Spring Break '09 will definitely go down in our family's record book. During one week: Sam and I went skiing out West to celebrate his 16th birthday; Kate vacationed in Florida with moms and daughters from the neighborhood; Ryan was back in Miami at the U; and Stacy, Rosalinda, and Rebeca enjoyed a weekend at the beach in Nicaragua.
The following week Stacy and I celebrated our 25th Anniversary. You know, we had always planned to spend this one (unlike ALL the other anniversaries) in some romantic locale such as Paris or Venice or Kauai. Instead we iChatted with each other, sharing cake and ice cream as a really extended family. The highlight was Stacy and the girls "blowing" out candles in Michigan all the way from Managua.
And now, five plus weeks into our unavoidable "separation" we're all slowly settling into our routines. I am trying to learn (without permanently damaging) the "Floral Street" routine that Stacy has spent years building and refining. Being "Mr. Mom" (as Michael Keaton's character, Jack, can attest) is not easy but often humorous. On a regular basis I hear myself saying, "You're doing it wrong!" The kids stay up too late which makes them hard to get up in the morning. Who knew? I spent three consecutive days at the D&W pharmacy picking up prescriptions (suspect I could have done it in one trip). Then there is dance practice and lacrosse games (you should actually read the team's newsletter PRIOR to your turn for travel snacks).
Meals have been... interesting on several fronts: 1) we have grown to love cereal as much as Jerry Seinfeld; 2) breaking bread with friends, family, and neighbors is fun; 3) having friends, family, and neighbors deliver meals is less humbling than it is greatly appreciated; and 4) restaurants are not the same when you're missing a main ingredient (mom). Oh, I also found out yesterday that bills need to be paid (and paid on time) or they send something called a "shut off" notice (helpful hint: you can use your debit card over the phone).
As some of you know, I was raised by a single/working mom who had to learn how to drive at 50, went back to night school at Crossland High to learn typing and stenography, and struggled to make a living while raising two young boys in a small apartment off Pennsylvania Avenue (extended) in PG County, Maryland. At age 12, this latchkey kid became "chief cook and bottle washer" and took on babysitting in our complex to make spending money. All this to say, I have always had a great appreciation for single parents and now have a much greater appreciation for my wife/partner/best friend and all she does for me and the kids.
In Nicaragua, Stacy is establishing a "Carratera Masaya" routine for the very first time. Routine, she will tell you, is extremely important for Rosalinda and Rebeca. The girls get up at 6:00 every day and are in bed at 8:00 most nights. They fall asleep to either lullabies in English or Nicaraguan children's songs.
Two showers a day are typical, especially with temps topping 100 degrees. On MWF we have a tutor who visits to teach both girls English and work on math concepts with Rosalinda. They are both very bright and eager to learn. Stacy prepares three meals each day but the girls get healthy snacks in between. Favorites foods include corn flakes, hot dogs, and personal pan pizza ("personal" simply because the kitchen only has a toaster oven).
The girls have additional friends now temporarily living in the "family compound" so free time includes arts & crafts, playing games, movies, soccer, etc. Special outings include: walking to Tip Top for chicken fingers, french fries, and an air conditioned playscape; visiting the Hilton in town where buying lunch means you can use the hotel pool; impromptu but difficult to coordinate get-togethers with other adopting families; and church on Sundays.
So that's the day-to-day until the day we are able to all be together in one place. After almost six weeks we know there are many more weeks to go before the adoption is finalized. We pray that every meeting bears much fruit, that each review and report is favorable, and that a sense of urgency would permeate proceedings. We also pray for protection and provision for all those involved in this adoption. And we thank each of you who have joined us on our journey.
As a family we are learning much, growing deeper, getting closer, and living larger. Such is life.