Tears... well one or two

One thing I have become increasingly aware of is H.'s lack of tears. No tears of sadness; no tears of frustration; not even tears of fatigue. For a 9 year old to go three weeks without a single tear strikes me as somewhat abnormal. I don't know about you, but in my family tears are a daily occurrence. Perhaps not all from the same child on a given day, but they are certainly spread out among the population over the course of a week. So no tears at all, especially given all the upheaval in H.'s life is a little disturbing to me.

I find that as a mother I am sometimes grateful for things that would seem odd at face value. Today for instance, I was grateful for a tumble off the zip line. This morning, while I was checking schoolwork, the masses headed outside to play and H. discovered the zip line we have set up. I was surprised that she tried it given her generally hesitant nature about physical activity, but tried it she did and loved it. So this afternoon, while A. was baking bread and P., TM, and D. were at rehearsal, K. and H. went outside to play. The ladder for the zip line was still set up and so the stinkers decided to try it unattended. (I think it was K.'s idea and H. happily followed.) K. survived since he has the clinging skills of a baby marmoset, but H. fell off and landed on the ground. B. happened to be outside reading and happened to notice the fall (but not the use of the zip line prior) and came in to get me.

H., true to form, was dismayed by the scratches on her hand, but no tears. (Boy, nothing says, "I have lived in an orphanage" like not reacting appropriately to pain.) In reality, the scratches were pretty minor, but I want to encourage physical and emotional awareness, so made a big deal about them. I brought her inside and took her upstairs to clean them off and put band-aids on them. She was fine until the water hit them and then they really did sting. I insisted on cleaning them off and then made a big deal about medicine and band-aids. The combination of pain and care broke down a small barrier and for the first time in three weeks, saw a couple of tears in her eyes. Her demeanor also was much more sad than I have seen.

We spent a long time with me holding her on my lap and soothing her as if she were really sobbing. I want her to know that it's OK to be sad. We also spent some time looking at pictures from Shepherd's Field. After resting on my lap, we read some stories together (like a true Curry, she loves having books read to her), and then I was going to get up when she asked about Joseph. It took me a moment to figure out what she was saying, but I'm pretty sure she wanted to see Joseph. I told her we couldn't see Joseph, so she asked, "Joseph, Monday?" Now 'Monday' has become her code word for anything that is happening in the future, brought about, I think, because we flew home on a Monday and whenever she asked when we were going home, we would reply, "Monday". I'm going to need a translator to help explain because I'm wondering if she thinks at some point she is going back to Shepherd's Field. Thinking this whole adventure in a new country is a temporary lark could help explain her lack of sadness. Maybe I'm wrong, we'll see. I am so thankful for the people around me who can interpret for us.

It would be so healthy for H. to be able to grieve and not feel she has to be good all the time. But I am still praying for the family who is trying to adopt Joseph that everything will work out. They live within driving distance and I would love to be able to tell H. that yes, "Monday" she will get to visit with Joseph.


Anonymous said…
This reminds me of a time right after we adopted Evan. Granted, he was only 18 months, but he did not cry easily either. About two weeks after we had been home, he fell out the front door and put his bottom teeth almost through his lower lip. He cried for 10 seconds. Had this happened to another child in my family, it would have turned into a much longer crying session. My friends thought it was strange when I told them how much I wanted him to cry. Needless to say, he has learned the skill after 4 years of practice. The good news is, you are teaching her that emotions are good, normal and a natural part of life.
Kim Crawford
Annie said…
Elizabeth, may I ask which Joseph H wants to see? There is an older boy named Joseph there whom I have had on my site for so long. Praying he finds a family!!! Can you email me at 5puppies@comcast.net to let me know. Thank you so much! Hugs to sweet H!
Janet and Kevin said…
We are praying for that same family. They live in our city! So we are within driving distance of you all, too! How wonderful it would be to get together with another PHF family. Will pray for H's tears to come more readily.

janet and gang
Stevens Family said…
Glad you finally saw some appropriate emotion. So nice that you have translation help; just wonderful! Praying more tears follow.

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