Showing posts from October, 2008

A record of gratitude-1000 gifts

I heard the Baby crying this week so I went to see what was wrong. As I rounded the corner I she lifted her tear streaked face from the Girl's shoulder who had been comforting her after she bonked her head. I'm thankful my children can comfort each other, and go to each other for comfort. I can hear the GH laughing hysterically from the other room. I have no idea what he's watching that's so funny, I just love to hear the sound of his laugh. It makes me happy. The sight of the Boy carrying the Baby over the dry grass to the swings at Beema's house, so she wouldn't hurt her feet. And her smile back at me over his shoulder. Forgiveness. That all the only memory left of an ancient ritual filled with fear and evil and human sacrifice is a tradition of dressing up and getting candy. And pumpkins that look vaguely like skulls with candles in them still. Imagine being so afraid. That a school in Canada wants to send money to help Chala take care of his kids. Whic

How (not) to make a Jedi Costume

First, you must give yourself less than two weeks before said costume must be ready. Then surf around online, discover that there are really big Star Wars nerds out there, and steal some of their ideas. Wait a few more days to buy fabric, because you need your husband to drive you to the fabric store because you don't have a car. Put down the flannel you are holding in favor of the big role of burlap your husband holds up. It looks right. Forget everything you know about drape and fabric and how the stuff feels really nasty because, hey, it's cheap. Next you must sew these. Don't ask why, just trust me, it has to be done. You can't start a new project without finishing an old one. This skirt that you started converting into two sundresses months ago must be completed before any other sewing happens. Plus they can wear the little outfits to the birthday party they are going to the next day. Oh yeah, make a tutu for the birthday girl as a gift. Finally, on S

The Beginning

I moved back to Canada in May. The man who would become the GH went on from Bangalore to Nepal. There he found work to do feeding street boys every day, and being their friend. He would take them to a vacant lot and cook them a meal over his camp stove. He and some national Nepali friends were working on starting an NGO that would teach these boys skills and get them into apprenticeships and off the streets. Then, he was taken into custody by the Nepali police, along with a French girl who stayed at the same hostel. After several hours they released him because they could find nothing to charge him with. They charged the girl with pedophilia. She sometimes helped feed the street boys and they were affectionate with her. It was a bogus charge, highly politicized. At that time Nepal was trying to pass legislation regarding sexual abuse. The police had to beat two of the boys, and bribe another in order to get them to accuse her. Aaron never saw her again. The French government got her

And now, 7

I still can't get used to this growing up thing that happens. My little babies turn into people and rush toward adulthood so fast. It feels like yesterday that I first held you, traced your perfect ears with my finger tip, spent hours just looking at you. I don't get much time to look at you any more, not while you are still. You can read now, which still feels like a miracle to me because I taught you how to. It's so fun to watch you get caught in a book, sucked into the pages and forget everything else. Of course, it's frustrating at times to, because there are things out here in the real world that require your attention. I love that you love to read. I feel like my job as your teacher is mostly done because of that. Oh, there's lots more for me to teach you, but now that you can read there is a lot more that you can teach yourself. I like the way you get a book and your sisters snuggle up next to you as you read out loud to them. I don't know if you know

Meet the Family

Life went on much the same as it always had after the GH got on a plane and flew away. Although, I'm sure there was a lot more wistful sighing at regular intervals on my part. We started emailing after he left Hong Kong and arrived in Madras. Until the next Sunday. I had met the GH's dad once before. I may have exchanged a few sentences with him that day in Mexico. That was the extent of our interaction. I didn't even think he knew my name. That Sunday evening, during service, there he was. Then he pulled me aside and introduced me to some friends of his who were also from Canada. So we made polite small talk. That was a bit awkward. The next Sunday, there he was again. This time he walked straight up to me, pointed to the guy on his right and said, "Carrien, this is GH's younger brother E." And then he walked away. We stood there looking at each other for a second, and then had a bit of a conversation as well. It was getting weirder and weirder. So I e

the blessings are many

The Girl wakes up in the middle of the night. Deep rattling coughs shake her little body. I go in when I hear her whimpering and prop her up on pillows, smooth back white tangles from hot forehead, kiss her cheek. "I had a bad dream, " she says. She grabs my arm and cuddles against it. "I want you to stay with me mom." she murmurs. So I sit in the dark holding her, stroking her hair, and looking at the stars through the window. I'm filled with gratitude that I get to be the one who holds her when she wakes in the middle of the night. I feel like I could stay here forever, just holding her as she sleeps. The day after I started thinking it would be fun to make ice cream for the Boy's birthday party, if we could afford to buy supplies (got paid) my neighbor brought over almost 20 cans of evaporated milk that she found at the back of her cup board while moving. Enough for plenty of ice cream. Which is good because we still haven't seen that check. I sold

Parting is such sweet sorrow...

