Monday, October 20, 2008

Its A Dream







Life comes at us so fast that we rarely realize when one chapter is closing and another is opening. Maybe I think too much, but in the past few years I have become more attuned to these turning pages of my life and the closing of its chapters.

In 1989 we lived in Hawaii for six months. I was temporarily sent there by my employer, and Becky and the girls came too. Misty was preparing to start her senior year of High School and chose to come back to Texas and stay with my parents when school started that year. The day before she left Hawaii our family rode around the island to some favorite spots. We went up on Round Top and enjoyed the view of Honolulu below us. It was cloudy and damp up on the mountain and one of the girls, for some reason, had a helium balloon. I don’t remember if it was accidental or on purpose but they released the balloon and as I watched it swirl up and away into the mist, I was almost overcome with the feeling that a chapter was closing in our family, and a new one opening for Misty.

At the end of the year my company offered us another six month contract to stay in Hawaii with the possibility of other offers for a longer period. Becky and I talked about it privately and agreed that we both wanted to stay another six months, but we wanted the girls, Carmen and Bethany, to be part of the decision making. We realized that we would probably never get to return to Hawaii again. When we broached the subject with the girls, we became aware of just how much they wanted to get back home. We remembered that six months seemed like a long time to us when we were just fourteen or fifteen. With some degree of sadness we agreed that for the girl’s sake, and for Misty already back home that we should decline the offer and go back to Texas.

In the remaining three weeks that I worked there I made a determination to try to burn into my brain and seal in my memory the beautiful things that I loved about Hawaii before that chapter closed. As hard as tried, I was not as successful as I wished. Only a few of those memories remain as bright and clear as I intended. One event in particular that still stands out though was the morning that I drove away from our work center in my little Mazda pickup. I headed east, (or Diamond Head as they say on Oahu), up King Street. The sun had just gotten up above the city and the air was damp from the usual nightly showers. As I passed the King Street bakery the smell of Plumeria and Shower trees was overcome by that of fresh baking bread and rolls. I said to myself, “I am determined to remember this for the rest of my life”. I suppose I will.

Since then I have seen a good many chapters of my life close and pages turn. Sometimes I could see it coming and sometimes it happened in an instant with no warning. Since we have adopted Hope I am amazed at how fast the pages are turning and the chapters closing and opening. Let me share with you a few wonderful chapters, for the sake of some of the soon to be adoptive parents out there and for anyone that has watched or is watching children grow up before their very eyes.

The first chapter was our time with Hope in China. I can’t describe how small and helpless she seemed, maybe the pictures come close. At first she just sat in the middle of the bed, watching and waiting for Becky to pick her up. In a few hours she had decided that Becky was who she could trust, and began to respond to Becky by holding her hand and walking with her. Within a couple of days she was sampling new foods while Becky held her and starting to smile and giggle at times. That snowy week in Hefei was a beautiful and amazing chapter in our life with Hope. We have related on the blog how that she transformed day by day while we were there, finally getting to where she would ride in the stroller and sometimes allow me to carry her.

There were several mini chapters after we got home, getting acquainted with her sisters, and all the family, gaining trust in me and her sisters, and becoming at ease in her new home. At first she wouldn’t leave the room we were in. Soon she was exploring cautiously.

A wonderful new chapter started for me during this time when Becky went back to work and I began working evening shift and staying home with Hope during the day. It was sad for Becky, because a special chapter for her was closing. I was pleasantly surprised at how Hope made the adjustment. I had the baby monitor on and kept it close to me in the kitchen or living room. I would hear Hope stirring in the bed and then she would yell, “Mama”! For the first few days, she would cry until I had picked her up and comforted her. She would ask, “fer Mama”? I would tell her that Mama was at work and she was OK. Then she wanted a “bissakit”, which she would eat cold.

In about a week, Hope would yell DaDa when she woke up. She no longer wanted the biscuit, and usually wouldn’t eat for about an hour after she was awake. We listened to Sixties music on the TV and one of Hope’s favorites was “My Baby Does the Hanky Panky”, she would sing along a little with me while I held her and we danced.

A favorite routine every morning for about three weeks was wrestling with “Tigey”, her white and black striped tiger handbag. Tigey would sneak up on her and pounce and Hope would fall back on the floor or the bed, fighting valiantly and saying, “Hep me DaDa”! One morning I noticed that Hope hadn’t begun to look for Tigey and I kept him out of sight to see if she would think of him. Three days later Tigey was still out of sight and Hope hadn’t said anything, another page had turned.

Almost every day, after Hope had been up for a while and had eaten breakfast we would walk over to “Gemma’s” house. Hope would ring the doorbell, and Mom would invite us in. Mom always had something to give Hope to interest her. One of Hope’s favorites was an orange Tupperware bowl with some plastic spoons, small cups, and assorted odds and ends. Hope would make imaginary cakes which I would taste for her. Sometimes I would entice Hope to wear the bowl on her head like a helmet. The bowl is square with rounded corners and fit Hope’s head almost perfectly. ( Hope’s head is very flat in back, due to laying on her back too much as an infant in the orphanage.)

When leaving “Gemma’s”, Hope usually had something in hand to take home. It became tradition for Hope to say, “I take it Home?” When we reached our door, Hope would proclaim loudly, “we’re home!” On more than one occasion Hope became very sad after we had gotten back in the house after returning from “Gemma’s”. I could never figure out why, but it would pass after ten or fifteen minutes. I wondered at those times if she felt lonely with just the two of us in the house or if she was experiencing some sad memory of her past.

After lunch, which we sometimes had with Gemma, I would get out the ice cream. Hope calls it “ice a cream” with three syllables. There were several days that Hope went to sleep in my lap after the ice cream, and once she fell asleep with the spoon halfway to her mouth. If she didn’t go to sleep in my lap, sometimes she would as I held her and walked around the house, and a time or two as I pushed her round and round the kitchen, dining room, and living room in her stroller.

Time went by fast during those days. I kept Hope during the days from March through May. In late May my boss called to tell me that a co-worker was resigning and I needed to prepare to go back on day shift. It just happened that school was almost out for the summer and Carmen would be able to keep Hope. That first morning that I went in to kiss a sleeping Hope goodbye as I headed out to work it hit me. Another chapter had closed in my relationship with my little girl. It had been a precious time, more precious than I had realized while the pages were turning, and I will never be able to go back and do it again.



It's A Dream

"In the morning when I wake up and listen to the sound
Of the birds outside on the roof
I try to ignore what the paper says
And I try not to read all the news
And I'll hold you if you had a bad dream
And I hope it never comes true
'Cause you and I been through so many things together
And the sun starts climbing the roof
It's a dream Only a dream
And it's fading now Fading away
It's only a dream
Just a memory without anywhere to stay"

Neil Young

A portion of a song from a favorite singer/songwriter, take a listen.








Ronnie


2 comments:

Shawnstribe said...

Ronnie what a beautiful post!!!!
Your princess is soooo beautiful and grown up!!!!
xxx
s

From East Texas to the Far East said...

My mom ran into you at the courthouse yesterday and was so excited to call and give me your blog! I can't wait to catch up on how God changed your life with Hope! Congratulations on finalizing her adoption as well. I hope that we are not too far behind!! Blessings!