The Next Adventure

Although my last post was from August 2014, that doesn’t mean nothing has happened in the past two and three quarter years. Alayna has weathered the college years with great success and looks forward to studying abroad this fall in France and graduating from A&M next spring.

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Nate just graduated high school and is taking twelve hours this summer and another full load in the fall at ACC with the hope of transferring into UT in January. His playlist is diverse, his friends are plentiful, and he makes a mean omelet.

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Photo credit: Courtney Cope http://www.courtneycopemedia.com

 

Benji has grown, he is no longer a tiny little guy but taller than both Alayna and me. He’s into acting, and soccer, and friends, and he’ll be driving a stick shift by the end of the summer.

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Photo credit: Courtney Cope http://www.courtneycopemedia.com

Clay still works at LiveAnew, plays some golf, and is currently growing extremely hot habanero peppers at a rapid rate. He is my biggest fan and my best friend, we recently celebrated 24 years of marriage and adventuring together.

I am still writing stories for children, and for the last few years I’ve also had the opportunity to be part of the Austin Stone Story Team. I’ve learned how to interview and I’ve worked with some amazing editors. It’s been awesome to see my stories come full circle as they make their way into the world.

There will be some particularly interesting “stories in the street” in the coming months and years. It seems adventures come in cycles for the Davis family. In 2007-08 we traveled around the world for nine and a half months. In 2012 we hosted Rebeka from Rwanda for almost a year while she had surgeries on her feet.

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When Rebeka returned home we started asking ourselves what our next adventure would be. I don’t mean to say that we do these things for the sake of having an adventure, but it’s what ends up happening when we say yes to big things. It took a while for the path to materialize, but here we are in 2017, our path strewn with diapers and pacifiers alongside diplomas and driving permits. The Davises are stepping into foster care, willing to take a baby for a day or a year, maybe two. It is a world just as foreign and strange as Morocco or Vietnam. A world of plastic, vibrating bassinets and tiny tubes used to suck boogers from teeny noses (I refuse), a world of massive paperwork and massive heartache, a world that is broken and filled with everyday heroes. I hope to tell you about some of them here. These are the kinds of stories where real names can’t be shared, and pictures can’t be posted. I hope I can do them justice.

I’m also traveling to Rwanda solo in June 23rd to interview Rebeka and her family for a book I’m working on. There are many adventures ahead, and many in the rearview mirror. Stay tuned for more stories in the street.

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These Shoes Are Meant for Walking

I’ve been reading this great book by N.D. Wilson, called Death by Living.

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I want to quote the whole thing, my highlighter will run out of ink before I finish it, but here’s just a taste: “Drink your wine. Laugh from your gut. Burden your moments with thankfulness. Be as empty as you can be when that clock winds down. Spend your life. And if time is a river, may you leave a wake.” (p.117)

These words struck a chord with me. They reminded me of Benji’s shoes. See, our kids wear uniforms to school, and at the beginning of the year they get nice, new shoes. Regulation brown shoes like these:

Benji's 2014-15 school shoes.

Benji’s 2014-15 school shoes.

As we were getting ready for school this year, I discovered Benji’s old pair of shoes from last year.

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Benji’s 2013-14 shoes

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Benji’s 2013-14 shoes.

Benji lived a lot of good life in those shoes. He played a lot of gaga ball, chased friends, hurried to class, and wore a path to school and home again. He spent some life, and he left a few wakes. I loved finding those shoes. And I loved finding this shoe.

The shoe Rebeka wore when she arrived in the US, summer 2012.

The shoe Rebeka wore when she arrived in the US, summer 2012.

Talk about a shoe representing a life. I shadowboxed one and sent it with Alayna to college, and kept one for ourselves. Rebeka’s is a life filled with struggle and fight and victory, and we got to see some of it unfold on our own home soil.The shoe looks tiny because it only needed to fit the top of Rebeka’s foot, contorted and curled. The shoe represents such a big story, on a grand scale. Ten-year-old Rwandan girl travels to Texas to live with a family she’s never met and undergo painful surgery, unsure how long she’ll be here or if the surgeries will work. She learned how to speak English, how to read, how to turn on a light switch and a water faucet. That’s drama. But there’s drama in Benji’s old Sperry’s, too. Much to be thankful for in both of their stories. Here’s one more quote from Death by Living.

