December 20, 2009
Takes a village
Yesterday, when the two little neighbor kids came over, I gave them the task of setting up the Christmas village on newly washed white sheets. “We’ll be in charge,” Little Biker Boy said importantly. I knew he and Ponytail would be eager to play with the little figurines and houses. He’d asked about the Christmas village just as soon as Christmas commercials began appearing on television.
I was busy cleaning the kitchen — we were getting ready for our annual Christmas party — but I could hear the kids talking as they played. “We need to put the castle HERE,” Little Biker Boy said to his sister emphatically. “That’s where it was last year. I remember.”
Friends and family might tease me about making the exact same food for every party, but Little Biker Boy loves that predictability. “You’re going to make that punch again? With lemons floating in it?”
He loves the seasonal rituals of our household. His own life has not been that stable. He spent almost a year in foster care when he was small. Then when he was about kindergarten age, his father kidnapped him for a couple of years. The details of his life during those years he was a missing child are murky: he remembers that he lived in the Florida for a while, and that he lived in an apartment over a bar.
Little Biker Boy is looking forward to our first big snowstorm. “I’m going to shovel a path for you. Remember how I did that last year?”
Whenever our furnace clicks on, he likes to come into the kitchen and sit on the floor near the register, to enjoy the warm air flowing out. I usually sit down with him and we talk for a few minutes. “You aren’t ever going to move, are you?” he’ll ask as he leans against me for a hug.
“Not likely,” I tell him. “We own this house, and we don’t have plans to sell it.”
That answer always comforts him, but I don’t have the heart to say aloud what he already knows. His life is less predictable than mine, and neither one of us can predict where he might be next year, or even next season.
Posted by jo(e)