Yesterday we had our first house party! Well it wasn’t much of a party by Mexican standards – no boom box, no piñata, no fireworks – but we did have guests at our house. They were little, but still they were guests.
I’ve told you about the family from the small town of San Vicente that have stolen our hearts. We first met the Santanas 2 years ago when 13-year-old Ivonne was about to give birth to Lupita. A few months later her twin sister Ivette brought Kevin into the world. The twins and their babies live with their mom, their sisters Irandi and Isabelle, and their brothers Jose, Laurentino and Nasabid. 10 of them in one room. So we have become friends and adopted abuelos (grandparents).
When I held Lupita when she was only a few weeks old I whispered in her ear that I would make sure she would be okay. I really have no logical ability to keep that promise and yet I am standing by it and the least (or maybe the most) I can do is show up from time to time and hug and kiss and cuddle this sweet little girl. And pray for her – that God will hold her close and give her a hope and a future. We trust that our continued presence in the life of this family tells them that we care – that we support them as they walk their own journey. Two years ago little 2-year-old Jose looked at us suspiciously. He seldom smiled – and never wore pants! Now when we drive up Jose flies out of the houses and into my arms.
So yesterday we did what I have dreamed of for a long time. We picked up Laurentino, Isabelle, Jose, Lupita and Ivonne and brought them to our house to play Wii and have lunch. After some crazy Mario Kart, we headed down to the beach where we all played on boogie boards for a couple of hours. While I watched Lupita, Ivonne was able to have some fun in the water, like the teen she is. It just made my heart happy to have a normal family day with my sweet little friends.
In 2015 my word for the year was JOY. For me that word was a reminder to squeeze everything I could out of life – to live fully in every moment, to stop thinking only about the destination but rather to find pleasure and meaning in every step of the journey. But I know that when you live life to the max it can be messy and dirty and scary and uncertain. So my word for 2016 is PEACE. I know that this new life is not going to be easy – heck, thanks to the roosters I haven’t had a good night’s sleep in 2 weeks! – but I know that in the midst of it all, I can experience peace. I want to wake up every day and be able to say “It is well with my soul”. No matter what.
So yesterday, in the midst of the chaos of hanging out with children who I can’t properly communicate with, keeping a constant eye on Jose who was getting slammed by the waves, I held sleeping Lupita in my arms and knew that this was peace. To love a child. It is indeed well with my soul.