Monday, July 2, 2007

Time heals

I’m sitting here on the bus up in Winsdor mountain NH… our favorite place in the world. It’s our fourth summer here, and I am amazed thinking of the journey of our family over the past few years.

Two summer ago, I sat on this bus surrounded by notes: phone numbers and addresses scrawled on papers, formal documents, handwritten letters and it seemed the cell phone was permanently attached to my ear. I was frantically making phone calls to doctors, politicians, anyone I could think of who could help us. A picture of Pipo was taped up on the fridge on the bus. Our son, who we had never met, waited for us in a hospital a world away. I don’t know how much of camp I remember that summer, I was so caught up in my battle to get Pipo here.

The battle won, and our new son settling into the family, I found myself sitting on this bus again a year later. This time fighting another battle, the battle for his health. I sorted out his pills, read up on the side effects of the new oral chemo drugs he was taking, and tried to keep infections at bay. Pipo was trying to figure out one more huge adjustment of many in his life… figuring out what camp life was all about. He loved the games, wasn’t sure about the food, and was learning to love the water. Our son who had never been swimming in his life talked himself into jumping off the highdive by the end of that summer. So many things beyond health were a challenge for him that summer. His English was getting better, but still a struggle, and he was still learning how to fit himself into our large, crazy family.

So here I sit, another year gone by. It’s the first day of classes for our kids today, and I am watching Pipo out beyond the bus, playing soccer. There are 5 other kids out there, and they all look like teenagers. Pipo is a good foot shorter than all of them. I recognize the counselor from South Africa, on of our Jamaican friends, and the new Indian counselor. Pipo had walked across the field full of confidence, shaking hands with the new counselor, and pointing over here to the bus, probably explaining it is our home for the next 2 weeks. I watch the counselors trying to divide the small groups into teams, and subtly looking over at Pipo, wondering how he will do in this group of nearly grown men. The game starts, and they give him a little room to move the ball, obviously holding back a bit, feeling sorry for the ‘little guy’. Pipo doesn’t waste their kindness… he takes off with the ball immediately, passing off to a teammate and running with the ball. The other guys, taken by surprise, are not quick enough to follow, and Pipo get the ball back and heads straight for the net, blasting a shot off quickly. His teammates laugh and high-five him, and the game gets more serious now. This kis can obviously hold his own, and they will treat him with more respect.

I am so incredibly in love with this kid. He can be a complete pain in the tailbone, his stubbornness rivaling my own, but I stop and look at where he has come in such a short time, and I know that stubbornness is what makes him who he is.

POST SCRIPT: before anyone mentions how “lucky” he is, you might want to read my thoughts about that in THIS post. Fitz has come up with the best response yet to that statement. Pipo is an incredibly unlucky kid, who finally caught a break. And we are incredibly grateful that we were the ones chosen to give him that break. I am in awe of this kid every day.


patjrsmom said...

My husband reminds me all the time (especially when I'm wont to complain about traits like stubborness) that God made our children that way for a reason and He honored us with the priviledge of parenting such strong-willed survivors.

cloudscome said...

Beautiful post. You captured it exactly.

SJ said...

I haven't read your past post (yet!) that you referenced so I don't know the whole story yet.

I am amazed every day that God knows what a child needs to get through and He shapes their personality in that way. Thank God for Pipo's stubbornness!

My Cory has a spitfire personality and is very persistant and stubborn (and only 8 months old!) and it is a good thing! He was diagnosed with a serious heart condition when he was two weeks old and has had two open surgeries up to this point. He recovered faster than the doctors expected :)

That is what convinced me that God shapes us to be able to handle whatever He plans on throwing our way :)

BTW, I love the picture! Very cool.