As I begin typing this post, I’m sitting in our living room, Arturo across from me on his laptop (working on personal, fun projects, not doing actual work), and Shanti behind me dancing and singing along to one of her favorite Bollywood soundtracks. A picture-perfect Sunday family evening, full of a comfortable togetherness.
It’s been a tiring week, and to be honest, I’m ready to go to bed, even though we still have 45 minutes before Shanti’s bedtime alarm rings. But this is definitely a good tired, a tired stemming from a heart full of love and a life overflowing with blessings.
The main reason I am so tired right now actually has little to do with parenthood and everything to do with this:
Arturo and I are both members of the Springfield Symphony Orchestra, an excellent part-time professional orchestra located in the little town of Springfield, east of Dayton, OH. We play six or seven concerts a year, plus a summer concert, and the musical experiences we have with this orchestra are ones we wouldn’t trade for the world. But even before we became a family of three, “Springfield weeks” (as we call them) were exhausting. It’s hard not to be tired when we have rehearsals an hour an a half away from home from 7:30-11 every night for a week, and then we have to be up for work the next morning. But oh, the joy of participating in a professional orchestra, of being one of over 100 people working toward the corporate goal of creating and sharing beautiful music, of performing before the SSO’s excited and vibrant audience ….. there’s (almost) nothing better.
This weekend’s concert was the first we’d played since coming home with Shanti, and it took a lot of juggling to make it work. We had AMAZING friends (who really deserve the name of “family,” even though we don’t share any DNA) step up to care for Shanti during our rehearsal evenings. My brother and his wife and mother-in-law came down from Columbus to spend Saturday with Shanti, while we had rehearsal, and they then sat with her in the audience during the concert so she wouldn’t be sitting alone. Shanti and I made sure to pack plenty of relationship-building experiences into her school days so she wouldn’t be lacking in parental love and attention this week. We made cupcakes as our math lesson, when she learned about grams and ounces. We went on walks around our neighborhood and learned the English words for the things we saw. We took a field trip up to see Arturo at work during lunch one day to even squeeze in some extra “daddy time.” She did wonderfully, gracefully handling our first separation from her since we took custody almost 3 months ago. She definitely missed us, which is a good sign for our family bonding process, but she had a fabulous time with Erica, Rory, Suzanne, Kerry, Deborah, Jason, and Britney, the friends and family she already knows and loves.
Our first SSO concert as parents may have taken a lot of planning and been even more exhausting than our SSO weeks used to be, but it was all worth it when we saw her face beaming back at us from her prime spot in the audience. She was captivated when she saw us walk on stage, and her face was full of pride when she applauded after our first piece, Tchaikovsky 6. She told us about a month ago that she wants to learn to play violin, and she still hasn’t stopped talking about the violinist who played the Tchaikovsky violin concerto last night. Tomorrow we have plans to go to the local instrument shop to get her fitted with a violin. (She was quite indignant when told we couldn’t get her violin today because the shop is closed on Sundays. We’re hoping her enthusiasm carries her through at least a few weeks of lessons!)
My body is tired tonight. I know I’ll certainly sleep well. But my heart is also full to overflowing. Full of love for this precious daughter of ours, full of the joy of seeing her grow physically and emotionally, full of laughter and adventures shared with an amazing child who lights up our house. Most of all, my heart is full of praise for a God who, in His infinite wisdom, orchestrated our family according to His plan. Adoption is hard, and life is never without its ups and downs. But it is worth it. Tonight, my heart is full.