What a way to ease my re-entry to this blog that I've missed so very much. I do think part of the unease I've felt over the past few months has been the absense of writing as a form of therapy. I let life circumstances get in the way of something that was truly helpful to me, and as I found out last weekend, to others.
Twice during last weekend I was asked why I stopped blogging. First was my sweet friend Laurie and the second was a stranger (at the time) that I ran into while having lunch out with the girls. Laurie was a teacher in Grace's kindergarten class and I instantly loved how she treated the children, how real she was, and that you could see her love for Jesus in just about everything she said or did. The kind of woman I wanted to be friends with... and though we both left the Christian School our paths continued to cross many times and I'm pleased to say that we are friends - and it really touched me that she continued to check in on me here...
The 2nd encounter was at a little mexican restaurant here in town. A lady approached our table and said hello to the girls (by name). I was SO worried about "forgetting" her name (I hate that) that it took me a moment to understand what she was saying...
"You don't know me - but I recognized your girls from your blog. Is everything ok?"
She went on to tell me that she had adopted an older boy from Guatemala and it was so helpful to her to read about the experiences I had and shared from our life with Ava. I really had no idea what to say to her. My writing here has always been as an outlet for me - I never thought for a minute that it would be helpful to anyone else. Knowing that it has been a help to someone (even just one person) has prompted me to get it back on my schedule and recommit myself to doing it.
In an effort to get you caught up on the life and times of the Murphy family - here's a recap of the past few months...
June/July/August - we spent the summer hanging out at home. For Ava's sake I had to take about a dozen (or perhaps few hundred dozen) steps back. I had to unplan my plans and just let her *be*. It was hard for me, and even harder for Grace but I do think she understood why we had to do it.
September - we went to a really neat family camp for families impacted by HIV/AIDS called REACH. This was truly a turning point for all of us. There are no words to accurately explain what we got out of being together over the weekend and how it planted the tiny seed of healing in Ava.
We also started school in September. It was just as difficult being Ava's teacher as I remember. She's a smart kid but for whatever reason, she and I struggled in the teacher/student role. I prayed about this many, MANY times a day.
October - A pretty typical month. School, soccer, doctors, rinse, lather, repeat. After a particularly difficult few weeks I started the conversation with Jason about maybe finding a school for Ava to attend. It was only days later when the school pretty much presented itself. We visited and enrolled her the same day. It is a very small elementary school at the Seventh Day Adventist church here in town. There are only 10 children in the school - various ages from grade 1-grade 8. We just completed our 1st week and I can see, very clearly, that this was the right decision for everyone in the family.
It was not a decision that was easy for me to make. There were lots of tears, lots of second guessing, lots of confusion and doubt and insecurity but all of those feelings were put to rest after seeing the changes in both girls, and feeling the change in myself. I am happy to be *just* Ava's mom - rather than her mom and teacher. I can rest easy knowing that this is only a decision for *right now* - this doesn't mean she won't ever be homeschooled again. It doesn't mean she'll always attend this school... It only means that for now (this school year) she is a student at Whidbey Christian Elementary School and Grace and I will continue plugging away here at home.
On the horizon for our family...
Next month (December) Grace is turning 10. We are taking a much needed trip to New York over Grace's birthday and Christmas. To say that we are excited would be THE understatement of the year. Grace has her eyes on a birthday at the American Girl Store with a cake from Carlos' Bakery - and this mama (who can NOT believe her baby is going to be 10) is only happy to oblige... Over the course of the past year Grace has been the most understanding, mature, patient 9 year old I've ever known. She's had to take a back seat to so much over the year in order to make room for the things that Ava has needed. I'm not certain she'll ever know what her understanding has meant to me - and I wish that there was a way I could show her - but since that isn't even possible, making her 10th birthday absolutely magical is something I am looking forward to doing if only to let her know just how much we love her, and how thankful we are that we've been trusted to love and cherish and raise her into the beautiful woman that I know she is going to be.
Am I lucky, or what?
So that's the 411 - and I am glad to be back in the proverbial saddle.
NEWBORN SIMONE + HER FAMILY
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