Adoptive parents often have these little insights that give a window to their child's former life. I never have. Until today. Maybe.
Well, to be fair, I did have the Watch My Daughter Run in Her Flip Flops Moment. I felt that I had been transported to an Ethiopian dirt road and was watching my daughter run. That was in contrast to watching my white son, accustomed only to velcro sandals, trip and cry in his quest to keep up with his sister while running in his new flip flops.
Today, Liz and I were draping wet clothes over chairs. I had just pulled out my awesome clothes line but I can't find my clothes pins. For now, patio furniture will have to do.
When we were done, Liz turned to her ice cream pail full of water and began stirring it with a stick. "Mom! I FINALLY have some food for my sheep." I stopped. It was almost as if her sheep have been waiting for this bucket of food for as long as she's been here. "How many sheep do you have?" I asked.
"Only five," she answered, holding up three fingers.
"Who helps you take care of them?" I asked next, hoping for any insight to the family of 10 she once knew as her own.
"Just me," she sighed, and stirred again.
Then I was out of questions. Adoptive parents who are also authors would, by this time, know all about her extended family, their occupations and all of the particularly meaningful and cultural traditions that defined their child's life. By that night, they would be ready to replicate them.
I, in contrast, was reminded of the long path toward number mastery that Liz and I seem to have.
We came inside and read books about finding a birthday cake, a pea that doesn't want to eat candy and how to mix primary colors. Perhaps I'll just have to keep ice cream buckets and sticks lying around the house. Who knows. If her former family lived on a coffee farm, I'm all over that tradition. Twice a day.