Tuesday, March 31, 2015

Well, That's Awkward

Sometime last winter I was Skyping with Matt and Mary.  They were in Morocco for a year after we left and, truth be told, we Skyped almost daily.  No one else was around; it was just me.  We had been planning their move back to the States and four doors down from us for a few months.  I was sharing with them our struggles with Joshua/Baby A and how difficult it had been.  And I told them I just really needed them to be there in person.  And I'm crying.

You know what's super awkward?  Crying over Skype.  Because it's not like you can reach out and hug someone, get them a tissue, pat them on the back.  You just have to sit there and watch, maybe mumble an,"I'm so sorry", "It's going to be OK". And as much as he loves us, Matt's not very touchy-feely emotional, so I'm sure it was all he could do to keep from getting up and leaving the room.

But he didn't.  They stayed.

What I was trying to convey that day was that we needed some family to do life with.  We knew it was not a possibility that any of our family was moving to Reston, but the Stephensons are the next best thing.  We had become family in Morocco; everybody needs some nearby and ain't nobody got family in Morocco. Unless your Moroccan.  Ahem. Anyway,  I'm sure some of you have experienced that.  We needed someone to love Joshua like we do, to be able to go throw him in their care when we were desperate for a 30 minute break.  We needed encouragers and people we could totally be ourselves with.

We certainly have a few other friends up here that would fit that description, and definitely a great community at church, but this needed to be a stone's throw.  Walking distance.  10 minutes was just too far for this stage of life.

They moved in September and it has been better than we hoped.

In considering the Stephensons move we were mostly counting on the benefits for ourselves (Joe and me).  But the entire family (yes, even you William) has blessed us in unexpected ways.

As I've written before, G had been longing for a sibling peer.  Carolyn (3.5 years) has become that sibling.  Not only does he have a playmate that is almost always accessible, he is learning conflict resolution!  Oh yes, they fight like cats and dogs, but this too is a blessing.  We have watched G mature over the last 6 months; turn taking, compromising, and speaking kindly.  He has a ways to go on this, of course.

Carolyn and William have been a help for Joshua, too.  Because of years of indifference from Joshua, G has largely given up on them playing together.  He mainly just lets Joshua go his own way.  I don't blame him, and he doesn't do it unkindly.  However, Carolyn and William are younger and don't understand what's going on with Joshua.  So they are a great challenge to him.  They still attempt to entice him to play, they annoy him by trying to "share" toys, and they scream and shout.  Yes, even that is a good thing.  One of our current goals for Joshua is for him to tolerate many different situations.  Especially the ones that aren't necessarily his favorites. Recently, Joshua and William have begun playing together a bit.  There has been some giggling, and chasing with turn taking.  Joshua seems to really like and be most tolerant of William.  We're not sure if it's because they are closer developmentally (and Joshua can sense that) or something in William's personality.  But it warms my heart every time I hear William excitedly exclaim,"Jah-wa!" (Joshua)

And Baby A?  Well, she loves just everybody.  Especially Baby Thomas.  And Aunt Mary.  And you wouldn't believe the angst she is causing 2 year old William now that she is walking.  The way he reacts, you would think she is a big scary monster coming towards him to take ALL of his toys.  I think eventually these two will be best pals.

Joe and I have always thought we could live just about anywhere in the world, in about any circumstance, as long as we had good friends (or family) to laugh with at the end of the day.

Turns out it's true.

The only photo of our crew.  There are 2 new people since this one.

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