Life Marrow

July 4, 2010

This morning my son and I slept until almost 9:30.


I cannot even remember a time when either of us slept that late.  For us, 6:30 is sleeping in!  What’s more, we are at my parents’ house for a Fourth of July visit and it is near to impossible to get much sleep here.  My parents are both early risers and my bedroom is right next to the kitchen.  My dog sleeps like a log here, until anyone walks by our door, then he barks as if there is a sudden state of emergency and it lies on his shoulders to protect the nation.  But, by far, the biggest impediment to sleeping in is my dad.  Once he’s awake, he wants everybody else up too.  So he talks extra loud, bangs pots and pans, turns on the radio.  There’s no point in even TRYING to sleep through that.


So it was a major miracle that we ALL slept in today.  When Rahul woke up, he was disappointed that he had missed so much of the day.  And it struck me that he really does like to suck the marrow out of life.  Which is really inspiring.  And exhausting.  Today from the moment we all finally arose, we have been active non-stop.  As there are 3 adults here, we try to spell one another so we can each catch our breath in turn.  But Rahul just keeps ticking.


Rahul didn’t even change out of the clothes he slept in (he doesn’t like pajamas) when he saw how clear Lake Ontario was this morning.  He jumped right in before my eyes were fully open.  Then we had a big breakfast, then jumped in the car to go take a plane ride with Grandpop.  My dad got his pilot’s license 2 years ago and has a plane at a nearby airfield, but I have never had the chance to go flying with him.  Rahul absolutely loves flying, so off we went this morning.  Then we came home and barely slowed the car down enough for Grammy to jump in and went off to pick cherries at a nearby farm.  They have a fun kids’ park there and Rahul ran from one thing to another, in the blazing hot sun, having a great time.  They just added pony rides to the menu there, so he rode his first horse today.  Then we had hot dogs and ice cream and came back home.  Then it was time for another swim.  Then we planted a garden–Rahul’s summer project here, ate dinner and swam again!  At this point I pulled a chair up to the edge of the water and fell asleep.  Sometimes you just have to grab it when you can get it!  Then we made a bonfire and roasted marshmallows.  I just put Rahul to bed at 10:50pm tonight with 2 teeth he pulled out of his own mouth under his pillow.


And the whole day, Rahul keeps talking.  He’s got ideas and thoughts just bursting out of his head.  He has so many things he’s interested in and he is always making plans for his future–declaring a new career he will pursue, hobby he will take on, etc.  Before Rahul came here he had not thought of his future at all.  That is not a topic discussed in orphanages much.  Rahul had no sense of time–days of the week, holidays–he didn’t even know how old he was.  It took me a year and a half and lots of corroborating evidence for him to believe me when I told him how old he was.  And children without parents in India do not have a happy future to look forward to.  When many of my friends met Rahul for the first time they asked him the standard “kid” questions, to which they got no response:


“How old are you?” He was 7, but he thought he was 6.


“When’s your birthday?” He had no idea, and still doesn’t remember.


“What do you like to do?”  He didn’t know what that meant because orphanage life doesn’t give you choices.  You all do the same activities whether you like them or not, so you don’t develop a sense of what’s unique about you.


“What do you want to be when you grow up?” This was a question I’m sure no one had ever asked him in his entire life.  And it was something I’m sure he never thought of.


Now however, I DARE you to ask him what he wants to be when he grows up.  Every day he has a different idea about what he wants to do.  Two days ago he announced he wanted to be a rich farmer.  Then it was a pearl farmer.  Then it was an underwater explorer.  Today he told us that when he turns fifteen he wants to buy a horse and become a Mennonite.


I love hearing him talk about his future.  And I love that he lives his life to the full. And I love that he is sleeping soundly right now.


Because now I can count on a good 6 hours before we start it all over again.

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