Sunday, April 23, 2006


Last November, in the early-to-middle part of the month, The Wife and I went to a marriage seminar. It was a Christian-based tutorial on how not to tick each other off too bad, as I looked at it, and it was a wonderful weekend. We saw old friends, listened to some wonderful speakers, ate out the entire weekend and basically had a good time.

We have not, as far as we can remember, been out of town overnight since then. That changed this weekend.

We went to see Mom and Dad, and this was probably even better than the last trip out of town. I got to go to the lake cabin for a few hours, talk with my folks on their turf, consult with Dad on how he should do this or that small change to the landscape, stole some lilac shoots for our yard (already transplanted, watered and prayed over), ate cookies, had a picnic on the three-season porch, and in general allowed "Angel" to get to know her new grandma and grandpa a little better.

"Josie" must like us at least a little, because she switched home weekends so she could come along. I even got to take her and Dad on in pool, since Dad has a table in his basement, over which much life has been discussed, and we carried on the tradition this weekend. "Josie" was actually on pretty good behavior, and even helped with some vacuuming in the cabin. I was impressed.

The highlights of the weekend both involved "Angel". First, when I wasn't there, she apparently launched into a long sermon, regaling the group with many statements, not much of which anyone could understand because she's not talking clearly yet...but she put feeling into it, and feeling is enough. Mom held out as long as she could before a snort of laughter slipped out. "Angel" apparently wheeled on her and gave her a piece of her mind, at the end of which the whole room was rolling on the floor. I wish I could have been there for that one.

The second happened this morning, when "Angel" suddenly decided it was time for a little Daddy time. We held hands and spun in circles in the kitchen until I couldn't take any more (38 apparently can't take as much spinning as 3-going-on-4), and then she demanded to be picked up. When I was steady enough, I complied. She turned to me and put her hands on my cheeks, scrunching my lips into a proper pucker, at which point she laid one on me, and then threw her arms around my neck.

She then spent some time exploring my facial features and rubbing my whiskers (which are only a little out of hand at the moment), at which point she looked down and her eyes got big. She was looking at my chest, and holy buckets but didn't my chest have a lot of hair on it. She observed "hair, daddy!"

Then a light bulb visibly turned on in her head, and she reached up, pulled out the top of her own shirt and looked down it to see if maybe she wasn't growing a little hair there.

While at the lake, one of the neighbors offered me a free boat lift and utility trailer. I'm obligated to accept, of course, since I do have a place to put a boat lift (if not yet a need, since I don't yet have a boat) and I was already thinking I needed a trailer. This one needs the panels replaced (treated plywood looks to be just the ticket) and the tongue needs to be rebuilt, but the frame is great and the tires might even be usable.

At the end of the weekend, my mother, veteran of nearly 30 years of steady fostering, offered up the opinion that "Angel" is a perfectly normal little girl in almost all respects, and the fears we had based on our preliminary information are mostly unfounded. I think she feels as I do, that when all is said and done, this girl will be our forever-daughter. There's a lot to do and a long way to go before we can say that WILL happen, but the omens look right and we're not seeing any roadblocks as of yet. Pray for us on that, please.

All in all, it was a very successful visit. I have an old friend whose family always seems to need to go on a trip together or something in order to have a great time as a family. Call me a dud, but I would prefer a plain old weekend trip to a small Minnesota town (pop. 450) one hour away from home, and plenty of conversation, food and a little constructive work with the people I love most in the world: The Wife, my folks, and a couple Other People's Kids.


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