“Imagine sticking your finger on your pulse and thanking God every time He gave you another blood-driving, brain-powering thump. We should. And we shouldn’t, because if we did, we would never do anything else with our living; we wouldn’t have the time to look at or savor any of the other of our impossibillions of gifts.” (p. 108)

“Impossibillions.” It doesn’t matter what’s going on in our lives, whether life is good or life is hard, we have much to be thankful for. We take breaths, “pie smells like pie and hangnails heal and honeycrisp apples are real and dogs wag their tails and awe perpetually awaits us in the sky.” (p. 108) I framed Rebeka’s shoe, but I wonder if I should have framed Benji’s shoe, too. To remind myself that time is always passing, life is always being lived, no matter how “blog-worthy” it is, and it should be appreciated even if it can’t be held. Benji bought another pair of new shoes this summer, lacrosse shoes.

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They hold all the hope and promise of a wild, passionate time of his life as a new season begins. These particular shoes are made for running, playing, and stating to the world, “I am Benji, hear my turquoise roar.” And by the end of the season, may they be ragged and worn through, soaked with sweat and striving and learning and living well.

Benji's 2012 lacrosse team.

Benji’s 2012 lacrosse team.

 

Waiting

I intended for my next blog post to be about home visits in Rwanda. I have all these great pictures I wanted to post, of the different sorts of houses our sponsored kids live in, and what it’s like to be on the bus while someone else does a home visit. The kids that gather, their mortal fear of puppets, and their love for stickers and arm hair. But what’s on my mind, as I sit in the waiting room at Arise Medical Center, is not home visits, so I’ll save it for another day. Here’s a picture. I can’t wait to tell those stories.

This is our sponsored child Ruth's home.

This is our sponsored child Ruth’s home.

I have definitely spent more time in hospitals this past year than I ever have before (except maybe those ten days I spent in the hospital when my appendix broke).  First with Rebeka, as we went in for surgeries and subsequent cast changes. Then with Clay, about a month ago. Those of you who haven’t heard about his daring (Clay says “dumb”) banister feat and resulting broken ribs and punctured lungs missed a great story. Maybe someday I’ll do a blog post about it.

Clay in the emergency room.

Clay in the emergency room.

But this morning, it was Alayna we checked in, for jaw surgery. We’ve been meeting with her oral surgeon for over two years, and we’ve known for over a year that jaw surgery was in her future. It has been carefully planned between the end of dance team football season and cross country season, and departing for college. Her biggest concern leading up to this morning was whether or not her braces will be off before she goes to college, but I imagine there will be more immediate concerns once she wakes from anesthesia. We’ve been armed with a very large bottle of pain medication, liquid since she can’t take pills. Alayna hasn’t been able to bring herself to smell it.

We couldn’t help but remember and compare the hospital experiences of Alayna and Rebeka. Rebeka always arrived with “Georgie” (her Curious George stuffed animal) and her little baby doll (the one Clay sat on). Alayna arrived with her purple unicorn pillow pet.

Rebeka with Georgie and Baby

Rebeka with Georgie and Baby

Alayna with Sheila the Unicorn Pillow Pet

Alayna with Sheila the Unicorn Pillow Pet

But while Rebeka was deathly afraid of needles, Alayna tolerates them just fine. She just looked the other way when they inserted the IV this morning.

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We never saw Rebeka’s IV inserted. She required Versed (a medication that makes you very sleepy and kind of happy) before she would even put on the “clown nose,” with its flavored orange smell that would send her off to dreamland. They inserted here IV back in the OR, It was a difficult procedure since her veins were small and hard to find, due to the arthrogryposis. One time she even had to have the IV inserted in her jugular because they couldn’t find a vein.

Because Alayna could have her IV inserted first thing, they delivered her Versed by IV. Rebeka always took hers orally, and it tasted horrible. She would be armed with a couple paper towels to wipe off her tongue (no drinks allowed), and there was lots of complaining and horrible faces when she took it. We remembered how scared she was, that first time she went in for the operation. No amount of preparation could have prepared her, or us, for that moment we kissed her cheeks and they wheeled her through the big swinging doors. That first time, she couldn’t speak much English. She was so afraid. That first time she didn’t take Versed, but she did every time after.

