We always enter in with expectations. Claiming that you are not, doesn't MEAN you are not.
All that to say, this summer has not been what I said I wasn't expecting.
Troy and I have always mainly assumed one day in the distant future all our kids could be grown ups - maybe married with their own families.
It seems feasible, yes?
Believing it is feasible, we spent some time and we thought ahead to what that might look like. We both felt that we would be super exhausted and tired and achy from all the years of trying to get them grown up and gone. We envisioned a day when we will be all old and shrinky-dink sized and tired - when we might get a little tiny love-shack apartment in a quiet downtown of some dusty abandoned city to take long naps and blend up our food to make it easier to eat without our teeth. We talked about this time as if it were decades away.
Ironically, the same season and year that Paige and Michael will make us grandparents, we were visited by a virus that made us old, weak, and fall-asleep-sitting-up-tired. We can still chew food, but please don't hear me getting pompy and braggadocios about that. I truly wanted to grow old with Troy, just not so freakin soon.
Sigh. Becuase there has been so much illness, our summer hasn't been an epic family adventure like I had hoped.
The time with Michael and Paige here in Haiti has flown by and is already on the winding down side. June was obliterated by Chikungunya. As a result we moved Paige's travel back a week and cut seven precious days from our time with her. July was then obliterated by the respiratory virus that came to crush us while we were down. We took turns with high fevers, coughing, and putting on sleep clinics. One night I ran a 14 hour clinic. Who sleeps for 14 hours in loud, bright, Haiti?!?! An old granny, that's who.
SOMEHOW both Paige and Michael are STILL healthy. Neither of them has fallen to mosquito-borne OR other-borne viruses and they may actually escape the island in the same or better condition than they arrived.
I think we ALL felt nervous about getting to know one another in Haiti this summer.
Troy and I wanted to see Paige and Michael together and have peace. We wanted to see if they handled stress well and if they were kind to one another. Michael wanted to be loved and accepted by Paige's people. Paige wanted our approval. The kids wanted to know that their much adored big sister was going to be okay and still be theirs. We entered into this summer with a fair amount of trepidation for sure.
I have loved watching the kids get to know Michael and decide what they think of him. The biggest challenge Michael faced was always going to be Noah and Phoebe. Noah, because he thinks Paige belongs to him. Phoebe, because she just doesn't give a damn about getting to know anyone.
I think he has won everyone over. Even the two difficult ones.
A week or two ago we were talking about the future and probable wedding plans.
Noah got all wistful and said, "I wish I could walk Paige down the alley."
The nut. He is more than welcome to walk her down any alley he would like.
As he was listening in on the discussion he said, "I'll tell you right now where NOT to get married. Honduras. They are fighting private wars there."
(????) No idea. He says things that make sense to him.
So, fine. The wedding will not take place in Honduras.
We are watching Paige's cute tummy grow and we are watching she and Michael make big decisions and plans. We are seeing their hearts and desires and hopes and dreams and we want to support them in all the ways we can.
We have ONE week left with both of them here in Haiti and we are taking our jointritis pills, gathering up the memories of our spry/younger Chikun-free days, and taking them to do some fun Haiti things with our last full week together on the island. If the summer failed to meet expectation, maybe the last week will not.
~ ~ ~
Jimmy and Becky also had a way different summer than they originally planned. Chikungunya kept Becky and the girls in the USA a bit longer. We were all hoping to help Becky not get it in her first trimester. Also, in case you missed that: The Burtons are EXPECTING number 3 in December!!! They are back in Haiti now and planning to begin their fourth year teaching - we are just ridiculously blessed to have them teaching our kids.
An entirely random collection of photos and explanations from past 30 days:
|Hope got braces on her top teeth, Noah is up next, this fall.|
|all the June and July babies have arrived, we expect a little week or two break from births now|
|Chestnut has no nuts anymore, the boys watched him get fixed and were offered his nuts in a jar.|
|an out to eat night with the whole crew (sweatshirts for the airconditioned room)|
|My friend, Dieula, from Dallas (via Haiti) visited and taught at the Maternity Center|
- she brought such an important message.
|Rebecca came to show us her report card. This young woman is overcoming.|
(I hope to write more about what happened the day she visited.)
|Heading to "camp" at school (they have had special four day camps for several weeks this summer)|
|At the end of each Haiti day, Paige and Michael have a little break-down-the-day session.|
|Remember the teen Moms home? Joanne and Ricardo are doing great, they came to visit.|
Ricardo hates us but we accept it.
|It has been so hot, Troy finds a way to sleep in a 93 degree room.|
Lydia and I made a bedroom outside on the porch. I will never sleep inside again.
|One beach day down, hoping for one more before they go.|