There is so much that I want to say, and so much I should probably keep to myself. I will say this, Thank You for your support. You guys are amazing. What would I do without you?
I can’t really talk about August 30th without talking about Pip.
At the very beginning of June, I showed up at a friend’s birthday party without Steven. Pip wanted to know where he was, and when he would be back. I explained to her that his mom was sick, and that he had gone to Phoenix to take care of her. I ended up hitching a ride home with Pip and Squeak. In the backseat, wedged tightly between two car seats, we re-hashed the highlights of the party. Pip reached into her goody bag and pulled out a green yo-yo she had received as a party favor. “Could you give this to Steve?” (Steven never goes by 'Steve', in Pip’s case, however, he makes an exception). I sent the yo-yo on to Phoenix in a care package that consisted mostly of all things ginger. Ginger is great for chemo-induced nausea.
When Pip and Squeak came over in July. We talked a lot.
Pip: When is Steve coming back?
Me: I’m not sure.
Pip: Aren’t you scared without him here?
Me: Nope. The house is safe and I have these two big dogs keeping me company.
Pip: But aren’t you scared at night, all alone without Steve?”
Me (wavering a bit) Uhm, no I’m okay.
Pip: But isn’t it scary when it’s really dark, and you are all alone and Steve is not here?
Me: Well, yeah actually, now that you mention it, I guess I am a little bit scared.
Me: I’m so happy to see you guys. I just love you guys.
Pip: Why do you love us? You’re not our mom.
Me: You’re right; I am not your mom…
Pip: You are just our best friends.
Did I mention that I love Pip and Squeak?
August 30th was the monthly Ethiopian Adoptive families play date in Little Ethiopia. Steven reluctantly agreed to accompany me.
Pip completely lit up when she saw him.
Pip:(half joking in reference to the newly acquired soul patch) Are you Steve?!!!
Steve:(half joking in reference to Pip looking significantly more toothless than three months ago) Are you Pip?!?
Pip gives him a huge hug.
Pip: Wow, you were gone for so many years. How many years were you taking care of your mom? You look so old.
Steven does look older. Older, gaunt and grief stricken.
We take our seats around the messob, Pip leans over and quietly asks, “Did Steve get the green yo- yo?”
I assure her that he did.
Throughout the lunch, several tiny Ethiopians throw their arms around Steven welcoming him home. It was such a wonderful thing to see; A glimpse, hopefully of the future. The thought of these beautiful, sensitive, thoughtful kids meeting the children that we would be entrusted with, was almost too much to take.
When we got home. We had a message from our neighbors. They wanted to know if we could babysit that evening. We were happy to welcome our twelve-year-old neighbor over to our house. She ran back home early on to grab her guitar.
Steven showed her some new chords. She showed Steven how to play, ‘Smoke on the Water,’ and ‘Paint it Black,’ (which were funny choices for our very proper, very well behaved, very Catholic twelve year old neighbor.)
We introduced her to one of the world’s best movies, ‘Ferris Bueller’s Day Off’. We ate pizza and chocolate chip cookies. She ran home to get three vanilla cokes. We finished off with a couple daring games of Jenga.
The whole day, at least to me, felt like a Future Love Paradise day; a day when we were parents at long last.
Our friend went home with her parents. We got sleepy on the couch and went to bed. We were restless and couldn’t sleep. We were talking about Chris, and I asked Steven to tell me how she would die. Mark called from her bedside a few minutes later. She had died while we were talking. Mark was there, holding her hand, telling her all about the things, we her children, and her grandchildren were going to do in the future. He sang softly to her as she took her last breath.
My husband has lost both of his parents. He will turn forty this year, and most likely will become a father.
All that I can say is, batten down the hatches.