Some of you may know that our eldest, the 5 year old boy, had a rough start to life in Ireland. Culturally and socially, he just did not fit in, and we were really not at all prepared for how hard this would be on our typically easy going child.
The week after we moved into our house, he had a bit of a run-in with some neighbour children, which commenced in an awkward/angry encounter with their mother and a plea to keep our children separated from now on. Jackson wasn't too phased by this situation (as he had already picked out his BFF who was our next door neighbour boy, and they continue to remain best buds). However, I was devastated at my first big, public failure as cross-cultural worker/server/reacher-outer. Ugh. It just cast a pall over me. I questioned my responses to the situation (which coulda been better, seeing that I'm kinda a mama bear), questioned why we were here, thought Jack would never make friends and figured we'd have to move out of our housing estate hanging our heads.
Cut to 4 months later. A birthday for our girl. And one of the children in this family happens over for some cake and a little bit of friendship. The next weekend, a birthday present appears for Ella from this family. Then yesterday, a doorbell and two children at our door asking Jackson back over to their house (for the first time in 5 months), where he's treated to a birthday party for the youngest, cartoons, cake, sweets, and a goody bag.
As I walked back home after depositing him at the party, my smile grew with each step. I sighed a long, deep breath of relief. It took awhile, of course, but the space and time (and smiles in the school yard and the occasional drive-by wave) seemed to create an opening of possibilities.
So today, the middle child stopped by again, for a play-date. Jack proudly showed her around the house introducing her to "Alison" (Granny) and "Karen" (Mommy) and Ella who followed her around the house yelling, "HUG!" The new child was slightly confused and I thought, eventually, she'll get used to this.