Tuesday, January 12, 2010
Savoring Each Moment
You haven't lived till you've taken a newly adopted child who loves books to the library for the first time.
I'm homeschooling Daniel and Brady for the rest of this academic year. Today was "library day" and I took the boys to get their own library cards and check out some books. While their selections were lacking in literary merit, they made up for it in sheer weight. The boys checked out 100 pounds of massive reading material about Star Wars, how cars work, outer space, and Batman.
Daniel was absolutely giddy when I told him he could pick out anything he wanted. I instructed the boys that they could each get 5 books and 1 movie (that's all I can keep up with at my house). It was like setting hungry kids free in a strawberry patch. The boys would pull a book right off the shelf, plop down on the floor, and start reading it right there. Daniel was certainly in Dewey Decimal heaven running from the aisle with kids Spanish books, then picture books, to early readers, and then the DVD section.
When we piled our books on the counter to check out, Daniel looked a bit nervous. Apparently I hadn't done a good job explaining the concept of the library because he whispered, "Thank you for the books. I know it cost much money." Then I turned to him and said, "It's free. It doesn't cost anything. We get to keep these books for two weeks, then we bring them back and we can get more." He just stood there with his jaw wide open in disbelief then replied, "Can we come back tomorrow?"
I'm absolutely drinking in every sweet moment with my four kids, especially Daniel because he's the "newborn" in our family. (And it's wonderful that my "newborn" sleeps through the night and is potty trained.) He does the cutest things just because so much is new to him. I know he will soon outgrow many of these things just like a young child eventually learns the correct pronunciation of words. I certainly don't want my children to grow to be adults saying things like "pasghetti," still I let out a sad sigh when "spaghetti" is uttered correctly for the first time.
Daniel just delights in everything. It's such fun to watch him get into a warm bath full of bubbles, or eat apple pie for the first time, meet a dog wearing clothing, or see a package under the Christmas tree with his name on it. It's fun hearing him joke around with his new siblings--he's so funny and he loves to make us all laugh. It's precious to watch him care for his new little brother as if he was created for this role.
I love it when I know he's eavesdropping on my phone conversation, and I'm bragging to a friend how special he is, and catch him out of the corner of my eye just beaming. It's cute that he loves to watch me cook, often stands very close to take it all in, and is always so sweet to tell me how much he enjoyed the meal. And his smile . . . it has a radiance that announces "I'm loved . . . A LOT!"
Last week we got in the car to pick up Olivia and Ava from school. I looked back to see him laughing and asked what had him so tickled. He exclaimed, "I didn't know you could drive!!!" (When I was living in Guatemala I had always had a driver and over the holidays Brad always drove.) Well, he will soon figure out that Mom drives a lot.
But just like having a real newborn, this is a time of getting to know each other. I'm learning his likes and dislikes . . . if his cries are from fear or frustration. I'm learning how to meet his needs and he is learning to trust that I will. And I'm learning that love for an adoptive child is just as strong as that of a biological one.
One of my favorite "newborn" memories of Daniel was when we were all living in Guatemala in June. I had bought him a bunch of new clothes because for the first time in his life he wouldn't have to share them with the 27 boys in his dorm. I called it his "6x layette." I washed everything and placed the items in some drawers in the house we rented. When I showed him his treasure chest of shirts and shorts and Spiderman underwear, he was overjoyed.
But then he did something I wasn't expecting. He pulled an item out, held it to his face, and took a deep breath. It took me a minute but I finally realized that he loved the smell of his clothes. I'm guessing living in an orphanage, his clothing had never smelled like an "orchard breeze." For a few days when he'd get clothing out of his drawers, he'd hold up his hand as if directing traffic to stop and say "moment." Then he'd breathe in the aroma of his new clothes washed with love. Too precious.
He doesn't do it anymore. I guess it's one of those newborn things he's outgrown. But it's recorded in his list of firsts and written on my heart.
Our New Year's was so busy that I never got around to making resolutions. Perhaps the only one that seems to be important right now is to savor each "moment." And so today, I took a deep breath and smelled the sweet fragrance God has poured over our lives.