His head rested on the arm of the chair, gaze transfixed on the rainbow of lights on the Christmas tree. Fingers lightly grazed the ornaments then stopped. He gently removed the ornament from the tree. “Mom” I’ve grown so accustomed to hearing this.
In his hands he held an ornament of 2 carolers, one an adult, one a child. His finger pointed to the adult then pointed to me. “That you,” he said in his thick Latvian accent. He pointed to the child represented in the ornament then pointed to himself. “That me.” And he smiled.
He’s connecting the dots. He knows what he wants. He wants a family. He wants to belong.
Later in the morning he continually asked me to play with him. Using the translator app, I typed, “I have to finish my chores first, then I can play.”
“Ah. Ok.” He understood. But he didn’t run off to play by himself. He stood right by my side as I unloaded day old dishes and scraped dry food from 2 days ago off the counters.
He picked up a dry erase marker and wrote on a plastic cup. “Hmm,” he said as he tried to understand this marker with ink that wiped away so easily.
Gently, I took the marker from his hands. “Here, watch this.” On my dry erase picture frame, I wrote “Hi”.
A smile broke across his face, and he quickly snatched the marker from my hands and began drawing a Christmas tree. I drew a smiley face. He drew a face on Santa. I drew a cross. “Ah,” he said as he pointed to the cross made by Jacob that has hung on our walls for a year now. “Yes,” I said. “Jesus” and I wrote Jesus.
We ran out of space to draw. Using his finger he tried erasing a small section. Eyebrows furrowed as he discovered the magic of a dry erase marker. Simplicity at its finest. A precious moment wrapped in the disguise of sweet, precious, simple.
He erased everything except the cross and Jesus. We drew around that for awhile until he eventually erased it. It was as if he knew that was important to me and he gave thought to my feelings.
He’s intrigued by “dad”. I’m grateful for Steve’s active role in entering Viktor’s life because I imagine it’s Steve’s influence that will truly impact his life the greatest during these 4 weeks.
Viktor spotted the soccer goals up the street and started pointing saying “Futbol! Futbol!” When “dad” took all the boys for a soccer match while I cooked dinner, it was the highlight of Viktor’s day. Especially when he was able to wear Jacob’s Mesi jersey. Steve is good at getting to know people, and it’s because of Steve that we are discovering all of Viktor’s likes and dislikes.
Es milu tevi. I love you. I said to him, “Es tevi milu”. He laughed and said “Es milu tevi.” He dipped his fingers in some water and on Steve’s windshield wrote love as he pointed to me. I smiled back and said correctly this time “I love you too, Es milu tevi.”
Movie time he snuggled under a blanket. When Andrew joined him on the couch, he patted the spot right next to him, inviting Andrew to draw closer as he held out the blanket to cover little Andrew. He’s a kind and thoughtful young man.
So many small moments sprinkled through the day. Beautiful moments and a few slight challenges, nothing different that what we deal with our own children. But a little bit of pushback, refusal to shower, me standing firm and insisting then spending 10 minutes dealing with the struggle. He obliged.
I’m not finishing the day as tired as yesterday. He was more comfortable, therefore I was more comfortable. We were all a little more able to just do family life like we do every day. And he fit right in.