Alayna was big smiles just moments after the Versed hit the IV. She started giggling and covered her face, laughing, which made us laugh. Part nerves, part hilarity, I had tears rolling down my face, same as when they took Rebeka back. It was a good way to go to surgery, I think, laughing this time.

As they wheeled her away, we called, “Goodbye” and saw her hand flop in a wave from over the back of her bed.

As we waited, I tried not to think about the cuts her doctor was making in her jaw. I completely trust him, but still, he was cutting her bones apart Re-adjusting them. Three hours, and lots of prayers, later, we got a call. He was “closing her back up.” With Rebeka, we always scrubbed in and were with her as she woke up. Maybe because it was a children’s hospital. But here, we won’t see her until they move her to her room. I was anxious, wondering if she was afraid as she regained consciousness. Wondering if she hurt. She is eighteen years old. She signed her own release forms. I was sure she’d be fine, but all those protective instincts were tilled up to the surface, and I don’t like waiting.

So much of life is spent waiting. As a kid, we can’t wait for Christmas morning. I’m waiting for a book contract. Alayna’s waiting to hear from colleges. And I had to wait all morning to see my girl again. She can’t wait for the swelling to go down, and for the braces to come off. But I’m trying not to spend so much time looking forward, I forget to notice the here and now. We have plans to watch a movie this afternoon. Alayna will be on the receiving end of sweet friends and family in the days ahead, sending love and prayers and encouragement and soup recipes (liquid diet, two weeks). This has been a forced pause in the holiday hustle and bustle. I’ve realized, as I remembered Rebeka and received sweet texts and taken time to just sit still and pray for my daughter, that sometimes the wait, itself, is worth the wait.

The Bear/Moose

The last time I wrote a post, we were saying goodbye to Rebeka. Since then we’ve received a few pictures of her back home. My favorite so far is this one.

We feed on these photos like parasites, noticing every details. Her hair is braided! She's wearing that Dora dress she loved! She's wearing the socks Kate gave her!

We feed on these photos, noticing every detail. Her hair is braided! She’s wearing that Dora dress she loved! She’s wearing the socks Kate gave her!

Clay asked us when we thought a day would go by that we wouldn’t think about Rebeka. It certainly hasn’t happened yet, things remind us of her all the time. There are pictures of her around the house, an unfinished craft she was doing with a friend, some picture books I read to her the last night, still unshelved . . . there are pieces of her everywhere.

From all reports, she is happy with her family and will soon be attending a boarding school a few hours from her home. She will miss her family, but they can visit once a month, and she will be getting the benefits of attending one of the best schools in the country. She will also be able to keep up her English, an excellent skill that can take her far. We are hoping to visit her and her family in November, but until then photos and videos sent back from friends on the ground or mission teams are the only way we stay posted. The rest, all those details and stories I wonder about, are left up to my imagination.

Kind of like the bear/moose Clay and I encountered yesterday. We’re in Aspen, celebrating our 20th anniversary a little belatedly, and yesterday we did a fun hike up to Crater Lake and then down and around a Scenic Loop Trail.

At the start of the trail.

At the start of the trail.

At the last part of the trail, we walked past this big bush and heard the HEAVY BREATHING and SNORTING of some sort of BEAST. I’m serious, it scared the pee out of me. I turned around and grabbed Clay’s shirt, and then, in classic fear mode, I side-stepped him and got away from the heavy breathing.

They told us on the bus they’d seen bear and moose in the area. We’d been hopefully watching for them, but had pretty much decided we wouldn’t see one, when we heard the breathing. There was nobody around. Clay tried to peer into the bush while I perched on a tall rock a safe distance away, camera at the ready. Clay tossed a rock into the middle of the bush. Every once in a while we’d hear the breathing again. SOMETHING was in there, something big, I am certain. It sounded wuffly to me, surely sign of a bear. Clay wasn’t so sure. Eventually I hiked back past the breathing to join Clay and we walked slowly away, glancing over our shoulders.

