..HOWEVER................... a mutual friend was planning a celebration for her 5 year old daughter Abby and we both wanted to be at that celebration. Abby was diagnosed with a rare and aggressive form of leukemia about a year after being adopted by our friends the Riggs Family. . The last two+ years have been a real walk of faith for them as well as for those of us who are their friends. This past week Abby completed her two years of chemotherapy, was tested and declared to BE IN REMISSION and a big party of celebration was planned in her honor . I've shared about Abby as I 've blogged ; my daughters grew and then had their hair cut to donate it to Locks of Love in Abby's honor, I've shared prayer requests for her over time as well as praises for positive steps. Jill too has been a part of those who love the Lord and who, loving Abby, have prayed and advocated for her during this long stretch of many valleys
.WHAT A THRILL to see Jill at long last , waiting at the curb of the airport passenger drop off and pick up point! I knew that we were truly kindred spirits, but when I saw that she and I were both wearing the SAME SHADE OF GREEN, I just had to smile a huge smile. Of all the hues, shades, tones and tints, we BOTH had selected Kelly green. I knew it would be really good from that moment! Naomi and Jordan struck up a friendship right away as Jill and I just took up side by side in the car where we'd been online and on the telephone. As soon as we got home, and all afternoon Jill, an incredible photographer and the little girl, were in Heaven On Earth on our farm. Jordan got to play with the horses, got to ride, got to pose with new friend Naomi for Jill and her impressive camera as Oklahoma showed us one more of its incredibly beautiful fall days! The tree-house, the rope swing, the big swing set, the kittens, goats and chickens.............all were thoroughly enjoyed by two little girls and the Mammas who love them and took great delight in watching them together.
How fun it was to be able to introduce Jill to my family, little bit by little bit, starting with a quick pass through with my older at-home children as they prepared to head out to a basketball tournament with Malachi, then picking Jael up from school, picking Sopheak up from work, my husband getting home especially early from work and then finally running clothing out to Gideon. SO many pieces of Calico Ares Farm lore and Smithsoup blog posts all fell right into place with real faces to plug into the written words and to associate with my many photos.
I loved being able to just let the conversation flow with no "gotta go bathe babies" ( read: brb.....) no "phone" (brb) "milk customer" (brb) no short phone call, just awesome sit -and- visit time! The day started so early for Jill and Jordan with a 2:45 AM departure from their home to the airport in Pa, and the time zone change too... for ME it was 8 PM. For them it was 9 PM and a loooooong time since real sleep. Too early we said our good nights and made our plans for Saturday and the ABBY IS DONE WITH CHEMOTHERAPY Party.
As happens with real life my big plans for a whole morning with Jill had to be altered. Jael had a horrible night, a really bad fall, maybe a broken nose, some blood sugars which were definitely NOT in the hypoglycemic ranges , Charlie had morning farm obligations and I just could not leave Jael alone as sick as she was , and Jill's allergies would not allow her to come back to our house. Naomi had a great time with Jill and Jordan while I ministered to Jael and Daniel. Thankfully Jael's boy friend was able to come stay and "Nose sit" I called it so that I would feel safe leaving until Charlie got home again. His hoped -for plans to come to the Party had to take a back seat to helping are for Jael and Daniel (for whom I simply didn't have a space in my car. I WANTED to bring him with is!)
It was still a very special day of being together! Arriving at Abby's house we were able to help mom Michelle with some early party set-up, Jill got to have a terrific ( but all GREEK TO ME) conversation about photography with daddy Brent, the kids all got to run and play together with Abby who was still a bit stressed from all the events of the week AND with the fact that her favorite brother Garret was NOT at the house, but cute as can be regardless. After seeing quite a bit of "Boo Hoo" Abby, it was really good to see her playing dishes and tea party with one of her friends and seeing her run and play and laugh as she relaxed! I can't imagine what it would like to 3,4, or 5 years old and have so much attention on myself in so many different venues as Abby has had to live through. I wondered if she had had any real idea , at age 5 the magnitude of the celebration party her parents had put together in her honor, or if she had a clue as to why all these strangers were all over her house, or why so many people she'd met in so many other settings were now suddenly at her house together and bringing gifts. It was not her birthday, she knew that much. . It had to be a bit overwhelming even without a lumbar puncture and bone marrow aspiration the day before! I can not imagine parenting a post-toddler/pre-schooler through life- threatening illness while trying to teach manners and courtesy along with the other things that parents teach toddler-aged kiddos, in the midst of pokings and proddings , or obedience and respect through painful medical procedures and frequent ER visits and hospital stays. How does one teach a child not to be selfish or self-centered while EVERYTHING, or so it must seem for a little one, IS all about THEM? It's not a parenting skill I envy or desire to have to learn, thank you!! For all that God has given to us, having to figure out all of those kinds of issues is NOT on our plate (at least not now or that I am aware we will need to learn!) I have not asked Brent or Michelle many of those questions, but she and I have talked a little.
