Tuesday, May 12, 2015

Blessed by Cricket

I didn't write this post after the first time Cricket left, when I didn't think she was coming back.  And I've been hesitant to write it now.  I'm just overwhelmed with how much there is to say about what we learned from Cricket and loved about her.  I could have written a post longer than the babies' after her first week here, let alone after eight months.

What I learned from Cricket
  • You can plan ages for placements, but you are just guessing.  We thought we wouldn't have virtual twins with our planning, but we were wrong.  We expected two big brothers and a little sister, but we got a fierce competition for baby and middle child at the same time.
  • But it's okay, because God had more planned anyway.  Had we said no to Cricket knowing she would be so combative, aggressive, and overall upsetting for Rhinoceros (and sometimes Dinosaur), we would have missed out on the absolutely beautiful friendship/siblingship that developed after a few months.  What Cricket brought out of Rhinoceros still blows my mind.  I had no idea this imaginative, assertive, fiercely loving child was within my quiet little guy.
  • Plan on transitions taking six times longer than planned.  Maybe 10.  Seriously, I keep thinking that I'm keeping in my mind that it will be delayed, but the delay is always longer and crazier than I really let myself imagine.
  • Regression can be intense and it can be healing.  I won't ever forget those moments of cradling this big girl, seeing in her eyes more than what she could tell.
  • What works with other kids may not work with kids who have experienced trauma.  I knew this in my head, but had to experience it.  I will never forget the first time I closed a door intending to give us each a couple minutes to regroup, the wailing from behind that door, and the long time it took to rebuild that trust.
  • I can survive without some of those things I counted on because they worked with other kids.  I made it through when Cricket wouldn't sit and watch a show (eventually she did).  When our house suddenly required a lot more supervision, I learned how to plan chores around that and accept what just didn't get done.
  • Hair care.  I had to laugh at my post on what I learned with Caterpillar.  I had so much to learn. Oh, and I learned to get help with hair before the first family visit.
  • In Christ, all of us can do more than we imagine, and more than we imagine for each other.  B and I were loving parents of a little girl who was very sad and angry about what has happened in her life, still is.  In September, Cricket would only tell us she wanted to eat because she didn't know how to express the hurt she felt.  By December, she was talking about her feelings way beyond kids her age usually can, and continued to do so the rest of the placement.  Dinosaur and Rhinoceros who felt their peaceful home life ripped away from them when she arrived came to absolutely adore Cricket.  I truly believe all of this was possible by prayer, ours and from those around us.
What I Loved about Cricket
  • Her big grin.  Toothy, beautiful, joyful.
  • How she did things with a purpose.  She was just amazing to watch sometimes.  Drawing little circles.  Cutting up little pieces of papers, gluing them, cutting them again.  Dressing herself with whatever she found lying around.  Always intently, like this was her new purpose in life.
  • Her interest in people.  She reported what happened with "some people."  After being in nursery, "some people took my toy."  After meeting some of my relatives, "some people played with me."  Then she went through a phase of greeting everyone in the store like she was in a parade.  And then asking every person she could find, "Are you a grown-up?  Do you like coffee?"
  • Our conversations.  I still can't believe the vocabulary on this young girl, and how she would navigate a conversation with confidence even if she had the words wrong.  It didn't matter that she said yellow and the real color was orange.  She's already moved on, folks.
  • Her arguments.  Okay, mostly they drove me insane.  But now that they're over, they're hilarious.  How she daily insisted to Rhinoceros that those were NOT doorbells, just because she wanted to contradict him.  How she argued with song lyrics on the radio.  "Let's all get up and dance to a song that was hit before your mother was born."  "No, I can't dance!  I buckled!!"  How she argued with Jesus.  In some random story she said out of nowhere, "And I told Jesus, NO!  Bathroom words are for the bathroom!"
  • Her speed and strength.  This little girl could outrun and wrestle something away from the older boys no problem.  There's something to be said about a fierce girl who can hold her own.
  • The songs in her heart.  Cricket loved songs the way teens obsessed with their favorite bands loved songs.  She sang them, wanted me to sing them, wanted to watch them, and performed them with a purpose (see above).  Jesus Loves Me, He's Got the Whole World in His Hands, Let It Go, and the songs from Annie will never be the same to me.
  • I just can't it put it all into words.  She has my heart and then some.  When she had to come back here a second time, her caseworker said that Gina was having a tough time missing her, saying "I get it, you know, just the way Cricket is.  You just have to love her."
Indeed.  I love you forever, little girl.  I know you're not staying with us forever, but if you did, I would pick you up 10,000 times.

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