Thursday, December 13, 2012

Surprise...Day One in Belize

Thursday ~ arrival day
After a fairly uneventful morning of traveling…well, the handle of my carry-on did break taking it out of the car, forcing me to carry it instead of pulling it, which was a bit more strenuous than I was hoping for, especially in the huge Atlanta airport! (However did we manage all those years before wheels on luggage were invented?) And once I got to Belize, trying to finagle the two huge checked bags filled with clothes and treats for all the kids at Liberty, the broken carry-on, my lap-top case and my backpack…well let’s just say I’m sure I did the Three Stooges proud what with one of the other suitcase always tipping over while I was trying to pick up the last one that fell. Finally I made it through customs and spotted my ride and without any more mishaps we were off to Liberty.

Unlike the other trips down here where we stayed at a local bungalow, I would be staying right at the children’s home so I could maximize my time with the kids. We had told the kids that since they could not be home for Christmas, we were sending them a Christmas surprise that they should receive on Thursday. As soon as we pulled in, Zarrina came up to the car to see if she could be helpful, and when she saw me in the back seat, she got this strange, almost blank look on her face, like she knew she knew the face, but couldn't believe it. So I said…SURPRISE! And she broke into her famous ear-to-ear grin and said, MOM! Is that really you? And she gave me  lots of hugs and kisses and took me by the hand and led me to where I would be staying.
 Now last January when we were there to meet the kids, Zarrina was understandably much more shy and reserved with me. She is by nature shy and very introspective. However since we have been talking together of the course of this year, we have gotten to know each other much better and in her genuine excitement and happiness that I was there  she let her guard down to give AND receive much sweet  affection. It was really wonderful! None of the siblings were there at that time as they were either out on a shopping trip or finishing up exams at school, so we were able to sit and talk together for about an hour before we were interrupted. Z was animated and glowing during this whole one-on-one time together and I was blessed to see a part of her she normally keeps hidden.

Just then Tyler came in and walked right by me. I came up behind him and hugged and kissed him on the back of his neck and said…Guess who this is? In his adorable raspy voice and lilting Kriol accent he said, “I dunno; who eezzit?” and he turned to look at me. Again, like Zarrina he had the look like…I recognize you, but it can’t be.
He said, “You look like mah Mom… you-ah my Mom?”
“Yes, my son, it is me …SURPRISE!!”
And the boy just buried his head into me and held onto me so tightly…like if he let go or looked up he feared I would disappear, and that made my heart just sink for him, because I knew what would be coming next.
Excitedly he asked. “Mom, Mom, Mom, (he was so excited he only said it three times instead of his usual five times…)You comb fo me to take-ah me home?”
Sigh…. No my son, not yet. I am just here for a few days to surprise you for Christmas. Pretty soon though you will go home.
“Aftah Chreestmas we go home?”
Yes…just a few weeks after Christmas, Daddy and I will come back to get you and your brothers and sisters to go home for good.
“Ok  den. You bring me Chreestmas presents?”
Yes, I brought you all a small gift.
“When can I have eet? Can I have eet right now-ah?”
This boy makes me laugh out loud! I told him he had to wait a while longer and he was happy to wait. I asked him where the others were and he told me Shaddie was just around the corner, playing marbles. I snuck up behind Shaddie and repeated the same thing I had done with Tyler, only Shaddie was quick to recognize my voice. He still looked at me with disbelief, but also quickly held on for tight hugs and happily beamed as I planted several kisses on his beautiful face. We discussed how long I was to be here and then he went back to his game of marbles.

Now an interesting thing happened while I was with the boys…I noticed Zarrina had gone back to her usual reserved, almost aloof behavior and even though I went back to sit down and talk with her, she no longer wanted to be engaged. I decided to keep talking and acting like nothing had changed on her part and while she never came back to the joyful camaraderie that had marked our first hour together, I could tell she was enjoying me being affectionate with her. Back in January when she retreated like this and refused to even answer me, I thought she didn't like me and was “dissing” me. Boy, I had totally misread her back then. This girl just wants to be pursued and sought after. She wants to know that you care enough to work hard to earn her affection and once that light bulb went off in my head (DUH!)  it totally changed the dynamic of our relationship. Now that I finally “got it” I don’t mind at all carrying on one-way conversations with her as I know she is listening and enjoying my attempts. And when she refuses to even acknowledge that I am rubbing her shoulders or back, stroking her arms are kissing her head that’s way ok too, because I know now for sure that she secretly really loves the attention and the motherly touches that I am giving her. This was a huge break-through for both of us. And as the days progressed she took my hand a few times while we were walking, acting of course like it was no big deal. And often she would come and stand right near me, waiting for me to hug and kiss her and then rub her back. Our sweet girl couldn’t help herself and she will now let a small smile escape her lips.

Ok, so back to day one and Rupert’s arrival…
I was looking out the window and saw Rupert arriving back at Liberty after school. He stopped to talk with one of the caregivers and then all of a sudden he starts running towards the dining hall with a huge grin on his face, so I knew she must have said something. He came in the room and ran straight towards me and gave me a big hug and planted a big kiss right on my lips. Now this was very surprising…almost more shocking than Zarinna’s affection to me as Rupert did not volunteer any physical affection towards me last January. He was very sweet and polite and thoughtful, and he didn't seem to mind if I loved up on him a bit, but it definitely was not reciprocal. It wasn't until the very last moment just before we were leaving that he ever gave me a hug and a quick kiss on the cheek the whole week we were there! But here he was now, so happy to see me that he was both hugging and kissing me in front of his friends! This trip was turning out to be pretty cool so far…all that was left was the capricious Miss. B.

She was out shopping for the upcoming big fundraiser with the Director, Miss Delfena and the minute the van pulled into the lot and slowed to a stop, out she jumped and ran like a track star to the dining hall. Miss Smarty-pants had put 2-and-2 together after overhearing one of Miss Delfena's conversations in the van and our telling her there was a surprise coming on Thursday that the surprise was me. I’m warning you all now…not much will ever escape our would-be-dictator and she has the brains, determination and vivaciousness to make things happen her way. This child has a huge personality and lives right out loud, every single day. She can be quite overwhelming to the meek of heart…good thing she is coming into a family that already has experience with guiding and training determined, vivacious would-be-dictators and actually likes how stubborn they are…right Sarah?
Anyway all 100+ pounds of her jumped into my arms and almost knocked us both to the floor, except that I had calculated her non-slowing pace and braced myself before she hit like a tsunami. She smothered my face with kisses and then promptly told me before I could say how long I was there for that as long as I was here I will have to just stay until after the court date to save on airfare. That be mah Sugar-Sugar, Miss B. and she warms my heart with her zest for life.

The rest of the day was spent catching up looking at a year's worth of photos on the Ipad and having all five sit as close to me as possible, if not on my lap.  By 8pm I was so beat I excused myself to go back to  the Volunteers Dorm with a smile on my face and a grateful heart that it had all gone as well as it had.

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