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Sunday, 20 December 2009

An Angel

Well, actually, he is stubborn, determined, full of character and a tiny social butterfly rather than silent, shy and submissive little angel. He lights up around crowds of people. In a hospital waiting room for example, he'll harass anyone else who happens to be waiting with sly glances and little smiles and gurgling noises until they look at him and smile back and then it's on to the next one until he's worked his way through the whole room. When he really smiles, like full-blown-scrunched us nose-chubby dimpled cheeks-wide open mouth-sort of smile, he looks more like a little...ok, not quite like a little devil, but definitely like a very mischievous, fun-loving little boy rather than a little angel to be honest. Lately he has taken to smiling with his lips sucked in which makes his cheeks flop down and his eyes like tiny slits. While this may not attract too many ladies when he's older, it certainly is charming now. ;)

And I feel like I want to stop time. I want him to grow. I want him to stop. I want to capture every moment on film. Not even photos are good enough. I want to remember his voice when he was this small and his funny little movements and the multitude of faces he makes. His laugh that just seems to come from nowhere at the oddest times. Mostly while looking at me...but I don't take that too personally. ;)

Wednesday, 16 December 2009

Smelling Of Milk And Tears

The other night Per came downstairs after putting William up to bed and casually asked "Do you think you can throw his sleeping bag in the laundry tomorrow because it kind of smells." Being an excellent conversationalist and seeing definite potential in this topic, I politely inquired, "What does it smell like?" "Umm, it smelled like milk. And tears."

I sat stunned, in horrified, guilty silence. It must have been the saddest statement I ever heard! To think that my sweet little baby boy had been crying so much at night that his little sleeping bag smelt of tears! I mean, honestly, how many tears does one have to cry until something reeks of them?! How awful, no, how heartless a person must one be to allow a tiny child to pass their nights in a tear scented sleeping bag?! Monster! For days I felt guilty and because of this brought the topic up whenever I possibly could, desperately trying to attain closure...

In the car a few days later while shaking my head unable to get such Dickinson imagry out of my head, still racked with remorse: "So...did it really smell like tears? I mean, what do tears smell like anyway? (Ever hopeful that the scent of tears had in fact been something else.) Like did it smell like salt?! Is that how you knew it was the smell of tears? I mean, does salt even smell? Let's check when we get home!"

Anyway, the days have passed and my guilt has lessened although I still feel a slight twinge or two when I consider the terrible pathos of a little angel falling asleep in something smelling of tears. In the futrue, I may well be compelled to do laundry more often. We'll see.

Wednesday, 9 December 2009

The Great Anticlimax of Christmas ?

For some years now, I have experienced Christmas as a let down, an anticlimactic finish to a season bursting with pent up expectation.  More and more in a complicated age, people are striving to live lives of simplicity.  However, materialism and consumerism are rampant and often contribute to a deep inner sense of dissatisfaction and unease.  Even those of us who don't want to find it hard to resist the lure and glitter of a season dedicated to shopping and excess.

In our hearts though, we understand, consumerism and materialism in all their dazzling, empty glory lead to empty hearts and searching souls.

Empty hearts and searching souls create a sense of desperation.

Sometimes we look outward rather than inward. Though not at all bad in and of themselves, a beautifully decorated house, Christmas carols playing in the background, expensive heaps of presents under a glittering tree, the Christmas rush that people enjoy getting caught up in so as to avoid thinking of anything meaningful are all just ways to avoid preparing the spirit for what Christmas actually is. Though I also do all of the above, none of those things denote a readiness for Christmas.

I think the most beautiful Christmas my husband and I have spent together was the year we were able to go away for the season.  We celebrated Christmas in a foreign city with just each other for company.  It had none of the usual trappings of the season. We didn't have gifts with us or dress up but most importantly, we weren't weighed down by tradition or stress or anybody's expectations of how we should celebrate a "proper" Christmas.   We felt light, happy and free of obligation. 

Christmas Eve rolled around quietly. We woke up in the morning in our little hotel room in a converted convent in the center of Naples and decided to go to Pompeii. I deliberated awhile over what to wear, I wanted something old being under the mistaken impression that after a couple thousand years the ash from Mount Vesuvius would still be hanging heavy in the air.  We walked out into Naples, sunny, clear and cool and found a crowded train to our destination.  We arrived and spent hours walking around the remains of villas and pagan temples.  We admired frescoes that even today retain their original colors.  Surprisingly vivid yellows, pinks, reds and purples. We snapped some pictures, felt sorry for the stray dogs, pensively regarded the great black volcano looming in the distance and sat in the solitude of this ancient place, soaked it in along with the sunshine and left again, relatively clean and definitely ash free.

