Saturday, January 29, 2011

How Far We've Come

(this should have been posted on the 29th - posting now)


One year ago today, Mama woke up and realized that she should never doubt Heavenly Father.
photo Mike Terry, Deseret News

One year ago today, Mama's blog had a record 30,000 hits in one day as so many people everywhere were watching and worried about whether they would let you board that plane.
photo Mike Terry, Deseret News

One year ago today, you arrived on American soil with your Papa.

photo Mike Terry, Deseret News

You have been such a joy and "happy thought" for me.  I look forward to every night, when I arrive to get you and you squeal "MAMA!!!" and do a little dance.

I look forward to playing and singing and just BEING with you every day.

You've grown, son.  6 inches in the last year.

You are happy and learning and make me laugh every day.

You are a sweet, tender-hearted boy and I'm so thrilled I get to be there while you grow up.

I love you,

Wednesday, January 26, 2011

Our Political Best

I'm starting to worry about the intelligence of our leaders.

We're in the process of submitting green card paperwork for Nathan.  We have to get all that done so that we can get a SSN so that we can claim him on our taxes so that we can apply for the adoption tax credit before they kill it off entirely.  (I smell a request for a tax extension coming on)

First, there's the form.  I think they called it an "I-693".  When you print it, the form is 6 pages and the instructions on how to fill out the form are another 20 printed pages.

When the last page of the instructions came out of the printer, my eyes fell to the bottom section that explained how this form fell under the jurisdiction of the "Paperwork Reduction Act".  I guess I'm lucky that I got the "short" 26-page version of the form.

Then there's the section of questions that you have to answer.  Granted, the form expects that you're not three-years old.  I get that.  I do.

I just happen to think it is completely ridiculous that they make you answer questions like "do you plan on committing espionage while in the United States".  Seriously, how many spies answer that 'yes'.  Let me rephrase that... how many "successful spies" answer that "yes"?  I thought it was pretty much a given that if you were willing to SPY on someone else that HONESTY isn't high on your list of personality strengths.

They wanted to know if Nate was sympathetic to the Nazi Government of Germany between the years 1933 and 1945 .  Yes, the question lists those years.  Do we really still get a lot of green card submissions for former Nazi sympathizers?   Let's say, hypothetically, that a person is 20 before they really figure out their personal governmental leanings.  That would mean the youngest of that group is celebrating their 86th birthday this year.  I'd imagine that those that happen to still be surviving don't travel much, what with the bad hips and such that come from being EIGHTY-SIX.

And then at the end of the form, they have a section for the submitter to sign.  I wanted to add a post-it that says "applicant is THREE and cannot write his name", but I didn't.

At least they found a way to make things work within the laws so we can finish this process for him!

Tuesday, January 25, 2011

Isn't It Ironic?

Dear Nathan,
This weekend Mama was making your breakfast.  You were sitting on the stool on the other side of the counter from me.

Mama turned around to grab the butter out of the fridge.  I estimate it took me approximately 3 seconds.

While my back was turned, I heard you say, "That's dangerous!" in this silly voice that you use when you're repeating something that you heard somewhere that you thought was funny.  I know that you normally have no idea what you're saying - you're just repeating what you heard.  Usually I can ask you what you mean and you tell me where you heard it.

"What's dangerous, Sweetness?" I said as I turned back around.

And then I gasped.

In that 3 seconds, you had climbed on the counter, grabbed a metal butter knife and were jabbing it, "shower-scene-from-the-movie-Psycho" style into the slot on top of the toaster.

Yes, it was plugged in.

And yes, you were saying "That's dangerous" while STABBING a piece of metal into an electrical device.

My gasp startled you and you dropped the knife.

Then we had a little chat about what "dangerous" means and how it's ALWAYS a bad idea to stick knives into other things.

We'll wait until you're older for the "metal conducts electricity" discussion.

I love you,

Thursday, January 20, 2011

You Know What They Say: You Can Take the Girl Out of the Inoperable Tumor, But....

I saw a headline today that said something like, "With Baby Doc Back in Haiti, Aristde Calls 'Next'".

What is it about our beloved Haiti that makes evil dictators swarm like sharks detecting blood in the water?

I'm positive that Duvalier has realized that there is a lot of money going to Haiti right now and that one only need be in charge to get it rerouted to your own Swiss bank account.

Why don't some people catch on to the things you should learn as a child like 1) don't bite people, 2) take care of everyone smaller than you, 3) it's nice to be important but it's more important to be nice.

