Another Thanksgiving has passed, reminding us of the many blessings in our lives. If I had to create a list, a functioning oven might fall somewhere on the page. Hosting Thanksgiving six years ago, we were suddenly thrust into a “turkastrophy” of gargantuan proportion. Our oven was not working. Tom whisked the stuffed turkey a few miles away. Checking on the bird numerous times, in the home of our blissfully unaware out of town friends, Tom was able to retrieve the main course for a mid-day meal. Let me note, we have never again used a key for such purposes. Thankfully, they are the type of friends that found the whole scenario hilarious.
Last Thursday began in much the same way. Suddenly our darkened kitchen was a buzz of quiet activity around 4:30am. Tom made quick work of prepping the turkey while I put together my grandma’s stuffing recipe. After an hour, a stuffed bird barely fit into the roaster as it went into the same working oven. Each year Tom’s boss gives us a turkey. This year he outdid himself with a 30 lbs. bird. Throughout the remainder of the morning, Mom slept, and Eli helped Dad to prepare the feast.
|Attempting to capture my parents is never a simple feat.|
Grandpa Bob and Grandma Jean arrived for a noon meal. This contributed to the kid’s level of excitement. Something I enjoy so much about the Thanksgiving holiday is Eli’s genuine level of enthusiasm. He loves the preparation, helping Dad make an apple pie and getting out the good dishes. If you notice a Tom centered cooking theme, it requires a bit of explanation. Tom does a majority of the cooking in our house. Yes, I stay home, and work intermittently from our home; however this is a responsibility Tom assumes. It does not go with the uniformed look of someone in the trades. Tom loves nothing more than getting out of his uniform, putting on a pair of khaki’s, and cooking up a storm. It is his “thing.”
It topped my weekend to see my brother, sister-in-law, and nephew. Our nephew is one year younger than Sidney, and she is about an inch taller. She continues to catch up on growth as a result of contracting a severe case of giardia in the orphanage. As she played with our nephew, gently putting his pacifier back into his mouth and handing him toys, we were reminded of her ability to nurture. We constantly hear about very young children caring for babies, in an orphanage environment. If a child is able to do anything, they are purposed. We know this was the case for Sidney. She has always loved babies and young toddlers.
Sidney was only a couple of months older than my newphew when she came home. Her eyes revealed much more. Frankly, they looked old and tired. It was obvious, she had endured a lot. My thoughts have revolved around her transformation over the last few months, because a parent recently adopted from Sidney’s orphanage. We are part of the same online group. From what I can gather, she is either a professional photographer or very good in her craft. She was allowed to go into the orphanage and take photos in the infant rooms and around the grounds. If an orphanage allows a family to visit, it can be contained to one small area. Sometimes lunch is served with the director in a common room, or the family might be given access to one area used by the children. I believe this is in an effort to save face. Accessing a baby room makes the visiting party aware of the lack of resources and availability of care for the many, many children within its walls. Therefore, on many occasions, parents arrive expecting to visit the facility, in its entirety, only to go into one room. Tom and I were not allowed to visit as a result of H1N1. There were and continue to be a mix of emotions about not seeing where Sidney dwelled all of those months.
I am not going to post the images, because I feel I need to protect the privacy of other families given access to the same group of pictures. A majority of the photos are not happy, and I feel it is not something which should be glorified on a blog. We have photos of the orphanage, however this parent captured life. The photos depict a human suffering which took me a few days to process emotionally. It is a beautiful tragedy. Despite the understood realities of an orphanage environment, and the poverty surrounding the building itself, it is a blessing to have the photos for Sidney’s life book. There are a couple which will definitely go into frames in our home, taken on the streets, in the city of Chenzhou.
Whew! That was a long post. Thanks for sticking with me!