I've been teaching a couple of afternoon classes for the last two weeks. The session only lasts a month, so I'm halfway through already. It's been an interesting experiment in going back to work (outside our home, of course). The classes require a lot of outside prep time, so it's almost felt like a full-time job. I have started to really miss Abe, not just when I'm in my classes, but when I have to send him away so I can grade and prep. I admit to being a really big crybaby (literally) about the whole experience.
One afternoon this week, Abe stayed at a friend's house during my classes. We first met these friends the first week we were home with Abe, and they've been a regular part of his life since then. One of his favorite places on this planet is their house.
I hope these two never stop holding hands. Autumn caught this moment before naptime.
So it was interesting to me when the following thing happened. All the kids were still sleeping when I got back from class to pick Abe up. My friend and I sat on the couch and talked, amazed at how wonderful it is to chat in such a quiet space, only the soothing voice of Sufjan Stevens singing quietly in the background. We eventually got up to wake the kids and were continuing our conversation as we walked to their rooms.
As I got to the room where Abe was sleeping, I heard him whimpering in the dark. I turned on the light and found him laying on his tummy, starting to lift his head, eyes puffy and squinty, huge frown, slow tears. He was completely bewildered. His cry was slow and mournful, with little whimpers and caught breath scattered throughout. Tears covered his face and kept coming.
Don't you remember that feeling as a kid of waking up in a place different from your own bed and being completely dumbfounded about how you got there or what would happen next? This was perhaps Abe's first time to experience this, and he did not like it. I picked him up, and he draped himself across my chest, still crying, still very confused. I rocked him back and forth, and his crying eventually stopped. He told me that he didn't know where he was when he woke up. Once he remembered and knew his friends were right down the hall, the happy-button was pushed, and all was well again. Sweet boy.
I quickly began to think about a little girl who will become the next Rooney. Abe has been with us for as long as he can remember, yet his reaction to waking up a new place even this one time was slightly traumatic. What is it going to be like for his sister? I can hardly even begin to imagine how disoriented she will be as she wakes up every day with us in her sight, on new pillows with new smells and sounds at every turn. All that was once familiar to her will be turned upside down, and I can only hope that the sight of our faces when she wakes up every day will eventually switch from being a source of bewilderment and fear to one of comfort and home.
(We've been waiting for referral for a little over four months. According to all we've heard, the call could come now at any point.)