Monday, December 30, 2013

excelling in whimsicality and ALL the feels

The Randy & Carolyn Porter Family

In late July when we first landed in the USA for our 5.5 months here I wrote this:

"Yesterday someone was chatting with me and said, "When I was thinking about what I would do for my career, I chose to have a stable life for my kids." I listened carefully as he went on and described his path. I heard him and I knew that he was saying, "Dang woman - your life is unstable!" It is true. By comparison to some lifestyles, this is instability. 

I decided not to take his comment personally. It isn't personal. It is a choice. We made it and we recognize it can been seen as unconventional. I don't love the pain of transition for myself or my kids but I don't know that I want stability to be my most important value, either. 

I think there must be a nicer word for instability. Maybe we are unstable, but also, maybe we are just "excelling in whimsicality". 

~      ~       ~ 

Here we are, late December, packing up our Legos to head home. Once again excelling in whimsicality and the other less popular 'ity'  ... Insanity. 

We have a large room that looks like post-apocalyptic Shanghai right now. There are piles that mean different things.  One such pile is "the kids won't be okay with this not being packed so hide it under a sheet and pretend it is packed until a time you can smuggle it the heck out of this house" pile.

Praise the Lawd, my back is to it all for the moment. The longer I write the longer I can pretend it is not there. 

We are in full swing saying goodbye, see-ya-later-don't-know-when, etc. etc. We just spent 10 nights in the South Padre area with my (Tara's) family. It was made even more special because our (new to us) niece, Whitney, joined us for a few days.  (Back story here for those that don't know it.) It was really special for my parents to have everyone in one place for the first time in ever ever. 

The goodbyes are always weird for me because I have things I want to express but I am a shoddy verbal communicator. In my mind I know what I want to say. It would be something like this:  "Mom, Dad, Sister, Daughter, Friend: I wish you knew how much your friendship and love means to me every day. Sometimes, I feel like we're together even when we are apart because I carry you so close to my heart at all times. I am grateful for you and I loved being with you these X amount of days/months. I enjoyed knowing you were just a few miles or hours away. I dread the distance that will come between us again now and I fear things too. I fear losing you or not seeing you again here on this earth. I want us to be together again because together is so good.  Is it not grace that God gave us such a beautiful and loving group of friends and family? Thank you for having our backs and walking with us in the trench; we are bolstered by that."   

Problem is, this is what came out of my mouth: "I love you. Please don't die. Please don't wait too long to come visit."  Moving, huh?  I know everyone felt my deep feels with that stirring 14 word address. 

We think we kind of kicked they ay-uss of this America thing.  We accomplished things the way you all do. Lists, appointments, vaccinations, education, bill-paying, insurance, meetings, the whole gamut of big-people activities.  Even today I made some important calls to try to get Paige's life in order a little bit more before we bail on her. You've got to be proud. Or something. 

That stuff is all really good, but late this afternoon I went into the library to give them every book I found while cleaning and packing and said, "I need to know what we lost. Can you look at our fines and what books are still missing?"  The librarian said, "This is all of it and you owe me $1.80 in fines."  I'm not gonna lie.  As she turned her back to get us our change from the fine, Troy and I chest bumped right there in the library to celebrate. That's right people, we lost zero books.  Big moment indeed. I feel like we could be trusted with children or pets now.  

Speaking of pets, Chestnut (NutDog 3.0) is still all the rage at our house. I think we waited long enough to add him to our family that we might actually succeed with this one.  Our small dog record is quite dismal. It seems that a Cocker Spaniel named Farley (Chris Farley's namesake) was too mean and then later became the three legged dog of Troy's parents. The Pomeranian named Benny was possessed by evil spirits and had to go on to greener pastures to perform his weird shock-collar back flips. The big dogs have always done fine and have fit well. Small dogs haven't been our specialty -- until now.  I think this little dude is gonna make it as a Livesay. It wil be much easier for him to make it if we get the papers back in our hands in time to allow him on the dumb airplane. Time will tell, as per usual we cut it very close and they "think" they can do it in time. I am thinking there is wisdom in waiting to claim victory over the Chestnut situation at this point. When a letter is neeed from a government agency during a holiday week, don't count your ShihTzu 'till it is hatched. That has not made it onto any official idiom lists, but I am thinking it will eventually be there. Feel free to use. 

