Warning: This post is all over the place.
Do you know how strange it is to unpack belongings you haven't seen for over 3 years? It's a little odd to me some of the things I kept... But there is something comforting and familiar about eating off our own plates again. At the same time, unpacking has really made the finality of everything apparant. My heart is starting to wake up to the fact that we aren't going back to China anytime soon... in some ways, I'm OK. And in others, I'm extremely sad. Like the day before yesterday... when I stopped in a bookstore to buy a book (that LeLe promptly ate, but that's a story for another day) and saw this on the shelf... I'm pretty sure it was made at New Day's factory, and I touched it and thought about the fact that the person who made it and touched it with their own hands might have bought vegetables from the same vendor I used. It turned something that normally feels so detached/sterile/inhuman into a deeply personal experience. Honestly, as goofy as it may seem, I let my hand linger there... just trying to feel connected for a minute.
So I'm on week two of the SAHM/housewife gig. It isn't easy to be the only one caring for a baby all day long. (How do those of you with multiple children do it?!) LeLe, Cora, and I have many deep conversations. :) But it is sweet and precious, and I can't imagine having to send her off to daycare every day. So I'm not complaining... just adjusting. Jacob has been working longish hours as he gets started... the learning curve is steep, and he's wanting to settle in as soon as possible. But that means for about 12 hours a day, it is just me and the girls. We're finding our rhythm... and I'm enjoying doing SAHM stuff like cooking right now and letting my focus be entirely on my family, but it is a little strange...
I also feel a bit like a "lady who lunches," (though most of my lunches are sandwiches at home). We do have a couple of friends here in Midland who have completely welcomed us with open arms. As a result, I already have a women's bible study and play-dates. Play-dates. (I think they are more for my sanity than Cora's play.) But again... a little strange. For one, it is odd to be totally unscheduled... no commitments or responsibilities. And, it is strange to be with a group of girls where the conversation mostly focuses on our own children. It's good, just so very different. I'm so very thankful for the friendships, but it is an adjustment to go from the world where I was to the world where I am. I'm sure I'm not navigating it with complete grace, but as a friend reminded me yesterday, I'm trying to be gentle with myself, and others for that matter.
Speaking of this adjustment, God has already shown Himself to be more than able to help me move into this new world a little more seamlessly. Not to mention the old-friendships-made-new that have helped make this such a comfortable transition so far, little things have happened that just sort of surprise me... like the small group we're in... the leaders of it have a special heart for China. Their son is married to a Chinese gal who once worked for China Aid. They are going to China in a few weeks. And then I have just "happened to run into" this girl named Sarah three separate times. She lived in Uganda for several years, married a Ugandan guy, and they came back to Midland (her hometown.) She has 2 precious little boys and runs a charity with her husband from here in Midland supporting orphans and impoverished children back in Uganda. And seriously - when I say "run into her," I mean it... first was at Jason's Deli where I struck up a conversation with her because of her son's Montessori school tshirt. Second was at the farmer's market, where I happened upon her booth where she sells jewelry to support their work, and third was at the Natural Grocer's store. It was a little weird. Or as she said, perhaps divine. And then, in the women's Bible study I just joined, there's a mama in there who has adopted two little ones from children's protective services. In just the few minutes we spoke, I knew I'd found another gal with a heart for orphans... and the women in that study in general were some of the most transparent/honest I've ever met. I know it will be a precious place to build relationships. So while I keep wondering why God brought us to Midland, I keep getting the answer in surprising little ways.
Cora is such a little light. She seems to have come alive these last couple of weeks... she's rolling over like crazy now. (She's been going back to tummy for a while, and though she did tummy to back once a few weeks ago, she hadn't done it again until the last couple of days. Now she's reveling in her newfound ability to flip back and forth. Including in her swing... where I found her on her belly after her nap the other day. And yes, we have begun using the safety strap now.) She also seems to be just totally amazed and enthralled with the world. She loves LeLe, and gets so excited when she can bury her face in her fur. We're still exclusively breastfeeding, but when she sees one of us with food or a drink, she gets so excited. She stiffens her little arms and legs and just starts shaking. We often give her little tastes of whatever we're drinking, and when she sees the straw coming to her mouth, she gets downright giddy. Yesterday she tried my Tom Yum soup, and I think she liked it. She was smacking her lips afterwards. She is a girl after my own heart, for I think Tom Yum is just about the best soup ever. We have found one thing that Cora doesn't like... nursery. I think she's a little young to have stranger wariness -- I think it is more likely "loud noise wariness" due to other loud children -- but both times we've tried to put her in the nursery, it has ended in a fit of tears. I'm hoping tomorrow goes better, as I really want to be able to do the bible study without baby attached to my hip.
Oh, you should have seen her this morning... (Actually, you can! I thought to take a picture!) She was getting her bath, and she was fascinated by the little cup that I use to "shower" her with water. This was her face, every single time it showered down on her.
And another new thing... this noise she makes. I think she's pretending she's LeLe.
(Skip to end of the video to hear, if you don't want to watch the whole thing. Personally I watch the whole thing several times when I miss her while she's in the middle of nap-time, but that's probably just because she's my daughter, I suppose... )
All in all, we're well. Especially now that we are "reconnected" to the outside world. (I think I have an internet/email/blog/facebook addiction, made utterly apparent by lack of internet for a week.) There's a lot brewing in my heart these days, but more on that later...