Later when we were hungry, we roamed the dark streets looking for a restaurant that was open. We found a small family run place. There were two other couples there, one just finishing their meal and paying. They didn't have enough money and there was a lot of arm waving, loud talking and laughing (nobody was upset or embarrassed).  The owner of the restaurant gestured to the people at the other table and sure enough they pulled out some money and covered the rest of the other couples meal, laughing and shaking their heads though it was obvious from their expressions they had no idea who these people were.  We ate delicious food, communicated in sign language with the owner which came in handy when I couldn't finish my meal.  It was a great insult not to eat every bite.  I saved myself with a loud sigh and lots of patting my stomach with an exaggerated look of sorrow on my face at not being able to finish.  This sufficed and though not entirely pleased the owner smiled and reluctantly took my plate away.  He came back with a soccer ball which he started kicking around by our table while shooting expectant glances our way. We were duly impressed at his skill.

When we left it was very late, meals in Italy can drag on for hours.  Being almost time for midnight mass, we again roamed the streets this time looking for a church. Finally we found one that was open and we went in, were embraced by the warmth and soft light of an ancient church at midnight on Christmas Eve, one of the most holy nights of the year. The Italian mass flowed all around us, we watched children's faces shining, knelt and prayed that the coming year might be better than the past one. The peace of God was tangible and I thought that this is what Christmas is.  Being here. Letting go of the grief and pain of the past year.  Letting this mass be the focal point of our Christmas celebration.

And that year, there was no anticlimax. I guess there doesn't have to be one after all. I often feel discouraged by how much importance material possessions are given, but I guess that's a personal choice. We can choose to rush around being proud at how busy we are while avoiding the most meaningful  things or we can choose to relax, be peaceful and enjoy every minute of a beautiful and joyful season.

Wishing everyone a very happy Christmas this year!

Love, C

Me @ Pompeii on Christmas Eve

Wednesday, 2 December 2009

And Then What Happened?

I'm sure that many have you have been biting your nails in suspense, anxiously wondering, so what happened?? Did William end up sleeping in the morning after the hand over in court after all...did he?! So heartless of me to have left that question unanswered for so very long as I am sure it's been first and foremost on your minds all this time. ;)

Well here we are, home for exactly three weeks today and to celebrate we took William to get an obligatory blood test at the hospital which on a 5 month old little person is not the easiest of things to accomplish and definitely not an easy thing to stand by and watch. One of the kind-hearted nurses actually cried and had to find someone else to do the test for her. I also had to have a needle or two myself this morning although no one but myself was moved to tears by that procedure. So both William and I braved the needle\ syringe this fine morning...anyone care to take a wild guess which of us is still whining about it now?;)

Here in the chilly Norwegian winter, it's hard to believe that it was only three weeks ago that we were walking as slowly as we possibly could due to the sweltering heat down Galle Road in Colombo, dodging the crowds with William in our arms and doing some very last minute shopping on our last full day in Sri Lanka. We had planned to go back to the serene beauty of the Mount Lavinia hotel afterward and indulge in a last evening of relaxation before our 12 hour flight with a four and a half month baby that would take us to London. Alas, this relaxation was not to be...

As soon as we arrived back at the hotel we discovered that we had to leave Mount Lavinia (where we'd been for about 4 and a half weeks) in a HUGE hurry...not for any criminal purposes as you may naturally suppose but because they had given our room to someone else on our last night there. So we had about an hour to pack an insane amount of the accumulated aftermath of prolonged travel messily into many bags and suitcases and then we were rushed madly to another hotel in Nagumbo for the night. Far from being the inconvenience it first seemed, it was actually a blessing in disguise. It allowed us to relax, to just take things easy. Nagumbo is an incredible and beautiful beach city and we just sat out on our little hotel terrasse overlooking this indescribably lovely beach, drinking arrack and coke and talking with Mohan well into the warm tropical night.

I feel so appreciative. I think that we were blessed and challenged in so many ways during our stay there. I feel thankful that we had this amazing, life altering opportunity...I know now that I would not have wanted things any other way.

So now we are home again and there is still so much to say. I'm by no means finished.;) But for this time at least, our adoption journey is complete. We did what we set out to do what feels like forever ago now. We watched as over time our feelings, ideas and perceptions; our relationship with each other; and our faith in God changed, grew, and expanded. We noticed and appreciate those who waited with us, not simply for us to be finished and thus to get on with our lives, :) but those whose support, love, interest, questions, and prayers make us so thankful that we are surrounded by love. By family and friends and friends who are family. We are so blessed. Thank God!