Saturday, April 14, 2012
Marvelous Beginnings--Mysterious Endings
I've almost always looked forward to weekends. But this weekend, I've looked forward to more than any in a long time.
It has been a difficult week, returning to work, just 10 days after coming home from
China. Qing Zhuang (Zeke) had a difficult time each morning as I left for work.
My dear friend Joli reminded me, "That's good."
And, I needed to be reminded, "That's good." When he is crying because I am leaving, it means he is attaching to his mother. I've spent a lot of time worrying about Zeke. I've pondered if I have made the right decisions. I've wondered if I should change my mind and allow him to start school, though I know there are only 5 weeks left now. I've had to tell myself that staying home with his big sister is really best for him, whether he understands that or not.
But, each night as his face turned stoic at bedtime, and each morning, as he quietly cried when I left the house, my stomach turned flips and my heart squeezed tight.
Last night, though, I sat down with Zeke and Google Translate again. The look on his face was priceless after he listened to my words translated into Mandarin. "Tomorrow, Mama and Zhao Jie Jie and Da Jie Jie don't have school. We will be home with you." As if he weren't beaming enough, he grew excited after I typed in, "We will go to a birthday party tomorrow."
I wasn't sure if he knew what a birthday party was. (I knew Drew did.) But, they both grew excited. And, they wanted to go tell Xiao Jie Jie and Da Jie jie who were in the bathtub. And, I've long know how to say birthday in Mandarin. But, now I can say birthday party. shēng rì wǎn huì
Fewer than 4,000 people live in the city here, and the population of the county where we live is less tahn 20,000. In this small area, our children are part of a growing community of Chinese adoptees, which now includes 10 children, with 3 more coming home to their forever families next month. The neighboring community, which is slightly larger than ours is home to 9 Chinese adoptees. So, while our community is small, our children see their families as nothing unusual. I didn't quite count all of the humans, but the Asian children may have been the majority here.
The boys and the girls had a great time. Stan and I had a great time socializing with the parents who were there. The weather was beautiful. Our friends' home was beautiful. The backyard of their home was beautiful. The back porch/patio was the perfect place to sit in the shade and watch the children.
They helped Mama clean when we came home. Ellie and Zeke joyfully helped clean the bathrooms, standing in the tub and scrubbing. Drew less than joyfully helped Josie-Tatum pick up toys.
Later, the kids wanted to go back outside. They played with the bubbles from the party. They rode in the Barbie jeep. They played "golf." And, since Da Jie Whitney loves to watch Cake Boss, they created a cake in the sand. A golf cake Ellie called it.
But, our day of marvelous beginnings ended myseriously for me. As we prepared for bed, Zeke wore his stoic face again, like he had every other night since I've been back to work. I once again used Google Translate to let the boys know the girls and I did not have to go to school, that we would be home. But, his face remained courageously sad, as if he were fighting tears.
Josie-Tatum and Ellie both began to worry as much as his mama. No consoling was changing his demeanor. We said our prayers, and he took his turn (more on that later) sounding like his "normal" self. But, as the girls got ready to go to sleep, he began to sniffle. When I told him to get in bed, he shook his head, "No."
I put Drew in bed.
I had to pick Zeke up and put him in his bed. I laid down beside him. He laid down stiffly, legs straight, arms straight beside him, head straight back, eyes facing above him. Tears rolled down his cheeks. I tried more than once or twice to get him to tell me what he wanted. He never said a word in English or Mandarin.
I was....and I am still...puzzled. I don't know what triggered his tears.
Part of parenting. Adoption parenting. International adoption parenting.
Language is a barrier. But, this night, there was no language. Is it because he believes I wouldn't understand anyway?
WAs he crying because he is just frustrated with his lack of control over anything in the last 3 weeks. Did he NOT trust that I would be home the following morning? Maybe he was just being a typical 6-year-old boy who doesn't want to go to bed at night.
He did not push away my hand that caressed his face and wipes away his tears. But, he didn't respond positively either. After his breathing became softer and his muscles relaxed a bit, I asked if he wanted to lay his head of my shoulder, and he did. He laid there for a while and was almost asleep when he sat up.
He was no longer angry...I don't think. He was no longer stoic. I asked if he wanted to lie down beside me.
"No," his head shaking told me.
I asked if he wanted to put his head back on my shoulder.
"No," his head shaking told me.
I asked, "Ni yao shenme?" (What do you want?) And, he pointed above his head, to the top bunk. I have discouraged either of the boys from climbing up there. But, my instints told me to tell him okay this time.
When I did, he climbed up. He crawled under the covers. And, he went to sleep.
Now, I do NOT believe the desire to sleep on the top bunk started the tears. I don't know why he had settled down. And, I don't know why he went to sleep so peacefully. I don't know why he was still asleep at 7:30 this morning, when he is usually awake at 6:00.
He started the tears at nap time today.
I do know that our lives are a puzzle still. His is a puzzle to me. Ours is a puzzle to him. And, as we get to know each other, the mysterious moments will occur less often...at least until he's a teenager.
So, please continue to pray for us. Pray for wisdom to know how to comfort when we are unsure of his fretfulness, which does not occur often.
And, my God will continue to answer in ways beyond what I can ask or think. And, I will continue to give Him the glory!