Sunday, February 10, 2013

From Dragons to Snakes

It's been a while since I have picked up the "pen" on this blog, especially since Allison has done such a brilliant job keeping things honest and up-to-date.

Still I am inspired to write something.  I thought I could pull together some beautiful and eloquent story about the Year of the Dragon we just left and the Year of the Snake we are starting... but fact is I know nothing about that or what that really means.  Best I can tell, it means last year was huge, crazy and maybe involved some sort of fire-breathing monster.  And, we are about to charge into a slippery, slimy year ahead that is both powerful and potentially venomous.  Yup, sounds about right.  You can put all your lunar calendars away now...

Seriously, that sounds about right.

The Dragon.  Family of three.  Traveled for work like crazy first half of the year.  Engaged our lovely community in Charleston.  Divested from IBM after 10 years.  Acquired by Toshiba, new job and exciting work underway.  Decided to sell Charleston house (sold to an Ethiopian man).  Take Kysa out of her inspiring little Montessori school.  Decided to move to Raleigh; another amazing connection to get us into our current home.  Family dynamics.  Put Kysa in new school (remove immediately).  Put Kysa in new Montessori school (thrilled).  Waited for referral, "it will never come".  It came. Rushed to Ethiopia.  Saw our son.  Wait.    Holidays.  Major work announcements.  Returned to Ethiopia.  Got our son.  Family of four.  End Dragon.

The Snake.  Breathe.  Let's do that again.  Breathe.  Ok, now what?  It's 10pm on a Sunday night.  We got through this weekend... pretty well actually.  Some cleaning, time with friends, a parade, shopping.  We all ate.  We all took at least one shower or bath (but I won't share the less than clean events that accompanied that this evening).  We all laughed a little.  Some of us cried (no names).  We read books and danced to Gene Kelley while twirling an  umbrella in the kitchen.  We slept.... some, but in very strange configurations and in some sort of unscripted non-musical beds routine.  We struggle, but we are lucky.  We love, but we are challenged.  We are.  Figuring it out.  One day.  At a time.

It has been just over 3 weeks since we first picked up Wynray and took him out of the Care Center.  Sure feels a lot longer than that.  In a really really good way.  In a really really hard way.  Here is what I know.

My son is amazing.  I am in awe of him, I love him unconditionally in such a short period.  It is clear he has always been met by LOVE in life, it is all he expects from people.  I hope to make sure he gets as much of that from us and those around him as possible.  I hope he grows old and wise enough to expect it but also recognize when it is not there so he doesn't get hurt.  Each day our bond grows.  Tonight I swear he was saying 'dada' but I'm not in denial that this is a pretty common sound that's easy to make.  Still, I'm sure he meant it.  He drives me nuts at times, sure... but that's a lot about me not him.  While clearly he is adjusting to me, I'm very much still adjusting to him.  Above all, what I love is the life, the love, the passion, the determination, the will, and the curiosity that penetrates from his eyes.  My greatest goal as his Father is to raise him never to lose that.  This is my measure for success.

My daughter is my jewel.  I am so in love and so proud of her.  Before I go on with that thread, it should be mentioned that she is also driving us up the wall and filling us with the crazies too.  After getting our full attention for about 2.5 years she has even more adjusting to do.  I believe she is wise beyond her years, but there are days where I must remind myself she is not even 3 and yet is being asked to adapt and adjust so much over the last few months only to have our little stick of 10 month old dynamite thrown into the mix.  She is a doing so great all things considered, but she can test our limits that is for sure.  But that also says a lot about me.  My patience, my ability to teach, to be heard, to comfort, to guide.  My greatest goal as her Father is to raise her to stay so inspired, creative, wise, and caring through her life.  This is my measure for success.

So what does this "snake" year bring?  The beauty is that we don't know.  We will learn.  Grow.  Slip.  Get up.  Learn some more.  Listen.  Love.  Forgive.  Teach.  Dance.  Fall.  Get up again.  Sing.  Inspire.  Create.  Look.  At least I know I have their amazing Mom by my side, a wife with a heart of gold.

Beyond our family core, I think daily about Ethiopia as I wrote on Facebook the day we left on January 24, 2012:

"Thank you to all people who have not only made our stay special but more importantly all those who have raised and lovingly cared for our son. We will hold the moments from here close to our hearts, continue to do small and good things to support your beautiful people and look forward to our return one day. It is time for Wynray to leave you but never forget where he came from. God bless this place. Selam"

We were also blessed to get to know a few people very specifically.  Fekadu, a kind friend who made us feel so at home in the bustling city of Addis, and his extended family.  The directors and children at the Ajuuja Care Center in Awassa who are so deserving and in need of all our thoughts, prayers, blessings and donations.  The directors, staff and children at the IAN Care Center in Addis where Wynray spent his last couple of months.  What a special place and the children have made a lasting impression on me.  I cannot wait to see how you grow over the next year and all the fun and great things you'll accomplish.  Finally, to Wynray's birth father and family in the Gambella region... not ever distant in our thoughts and prayers.  I cannot wait to see how we will stay connected and inspired by these people and so many others over the next year.

So bring it on snake.

The Snake
"Ancient Chinese wisdom says a Snake in the house is a good omen because it means your family will not starve."

No chance of that literally or figuratively.  Here's to a year that enriches our family collectively and each of us individually as we strive to settle into our new normal (which I can guarantee you isn't any kind of normal 'normal').

Happy Chinese New Year!

/ fredrik

1 comment:

  1. Welcome to the club that is "the family of four" - double the kids, quadruple the craziness!