Monday, June 30, 2014

No more uniforms!

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Colin finished elementary school!  His school is K-8, so he will still be at the same school next year, but middle school is set up a lot differently.  He is excited to move around to different classes and interact with new classmates. 

His “Moving On” ceremony was wonderful.  He was awarded a President’s Award for Academic Excellence, along with one for Chinese excellence (only three his grade was awarded this one), and a couple of other awards.  This boy, he makes me proud every day. 

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Colin’s teacher this year, Li Laoshi, was a gem.  She told me that her one problem with Colin was that he could not stay sitting in his chair – he was always standing up .  She always joked with him, asking if there was a tiger in his chair…but for practical reasons she always just assigned him a desk where he wouldn’t block anyone’s view when he stood up.  This made me love her – she just wants her students to be successful and she appreciates their strengths.  I got to be in her class a few times and they responded so well to her.

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Colin with two of his good friends.  I had to leave the guy on the left in the picture because he was just too awesome to crop.

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Can you tell I love him?  Can all of you believe this is the same little guy we all oohed and ahhed over in Provo? 

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Colin with his good friend Charlie, who is in the French program and goes to the same church and scout group.  Charlie’s mom is obviously way more awesome than me, with all those leis. 

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Gabe happened to have lunch during Colin’s program, so I grabbed a piece of cake and took it to him.  Speaking of good friends, the little guy peeking out behind Gabe has been such a kind friend to him this year.  He has just made Gabe’s social life.

Thursday, June 5, 2014

Reality

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I loaded the dishwasher today as Carina kept her little finger busy with playdough.  As often happens when she is playing alone, she occasionally lapsed into her imagination and uttered a few of her thoughts aloud.  I heard her say, “This is me, and this is_______, and this is _______” using her sister’s names.   I looked over at the little friends she had made in bright orange and tears came to my eyes.

I often wonder what Carina must think about her sisters.  She has heard about them for a over year, probably the only year of her life she remembers.  She will point to the clothes I have bought and laid aside for the day they will join us and tell me who they belong to.  Carina has seen little toys, shoes, and necklaces mailed off, and she solemnly nods her head and tells me, “Those are for my sisters.”

I wonder if her sisters are like Santa Claus to her.  She has perfect faith that they exist and that someday they will come, but they hold a mystery that she doesn’t even want to question.

It is hard not to feel like the information I am feeding her is as much a myth as Santa Claus. Some days I feel the full weight of the reality of our situation – that we have two daughters thousands of miles away whose health and happiness we have little to no impact on, two little girls who have personalities and smiles that will someday bloom before our eyes, but we have no idea when. The weight of that reality is just too heavy to carry every day.  It is paralyzing. 

Many days I make a deliberate choice not to embrace that reality.  I let their faces remain a little blurry in my head and I let the mystery of their homecoming glide across my consciousness like a water-bug skims across a lake. 

It might not be the perfect choice but I am learning how imperfect many of my choices have to be in such a flawed situation.