Little A makes me cry so many tears. Sometimes it's because she is defiant and sassy and I don't know what to do. Lately, my tears come on her behalf of her sadness. The Littles aren't advanced academically, I actually think we have some delays but socially and emotionally, she is wise beyond her years.
The move has been hard on her. She is a planner and it's harder for her to enjoy the moment because many of them are unplanned, I can't prep her on what to anticipate or the schedule changes. In addition, because of her amazing memory and her strong attachments in the USA, she vividly remembers and deeply misses the world she has come from. She looks through pictures and she quietly sits, "I miss Grandma Fiechter, I miss Mimi, I miss…"
She convicts me with her simple and then applied understanding of the Scriptures.
We sat in a gas station, in the vehicle while Jon filled up. A little boy was talking to us through the window. When it was time to leave, he said, "Money, money, money." I sadly smiled, told him "I can't give you money" and we pulled out. After a few beats of silence, Little A said, "Mama, doesn't the Bible say to love one another?" "Yes, baby," I responded tentatively, having a decent idea of where the conversation was headed. "Mama, you didn't love that boy. He was poor, he asked for money and didn't have any and you didn't give him money."
And I don't know what to say, I tried to explain that most times, giving money out a window isn't the way to help someone.
Last week they played on the kitchen floor while I made dinner. She was asking about returning to Leo church, family and friends. I responded overly chipper, "Well, we can see them again, we can pray for them and think about them and they can pray and think about us!" Moments passed and a quiet little voice asked, "Are we going to stay here forever?"
And I don't know what to say. How do you explain two years to a three-year old?
While in Bahir Dar, we were able to Skype with family. The girls had finally warmed up but it was time to wrap up the conversation with Nana and Papa, she was all smiles. Little J, in her sing-songsy voice said, "Can, I say one more thing?! I like you". Not to be outdone Little A announced she had one more thing to say. She was given the floor and she dropped the question, "Will you remember me?"
And I don't know what to say. "Of course they will remember you, Baby". and then I turn away because I don't want her to see my tears.
The wound is deep for her, separation is acutely felt and I know that we have signed her up for a life of transition and goodbyes and it kind of breaks my heart. I know that as believers, we are not promised a life on the same continent as people we love and it is truly a joy to live where God has called us. But how do I explain that to a three year old?
Life here has joys and experiences that can't be replicated outside of pulling up roots and planting ourselves in a new place but it comes at a cost. I feel that cost acutely when observing my little tree wilt, knowing her tree will root again and she will flourish, praying it is soon. It hurts to watch.