We all have our "freak out" moments, me included. We are all learning and building trust with one another, me included. We have had a busy summer, all of us finding our place in this uncommon family dynamic, me included.
I am trying to get use to the looks as I walk into a room with four kids, one scarcely 15 years younger than me. I am trying to get used to seeing people from the past and answering so many questions because they were unaware of the adoption. I am trying to get over the dirty looks I get when I walk into the grocery store with my oldest son and people think I am 'robbing the cradle' or the comment, "oh you started young." Seriously???
There have been trials, and triumphs. There have been struggles, and sacrifices. But through it all there has been permanency.
Alex and Yana have spent the summer experiencing things they have never had an opportunity to do; Things as simple as a drive through car wash. Yana telling those blue soapy flying objects touching the car, to be "careful... careful" as they rub over the hood. Or, as I drive down to visit the San Diego Zoo with four kids in tow, and Alex asking me if there are any bears at this Zoo? I told him yes, there are polar bears.
He looks at me with bright young eyes and said "WHITE?!?" I shook my head yes, as a huge smile appeared on that 17 years olds face.
Every Klimas kid had picked one thing to do this summer, giving everyone one special thing, one hobby to make them feel like an individual in this bustling bursting home.
Alex of course has been playing soccer on a competitive club team, and although soccer is something he has played for years with his friends in the orphanage, he has never been coached; Never had an adult mentor to help to push him and grow to be better. This growth has inched into other places, as he adjusts and attaches to his new big life in San Diego, with his family of 6. He has began to think about future goals, and for now wants to coach soccer.
Such a cool thing. Five months ago, this boys future was dim, but now he has future goals he has set for himself. Totally a blessing.
Yana was harder to find a hobby for, as she would be content playing or skateboarding all day. Yana you want to play soccer? No. Yana you wanna go for a run with me? No. Yana you want to play the ukulele with Elliot? No. Yana you want to do dance? No. You want to do gymnastics? No. Yana you want to be in a play? No. Yana you want to play volleyball? No. So, what do you want to do? 'Play with dogs.' We have signed her up for Petco training classes with our black lab Lady, since she is to young to volunteer at the Humane Society. She is enjoying it and it has given her so much confidence! (She now claims Lady as her dog, not the family dog.)
This summer, Lily has had swimming lesson with the amazing Mrs. Shreve and as that ended, soccer began. Yep. She is playing soccer, like her big brother. Alex comes to every practice and critiques her skills. "We need practice Lily, everyday." Although this is not her first season, it is the first one where she is actually wants to play instead of sitting on the sidelines eating snacks. She even has weekly practices. So big, I can't believe how much she has grown up in the last year.
Elliot...everyone says that teenagers are hard, but that is because four-year-old tantrums are a distant memory. Since I have children that range from 17 to 4, I can honestly tell you, the youngest is the hardest.
She has spent a few seasons of soccer and gymnastics and ballet sitting on my lap crying. After so many tear-filled lessons, we have finally found something she can do while sitting on my lap. Miss Beth has patiently blessed us with teaching this little monkey to play the Ukulele. She is learning "you are my sunshine" right now, and it makes me beam when she asks me to sit down so she can climb on my lap to practice. Our special time.
We have decided to keep Yana in 7th grade one more year. Lily is in first. Elliot is pre-kindergartener and Alex is in eleventh grade.
And as my partner teacher and I excitedly decorated and prepared for the fast approaching school year... The Klimas kids shared in the happiness. Helping to hang chevron pattern borders around the perimeter of the burlap, hanging clean freshly sown seat covers over the chairs, and placing sharpen pencils into a table basket waiting to be used.
And after helping mom (which they all call me now), smoothies at Costco as a much needed reward.