A little ways on, there was a rocky place leading to a dry creek bed. Clay decided to walk back down, pushing through some tangled branches, to see if he could see something from the other side of the large bush. I took the camera and found another rock to perch on. He returned a little later, saying he’d found where the animal had pushed into the thick bush, there was a sort of tunnel he could have gone into, but, kudos to Clay for self-restraint, he thought there was a possibility that he could die if it was an angry moose or bear and he was blocking the animal’s only way out, so he retreated without actually seeing the animal.

That said, Clay thinks it was just a mule deer. I am sticking to my bear/moose story, and I’m almost glad the BEAST never came out of hiding, because I can go on believing our encounter with a bear/moose really happened. There is something to be said for not seeing every piece of a puzzle, for leaving some bits of it up to imagination. I think this holds true whether it’s Rebeka, a creature in the forest, or even my stories. I know readers bring all of their experience and imagination to the words on the page, and the story becomes much bigger than it ever could have been on its own. 

Happy trails to you, and may a few of your questions go unanswered, may some of your stories go unfinished, and may your imaginations fill in the blanks.

The Aspen trees here are beautiful, their leaves all shimmery when the wind blows, and the white trunks like slender white columns, lining our path.

The Aspen trees here are beautiful, their leaves all shimmery when the wind blows, and the white trunks like slender white columns, lining our path.

Story Time

 

There is a Korean service medal sitting on our kitchen counter.

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For days we’ve left it there, keeping our distance, a little afraid to touch it. In awe of all it represents. Nate interviewed Huey, a veteran of the Korean War, for a school project. We first heard Huey speak at Clay’s grandfather’s funeral, and were mesmerized by the stories he told. During Nate’s interview, his story of surviving two years in a Korean POW camp was the kind of story that could change the way a fourteen-year-old boy thinks and lives. Huey said he hasn’t had a bad day since he was rescued in 1953. Wow. Not a single bad day. Nate sent him a thank you note, and a copy of the report he wrote. Huey replied with congratulations for Nate’s good grade, and his Korean Service Medal, signed “Your friend, Huey.” And so, somehow, we feel part of that story now. What a gift.

I seem to be immersed in story this week. I’m participating in a writing workshop led by the talented Sara Zarr this weekend, held at The Writing Barn. Twenty of us bravely submitted our stories, and are getting feedback on how to be better storytellers.

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The Writing Barn in Austin, Texas, where people go to “Retreat, Create and Celebrate.”

And my ears are still ringing with the quiet, confident voice of a Rwandan young man named John Bosco. When he was eight years old his mother died and he had to quit school to try and earn money to help feed his family. He told one of those crazy, walked-uphill-in-the snow-both-ways kind of stories. He took ten long trips a day to his village’s water source, delivering fifteen gallons of water each trip, to families willing to pay for the service. In return he received enough money to buy a small handful of rice. Dark to dark days, and that was just the beginning. Years later, at age fifteen, he longed to go back to school, and miraculously a sponsor stepped forward through ANLM.

 In two years John taught himself English at a French-speaking public school, and studied so hard he won first place in the country on his exams. At age seventeen he entered seventh grade at New Life Christian Academy and continues to excel. He is hard-working, humble, and a big dreamer.

John Bosco on left, with John Africa, headmaster for New Life Christian Academy in Kayonza, Rwanda.

John Bosco on left, with John Africa, headmaster for New Life Christian Academy in Kayonza, Rwanda.

 Huey and John Bosco have reached the ends of their particular stories and are living out others. The piece I submitted for the workshop is still in the beginnings. And Rebeka, she’s about three quarters of the way through her walking story. I’ve been sharing her story here, but I want her to be able to tell her own story. I’ve begun talking to her in the vocabulary of story, as in “What’s your story?” She has a hard time pulling back the lens to see the scope all that’s happened in the past eight months. Where will she start? There is the big story of leaving her family, flying to America, where she spoke no English, to wear forty different casts and have painful surgeries to correct her twisted feet. We are still finding out the ending to that story, as she struggles to learn to walk again. Some days if we pull the lens back too far we can get discouraged, so we keep it tight and celebrate small victories.

