Wednesday, July 29, 2009

The Price of a Tender Heart

On Sunday morning I got up with Safa and Eden while Erik and Ava slept. It was early, maybe 7:00 AM. Eden promptly found the biggest click bug I've ever seen on the kitchen floor. I'm sure you know these insects. I'm sure they have proper name. They are the unfortunate, seemingly ill-conceived creatures that simultaneously "click" with a quick bend of their bodies and then pop up into the air much to the delight of children. I've always found them odd and once remember hunting one particularly "clicky" one in the middle of the night because it was keeping me awake.

The click bug Eden found was not doing so well. And because she loves all things living, all things nature, she watched and held it for awhile. I made coffee, got Safa some milk, checked my email and then about 20 minutes later came to ask her if she wanted some milk. She turned her head away from me and nodded a small "yes" and I could see she was about to break.

"Did it die honey?"
A face was red, her eyes were full of tears, and she nodded.
"Oh, sweetheart, I know." And then she fell apart. I gathered her up in my lap. "Oh, Eden you have such a big heart. I love your big heart. I know how much it hurts because that's how I am too."
I was quiet for awhile and just let her cry. I cried with her for the pain of knowing that she will go through life with her tender heart exposed to the world. I know what it's like.

I said, "I believe that because that click bug was a living thing that it matters that you were with it when it died." I wasn't placating her. I do believe this.

"Eden, I know what it's like to go through the world with such a sensitive heart. And I will tell you it makes life harder, but it makes life so beautiful and I wouldn't want to change the way I am. " This is almost always true.

Once on a visit to see my parents we saw "Gladiator" in the theater. I don't remember very much about the movie, only that it knocked me to my knees. I was so broken by that movie I could barely walk. I wept afterwards as we walked as a family through Sam's amazed at all the ways people could find to hurt each other. It can be embarrassing to be the only sobbing mess at a movie like "Gladiator". It can be embarrassing to be known as the one who swerved the car to miss the butterfly. I have learned to see this as a gift most of the time, but it can prove very difficult when you are, say, waiting to go get your son in Ethiopia.

I brought Eden the dried petals from the orchid that my sister brought to me on the day we were matched with Yonas to hold with the click bug. I'm not sure why. They were pale purple and beautiful and I knew that holding something beautiful would help. So I held my big hearted girl while she held a dead bug and dried flower petals and we waited for the pain to pass enough to get up from the kitchen floor and face the world.


Momma Jen said...

You cannot write such beautiful and heartbreaking stories knowing a 36 week pregnant woman is reading. It kills me! What a sweet heart Eden has. I have always had a very empathetic heart but I am glad it has a limit. I don't think I could handle the depth of yours and Edens.

Me. Us. She. said...

This is the first time I've read your blog - quite a post to start with. I'm teary sitting here thinking about your sweet daughter and her heart. We need people like her in this world.
Thanks for telling the story.

Bridget said...

Beautiful. True. Wonderful.

Kelsey said...

I love your big heart too, Ash.