I had had some concerns, when Anna and the girls returned from staying with family in Oklahoma, that the transition back to the sort of ordered family living we strive for in our home would be bumpy as well as long. I have, God be praised, been blessed by the opposite reality.
But that is not to say there haven’t been some wince-inducing moments, and some tough, if short-lived, battles. On the wince-inducing part: Sofie greeted Anna, when she woke up the morning after Anna had returned from Nawlins, “Where’s daddy?” I, of course, was in the bed across the room. But poor Sofie had been without me around on a daily basis for two and a half months. And the first weekend Anna had been back home, she went down to the ALA convention. Sofie clearly expected that with one parent present, the other must have been gone. Such has been her experience these past several weeks.
But now that she’s had both of us around for another week, now that we have gone together to the Divine Liturgy as a family for the first time since Pascha, her life is being bounded again by recognizable parameters. And she is less anxious.
Delaina’s anxiety has been, this past couple of weeks, expressed more in not being willing to relinquish her grasp of the parent holding her. After Delaina was born, we began immediately to pass her around at Church so she was used to being held by our extended church family, with the result that she once fell asleep in one of our fellow parishioner’s arms. But last week she refused to be handed to anyone else, clinging tightly to me and turning her head. She didn’t even want me to set her down so she could crawl around. Today, however, though she still had some reluctance, she was much more ready to venture from mine or Anna’s embrace into someone else’s grasp.
Even the girls’ sleep cycles have returned to previous normalcy, with earlier risings and bed times. Delaina has learned to kiss icons, and Sofie is learning to make the sign of the cross for herself. And their Church behavior isn’t really all that different from before. It will take a few weeks for Sofie to get used again to the length of the services, but she did pretty well these past two Sundays.
God’s design for the ordered Christian home is clearly to the benefit of the children. I’m thankful for the prayers of my family and friends toward the reestablishing of our domestic rituals and balance.
I’m also grateful to God for his mercy and kindness toward us, and for the prayers of his saints for our houshehold, especially the Mother of God and St. John the Wonderworker of Shanghai and San Francisco.