We aren’t the only ones. Cars stop as she slowly makes her way down our street, and friends cheer. Our family is creating a new habit of taking walks together, the boys weaving up and down the curb on bikes or scooters, doubling back to encourage Rebeka as she slowly, slowly makes her way. Today, during a break at the writing workshop, I got a text from Clay with this picture.

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Underneath it read .3 in 34:40! No walker. Held my hand the whole time. And in the midst of all those wonderful stories I’d been reading, in the midst of all the stories I’d heard this past week, that was the best one yet. Three tenths of a mile may not seem like much, but we’ve watched her wince as she takes her steps. We’ve watched her legs tremble and sweat sheen her face at two tenths of a mile. Clay and I have stayed up late at night, worrying about worst case scenarios and steeling ourselves to be “the villains” of the story for the next two months as we bend her toes and ankles, enforce daily exercises, push her to walk farther, sometimes with no braces or making her let go of her walker. We are still smack dab in the middle of it all, and sometimes it’s just as hard for us to see the scope of this story as it is for Rebeka.

And so I come here. I post pictures. I go back and read from August and September. I read your comments, and I am encouraged. And like that service medal, there are tokens of her story everywhere. Artwork taped to windows. The remnants of a plaster cast that we use as a bookend. And most recently, a hand drawn map to Kate’s house, ten markers on the mile-long path. Our hope is that by the end of June, the whole route will be highlighted, marking her success. There is suspense in this story. There are tears, and triumph, conflict and climax. For now, stay tuned, to be continued . . .

A map to Kate's house, almost exactly one mile.

A map to Kate’s house, almost exactly one mile.

Same Song, Second Verse

Life carries on in the Davis house, and though much of it focuses on Rebeka there have been some pretty big events for other members of our family. There was Alayna’s performance during halftime at the Cotton Bowl, when her school’s dance team, and many others, shared the field with the Kilgore Rangerettes.

photo 1 And then there was my big agent news, and getting to lecture to our local Austin writer’s group.

Meredith lecture

And most recently Alayna completed the 3M half marathon in 1:50, fifteen minutes faster than she thought she could do.

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Rebeka seems to seamlessly slide into all these events. Whether staying overnight with her sponsor family while we went out of town to watch Alayna dance, to celebrating my agent success in the library parking lot when I got the news on my phone (though she had no idea what we were celebrating), to getting woken up while it was still dark outside and then wheeled to the finish line where she waited, all bundled up in hat and gloves, to cheer when Alayna ran past.

I am grateful for this easy-going attitude, because we have another big event coming up. Rebeka’s next surgery date is January 29th. Nobody is looking forward to surgery, but we’re all looking forward to getting past it. We’re looking forward to her right leg being in the same place her left leg is. Where it doesn’t hurt to touch (at least not very much). When she can practice walking on it with her walker, and wear a sock on it, and no more casts. Part of me wants to adopt the attitude that this is just the same old, same old, no big deal. Same song, second verse. We know how this whole surgery deal works. One night in the hospital, go home and get up in the middle of the night for meds for about a month. Cast changes in the OR three times. We can do it. We did it before.

But there are many opportunities for things to be different this time, reasons to worry if I let myself. Anything from two nights in the hospital to the possibility of a skin graft (praying this isn’t needed). But I know worrying about them now does no good for anybody. I need to learn how to live in the moment a little better, and I know just who to teach me. The girl who begs for a boat ride, even when it’s cold outside, because that’s what you do when you’re at the lake.

DSC_0976 And the girl who finds my phone sitting around and takes a selfie with a fake moustache, because that’s what you do when you find an unattended phone.

photo 3 Rebeka is all about seizing the day, whatever that day may bring. And so we will seize all the days leading up to her surgery date, and when that date comes, we’ll seize that one, too. Maybe a different song, with an unfamiliar verse. Because that’s what you do when you’re with Rebeka.

Making Monsters

The other day, Benji and his friend decided to make monsters out of all our furniture. They used every pillow in the house, wadded up shorts for eyes, used blankets for tongues, an old laundry hamper for lips, and scurried around for over an hour before the unveiling. May I present to you . . .

