People ask, “How are things going?”
My mind whirls around the events of the past few days. Should I mention the day that I sat for four hours holding a crying child because a puzzle piece didn’t fit correctly into place on the first attempt and therefore everything else in life was out of whack? Should I mention the dozens of English words my daughter can now identify by sight and sound? Are they really interested in the screaming bout (higher and louder than anything we’ve heard so far) that arose because uneaten, unwanted food was removed from her line of sight?
Maybe they’d like to know how Kylah finally played with Hanissa (even if it required a lot of parental prodding) and not just endured her presence. Does anyone want to know the elated feeling we have because she is taking herself to the bathroom? Then there are the meals where she is trying to chew without being prompted. Should I mention the silent tears that come with bed time? Or maybe the tantrum that often follows the word no. I should probably mention the number of times she’s crawled up into my lap with a book and wanted me to read to her.
Are they interested in the activities my other kids miss out on because out of the blue she is needy, teary, and clingy and the mama bus has no choice but to shut down for a few hours? Or, maybe they want to know the times we’ve had to run a few errands and K has decided that the noise and crowds are more than she can handle. But then, there are those moments when we tell her not to scream and she says, “No, no!” to herself while covering her mouth. I should definitely tell them about how she folds her hands to pray before meals and during family prayer time. And, I can’t forget the morning snuggles and the kisses she’s starting doling out to us.
I should probably mention that she learned how to hold scissors and cut in straight lines this past week, with assistance. She’s holding a pencil and tracing lines unassisted. They probably don’t want to hear about the day she dropped her pencil and decided the world must be coming to an end. Would they be interested in knowing that I fear every meal because it may or may not trigger serious anxiety and an unpleasant dining experience for all involved? Or, should I share the success we had eating out with friends one day last week?
What would they say if they saw me sitting on the floor rocking a crying child while teaching phonics and math to another one? Do they want to know how beautiful the other girls are in their handling of and helping with K. I’m not sure if I should mention the fear that has sprung up in H’s heart and yet the overwhelming love that she has demonstrated since Kylah’s homecoming. Do they want to know that adopting a new child, regardless of the age, is harder (on almost every level) than bringing a newborn into your home?
Would they be interested in hearing that K is learning to make up her own bed and knows how to put away her coat and shoes? Would they share in my excitement that she is actually recognizing the written word, not individual words, but beginning to understand there is meaning in those symbols found on the pages of her books? Would they understand that life as we once knew it is gone, but what remains is far better? Should I try to explain the sheer exhaustion, the incredible joy, and the complete uncertainty that fills every day right now?
Many thoughts come into my head with this one question. But my answer doesn’t include any of the above. I generally respond, “Everyday is a little bit better.” And, it is true. There are lots of bumps (and sometimes deep craters) in this road we are traveling, but we continue to move forward.
I’m thankful for each of you who ask this question and many others as well. I am grateful for your interest, your love, your prayers that you continually give on the behalf of our family. Please don’t ever be afraid to ask how we are and don’t be offended if my answer is simple, without a lot of detail. So much is happening in our home these days and it is hard to express it all well in a condensed conversation. Yes, some days are better than others but everyday brings learning of some kind.
Here’s to another week of learning headed our way.