Sunday, July 25, 2010
a sweet spot with bella
dearest bella ~ it is monday morning in china. i woke early today. very early. there is rain on my 15th story window, but i don't really see it. this past week we have walked in pure sunshine. i don't really have the words to describe how we've felt since first meeting you, but pure sunshine is as close as i can come. today we celebrate one week together. only one week? can it be possible? perhaps it was the journey toward you that began this tremendous burst of love for you. there is no logical explanation. but it seems you've always been woven into our family. into our hearts. we know you so well already. it might have something to do with the hours of staring we do. you sleep. we stare. you eat. we stare. you laugh. we laugh. oh how we've laughed at you and with you in these seven days. there is so much to enjoy. it is like a spring overflowing and we just can't keep up with the rush of water. consumed and happily drowning. now, sweet girl, we will board a plane in just a matter of days. i have no doubt you'll be just as delightful on american soil, but life is about to change. i keep whispering into your tiny ear, "bella, you are the youngest of five. repeat after mama, 'youngest of five.'" it is a place of honor. a place of privilege. a place of occasional indulgence. but it is, indeed, a different place then where we have resided this week. we have grown accustomed to waking up and enjoying a leisurely breakfast buffet in a beautiful hotel. people pour our coffee and bring us silverware and stand nearby ready to assist with our smallest want. oh, my darling, not so in the mcnatt morning kitchen. it is a place where you get your own silverware (and wash it if there is none clean to be found---always a possibility). it is a place where the waffles come out of boxes and the breakfast isn't always a warm one. if you're not especially quick the last cinnamon roll will be snatched right off the plate in front of you and somedays the milk container runs empty. right now i cannot imagine not making you a special bowl of congee each morning. i cannot fathom not sitting and spoon feeding you bite sized morsels each meal. but bite-size-morsel-feeding just isn't on the menu when you are the youngest of five. especially when you are a 2 and 1/2 year old who is quite capable of feeding herself. you have been so funny bella. i know you have spent two years in an orphanage and have finely tuned survival skills. we have seen evidence of those most amazing skills. but you are also so willing to let us coddle and cuddle and comfort you. you figured out quickly you didn't have to fight for your food and protect your plate at meals. and quickly you began asking us to feed you. even raisins and cheerios. you love to point at each piece of food, asking us with your eyes to spoon it into your open mouth. like a baby bird. i know by some standards this is ridiculous. but it is like you have this instinct which knows you need to go backwards a bit. i imagine your spoon feeding days at the orphanage were short lived. i imagine you've never sat a table as center of attention. every child needs that...at least for a little while. no doubt when we arrive home there will be plenty of people who will continue to promote and protect your queen-bee status. there will be no shortage of spoon feeders and hand holders. i know of at least four children ready and waiting to gobble you right up. i am already imagining my job refereeing. but, life will have to, at some point, resume again in our household of seven. you were made for our family. God hand chose you to be our baby. our youngest. He knew what He was doing and i have no doubt, somehow, He goes before us in this time of transition. what we want you to know is how much we adore you after only seven days. we cannot imagine it had we missed this opportunity to find you. i lay in bed at night and think how easily it would have been to logically and practically and even responsibly have said, "no." i am almost paralyzed with the thought of it. you, bella-b, are a great big YES child. you are as much a wonderful decision as your four older brothers and sisters. i praise God even right this very moment that somehow He kept tapping on the door of our hearts. He didn't allow us to stop. He pushed us forward in our fear and He knocked down the walls of our logical thinking. most of all, He promised us along the way He would be with us. i cannot tell you that i have always felt at the center of His will. i wish i could say i live there daily. but, i am afraid that might not be fully true. but with you...we have very much experienced the sweet spot of knowing we were exactly where Jesus asked us to be. and whether at a table covered in fine linen or a counter sticky with eggo syrup...it is a sweet spot indeed.