The Couch Monster

Couch monster consuming boys.

The Chair Monster

 

Check out the squinting evil eyes.

This one also eats little boys.

The Bean Bag Chair Monster

 

Ginormous fly eyes and wicked eyebrows make this a particularly ominous monster.

The boys had much more interesting names for their monsters, but I can’t remember them.

Life goes on in the Davis household, and we’re thankful for it. It keeps us distracted from the fact that as of today, we still don’t have a waiting list number in Honduras. The gears had started turning, though, and referrals and numbers are being given. While we wait, I finish the second draft of a new novel, Clay writes an app, the boys play lacrosse, and Alayna twirls around the house. And we make couch monsters. Life is still good.

Teddy

When I was little, I always wanted a gargantuan stuffed animal, so when I saw that Costco had giant bears for $30 each, I was tempted. For the boys, of course.

We had our nephew in town, and I thought it would be the perfect party favor to send him home with. My sister would be thrilled (heh, heh, heh . . .) I couldn’t resist. In the store, my nephew carried his on his shoulders, while the boys stuffed theirs into a shopping cart. You should have seen the looks we got. Huge smiles, looks of longing, little kids pointing, and this one girl who gave her boyfriend a meaningful look and said, I’ve always wanted a giant bear.” I wanted to tell everyone, “Just do it. Buy the bear. It’s thirty bucks of fluffy love- you can’t beat that!”

 

Three boys and their bears

We buckled all three of those bad boys into my back seat.

Now we’re home and the bears have joined the family. We lounge on them. They lie alongside the boy’s beds and sit with us on the couch when we watch a movie. Those giant bears make no logical sense. I can’t tell you why they make me so happy. I loved my sister’s reaction when we pulled that giant bear out of the car to send home with her. “You did NOT do this, this is a joke, you’re joking . . .” All for the bargain price of $30.

Growing a tomato plant may not have made a whole lot of sense either, when I could buy them from the grocery store. I had to water it every day, worry about bugs and birds, and haul it out to the lake for the summer where I killed a patch of grass in the protected courtyard just to keep it safe from the deer. Despite the illogical, my tomato plant has given me great joy. The tomatoes have been hearty and plentiful. We’ve had tomato and mozzarella salads, tomato sauce, and plain old tomatoes with salt sprinkled on them.

Our adoption may not seem to make a whole heck of a lot of sense. We’ve spent hours and hours filling out paperwork, often redundant. We’ve worried and rushed and mailed, and dreamed. At the end of 3 and a half months, we’ve almost got our paperwork complete. Still no little girl in sight. We have one more letter we’re waiting on, something we have to go to Houston to get. Then we’ll bundle it all up and mail it to Honduras to be translated. Then approved. And then we’ll be on the list. Looks like next spring before we see our little girl. Totally illogical, and yet a total thrill, to imagine what life will be like. For now, I’ll lounge on the bear and dream about the day when we get her picture, travel to Honduras, and hold our baby girl.

Why I Love Legos

I don’t know if I even need words for this post, since you can’t help but love legos when you see what Benji and his friend made the other day.

Lego Creations

They are vehicles for their ugly dolls.

But since I am a writer, I have to add words. What I love about legos is that they can be used different ways. Sure, you can build the picture on the box the legos came in, carefully separating all your pieces and following the directions. You can put it together and put it up on a high shelf and guard it closely whenever small children are near.

Or, you can make what’s on the front of the box first, then gradually pilfer one creation to make another. You use your imagination, restricted only by the pieces available to you. In our case, that’s a large tub full of assorted pieces from dozens of different lego kits. The boys make do with what they find. They alter their creations piece-by-piece, as they discover new ways to go about achieving their vision.

Ugly Doll Transporter

On this particular day, Benji’s brother left for camp for two weeks. There was potential for boredom, whining, and general unhappiness, but instead, he made these awesome creations with his friend.

This same day, I woke up filled with a sense of anxiety. Nate was gone, there was much to do to get ready for an upcoming trip, and I hadn’t worked on my story in weeks. But I made time to meet writing friends for coffee, and ended up talking with them for two hours about things I care about deeply. It wasn’t the piece I thought I needed, but it fit exactly where I put it.

