it's been quite the week. we've had gusty bright days where all that sun in your hair feels like summer, and then days like right this very instant where the wind whistles a thirty degree tune in e minor.
thursday morning, just as we were packing up to truck over to the mister's folks, little m took a spill and smacked his head and sent us off to the hospital instead. and while i hope to never repeat that particular thanksgiving experience again, i am glad for the small gifts attached: for the time spent focused on our littlest person, and for a bit of insight into the unique workings of his body that could prove Mighty Valuable for the coming years.
and as a side note, connecting and attaching in adoption is a jungly two-way street, slow and tricky and riddled with sanity-eating plants. some of y'all are tossing around that seed of an idea that maybe you'd like to adopt, and you've emailed honest questions like but what if i never feel like he's my son? and i'm glad for your heart and glad for your questions and glad to tell you that in harrowing times when you can't spare a second to rationalize and talk yourself in or out of love and there is only space to feel, the iron jaws of panic clamp down every bit as steely whether you birthed this child or prayed him home. i'm his and he's mine.
so the mister's family came this way instead and we had turkeyish leftovers plus many pies. also last week we did Christmas photos and thankful leaves and several of us got the stomach flu and elle fashioned costumes for a thanksgiving play. i got to be the boy pilgrim, as it was the least coveted role amongst the under-ten crowd. (everyone wants to be Girl Pilgrim or Squanto. pish, i say.)
[elle modeling her costumes. folks, Boy Pilgrim is nothing to sneeze at. just look at that hat.]
and last night? last night. for the very first time in the history of ever, when i said i love you to little m, he didn't answer back with his usual 'kay. it went like this instead:
goodnight. goodnight. i love you. love you.
and so okay, maybe he was just parroting my words, but you know what? i'll absolutely take it.
thankful today, for
#180 crystal, who came when i called
#181 good nurses
#182 color and light inside (when all of the outside is grey)
#183 friends who whisk me away for girly-nights and the chance to get in touch with my inner-human
#184 children who teach me to give thanks
#185 providence and upholding in all our fragility
it's two noisy weeks of splitting bathrooms eleven ways and cooking for a crowd and rousing games around the kitchen table and just like that they're gone.
[noel, mum, dad: a quick backyard portrait before flying out]
i tend to be a ridiculous version of myself when my folks are here. i'm a mess of petty and impatient, my jokes drowning in sarcasm. you'd think i'd be more careful with this small time pressed thin between years of absence.
but there's laughter too, and the sort of knowing that comes from decades of their stories twined with mine. and even if we spend half the time all up in each other's hair, these are my people.
[left: noel's 'candid' shot, right: my veryfavorite little brother]
[photo courtesy of mom]
and i'm so glad i'm theirs.
noel charading 'cocktail dress' boxes of fabric scraps from my late grandma, hoping to become quilts hearty thunderstorms tangy bowls of vegetable soup flannel lined sleeping bags my dad's wheezy laugh a fresh stack of books from the library
on wednesday the hardier folk among us (otherwise known as not me) braved the bluster and cold and combed our lawn into crunchy piles.
there may have been jumping and burrowing involved.
[zee camped out under the umbrella and retracted into his shell whenever i swung the camera his way.]
then yesterday evening my madre’s deepest yearning came true:
it began as a light salting, and the kiddos (plus the grandma and great-aunt from hawaii) shrieked SNOW! and clambered into mittens and coats. and then the bowl of sky split wide and snow swarmed thick around us and we shivery-danced in the first official dousing of november.
the small folk and i are bound to have a change of heart come january, but right now? we* are crazy in love.
*i have no photographic proof for you, but believe you me that little m was not one bit amused with this frigid weathery stuff. he might be in for a disappointing six months.
last friday when i'd reached the last feeble thread at the end of my rope, the mister took little m for the day. i got to scrub the shower and paint my desk and fold stacks of fabric and eat my first conflict-free lunch in four months. it's a beautiful thing to have enough quiet to taste my soup.
my folks arrived fresh from oahu this week with my little brother and aunt in tow. they hand-carried sushi rolls and manapua, stuffed the crannies of their suitcases with candies and shelled out a small fortune to check a box of home-grown coffee plus goodies for the kids. in em's words: christmas showed up early this year. indeed.
my brother noel is a walking comedy routine and raves over my cajun pasta and is teaching the kiddos rubber band tricks. dad's been playing chess with zee and bee, my aunt reads and plays memory with the littles, and mom cooks a mean beef stew (and pretends she doesn't know the first thing about card games while trouncing us all). they're good for the soul, these people.
also, thank you. i asked you to pray and you did, and it's seeing us through this winnowing season. and i'll likely splinter along a hundred fault lines over and again for a good while yet, but maybe the point isn't to arrive intact at all. maybe it's to still be clinging to Jesus for dear life at the end of the day.
[every single one of you who dropped me a line, i've been praying for you too. and there's something renewing in that, to be a lifeline for someone else in the middle of the hot mess that is currently me.]
ps if you bump into us (or any adoptive family) regular-like, please read this primer on how to handle our special flavor of neurosis. bless you, jen hatmaker.