One of our friends was arriving on a plane that night at midnight. Her parents flew her home for Christmas, so the girls were all getting ready to go and meet her plane. I stayed behind, hoping to catch up on some much needed sleep. I was laying on my 3rd of the mattress on the floor that 3 of us shared, mostly asleep, when suddenly the lights turned on and four other people jumped on me. Literally. Dori sat on my chest. "So? Tell us?" "Yeah, tell us about this guy?" "Do you love him? Are you going to marry him?" "Whoa, slow down. I just met him, I'm not going to marry him." "Well, Rae says that there's something interesting going on." "Ha ha, you so totally found a guy." That's when I found out about all of the scheming and matchmaking going on. And so I told them some of the details. And they wanted to know if I was going to call him. I was torn. We had already said goodbye. Why bother calling just to s

4:30 in the morning

I've just brought the Jedi costume to a place where he can put the thing on and wear it and it looks right. I'd like to finish a few seams and sew up some matching trousers but, it's stupid late, and the sewing machine started making a clunking sound a few minutes ago, which is why I've decided to stop. Don't want the Baby to wake up again. The GH blew up balloons earlier this evening and just as I was finished tacking them up everywhere, about 10 minutes ago, he came out of the bed room. "Hey, what are you doing up?" I asked. "He looked at me, his face all sleep befuddled and pale, "I'm wet." "Hey, why are there balloons?" "Well they're supposed to be a surprise for when you wake up in the morning." His face cracks a bit, with that wry sort of grin I am coming to love. "Okay mom," he says, in a joking tone, "I'll try to forget when I go back to sleep." And then I shooed him into t

A Tale of Two Childless People-Update ***

This is a typical afternoon at my house. It feels like the entire neighborhood congregates outside my door. Some of these kids I actually watch while their parents go somewhere. A lot of them just come over on their own after school. At least 4 of them don't have parents at home after school time. Some of them have teenage siblings who watch them from the hours of 3pm until 2 am when their mom gets home from work, girls who are hardly more than children themselves, on the cusp of puberty. They come to my house too. (I have no idea who took this picture, that's me behind the planter.) It's busy. For two or three hours I don't get anything else done. I fill cups with water, I wipe noses, I answer questions, I mediate disputes, I hand out snacks if I have any. Sometimes we have as many as 6 extra kids who stay for dinner. Yesterday I served everyone tea too, since they all asked, in little tiny tea cups. It takes a lot of my time. I still try to get dinner started while

So this is goodbye.

We drove together out of the desert. Conversation still flowed but there were more comfortable silences in it than before. He pointed to a hill on our right and said, "My parent's house is just up there, behind that hill." He felt awkward not taking me home to meet them, but he wasn't ready to tell them about me just yet. (He told me that later.) Instead he took me to an outdoor supply shop, about 2 miles from where we live now actually, and bought me a "decent water bottle." We went to his favorite pizza place near the beach, and after a day of trail food we attacked that pizza, and the micro brewed root beer. We stopped on a beach to see if a flash in the wave was phosphorescence, it wasn't, and essentially just wandered around before making our way back to the church where I was staying. And then it was weird. They were all staring at us. My friends. They would pretend they were talking to each other in hushed tones, but their attention was tota

Gratitude- A Record

I started keeping a journal in High School. I still have it somewhere. It's a blue binder with loose leaf pages in it and on the front, emblazoned with emphatic ball point pen letters, are the words, "DO NOT OPEN." The front page has a plea to whomever finds it after my death to burn it without reading it's contents, also written when I was a teenager. Looking at it now is really mostly funny, at the same time as it's embarrassing and painful. Every entry involves me HATING someone, mostly my parents in the middle of a divorce. I keep it around, I think, to make me humble. Subsequent journals have been less, er, dramatic, but only slightly. They are still the place where I took all my problems and frustrations and spilled them out on the page. The conflicts with friends, the difficulties of growing up, of being afraid. There is the pathetic journal I kept during our honeymoon, oh sad, sad, honeymoon, where we couldn't have sex yet , and me trying to inter

The first uh date?

