Tuesday, August 3, 2010

People who call me "Mom" (in order of appearance)

Caitlin. Unexpected treasure granted this “infertile” couple. “Ha ha!” spake the Father-God in the fall of 1982. “Let me show you what I can do!” Now grown to woman beautiful-in-form made more lovely through abiding faith, depth of character, and courageous mind. Funny. Creative. Lover of science in the real world. Ever ready to celebrate and play. Comfortable in her own skin. Wise in the ways of animals--like she can see into their spirits and capture them with compassion. Hero-eyes for her dad. Valued contributor wherever she goes. Watching for Aragorn, investing in everyone.

Daniel. Experts are defied again as God grants a second baby. Cait’s prayer answered in a strapping-in-size yet fragile baby brother. “I have a boy-sister!” the three-year-old proclaimed when told her prayer had come to pass. God celebrated Dan’s birth with a full-arch rainbow out the window. A child who arrived with promises. Taller than we would have dreamed, he builds “tallest” things. Experimental, agile, with deeply perceptive mind and fast reflexes. Adaptable to original work and contented life in the developing world. I love to hear him sing. Devoted husband full of tender connection to his great love. Respect must be earned with Dan, but once you have it he is unswervingly loyal in work and in friendship. Keeper of confidences. Giver of magnificent hugs.

Eda. My first child-by-marriage is an Albanian beauty, gentle and incredibly strong. She first called me “Mom” to satisfy culture, and then we grew in love and our spirits intertwined. What privilege to have the young couple live in our home, to share with her the journeys of language-learning and all the rest of adapting to life in a strange new land. Quieter than my natural-born lot, she is the one who connects with others who, though so lovely, feel themselves outside the circle of rowdy American easiness. Yet she,too, will black a tooth and don a crazy hat to lip-synch a rock song. Or chase Cait through the house until both fall down and roll with laughter. Teacher of children, studious learner, and creative keeper of home, Eda may be the bravest woman I know. Proof-certain that Dan has wonderful taste in women!

Pawan. From Nepal, he was born just a month before Caitlin. We connected while he worked as guard in our building. I asked whether he knew of someone to do housework. He told me of Deepak, then said, “Madame, now I have told you about my friend, Deepak. Will you please tell me about your friend, Jesus?” Born to a Hindu family, Pawan met Jesus in Nepal and is ever-hungry to know Him better. Tai Kwan Do champion, supporter of his parents and siblings, networker to find work for his brothers. We love the evenings he comes by to cook his home food and share it with us. Pawan has vision to build his home church, and a heart that embraces many. A treasure.

Halil. Turkish. Married to Gül and father of sweet baby Yasmine. Lover of flowers who covers our table with garden blossoms whenever he senses a special occasion. A restaurant waiter caught in the cyclical tornado of the tourist year, Halil (and Gül, too, who is a cook) work non-stop through the season. Not wanting to leave his family for more plentiful off-season work, he finds what he can in Kaş in the winter. Time then to play backgammon with other men, and Halil willingly includes Curt with his local friends. Our family and guests—well, he takes them in as his own. It is “Momi” in Turkish to this lively, open young man. Halil worries some for the future and dreams for his little family. But he bounces, like some lively melody pours out from his core to give rhythm to his gait.

Tahir. The newest of the lot, just a year older than Dan and Eda. From Pakistan, he is another who guards our building. Trained in criminology, he longs for a position in his field. Just like Cait. Meanwhile he works 12-hour shifts, often seven days a week, watching and serving. His tenderness towards Dad and comfort around wheelchairs and walkers opened doors to learn that his mother suffered and died with MS. Like a few others, he loves to drop by to borrow DVDs, and to talk. Wants to know of our faith, and shares elements of his Islam. High hopes his family will arrange his marriage while he is home this month. So far he’s only named me “Mom” on a birthday card, but when he left on holiday he wanted a photo of his “family” here to share with those at home.

The first three—of course they call me “Mom.” High privilege to belong to them. Pawan, Halil, Tahir—well, do I just appear more motherly as I expand, wrinkle and sag? (My friend Chom, from Korea, longs to be fatter for she believes that softness in an older woman speaks of love and wisdom. Come to think of it, she, too, calls me "Mom," though she is older than me. For her it is the address for a spiritual mentor.) Or is it something else flowing through those cracks? Such admirable young men, all three. Hard-working, generous and sacrificial supporters of their own families. Elements of lonely longing in each journey. Diverse in faith, language, heritage. High privilege to be chosen by them.

Lord God, Father-by-adoption, thank you for this grace, pure gift from You. Bless them all, natural-born and born-of-love with ever-deeper knowledge of Your loving engagement in their lives.


Laura said...

And there are many others who have been blessed by your hospitality and loving care. Thanks for being a vessel of God's grace, Jeri (and Curt).

Kathleen Overby said...

So nice to know that fatter is softer and makes us seem full of love and wisdom. Lovely tribute to real life and real love and real hospitality. :) Caregiving....

Jeri said...

Ah,yes, Laura, you also are a treasure to us! Thanks, Kathleen. But who is caring for who here?