Friday, January 14, 2011

Make a Box

Dear Nathan,
We've been working on potty training lately.

You were potty trained in Haiti.  When you were there and Papa got there to bring you and your friends to America you would tell him when you needed the toilet.  Papa said sometimes he was pretty sure you just used the toilet as an excuse to get away from the other 200 children that were crammed into Foyer post-earthquake.

Then we came to America and started all sorts of meds for parasites and you weren't sure you wanted to talk much so we didn't push it and we went to diapers.

I actually typed "went back to diapers" until I remembered that you'd have just been bare-butt naked in Haiti.  No disposables there.

We won't talk about how the kids at your O just "went" wherever and twice a day they'd spray down the concrete.  You ate, played, pooped and napped on that concrete.  There were also a couple of buckets (literally) in the tiny alley behind the building.  I don't even want to know how often those were "cleaned".

And they wondered why you were always sick.

Anyway back to the here and now - Mama made you a chart and every time you tell us when you need to go potty you get to mark off a box.  At the end of the line of boxes, you get a Thomas the Tank Engine toy from "the Walmarts".

Cheap bribery.

Before Mama introduced "The Chart", you'd actually sometimes tell me you needed to "go potty".  Since "The Chart" you seem to be humoring me.  You now tell me that you need to "make a box for Percy".

Yup, that's what you call it.  "Make a box".  Call a spade a spade, right?  It's like you're saying, "OK, woman.  I'll play your little game if I must."

We've propped the couple of trains that you're working toward up on the wall above the shower.  You can see them in their packages and sometimes I've found you standing in the bathroom, looking up at them longingly.  I'll ask you what you're doing and you'll turn to me with determination and say that you need to "make a box for Percy".

And I love that now you clap for EVERYONE that goes potty.  You're so proud of ME and you've even asked me if I, too, am "making a box for Percy".

Sadly, no.  Mama isn't "making a box for Percy".  By the time you hit 37, people expect you to do things without rewards.  But we'll hold off on that lesson for a few dozen years.

You're just awesome, Little Man.  I can't get enough of you.

I love you,

Thursday, January 13, 2011

Stopped Short

Dear Miss Jess,
Yesterday I was driving home from work and thinking about what had happened in Haiti a short year ago.  I was remembering the images that came over the news and the fear that came as we realized how thorough and complete the devastation was.

I was thinking about all the prayers and hoping and pleading and miracles that occurred to get your brother and the other children home.  I was thinking about the ache when we realized that you wouldn't be coming home.

A car pulled in front of me just then.  In the back window was a bumper sticker across the back window that said "Pray4Jessica".

And my heart broke all over again.

"I do," I thought.  I pray for you every day.

I'm not alone.

After I posted about you a few weeks ago, I had a lot of people send me very special messages that reminded me again what a powerful, beautiful, wonderful soul you are.  You have touched and changed lives and you continue to do so.

I thought I'd share some of them with you.  I know you'll never see this.  But it makes me feel better to pretend that you do.

M says:
"I thought maybe it was time to share with you that N prays for Jessica every single night.  Even if I forget in the turmoil of getting the girls to go to bed, she does not, and she always asks me to pray for her.   Since the news showed the cholera epidemic, she has added a special rider concerning that to her prayer.   She does NOT want Jessica to have cholera.   It both fills me with joy and breaks my heart at the same time that she has such faith and remembers Jess so fondly."

T&T say:
" I feel extreme 'survivor guilt' in reference to Jessica. It's like a part of me feels guilty for being happy because so much of me is sad that she's not with you and if I let the sunshine fill my whole body then I will in some way be betraying her....I can tell you in all honesty that I, personally, pray for Jessica each day. I pray for the Lord's will to be done. I pray that He will heal that empty part of your heart. And as we get ready to mark the anniversary of the earthquake I pray that He will relieve the suffering of his people by strengthening our hands and our backs -- by touching the hearts of those that have the means & minds to truly make things happen. I know He can. I know it."

K says:
"Nathan and Jessica have put a face to Haiti and helped me realize life’s struggles and many blessings... I pray that this is the year that real change happens! Not just in Haiti, but for all struggling countries, states, cities, families, and people. I pray that life’s blessing outshine its struggles. I pray that the joy Nathan feels every morning when he wakes up next to his Mama, is joy that hundreds more Haitian babies will feel this year."

