For those who know our story, there is no need to expound on the huge changes our family has endured in the last couple of years as we have prepared our hearts and home for another sibling. I would be lying if I said that this process is easy and the transition smooth. Naturally, our first adoption was most difficult on Pat and I, as we learned our roles as mommy and daddy to Devi and found that place of comfort in our own new identities. As Treya entered our home, the one who has had the roughest time is Devi. As adults, we tend to hold these confusing thoughts and emotions inside, perhaps sorting through them while driving, or having quiet time. For a child of 4, these emotions are expressed outwardly. Navigating her way amongst the joy, silliness, compassion and love, we also see anger, tears, frustration and misbehavior. Being a big sister is really hard, is an expression we have heard from Devi more than once. While Pat and I feel that our family, in the few short months we’ve been together, is gelling in a most remarkable way, there are moments, when things are simply...hard.
In our nightly ritual of combing out Devi’s hair and braiding it for a night of sleep, she looked into the mirror and caught my eyes in the reflection and said, “I don’t love, Treya”. At first, I was cross with her for saying such a hurtful thing, but then realized that little kids make these attention-getting comments all the time. This seemed a bit different, however. So I asked Devi to join me for a little quiet time to talk about this. (Yes, most likely a stalling technique before bedtime, but sometimes they are necessary).
When Treya first came home, Devi, in not so many words, expressed her concern that there wasn’t enough love to go around. I explained that when God and her birth mommy found daddy and I, He put a cupcake of love in our hearts just for loving her. Boy, what a cupcake! It was pink and purple, with lots of swirly icing and tons of sprinkles and tasted delicious. When Treya came, God didn’t cut that cupcake in half. Instead he put another cupcake of love in my heart for Treya. I went on to explain, that God put cupcakes in her heart too so that there would always be enough love to go around and our love would always be so sweet.
Tonight she told me she did not feel her cupcake inside. She was clutching her chest and rubbing it, but said she just didn’t feel the cupcakes in there. So we talked about the difference between loving someone, and liking one’s behavior. This is a tough concept at 4, but I tried to let her know that while we love each other no matter what, sometimes we don’t care for the behavior someone is displaying. In fact, sometimes mommy does not even like daddy’s behavior, and sometimes daddy does not like what mommy has said or done, but that does not mean that the cupcakes of love in our heart are no longer there.
Thats when it came out....a flood of, “Well, I don’t like it when Treya does_________ (fill in the blank).” It was quite a long rant, but apparently, the final straw was when Treya took Devi’s baby doll out of her bed (unbeknownst to us it was staged and ready for night night) and put the doll away. Pat and I praised Treya for cleaning up. Devi blew a gasket over her ruined bed and the fact that we told Treya she had done something good! To make matters worse, we corrected Devi’s irratic behavior. Oops...guess we didn’t get all the facts.
After carefully sorting out that snarl, we finally found a state of calm and cuddled for a few more minutes. I suggested that it was time for bed and she asked for one more thing...
“Momma, can we pray for my cupcakes?”
Absolutely darlin', absolutely!
We have not introduced Treya to many because she was so very shy in the beginning. My grandmother, the mother of 7 children, was anxious as ever to meet our newest addition. We could not have asked for a nicer meeting. Treya climbed right up into her lap, but I suppose with credentials like her's everyone feels comfortable.
We got the okay to travel to India at about the same time that a friend, Cheryl and I were going to begin a project - making matching quilts for the girl's twin beds. (Treya is still in the crib, but one day, we hope she will hold still enough while sleeping to graduate into a big girl bed like Devi) Not too little girly, and use all colors , were the only bits of guidance I gave and turned Cheryl loose to pick fabrics, bat, and sew. This is the finished product. Devi is delighted, as am I. They are beautiful. Thank you so much Cheryl!