First Night

You know those moments you have, when you look around your life and just marvel at how you got here? I had several of these tonight.

First, when the translator told the boys of our wish for them to be comfortable, and to make this their home, and that we wanted them to feel at home with our food and our customs, and their response was, “You ask us to treat you like your parents and make this our home, and we would like to behave as your sons. We will eat what you eat, please don’t feel like you have to make only our food. Please give us work to do and let us help this family, because you are all we have left.” Dozer had to take a second to stop her tears.

Next, when the Ethiopian translator, a darling older man with a neat mustache, insisted on making us a traditional dinner in his stocking feet, and took over our kitchen with great delight. He then served us a fabulous dinner of chicken in spices and tomatoes with injera, teaching us how to eat, after a prayer in Tigrinya. Everyone was covered in sauce, and my hands still smell of spice, and that meal was one of the best I’ve ever eaten.

Then, Stinky came to me and whispered under his breath something about the shoes the boys were wearing. I explained to him that kids from refugee camps often wore these same plastic sandals, and noted that our boys had cut the straps on theirs, presumably because their feet had outgrown their shoes. Stinky had this huge look of sadness on his face when he quietly said, “That is why they have those welts on their feet, their shoes are too small…”

After dinner, the boys all played soccer on the lawn. Eritrea won. The US team needs some work, but I bet by the end of these few weeks, Stinky will be quite a bit leaner. I just kept thinking, “My sons are playing ball in my front yard with kids that left an Ethiopian refugee camp three weeks ago.” My brain can’t quite keep up with what is happening.

This is the life we are choosing, and the only thing I wash was different is I wish that all of my children were here to experience it. The new boys that are here come with their own set of blessings, as does every child that comes into this home. I’m glad we have a place for them, and I’m looking forward to tomorrow when I take my larger family shopping for the necessities that the boys still need, and a new pair of tennis shoes for Sugar Biscuit, who is extraordinarily excited about two new boys to harass into playing ball with him.

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