R&R said:
"Jessica is missed by all who met her"

M says:
"Jess weighs heavy on my heart, the people of Haiti weigh heavy on my heart and we do not do enough. We pray for little Jess and Haiti daily, we pray that Harry will have the strength to face everyday with courage."

Aunt TiTi says that Collin prays for you every night as well.

I find myself wondering what the future will hold for both of us, Miss Jess.

I think of you so often and I'm so glad I had you in my life.  I will always wonder why we lost you and Malot and Lexi.  Why only Nathan was allowed to come home.

I love you, Miss Jess.  I always will.

Wednesday, January 12, 2011

In a Moment

Dear Nathan,
A year ago today, you woke up in your orphanage, like you had done for as long as you could remember.

A year ago today, you waited for food.  I wonder if you had rice twice that day or if it was just once.  You didn't always get more than a bowl of rice and beans.

I wonder if that was a day where you got two bowls full.

That day you would have been sitting in that tiny carport with the dozens and dozens of other children there.  There was so little to do - not many toys, no place to run, no place to play.  I've often wondered if all the days blended together.  When it's always warm and you only have one season (to speak of) I imagine that sometimes life seems like one big day.

And yet that day was not just another day.

At 4:53 PM the earth moved and the buildings fell and the people started screaming.  In a moment, your orphanage collapsed.  We heard later that the aunties who were in the building just start throwing the children in the building out through the door.  Somehow they knew it was coming down and that inside was the least safe place to be at that moment.  God bless them, because all of the children in your orphanage survived the building collapse.

I wonder so often how terrified you were, Little Man.

We were told that the aunties just took the children they could grab and ran for safety.  I don't know where you went or what condition you were in while you were away.  I've often wondered if you were fed in the ensuing days.

Because it was days until you were where you should be again.  It was actually 10 days later that you were brought to be with the rest of the children from your orphanage.  By that time, your Papa was there and was able to smother you with love and make sure you were fed.  And in a moment you were part of a family again and would never, ever leave them again.

Some of the older children from your orphanage have finally started to talk about what they've endured and the heartache that caused them to be orphaned in the first place.  We'll never know what you went through and in some ways it might be easier for you because of that.

For the rest of us, we can't forget Haiti.  We mustn't forget her and her people and the mess that they're still in every day of their lives.

Haiti doesn't get someone to swoop her up in their arms and smother her with love and make sure her people eat.

We mustn't forget.

I love you.

Tuesday, January 4, 2011

Photo of the Year?

Dear Nate,
The local paper printed their "photos of the year" for 2010 today.

Just so you know, the one of you making out with the dog made their list.

I can't wait to blackmail you with that some day.

I love you,

Monday, January 3, 2011

Dear Nate,

Mama likes to ask you random questions to see what you'll see.  Sometimes I ask you if you like asparagus, even though I know you have no idea what that means.  Or I'll ask you if you have a purple nose or if you like the Seahawks better than the Steelers.

I also like to ask you if your name is something strange.  I'll ask you if your name is Hephzibah McGillicudy, for example.  Or Dwayne Smarkinsky.  Or Eugene Parsnip.  Whatever strange-sounding names or words come into my head.  Just to see what you'll do.

You're used to it.  You know your Mama is silly.

The other night we heard the garage door open, signalling that Daddy was home.

I asked you who was home and you said, "Daddy".   I said, "Nathan's daddy or Divot's daddy?"  (Divot's our dog).

You said, "Divot's daddy" (and I could tell by the look in your eye that you were on to me - you knew that I was being silly).

Then I said, 'What's Divot's daddy's name?"

You did this funny thing with your eyebrows (that seemed to say, "Wait for it...") and then you proudly pronounced, "Felix!" and then you started laughing your head off because you knew you'd just played my own game back at me, and that you'd done it well.

I have no idea where "Felix" came from, but it is a pretty strange sounding name.  Good job, son!

We laughed and laughed at how silly you were.  You were so proud of yourself that you spent the rest of your night running around the house yelling, "Felix!  Felix!" and laughing proudly.

I'm so happy to see your sense of humor beginning to develop, Little Man.  Nothing in Haiti is funny.  It's hard to be wacky when you're starving to death.

So here, in this safe place, you're blossoming.  You're stretching your mind and you're discovering imagination and you're learning that the world has words like "pretend" and "playing" and "silly" and "more, please".

You're even branching out into wacky.

And I love every minute of it.

I love you, Felix.