What else?  Well ... We got a two page hand-written note from Isaac with $41 taped inside. He left it in Troy's drawer when he went with my Dad early for the Christmas getaway.  Troy found it a few days after Isaac left.  We don't do very much for gifts at Christmas - Isaac knows this of course.  That did not stop him from writing a convincing plea.   (Don't bother feeling judged or condemned - we don't make rules about things for you and we don't think your life is our business -- please - have your gifts and open them too!)

To Dad From Ike - 
What I would like for Christmas is a lego set called Craggers command ship. It has 609 pieces and comes with 6 minifigures (lego people). It is a "lego legends of Chima " themed lego. The ship that it comes with has two red cockpits which are supposed to be Croc eyes and then it has a big croc jaw at the front. Oh, the ship has lots of olive green. It also has 2 yellow jetskis. animal warriors are 3 crocs named Cragger, Crominus, and Crooler. Two lions named Leonidas and Lennox and last but not least a raven named rawzom. It is lego set 70006. The ages recommended for it is 8-14. If you are wondering about how we would bring it back to Haiti, here is how: I'd throw away the box and only bring the bags that the pieces are packaged in - if you don't want me to start building it right away which I would totally be fine with. Besides, I'd love to have a lego to build especially one with crocs in it, oh and would totally share with Noah. After all, he did use some money of his on my J.D.C.C. short for Jedi Defender Class Cruiser. Love you and may God be with you in whatever it is you will do next. 

P.S. You know the bags that will have a big black number on it and they are see through? For example my Spidey set had 5 of them inside and they are not too big. PPS If I have to leave any legos behind, I know which ones I'll leave. Here some money to boost you on that gift I'd like. PPPS- The minifigures are just like human legos but with animal stuff added. For example my croc stands up like a human but it looks like a croc. like these two things" ... 
(there was an arrow pointing down to two cut out pictures from a lego catalog showing us what standing up animals look like). 

So, of course another 609 pieces (including Cragger, Crominus, and Crooler) are headed to an island in the Caribbean very soon.

~      ~      ~   

People always ask us how long we'll stay in Haiti.  We always say, "Don't know. Ask us again in a year." Some really cool things have happened in the last several days. We have a real sense of peace that we're on the right path heading mapless into God's vast goodness and grace. Five years ago I might have said something much more confident or pompy sounding than that. I have lost some of my "this is God's plan" kind of talk because I don't usually feel that I know God's plan and I feel a little lot bit squirmy claiming that.  What I am trying to say is, there have been beautiful confirmations for us that our time in Haiti is not finished and that our family can return feeling quite certain it is where we need to be right now. The future is unknowable and we don't pretend otherwise. 

I am now stalling. It's becoming obvious to Troy. I am thinking of all the things I'd like to write out for posterity's sake.  I'd like to gripe about the things little kids think you should put in a bag and bring to Haiti. (Shells, rocks, rotten pumpkins)  I'd like to (lovingly) mock the hilarious things they said today as we packed. The thing is, a luggage scale and mounds of crap await me. I'll have to mock my children later. Back to the piles.

The best way to wrap this up, a pearl of wisdom from Lydia as we drove through the dark Texas night...

"I am sad and I am happy... I don't know what I should more feel."

Lydia, Annie, and Phoebe together again last week 

Next posts: 1. An awesome update on Rebecca, the teen Mama from Heartline and 2. The two very WEIRDEST days of 2013 and all the insulin, vomit, and drama that went with them. Isaac wrote too, will try to publish it soon.