Tuesday, March 15, 2011

Lost in translation...

Oh Ms. Marina is coming along so nicely:) She utilizes what she knows, and continues as if it is the gospel...

Marina what are you doing with the Disney Magic wand toy? Why did you break the star off? Oh, it is now an airport scanner...well, who knew you never saw a magic wand in your life? You sure saw a lot of airport scanners though, huh?

Marina, why are you mashing your tongue down with my fingernail file? Oh, that is not a tongue depressor, it just looks the same...sort of. never had your nails done? Only been to the doctor, I see.

Um, Marina, you don't wear contact lenses...

Yes, Marina, you have a boo boo on your knee...why are you looking at me like that? It is called a band aid. Yes, it is pretty weird. Yes it hurts when you jerk it back off. Never saw a band aid before huh?

Marina, that is not a microphone, it is a water hose. Marina, that is not a microphone, that is a part of the badminton net...ok, yes it is. If you can sing that loud with that in your hand, it must be a microphone. I love your song, no one has one quite like you. Carry on Ms. Broadway.

Now I am on the receiving end of the flash cards. Mama?? Whatzis? multiply that question by 97 times...

She passes ladies at church and throws up her short fingered little hands and says HEY!, followed by "BYE!" all in 3 seconds. So friendly:) Out of 40 people in the airline line, she only hugged one man. Turns out he was the father of two adopted boys from Russia...could she have known this somehow?

Marina saw a picture of me holding Caylyn when Cay was maybe 7 months old and she got so excited! "Mama, look! You, Me!" Oh I wish I had been able to hold you as a baby Marina. But I had to wait til you were nearly 6. But if you can erase all that happened along the way and the time without a mama, and you THINK I held you as a baby, that is almost as good. Only remember the good things from before I came....and let go of the things that make you scream at your dolls and beat them with spatulas...and all the behaviors that make me wonder, what was your life like before I came? And what life is like for those in places that do not look like your good school, but maybe more like a baby house that had no patience? I can tell from your confidence that someone was good to you, and I can tell from your backed in the corner stormy dark eyed scared looks, that you encountered those who were not good to you as well. In time you will learn to trust enough to let your defenses down, and you may rest in my arms at night, knowing that no one will hurt you and that your life will be the best it can be, because we love you and work hard to make sure you know. Thank you for coming to our world and keeping us busy with such quality work...loving you and teaching you about all the things that matter. Love is a verb. We will show you. And I am sure that you will show us too, beautiful girl.

Tuesday, March 8, 2011

Today marks the big day that changed our world...

You might think that since this blog is about Marina (mostly) that today's post would be about her...and in a way it ends up there. But today is March 8th. And three years ago at 5:16 in the afternoon, Caylyn left. I think if the calendar was out of my sight I would still be able to tell you that today is different. The scar tears open alot on this day, every year so far. Because it still hurts so deeply in my heart for me not to be able to hold that little hand and look into her golden flecked eyes that always danced when she caught me looking at her with I love you in my eyes. In no short order, Caylyn changed the world. Not just my world. But alot of worlds around us...This is my nephew's college application summary on why he wants to go to Wofford to study pre-med. I had no idea how much his world had been changed.

"I didn’t expect to get this call. Not so soon. Caylyn had been sick for a while now, but it didn’t seem like this could be happening. She was
barely old enough to be in the first grade, let alone to be in a hospital bed, fighting with a respirator for every breath she took. I was
fourteen at the time, carefree and innocent, and wasn’t completely sure I was actually witnessing what I was witnessing. I had been at a
sleepover with a few of my friends the previous night, but then I got the call. It was seven o’clock and I wasn’t fully awake until I heard the
words, “Caylyn” and “come now.” I rushed over, pants halfway on, shirt wadded in hand, and I could feel the tension in the car on the way
to the hospital. “Caylyn’s special, you know that,” Mom kept repeating to me and my younger brother. I didn’t really know what was so
different about her. I didn’t think she was that different. Sure, she may have slurred her words, she may not have been able to verbalize
what she was thinking, and she had Down’s syndrome, but I didn’t think that made her different from any of the rest of my cousins. I didn’t
see her as a child with a disability, I saw her as family, as someone I would look after and help in whatever way I could.
The leukemia had obviously begun to win its battle with Caylyn. She began to lose her hair with the chemotherapy, and she gained a lot of
weight and retained a lot of water. I spent every spare moment with her I could—playing the games we used to play, putting on my “happy
face” to make her giggle. I guess I just didn’t understand the severity of the situation, because on that day, on the way to the hospital, Mom
seemed to think it was Caylyn’s last. Standing in a room with about ten of my family members, everyone was praying and begging for
healing for this precious baby girl. Caylyn’s dad, Uncle Tully, seemed not to care that I saw him cry for the first time. This was his
princess, his first born.
We huddled around her bed, wondering which minute would be the minute, and then we watched her go. Peace in her eyes, love in our
hearts, we stood by and allowed the doctor to turn off the respirator. That was the hardest thing I ever had to do—I almost threw myself
onto the machine, taking it upon myself to plug it back in and bring my baby cousin back to life. But there wouldn’t be any more games.
There wouldn’t be any more birthdays, more Christmases, with the child I knew as my friend.
I could barely sit through her “Celebration of Life” service. Yes, I know she’s in a better place, but at the time I couldn’t think of any place
better than right beside me. I can’t wait to see her again—to hold her in my arms, to hear her little voice, to see her as a true princess,
crown and everything, in front of a glorious king. But until that day comes, I’ll wait, educate anyone who asks about her life, and search for
a cure for her cause of death."

