Monday, October 23, 2006

Thank God it's Monday, so I can relax

It happened again. I arrived at church yesterday feeling a little homesick, and then as everyone came together I was deeply moved and grateful to be part of this community. There was a notice in last week's announcements that they needed a webmaster, and I volunteered, so now I have my first official job in my new church. For a while I believed I'd never let myself get involved in a church again; why am I not surprised to realize I've pretty much tossed that resolution aside?

A lot of thoughts came together for me this weekend. Friday will be the two-year anniversary of the event that marks the beginning of this time of looking inward, and I know it's time to look outward again; the webmaster gig is just the beginning.

It was a busy weekend, as we spent time with family, old friends, and the boy we call our "Russian son," who has fits into both categories. He has been in the U.S. for the past nine years pursuing an American education, and during that time he has become a part of our family, though his own parents are alive and well back at home. For him we have done most of the things parents do for their kids, everything from cheering him on at soccer games and wrestling matches, to staying up with him most of the night while he completed his college applications just barely ahead of the deadline, to helping out with tuition.

It is an odd thing to try to love someone else's child as if he were your own. Some boundaries you cross, but others remain. Now he is two semesters away from completing a five-year business degree and two hairs' breadths away from being tossed out for academic insufficiency. As amateur psychologists we diagnose depression; he started to work with the mental health services people at his college but now says they didn't help and he has to solve it on his own. Stubborn, stubborn. At his age you can't force your own children to do anything they don't want to do, and there's even less we can insist on with him. But once he's out, he'll have to go back to Russia, where he won't have a Russian education or a complete American education. What will happen to him then? Sometimes we feel angry that he is wasting the resources we've invested in him, emotional and otherwise; other times we feel heartbroken because we know that if he is sent back home now we'll lose touch with him, and that will feel like losing a member of our family.

Kids ...

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