Thursday, November 24, 2011


Our Thanksgiving was wonderful. Parts of today were the first time I felt completely relaxed during the past 6 months.
It was just the four of us. We sauteed, baked and roasted it all. With no time constraints, we just cooked, cuddled, ate, slept, ate again, watched a movie and cuddled more. It was perfect. Although we missed our extended family, I knew the four of us couldn't handle any more.

Today, something fabulous happened.

6 months ago, the first morning we woke up in Ethiopia with Aster, she was mad. The anger seemed to happen during the dressing process. It lasted a long time. Breakfast was an Ethiopian shrug fest sprinkled with dirty looks and tears. No jokes or tickles could break it.
I recently asked Aster (she has the best memory and recalls all details), why she was mad that morning,
"Did I put the wrong shoes on you? What did I do?"
She laughed so loudly and said, "I was mad because I wanted the other shoes. It was the shoes, but it really wasn't the shoes mommy. I was just so scared. So, it was the shoes, but it really wasn't the shoes."

I know. Brilliant. 

When Aster came home, our biggest tension was getting dressed. If I asked her to pick something, she got big watery eyes and looked overwhelmed. If I gave her two choices, she'd still get watery eyes and look overwhelmed. She'd want to please me. I'd want her to be happy. I'd be unhappy because I couldn't figure out how to please her. She'd be overwhelmed and unhappy because I was unhappy. Usually there were tears. Most days I had to take a break during the process and take big, deep breaths. It was a big mess. We were a mess. Finally, I just started picking for her and dressing became a nice time to chat - just not about clothes. Recently, I've been asking her for some input, "Do you feel like wearing pants or a skirt?" It's gone well. Baby steps.

Today, I made a promise to her. We weren't going anywhere. We were going to stay home, eat, cuddle and watch TV. All day. Nothing else. No one else. That was all.

I saw her relax. In that relaxed state I knew she could do it. Even do it happily.
"You can pick anything in your closet to wear. I don't care what."

Her face lit up and she smiled. She whispered that she knew exactly what she wanted. She went to her closet and picked out a beautiful hand-me-down Christmas dress,
"I saw it in a movie. I want the Christmas dress."
I took it down. I put it on her. She smiled. I smiled. We were dressed.

It was a Thanksgiving Day miracle.

Since Aster was "fancy" - Judah wanted to be fancy too.


Ted and Lori said...

This is one of the most beautiful things I've ever read. Love you guys.

one + one said...


Heather said...

Beautiful, simply beautiful! xoxo

Jodi said...

Baby steps! Baby steps! Love it! it's so good to see our children heal and grow. What a wonderful family day - one that she will remember for a very, very long time!

Deb said...

Dani, what an amazing, beautiful day you've described and ... actually experienced! I can feel the emotions with you - this is a perfect picture of what Thanksgiving should be all about. Aster & Judah are beautiful. xoxo

Katie said...

Glad you had a great holiday! They are so cute!