It's late Friday night, both little people are sleeping: Missy after a poor nap and resulting early bedtime, and the Peeper after a LATE bedtime staying up to watch the second "Shrek" movie. He SO didn't get the pop culture references but liked the farting, so I suppose I have to give credit to the Dreamworks people - they know how to snare the four-and-a-half-year-old demographic. He also cried when he was informed that I would be doing the cuddling instead of Mommy. This boy doesn't cozen. He let me know in tearful volume exactly how not-acceptable I was as a substitute for Mommy. No quantity of Fudgesicles would make him mince his tears. He was still sniffling as he yawned his way to sleep with me stroking his back. Poor Peep. It's hard to be the big brother sometimes...
We had a very comfortable Thanksgiving at Kelli's, along with several other adoptive moms and friends. Big public thank you and a shoutout to Kelli, the hostess, who was the Martha Stewart of Overlook (only without the prison record and all), and to the little people who helped make the occasion so much fun; supercutie Nina, a complete hand at five, adorable and so helpful at encouraging little one-and-a-half year old girls! And, prejudiced as I am, I thought little Missy walked off with the "Most Cutest Child Evah!" award for her excited "OhmiGAWDthiswhippedcreamstuffisSOGOOD!" scream every time I loaded her finger with a curlique of the white stuff. She was also the perfect turkey feed guest, getting herself around the outside of everything not nailed down to the point where we all remarked on her enormous buddha belly that night. Poor Peep and little Dumpling were feeling sicky, and we missed the two adorables Hazel and big sister Ruby, who had other commitments. But those who were there enjoyed the delicious food and the antics of the sweet kids. Good times. Good times.
There was one moment that I will remember a long time for its bittersweet quality, though. Little Miss was sitting at the kids' table very quietly - I think she had a sippy and was just sitting, drinking sporadically and entertaining herself playing with the blocks Nina had left behind. Kelli's friend Heidi, who had been helping in the kitchen, came in and sat down at the little table and talked to Missy, just talked, all the while looking at her with such an expression of care and wanting... I hoped Heidi would stroke Missy's hair or cuddle with her, the look on her face was so openly longing, all I could think that here was a mother with a mother's love...and the only thing missing was the little girl of her own to love and be loved to fill her heart. Life is cruelly hard; we have ways of hiding it from ourselves or not seeing the harshness. But there are times when the light shines on the cruelty in such a way that we can't avoid it or deny it. It is those times when we need the kindness of those we love to help us. I'm glad Heidi, Kelli and their "Village" are there for each other. For the thought of having to face that world...with that look...and alone...
The world is still troubled, and our family manages to get on through somehow, but I'm not ready to talk about it right now. So I'll be back Sunday, and until then I hope you, and those you love, and those who love you are all together in spirit if not in person, and that those loving fires make a joyous bonfire that warms you long after the embers of this holiday cool to drifting ash.