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.

Friday, July 03, 2009

The Hundred Acre Wood Personality Theory

I love personality theories. Love them. The Enneagram, Myers-Briggs---I'll take them all. A while back I wrote a post (here) about how exploring the ways that personality affects parenting can be incredibly helpful in seeing one's strengths as a parent and can relieve some of the relentless mama-guilt that plagues so many of us.

On our way back from berry-picking a few weeks ago, the girls were watching a Winnie-the-Pooh movie on the portable dvd player that we allow during car trips that last longer than an hour. And I heard Rabbit bitching about something and said to Erik, "Ava is Rabbit." We declared Eden Pooh, and I looked at Erik for a moment and said, "Who are you?...Oh my gosh! You are totally Owl!!" (He didn't think it was nearly as funny as I did.) And thus, the Hundred Acre Wood Personality Theory was born.

I have refined the Theory and have come to the conclusion that it gives a more complete picture of the person to combine two characters when determining personality type.

Our family is made up of the following types:

Ashley- Kanga/Rabbit
Erik- Owl/Kanga
Ava- Rabbit/Piglet
Eden- Pooh/Tigger
Safa- Roo/Tigger

It is simple. It is powerful.

Okay, so it's not powerful, but it is funny. What's your Hundred Acre Wood Type?

May 18th

On May 18th we celebrated Yonas' birthday without him. We had cake, we sang him "Happy Birthday" then at Ava's suggestion, "Melkam Lidet" to the tune of the only birthday song we know. I cried. We bought him presents. A wooden woodpecker walker, a bright orange Ugly doll, and of course, a soccer ball. When we first got our referral pictures of him, I cropped his sweet face, printed it out, cut closely around his head, taped it to a paint stir stick, and stuck it on a chair. So he's been at our table for awhile, and for a short few weeks his head made the rounds in different carseats in the car. He ended up crumpled and on the floorboard which just seemed wrong and uncool, so I took that one out.

We put a piece of cake it front of him, lit a candle, and sang. Or rather everyone sang while I swallowed hard and tried to mouth the words. We videoed the entire thing and then I took the recorder back to the room that will be his and blubbered a birthday message to him. I'm not sure exactly what I said. It will be a long time before I feel the need to watch it. There is a sweet, and maybe a little creepy, picture of his floating head with a piece birthday cake in front of him. Next May 18th will be better.