“Please monkey bars,” he’s said every day for almost four months.
He climbs the ladder in his Spiderman boots, stands on the platform – “Ipent do it.”
“You can do it, Sambhaji. You’re very strong. You’re Spiderman!”
He grabs the first yellow ring and considers swinging out alone. “Please help, Daddy.”
And I do. Every day I walk beneath him, beside him, encouraging with one hand loosely holding just above his knee. I’m doing nothing to help him across really. I’m just present.
Presence is his constant need.
So much so that being fully present with anyone else – Becky and my other three children – has been rare. And so we’ve been apart while being together all day almost every day.
Isolation brings moments of impatience and irritability and loneliness and retreat. Two weeks ago I told Becky, “I want to lock myself in the bathroom for an hour or four – just to not be needed you know?” Becky nodded along as we stood holding each other in the kitchen. “Ipent do it,” I joked and she groaned agreement. And then I walked off to help Sambhaji use the toilet and she sat down at the table and explained greatest common denominators.
I had time to post on the blog. Sure. Late at night. Early in the morning. But I chose to stay married instead.
And then came the Together For Adoption conference in Phoenix last week. Like standing under a waterfall in the desert. This will sound terrible to some of you but, the most helpful thing about it? Hearing how much harder international adoption has been for other families. We’ve got it easy I thought over and over again. Gratitude comes at the expense of others sometimes huh?
People gave me books, e-mail addresses of experts and websites and more books and their own stories. Their own stories of what worked and didn’t work, of how they stayed connected to biological children while forging connection with their newly adopted child, and how husbands helped best…waterfall.
I came home rested and resourced and things are so much better this week that – look! – I’m blogging. Small miracle, folks. Just one of many.
Yesterday Sambhaji climbed the ladder, stood on the platform – “Ipent do it.”
“You can do it, Spiderman. I know you can.”
He gripped the first ring and swung out to the next. I clapped. “Great job, Spiderman!” I yelled.
“Ipent do it,” he said, swinging for the next ring and taking hold of it.
“Awesome! You’re doing it!”
“Ipent do it,” he whined, wrapping his fingers around another ring.
“Amazing! You are doing it! Keep going!”
What a smile when he reached the end, turned around and took hold of the first ring to swing back across. “Again! Ipen do it, Dad. You sit. Ipen do it.”
I slid off my shoes, laid my head back on the cool grass and watched Spiderman go back and forth overhead all by himself for what seemed like a couple hours. “Look, Dad! Ipen do it!”
Long enough to relax and really believe ipen do this daddy and husband thing too.