Wednesday, June 29, 2011
This is Superman. He has a magic flying cape and, like all true heroes, he also has a trusty, albeit seldom-clothed sidekick, Superbaby.
Superman is always telling us about his amazing powers. At bedtime a few nights ago he took my face in both of his hands, and very seriously said, “Everything you and Dad know, from every day and every night, I knew before I was born.” Amazing.
And this morning at breakfast he informed his older sister that he could see through walls. She was skeptical. So he proved it. He looked right through the dining room wall and into the garage.
“Well, then what do you see?” She challenged, snipping off the edges of her words.
“I see a whole lotta junk.” He answered, putting the issue to rest.
She was not astonished.
But I, his mother, find him absolutely incredible. This week, Mister has been attending a morning tennis camp, out of reach of his sister’s shadow. He made it known that his coach said he is “super-duper good at tennis” and watching him walk off, tapping his racket against the concrete and strutting just a little, has me thinking back.
Three years ago, this month, I was dreaming about this boy with a crinkled two-inch photo of him in my pocket. We had been matched and were at the mercy of the Ethiopian court system, praying like crazy for the call that would tell us we made it through court before the Ge’ez New Years holiday and additional months of waiting. Of course, I only remember the experience from my own perspective and was struck by Mister’s telling of the same story to a friend the other day with whom he shared his “special book”.
He sat next to her and carefully turned the pages, relating all the details of his life before us. “This is a picture of me when I was so sad. I was all alone.” I thought about interrupting to remind him that he was never truly alone. The beautiful people who provided transitional care had loved him and walked him up and down the alley while he screamed. But then I thought better of it. If he says he was alone, he was alone; and in a way I hope he never is again. He continued his story, looking at our friend with his saucer-serious eyes, brows raised up and towards each other. “I was all alone and very sad, so I ordered a family.”
He ordered me. Of course.
We have never used that type of language to talk about adoption so his comment caught me off guard on first hearing. Then I moved his words closer to my heart and felt their warmth. He ordered us. He is the protagonist of his own tale. Powerful. In control. Getting what he needs in this life when he asks for it. Choosing a family to bless with a fierce and constant love and a giggle that throws his head back as it bubbles out.
I hope he always tells his story this way, swapping out little words for big ones but leaving himself at its center.
Three years ago this month I was waiting for Superman.