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it was the best of times...

Monday, January 12, 2009

One year ago....
...and the worst of times.
Never has that line been more appropriate than today.
Today I got to play with my little girl to my hearts content...
And I had to say goodbye to my best friend.
What an emotional day.
It started out great. Lev left last night to go back to Kiev to wait out the 10 days, so it was just Meshack and me.
Just the way we like it.
We left around 9:30 a.m. for the orphanage. It was the first of two visits with her. We are able to see her from 10 to 11:30 a.m. and then again from 4 to 6 p.m. We have to take taxis from the apartment to the orphanage because Lev doesn't know the bussing system.
I'm bound and determined to figure it out somehow.
Anyway...we ordered a taxi and made our way to whatever side of town the orphanage is located on. (I think it's the south, but honestly have no real idea...I'm all turned around here.) And we showed up 15 minutes early because our driver was a maniac. We were literally speeding up on corners.
We survived...that's all that counts.
When we arrived Maddie was thrilled to see us. She was full of smiles, hugs and kisses again. The best thing are her kisses...they're the European kind. You know - a kiss on each cheek. Too cute! :)
Oh...and NEWS FLASH! - She has wrapped her daddy around her little finger. For those of you who know Meshack in real life this should come as no real surprise to you. All of his children have accomplished this feat within minutes of meeting him.
He's the best.
For today's excitement you once again have to use your imagination.
The room where we visit Maddie is a commons area between the two and three year old groupa rooms. It's a play room of sorts and an area where they store boots, coats, gloves, hats and anything else needed to go outside.
We were in the middle of our visit when suddenly we were attacked. Thirteen two year olds opened the door from their room and ran yelling into the room. They were headed outside to play!
I have to agree! - Woohoo!
The only problem is that Maddie wasn't too thrilled with all of these children interrupting her one-on-one time with her Mama and Papa.
Boy was she peeved.
She told them off in Russian like nobody's business. Q-ball, Punky and JacJac are going to have to watch they don't end up on her bad side.
One of the little boys kept trying to steel her crayons, another child sat on top of her coloring book, one boy was going through her backpack and another was touching her Papa's shoulder.
She didn't know which child to attack first.
So she yelled.
It didn't help.
The kids were focused.
We tried helping the caretakers get coats, gloves, shoes and other stuff so they could clear out faster, but that meant poor Maddie had to fend these kids off herself.
All Meshack and I could do was laugh.
Maddie didn't find it so funny.
About the time the two year olds cleared out, the three year olds escaped from their room as well. They were headed outside too...this time we decided to go along.
The caretakers brought us a sweatshirt, coat, gloves, snowpants, extra socks, hat and gloves. It was 40 degrees yesterday. I don't know how she even moved.
So today's pictures are from our excursion outside with her groupa. (Just double click on the picture to open up a bigger slide show).

I have a new respect for the work these women do. I don't know how they keep track of all the kids and get even the basic things accomplished. It's no wonder the kids are so delayed...there's no way they can spend any quality time teaching these kids anything.
We went back in the afternoon for another, much more quiet visit. This time we brought raisins and apple juice. I know it's going to sound like I'm bragging, but I am convinced my youngest daughter is the smartest girl in all of Ukraine - if not Europe! ;) She learned the 'sign' for 'more' in about minute an a half. And I'm not talking about copying it here folks....she used it independently.
She's one smart cookie!
Of course food is a great motivator.
I think tomorrow we'll try Cheerios and some more apple juice.
Actually...I will.
That brings me back to the worst of times.
Meshack is on his way back to Kiev.
He left on the overnight train a little while ago. He wouldn't let me go to the train station with him - he didn't want me having to walk through the alley by myself at night. I can't say I disagreed with him. But watching him walk away from me with his suitcase and carryon was possibly the hardest thing I've ever had to do.
Not because I can't do this by myself...but because I don't WANT to do this by myself.
I love coming back to the apartment in the evenings, curling up on the couch and talking about all of the great things Maddie did that day. I love sharing jokes in pig latin on the metro so no one else can understand, I love holding his hand as we walk down the street and working together to interpret the labels on packages in the grocery stores.
But as difficult as it is for me to have him leave...I know the kids at home need him more.
They've been without their parents for four out of the last six weeks. We are an incredibly tight family...we do everything together. Everything. So having us both gone for so long has not been easy on them.
They need their daddy.
So Meshack will get on a plane early Monday to head home. He will be there for basketball games, girl scout meetings and parent-teacher conferences. He will be there to fix their meals, play with them and tuck them in at night.
He'll be there to hold, hug and wipe away tears.
And he'll get ready for the new little one I'll be bringing home.
I just wish it was soon.

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