My sister in law went back to school and graduated on a different path than her original direction as well. She is in research for similar discoveries of a cure.

My mother in law works as an aid to SN children in school and home, making sure the parents have resources to better the world for their own children.

I have gotten so many emails over the years that we have had the privilege of being Caylyn's front line parents...that Cay made a difference to someone or some decision that someone was facing. I am pretty sure my mom has not gotten that many letters about me (that were positive about my impact on the world). Cay was and is a remarkable child...
she loved like Jesus, never cared about her hair, and skipped across the waters of heaven, leaving death with its mouth open. It may have taken her from me, but it released her into a freedom that she will never be burdened with this life again. You can't beat that for a long term sense of the way life should be. She is so close to the original Eden now I just know it. But I miss her very much. Today is hard. Because she loved like Jesus...and that is why Marina lives here. Because you can't watch someone love like Jesus, and not be affected in a life changing way. But I know in my heart that she is only a breath away, just a thin veil hangs between me and her, and it was made possible because Jesus is real and did exactly what He set out to do...not to condemn us but to bring us life abundant and set us free. Our life on earth is a battle ground, but life in heaven, well that is an entirely different playing field. And I know that I know that I know, it is real. Not out of a sense of desperation, but a sense of knowing that can't be disputed. And that has changed my life both here, and there. I am thankful God thought so highly of us to place her in our care. I Love you always, my first born. Mom

Tuesday, March 1, 2011

Spring fever...

I think I have the best kids in the world. You might think you do, but I have to insist that these are the best for me...of course I would add my princess Caylyn to the mix if it were possible because she would make a remarkable sister to these two wild monkeys, but life is the way it is because of her, so it is not possible to have these two paths converge...Evan has been on his "Why did God..." quest this week. Why did God make earth and not just make heaven and skip this part? Seriously. He is 5 going on 80. When did God make God? Why did God make us all different? Why did God make us speak different languages so we have to try so hard to understand some kids? It has been an endless week for these questions, and I do not know what the instigation was? Some sort of epiphany to see if this mama knows anything at all? (so far, not so much.) He has been delightful to talk with. And oh Ms. Marina! Could there be a more loving child? She is full of joy and songs and so much laughter, topped off with tight hugs and wet sticky kisses. I am including a video of her discovering what a garden hose could potentially be designed for...ukrainian idol style:) Evan could not stand the concert so it ends abruptly when he gets hold of her microphone...but he did apologize and give it back. Evan has learned to ride a two wheeler this past week and also has a loose tooth. This is the week that a little boy takes giant steps towards being a young boy. Makes my heart hurt somehow.

The kids were sick with strep last week and Evan graced me with sharing his kindergarten stomach virus, how kind! This week Tully has gone to Pennsylvania to work on renovating an old mill into an apartment building...we are very grateful for this work that he has, and not sure what we would have done had the offer not come along. The kids miss daddy alot and they tell me that in their own ways....Evan mentions it often, and Marina just hollers nonstop for him through dinner:) We utilize the computer camera but have not had great luck getting it just right, so will work on that some more tonight. The flowers are blooming like crazy, the weather is gorgeous, almost 80* yesterday and topped off with a hard spring storm. Our garden seeds are starting to sprout, and all of this reminds me that our promises from God are in fact, true to His heart and being fulfilled in the grand scheme of things. We are so fortunate to be where we are and who we are, and I am grateful for all that we have become by His hand. We of course are never too near to where we should be, but that does not keep me from enjoying various parts of the journey:) It is the part of life that matters so much, this journey we each find ourselves on.

I won't write too much today as I am trying to manage a house cleaning miracle this am but I am crazy about the weather and it does wonders when winter takes its place at your back, then the rear view mirror...

Tomorrow is dr. Suess' birthday and I want to share a sweet letter from Marina's big cousin Mayfield when he was faced with the task of submitting a letter along the lines of "Oh the Places you'll go" for a college scholarship...ya just gotta love stuff like this!

Dearest Marina,
I’m glad to be writing this letter to you. I’ve waited for years and your parents have, too. You’re a smart little girl with two special brown eyes. You can do what you dream, no matter your size. You may have flown from Ukraine to be here with us now, but we never gave up; not never, no how. And in the same way that we brought you back, just know that you’re loved—in love you don’t lack. You may think you’re different from the kids that you know, but hold your head high—let your confidence show. And one day when you’re grown and are ready to fly, we’ll watch you flourish—and I’ll tell you why. You’re kind and so sweet and compassionate too--don’t get discouraged we don’t look like you. And though other kids may not act the same way, we’ll always be with you; in our hearts you’ll stay. So don’t think of yourself as a child with no home; you have a new family, and a house of your own.

Love Always,

Cousin Mayfield