Lots of fun meeting other friends of my friends and discovering all of our commonalities as we chatted. There were many people that I met whom I hope to maintain communication with in weeks and months ahead.
THE PARTY. Oh MY!! ! This mommy and daddy were so thrilled to celebrate Abby being in Remission, they had A P A R T Y !!! I don't know how many families actually came, it seemed like quite a few, but I can tell you they were well fed and their children were thoroughly entertained with this amazing church's video game room, sound system , a super blow-up "Moon Walk" house, face painting, candy and more candy! It was so precious to be part of this awesome kind of celebration after praying through so many of the valley days when Abby was very very seriously ill!
It was also a lot of fun to be together with so many other adoptive families, to hear their stories, share our good and bad memories, make suggestions for future experiences, share learning experiences that made our own subsequent adoptions better, helped us to "adopt smarter"...just seeing the many many blended adoptive/bio families with children was a blessing!
As a mom of no Guatemalan or Ethiopian children, who is used to gatherings of the SE Asian adoptive families ,it was very different to be the only mom with Asian children present, and as the mamma of So Many, it was weird that I only had two of our children with me. I missed ALL of my wonderful family! Naomi and Rachel had a really great time, and I'm glad they were able to come with me. ( I did hold Daniel and snuggle with him for a loong time after we got home. I really missed him. I've not left him that long before and it was very strange!!!)
All too soon, we needed to leave for the 1 3/4 hour drive back home and it was my turn to be the tired one who called it an "early evening". I knew we'll see Michelle and Brent, Abby. Landis and Hannah again, but the tears let loose when I started my "farewell hugs" with Jill. We have some hopes and tentative plans; God knows how those will pan out later.we just knew this was THE END of a wonderful but short very full visit for her and me. **** It was so sweet to see her "I'm getting on the plane" text right after worship was over this morning and SO SO good to hear Jill's voice a little while ago telling me that she was down on the ground and all went well. I miss my dear friend already!!!
Photos will not do us justice, but I'll share some. Jill really has the good ones and I will have to wait for her to upload and share later!!
|Jordan, Naomi and Abby with their BABY BE BLESSED dolls. Jordan gave one to both Naomi and Abby so the three of them could play dolls together!! THANK YOU AGAIN JORDAN for your sweet gifts!!|
|One happy little party girl! This is definitely not the face Abby had on when we first arrived at her house|
|Jill and Jordan|
|Naomi. Jordan and Rachel...and balloon animals!|
|Jordan getting her face painted|
|Naomi opted for a hand painting of a ladybug|
|but then decided on an arm vine too|
|Jordan and Naomi and balloon animals. Jordan had the best poodle I have ever seen!!|
|TOTALLY "O T " but I had to take a photo of this young girl. Her strawberry blonde hair and its gorgeous highlights were so beautiful!! God does ALL things well, doesn't He!!|
|some of the party children around Miss Abby|
|Brent and Michelle had planned on pinatas but with no where to hang them, he opted to do a huge candy drop instead!!|
How I praise GOD for friendships that He ordains, for the wonderful bonds we are able to forge in His Name, and for the absolute pure joy of celebrating with friends that their little daughter is in REMISSION of a terrible cancerous disease. Thank you Brent and Michelle for inviting all of us to share your very speial moment . I don't think anyone will soon forget this evening ! God IS good ALL THE TIME, but there are some times that He just lets us see a bit more clearly or deeply HOW GOOD. This weekend was one of those times !
|Jill, me and Michelle|