Sunday, October 18, 2009

Chicago

Yesterday found all seven of us, oops, make that all 8 of us (yes, we brought the dog) to Chicago. It was our annual October birthdays celebration with Joe's mom and dad and sister and her family. For days before our trip, I was working with George on saying "Grammy" and "Pop-pop" - the names the kids call them. This brought us many conversations about who exactly are grandparents. The best way to describe this is probably the best we described grandparents to our bio kids - they are "daddy's mom and dad" or "mommy's mom and dad". You should have seen the look of shock when George realized we had parents! We tried to explain aunts and uncles and cousins, to no avail. Every time we talked about a sister, George would say, "Eleanor your sister?" We thought getting the grandparents concept down was a huge step forward. So, much of our free-time conversations centered around extended family...grandparents in particular.

We had a really nice time in Chicago. We walked to a nearby park to let the kids play and I was reminded of how much I enjoy watching George and Lincoln play together. And the best part of the park...there was a teeter-totter! How long has it been since we have seen one of those? The boys had a lot of fun doing all the new-to-them things.

It was a great time for George to just hang out with his grandparents and cousins. He seemed to be very happy. We enjoyed a delicious dinner of chili (perfect for the wet, dreary day it was) and then cupcakes and ice-cream. George did very well while Harry and Lincoln opened their birthday presents and I was so proud of him for that! It was also confirmation that simply doing the parenting thing is always the best way to go.

Looking back, I can't imagine what would have happened if we would have celebrated George's 6 months home or his 1/2 birthday right along with the other October birthdays. Instead, he was just like any 3 or 4 year old, watching his siblings open presents...and having a bit of jealousy, but having the opportunity to grow through the experience.

While Eleanor we enjoying her cake, she took a bit of some taffy and exclaimed, "My tooth fell out!"Oh, there was great excitement at the table, especially from George who yelled with glee, "Eleanor..go throw your tooth at the moon! C'mon, I show you!!!" I can't remember if I had written before about this custom, but apparently where George is from, the children "throw their baby teeth at the moon". I have tried (very little, I'll be honest) to find out the why and the where of this story, but haven't had a whole lot of success. I trust what George is telling us, that he did this and so did everyone in his village. In fact, we just had the opportunity to throw one of his teeth at the moon last week - and it was a very cool, orange harvest moon!This time, George couldn't contain his zeal. He implored everyone to get shoes on and go outside. And we all obliged. Then, we asked George for a demonstration and he did this great slow-motion type throw with a little yell at the end. We all laughed and then counted to three for Eleanor to follow suit. 1 - 2 - 3 - Yea! We all cheered and clapped as Eleanor tossed her tooth at the moon... George being the most excited!

It meant so much to me to have Joe's family see this. THIS is the joy of adopting an older child! He knows his customs and his traditions and he was able to teach us something about his life in Africa. And it was simply a lot of fun. We all listened to him and followed his lead, and oh, how much that meant to this little six year old boy that night.

George ended the day with lots of hugs for Grammy and Pop-pop, and he even told them he loved him...granted he looked at Grammy and said "I love you Pop-pop", but that's OK :)

On the way home...well....let's just say we couldn't get home soon enough. There were some very tired kids and one very tired (and sick - with a cold and cough) mom. At one point, I did turn around and tell every one that I didn't want to hear another word coming from the back of the van...meaning all five children! It got quiet and Joe turned on some music, for as he said, "it was time to worship!"

A few minutes into the song and George yells out, "Daddy! Daddy!"

"What is it, George?"

"Daddy, I'm crying for Mommy. I'm crying because Mommy's grandpa is in the ground. He died. I'm so sad for Mommy."

Harry quietly said, "Yea, Mom. He IS really crying."

I thought back to one of our many conversations when George asked me if I had grandparents, and very sadly I had to tell him that all four of my grandparents had died. George says "in the ground" as his way of talking about death, so I told him on one particular occasion that all my grandparents were in the ground. At the moment, he didn't seem affected at all by this piece of information. He simply asked if Daddy had grandparents.But, something must have triggered the memory of Mommy telling him about her grandpas.

My heart broke. I do miss my grandfathers..and Oh, how I wish they would have lived to seen their youngest grandchild adopt from Ethiopia! And in the quiet of the car, as a simple worship song played on the radio, George was suddenly overcome with sympathy for his Momma.

Did something click? Did he love spending time with his grandparents that much that he started thinking of MY grandparents? I don't know...maybe this was simply a gift from God! God gave me a glimpse into the heart of this little boy...and honestly, I needed this look! We continue to take steps back, but I am realizing that many of my frustrations over the last week were attacks from the enemy - whispering in my ear, yet again, hopelessness and doubt and frustration. That evil one wants me to give up. I refuse! Thank you, Lord, for showing me a boy filled with the joy of sharing something about his culture with his forever family! And thank you for showing me the heart of a boy who has seen great hurt in his life and how for one minute, he felt sorry for his forever mommy and that she had hurt in her life, too.

1 comment:

mom2fiveres said...

Beautiful, Tracy! Thanks for sharing your heart and your adventure. Keep on writing, keep on blogging, and keep on letting Jesus teach you how to love like He does.

Love you, my friend.
Cindee