift, if only I can open up my clasped hand to accept...stupid, I know.
Really though, we have only the most amazing and positive things going on around here, and our transition is so much easier at this stage and so much further along than I ever would have imagined it could be. The girls are ours, heart and soul now. And I admit it, I am loving havng daughters around. Especially these daughters....my daughters. It is also very, very strange at moments to parent children who arrive in your lives at this stage.
Take Angela for example...she is nearly as tall as I am, and this morning at church was drinking coffee which they had at the orphanage sometimes. Two days ago she was hugging and playing with dolls, and today was watching the Little Mermaid with rapt attention. You think this isn't hard to adjust to? It is a major challenge to remind myself almost hourly that inside that outwardly appearing almost teenaged body is a very little girl at moments...one who loves mermaids and wants to try on being the little girl she missed out on being for a little while, yet has the experiences and lived the life of a much older child for a very long time and that isn't ever cast aside easily. Olesya for some reason has the demeanor of a younger child, and much of this is very appropriate and feels less obviously out of kilter. At moments I feel like I am like Lucy and Ethel at the chocolate factory, scrambling to keep up with an ever moving assembly line!!
But life is good, despite anything going on inside of me, life is very, very good. Other than language issues, anyone would be hardpressed to guess that Angela and Olesya joined us a mere 3 months ago. They look more and more like happy LaJoy's every day, they act like us and totally get Dominick's odd sense of humor and match him with it. They deeply love their brothers...and each of them at one time or another has watched one from afar and said to me "Kenny so cute..." or "Matthew so so smart!" with huge grins on their faces. The boys are equally enamored of their sisters, enjoying them to the hilt and declaring them to be the nicest girls they ever met.
Sounds Pollyanna-ish, doesn't it? I know...I know...but I can't pretend that there are big conflicts going on or jealousy when there isn't. I am just as surprised as anyone else is, as I thought surely we would have conflicts over all kinds of things...who gets the front seat, who gets mommy next, who gets the last ice cream. None, nada, zilch, zippo. How much easier they have all made this time of transition with their kindness towards one another. I keep waiting for the honeymoon to end, for the other shoe to drop. Someone said to me recently that maybe we got the hard stuff out of the way over in Kazakhstan, and this is the reward. If so, all I can say is a huge thank you filled with gratitude.
We are planning a little surprise for the kids, and it is converging perfectly with interests in our house right now. Our dear friend and blog commenter, Lael, who is single handedly the most creative person I have ever met, put together a special Paleantology kit for Joshua after learning of his science interests. Whether it was to steer him away from autopsies and spare me the agony of feining courage as I stood by to watch, or if it was to encourage him to further explore the sciences, it was the coolest thing. She found a skeleton of a small critter as yet to be identified (we should figure that out tomorrow) and put it in a container with dirt, and included some small tools, a toothbrush, etc and created an adventure for him to uncover the skeleton and identify it. He has had SUCH fun with it, even getting up at 3:00 AM to work on it!!
Well, it just so happens that our Russian speaking friends who have been so generous with their time in Skyping with the girls, helping us get Matt's passport after numerous calls to Kazakhstan to translate for us, and so many more things are planning a driving trip to a place we had on our "to visit" list for years. About 5 hours from here in Delta, Utah there is a fossil bed where you can dig out fossils! The girls are in a "rock stage" right now too, handing me pockets full to save...or forgetting to hand them to me and washing them in the washer along with their jeans :-) So timing is perfect, and we are going to meet our friends there and dig us out some fossils, then go to a dinosaur museum the next day. Dominick and I decided not to tell the kids until that morning when they get up. They will be SO excited and SO happy to spend some extra time with him. He has been working super long hours since we returned from Kazakhstan, and needs to have a little down time with the kids. I also am happy that the girls will be able to use their Russian while they still have it, as it is fast leaving them. Within a few more months they will have very little left, so this might be a very, very special opportunity for them...aside from the whole "rock thing", that is! Hahaha!
This weekend we had a fund raiser at church that was western themed. Although we live in rural Colorado we are not exactly the Cowboy type and had no duds appropriate for the ocassion other than Josh's cowboy boots. So off to the Salvation Army we went and scored a few shirts that would sort of work. The kids were all excited about it and had a great time running around playing Deputy, and "getting hitched". Our pastor performed shotgun wedding services, and even found herself marrying Joshie! Dominick and I reupped for another 20 years or so, Lord willin', Kenny married our friend, and Joshua was a two timer and married Mommy too. Our hours of playing Blackjack in Kazakhstan paid off for Angela as she and Matthew played and had a lot of fun while the other kids all played Go Fish and Old Maid. I got some cute pics of the kids and they all giggled when seeing them today.