Friday, November 18, 2011

Had Another Dream About Lions at the Door

Meazi had a nightmare the other night. She woke me up, saying in a panic, "Mom, I'm having a really bad dream." I held her close and said that it was okay. She told me she had been dreaming that a lion was in our room, getting ready to attack us. He left and went to Simi valley to Tessa's house, then on to G and F's  house in Minnesota, and then all the way to Ethiopia where her brothers and sisters scared him away with a big knife.

I know that this has to do a bit with this post from Cien. I had asked Meazi about this a couple weeks ago, and she said YES indeed, there were big cats in those caves. Big cats.

I can't really imagine what it is like to be Meazi. She is so, so, confident and bold on the outside. At night, once in a while, she wakes up in sheer terror, afraid of a big cat getting ready to attack her, getting ready to attack her family here, and her family there, and her friends all over, everywhere.

Today, for the first time ever, we took the kids to get their blood drawn. I can't believe that this was their first blood draw ever, with us, but due to a lazy pediatrician, and a general outstanding healthiness, there never seemed to be a reason to do one before.

Steven was off of work, thank goodness. He thought we should have Melese go first because if he saw Meazi go first, he would get upset. The phlebotomist asked if we had a preference for who goes first. Steven went in with Melese. I heard him whimper, "I want to go home daddy". He whimpered and whimpered and screamed when they did it. Meazi, who was on my lap in the waiting area began to plug her ears. I felt her tense up. When it was her turn, she panicked. She fought Steven as he attempted to pick her up and carry her to the other room. She began to scream. Melese had come back with big eyes pooling with tears. He showed me his bandage and said it hurt. Meazi was freaking out, screaming and kicking Steven as he walked her back. I could hear her screams and crying from the other room, as they started getting her ready, "This rubber band is called a tourniquet," she screamed again,  my face contorted and I began to cry. The receptionist looked at me and said, "Perhaps you should take a walk around the block?" Yes, yes, I thought. I need to get Melese out of here. I need to get myself out of here. Her screams were unbearable. Immediately my brain went to a dark place, a very dark place. I was a mother in Somalia, in the Congo, my daughter was screaming because someone was hurting her, raping her, beating her. I clung to Melese pacing in the parking lot, wondering what I would do if my children were being hurt by someone, really hurt. Murder, I thought, I would have to murder them. How would I do it? Would I be strong enough? I peeked in through the window, in between two white blinds I saw that the receptionist was looking at me and giving me the thumbs up. I rushed back in as Meazi came out from her simple blood draw (I didn't even feel the needle mom!). Her eyes were huge, tears lay on her cheeks. I told her it was ok. I told her we were going to Jamba Juice and that, yes, she could have whatever she wanted there- whatever she wanted. Razzamataz. The largest size.

Last week Meazi fell and cut open her face. It was a huge, gaping wound. The pink flesh was startling. So, very pink. She had been pretending that her croquet mallets were crutches, and she slipped. The brick lined front walkway was now the scene of a gruesome fall. "It was the yellow one!" She says as I walk by the colorful mallets. I raise a fist and yell, "You lousy mallet!" Releasing some of the worry and sadness at the inanimate object that is much easier to blame then my careless daughter. "Let's never play croquet again with that yellow mallet! " I yell dramatically. Her face, today, is finally looking better. I douse it with vitamin e oil, right before I tuck her in for what I hope is an undisturbed slumber.

Meanwhile, this evening, Steven works hard on a Doro wat in the kitchen. Melese, in his jammies, jumps from the coffee table to my lap on the couch. He jumps high, throws his arms around my neck and yells exuberantly, "I love you mommy, I love you mommy! I love you so much!" I squeeze him back and think that my heart may break into a million pieces.

The heartbreak that is parenting. The joy that is motherhood. The worry about the lions lurking behind every door, and the knowledge that everything has changed.

Everything has changed by knowing them. Everything.


  1. Their pain is your pain.

    Beautiful, Mama.

  2. <3
    Yes everything has changed. Everything. Hearts and all.

  3. I missed your writing. Tears again. amazing strength all around in your family.

  4. i've had that same thought in a moment of emotion: if someone hurt my kid i'd have to murder them and i wouldn't know how.

    this is a beautiful post, I've missed your writing too!

  5. You are lucky to have them - but I'm also so glad that they have you all. To comfort them, hold them, protect and fight for them.

    Beautiful kiddos.

  6. Julie, would you pretty please write a whole book someday? I fall into your writing. I'm taken to another place when I read your posts. It's hard to read sometimes, but so real, and there's nothing I like better than an authentic, empathetic writer.

  7. I'm not reading much lately but I saw the word 'lions' and had to come by. Belaye is obsessed/terrified of lions. He will not go into a dark room at night because of lions. Wonders when driving around town at night "are there any lions behind the houses?" Asks if lions live in our town and then always asks when we go to a new town 'if lions are from there.' I never thought of lions in Ethiopia. Hyena's yes. Lions?

    Thanks for this. Yes, on the pain. As Quinn gets older and the barbs that are sent his way are sharper I find it harder and harder to remain calm.

  8. please write a book
    I would buy it..not just get it from the library
    You express what so many can't
    thank you Julie

  9. Beautiful and I am slowly beginning to understand this whole parenthood thing. I recently read your "6 month home" post...We've been home 3 and I am stunned by how hard this is. Our older one's ups and downs are incredibly intense. But I am trying to keep in mind...6 months, 6 months, 6 months....

  10. Beautiful kiddos.....shall i know the about adoption details....

  11. Thank you for your blog and sharing the experience of parenting these amazing two people. As my husband and I wait (and wait and wait) for a young sibling group from Ethiopia -- in some fear and trepidation -- I find solace in blogs like yours.

  12. Oh, what a beautiful post, Julie... so tragically beautiful.

  13. I forget how much I miss by neglecting blogs. Why I periodically deprive myself of your writing, I don't know. I'm sorry I missed this. I'm sorry you didn't. Aster's fears/insecurities/feeling/worries come out in real time. Crazy brave Ruth's come out in nightmares. Hate it.