That night I tried a new recipe for dinner, and had the time to cook without rushing around the kitchen. Things simmered, and our house filled with good smells. I could have been “getting things done.” If I was looking at a list of instructions for how to build a perfect model for achieving my goals, spending time cooking dinner would not have been one of my pieces. After eating, Clay, Alayna, Benji and I went out on the boat. The sun set while Alayna surfed behind the boat, a black silhouette. Bats skimmed the surface of the lake. Clay made us laugh as he surfed and turned a 360, first successfully, and then not so successfully.

The only thing that could have made the day better is if Nate was with us. If I had done some writing. If we’d moved forward on the adoption . . . but I worked with what I had. I sunk my hands deep into a tub full of displaced pieces, a tub full of potential, and made something of my day. Too often I waste my days feeling anxious, fretting over what my day “should have” looked like, when I could have made Ugly Doll transporters.

Check out my cool blue shades!

Planking

You’ve heard about planking, right? The “big” internet craze? Okay, so maybe it isn’t all that big, but you’d be surprised how many pictures you come across of people planking. Clay became aware of it a couple weeks ago, and the Davises just had to try:

Meredith and Benji Plank

 

Alayna Planks

Benji and Nate Plank

Clay Planks

The “official” definition I found when I googled is the act of lying facedown for a photograph. More specifically: to put your body face down to the ground (or table, or object, or anything) with your arms to the side. Ours aren’t all that exciting compared to the man planking between two camels, or the two women planking in Vegas on either side of Elvis, but I still got the smallest of thrills. Why?

We did something together as a family. Some of my favorite moments have been spent with my entire family, whether around a dinner table or on a plane to Morocco. Even better, we laughed together. Oh, I love to laugh. It happens when I hear my voice echo back to me if my phone gets funky. Or when I see bodies all stretched in wavy mirrors. We took this picture at a “Hall of Mirrors” in Lucerne, Switzerland.

That day I laughed ‘till tears ran down my cheeks and I had to cross my legs so I wouldn’t pee. But another reason I liked planking is because we put ourselves in an unusual position and saw our world from a different perspective. Our living room looked different lying horizontal on a barstool. And it felt a little weird, but cool, to put my body in a place it had never been before.

There’s a point to this post on planking. We’re doing this adoption as a family, everyone is on “board” and can’t wait to meet their new daughter/sister. It is the topic of frequent dinner conversations as we talk about going to Honduras and try to come up with names. And the whole naming thing has led to lots of laughter, and I’m sure that’s just the beginning. Bringing a baby into our home means diaper explosions, carrots on the face, and those funny phrases she’ll come up with when she starts to talk. There is a lot of laughter in our future.

And we’re definitely putting ourselves in a place we’ve never been before. Lots of places. In particular this week, Clay and me drove to Fort Worth to meet two of the people who live in Honduras, and lots of the people we’ve been corresponding with via email and phone. We really liked everyone, and got lots of questions answered. There are still plenty of questions out there. There is uncertainty, and a healthy bit of fear, but I think it really isn’t an adventure without a little uncertainty and fear.

I also did a psychological review which is required of both Clay and I for the adoption. I’ve never sat in a chair in a psychologist’s office, and it’s been a long time since I took a bubble test. The MMPI had more than 500 true or false statements, which ranged anywhere from “I enjoy fixing door latches” to “I’ve thought about killing myself.” That same afternoon we had our home study. Our caseworker was a really nice woman who asked us some easy and hard questions. We were pleased to find out we’ll be seeing her over the years for child evaluations once we adopt our girl. She was full of ideas and advice that made a lot of sense.

Because this is all new to us, this adopting business, and we can use all the ideas and advice we can get. But we’re in it together as a family. I didn’t find out until later that day of our home study that Alayna had missed a fun day with her friends, who all got together to swim and watch a movie. She hadn’t even asked if she could go, because she knew where she needed to be. Where she wanted to be.

So I have a new definition for planking, the Davis definition: doing something together, experiencing much laughter, as we put ourselves in places we’ve never been before. Come on, admit it, you want to try. I can’t wait to see the pictures . . .