“When we were children, we used to think that when we were grown-up we would no longer be vulnerable. But to grow up is to accept vulnerability… To be alive is to be vulnerable.” ~ Madeleine L’Engle
This past week was a big one for us. It was the week that we were waiting for. Finally, Micheal came to visit.
And it was a good week… a good visit… and a real eye-opener… but about things I never expected.
Micheal arrived on Tuesday afternoon. He was driven up by a social worker, Gary, who was so kind to take the time to bring him AND a delightful person to boot. Micheal was very excited to be here and Rachel greeted him with a treasure hunt for some Easter treasures that we had put together. The hunt took him all around the house and yard and was a great way for him to get to know his surroundings. Tuesday evening we had dinner on the porch with Gary and Michael and after dinner Gary left and we were on our own… yikes… but no problems.
On Wednesday we went downtown to the Museum of Natural History (as requested by Micheal) and took a walk to see the White House. DC was crowded. We had a really hard time parking. The museum was full. But guess what? No real problems. Michael was respectful and a good listener.
Wednesday afternoon we rested up, had dinner on the grill and then watched the first half of Batman. When it was time for bed, we stopped the movie early… and still, no problems.
Thursday was Micheal’s last day with us. And I have to say that I was exhausted. But, I really wasn’t sure why. I guessed that it was just our travels downtown the day before and, perhaps, the nervousness that these few days brought with them. Micheal had breakfast… finished watching the movie from the night before… got dressed… packed his bag. Wait!! He packed his own bag?? I just stood in that room, staring at that bag. And it was at this point that everything made sense. I knew exactly why I was exhausted. I contemplated our adventures over the last two days and realized that I was constantly waiting… waiting for disaster. Why? It all boils down to one name… Maria. For those of you who don’t know this story, Maria was a child that we hosted from Ukraine. For all the details, you will have to read earlier posts.
And I also knew that I had to repack that bag. Because you see, when Maria packed her bag to leave, it was full of things that didn’t belong to her. Things that had no meaning to her but were very meaningful to us. For example, she packed a ziplock that held clippings from Jacob’s hair. Clippings that I took in the hospital and something that she dug out from a special box that was on the top shelf of a closet when no one was looking. She could have shoved any toy in that bag and I really wouldn’t have cared… but she looked for and found things… little things… that were irreplaceable and would have broken my heart to have lost. And this was only one example of our Maria experience.
And so… I repacked Micheal’s bag. And you know what? It was just all his stuff. Not a slip of paper that he didn’t come with. And while I admit that I felt guilty – it was a step that I needed to take. And, now his stuff was folded – an improvement… right? 🙂
And, I will tell you that Rachel had some ups and downs while he was here. She was a little bit hot and cold. So, on Thursday afternoon, she and I talked about it. And as it turned out, she was experiencing the very same thing. She felt compelled to watch every move he made and it wiped her out. She just dealt with it as a 12-year old which meant that she could just decide she was annoyed at any moment… and act upon that feeling. Suffice it to say that it is exhausting and frustrating and annoying to constantly have to monitor another human being to be sure they are not doing something destructive.
So… good news! We found that other shoe. And it had not dropped.
And in the end… we all agreed that it was a successful visit and a good visit and we are all certain that now that we are aware that we don’t have to be on-guard at every moment, the next visit might even be just a really fun visit.
Micheal of course had no idea that any of this was going on in the background and I do believe that regardless of our underlying “issues” – this boy had fun…
He has found a home that he would really like to be part of and before he got into the car to leave, he turned around and said “Please tell Rachel that I will miss her.”
And that is sweetness, I think.