At the end of our first conversation I had an invitation to go hiking in the desert with him. The GH was quite convinced that he needed to see more of me, and he was leaving for India in a week, so he made his move. We were talking about hiking already when he offered to take me. It was the first awkward moment in the conversation. See, I was living with these 5 other girls, in a strange city, and country, far from home. We were there to pray, and serve, and we had an explicit no dating agreement. None. No looking even. So of course I hesitantly asked if I could bring them all along. He didn't even blink. "Sure, no problem." he said. "Bring them all." So he gave me his phone number, I was back to sleeping in a church on the floor by this time so I didn't really have a number, and we agreed on a date. (The details of that are all fuzzy, we couch surfed so much in those days I can't keep it all straight.) As we drove through the Mexican dark on our

Birthday called on account of fire

It's the Boy's birthday next week. I still haven't decided where or how we're going to celebrate. Oh, I know some things. I know who he wants to be there, I know I am sewing a Jedi costume as a gift, and he wants a cake with a picture of a Jedi on it, in icing. [Cue maniacal laughter.] But when, and where are still to be decided. It started when I spoke to a friend at church last week. "If you want to come to [her son's] birthday I think we're just going to the park nearby next week after church. I don't want to plan anything since last year he was born in the middle of a wild fire and I'm worried it will happen again." She literally went in to the birth center on a normal day, and came out with a newborn wondering what on earth had happened. That got me thinking as I tried to finalize plans for the Boy's party. Last year we had to celebrate on the road. We evacuated twice. Once to my in laws , and the next day from there to my husba

Milking the Weekend for all it's worth-how we all got sunburnt

So, this was last weekend, but there is no way you would know the difference if I hadn't told you. I just feel compelled to let you know. My camera needed batteries which is why I bring you last weekend today. We finally went camping. (Apparently when you are camping you must bring along your blaster guns and pretend to be stormtroopers.) All year the kids have been obsessed with the idea of camping again. But camping in the summer here is just crazy talk. Way too hot. And we've been way too busy. So last Friday we packed up all the gear and met for our regular Friday night family dinner at a local campsite. And then we spent the night in a tent and went hiking the next day. My head in the clouds girl. And because that wasn't exciting enough, we packed up and came home in time to make dinner for guests that evening. It rained all night, for the first time in months. So when the morning dawned grey and cloudy my Canadian self broke out the sweaters and made sure w

our first meeting

I wrote about the GH and how we met once before here. And it was long and boring to probably everyone but me. The story was lost in the details. So this month, I want to try again. The morning I met my husband I almost stayed in bed instead. It was Dec. 27, 1998 and I was 20. I was sharing a tiny one bedroom apartment in San Diego with 5 other girls at the time. That's another story. But my friend Rae really wanted to go on this trip and kept asking me if I was going. So I got out of bed. We met in Mexico. Actually, we first laid eyes on each other in a parking lot in a large group of people as we prepared to cross the border into Mexico, but we don’t count that. I had no idea that I was meeting the person with whom I would one day choose to intertwine my life. He was just another name and face in a sea of names and faces. He was similarly unimpressed. He thought I said my name was Tureen and thought that my parents must be nuts for naming me after a soup serving dish. A few

Another marriage post

I'm doing a 10 part series over at wedded bliss on what husbands wish their wives wouldn't do. Don't ask me how I've learned that over the years. But now you can benefit from my mistakes. Here's number #9- 10 things your husband wishes you wouldn't do . I'm inspired by Mary's love stories for October going on right now. I may come back and join in later today if there is time. HAHAHAHAHAHAHA! Time is the last thing I have more of these days. Someone please tell me where it all goes?

Hair Cut

Before The Girl came into the bed room very early one Sunday morning half way into her dress. Her hair was caught on one of the little "pretty parts". She asked me for help. I was so tired, and half asleep, and the Baby was literally laying across my chest snoring. I also can't see anything until I get up and put in my contacts. So I told her to go and ask the Boy, who was already awake also, for help. And then I fell asleep again and completely forgot about the whole thing. Fast forward to 5 minutes before we went out the door to go to church and I am brushing her hair. And big pieces of it start to fall out. There were scissors involved in the detangling of her hair that morning. And the back was very, very short. And I was sad, and kicked myself for not being more alert and helping her myself. So, Auntie K was called upon to fix things. Because she is good at hair. My biggest fear of course was that she would look older with her hair short. And she did. And I


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