Yesterday, February 28th, marks three months in Tennessee with our son, Ben. My dad and I brought him home from Ethiopia on November 28th, 2009. Read earlier chapters of our journey here
Yesterday also turned out to be a milestone day in a few other ways as well. I planned to take the three kids to church while Amy stayed home and worked on the taxes (so much for sabbath rest). The day began when Jamie Peterson called and offered to take all 3 kids to hang at their place after church… while Andrew is out of town, no less.
Now, we have a pretty great back yard, with a creek and bamboo everywhere, but the Petersons have a stinking outdoor extravaganza, with an enormous hill that falls into a forest with a zipline tucked away down one of the trails. My kids LOVE hanging with their kids, and oh yeah, inside they’ve got this newfangled electronic contraption they call “Wii.”
The snow in Nashville has melted, Sunday was indeed sunny, and needless to say, our two oldest, Livi and Jonah, were jumping at the chance to escape the “laundry party” we had planned for after church. But Ben? He’s only 2. Surely he can’t go. That’d be too much for Jamie, and besides, he takes a nap every day at 1:00! But I saw Jamie at church and she was completely unafraid of no-nap Ben, and again suggested that she take all 3 kids. I called Amy.
Meanwhile, Ben was also having his first solo-Sunday school experience. I lifted him over the guard-fence thing and he slipped right into the lap of one of the (very sweet) volunteers. It probably helped that it was snack time. Ben really likes to eat.
For at least 20 minutes, I hung back away from view and Ben played with blocks and cars alongside the other kids, and it wasn’t until he heard my voice around the corner (talking to Amy on the phone) that he started to get upset. I went and got him and after a few minutes he actually wanted to go back and finish playing! It was the greatest.
In the end, Amy and I were so intoxicated by the idea of a quiet Sunday afternoon, and Jamie had offered the perfect scenario for us to see how Ben would do away from mom and dad. He’s had grandparent babysitters before, but he’d never gone to “a friend’s house…” and he did GREAT! We showed up 5 hours later and the kids had all had a great time together between the forest, the clubhouse, legos and the Wii. Oh, and Jamie said she wasn’t sure how many apples Ben ate, but it was a lot. And he had a full plate of spaghetti, and he decided that the bowl of pretzels Jamie left out for everyone was just for him.
But I digress. After 3 months, all in all, I’d say our our two biggest questions have faded into irrelevance. The first was, “How is Ben going to do?” And he is doing amazing. He is fun and happy and snuggly and so pleased to be Ben, he is a joy to be around. The other question was, “How will Livi and Jonah do?” And we are humbled by their unquestioned acceptance and love for him. Now, he is 2, and he drives Jonah nuts when he keeps messing with the buttons on the tape player as they’re listening to Harry Potter. And he stole some chocolates out of the heart-shaped box a boy gave Livi for Valentines day (I told her not to leave her door open). But that all seems pretty normal, and they seem to get that too. We are so thankful.
The picture below is from a recent trip to Krispy Kreme. Sometimes everybody just needs a doughnut. I think Ben would say, all times everybody needs a doughnut.