Time is short this morning, but I want to give a quick update on our visit with Dimples. Her flight went well and I had no trouble picking her up at SeaTac. We hopped in the car, where Russ and Bee were waiting, and headed into traffic on our way to an Ethiopian restaurant. The girls were thrilled to have Ethiopian food, and it was nice to have something special to do together.
During dinner I asked the girls if smelling the food made them remember Ethiopia. We chatted about it a little bit and then Dimples said, “Can we lighten the topic?” She explained that she had recently finished working on her life story and talking about Ethiopia was bringing up some deep emotions.
Wow. Did you read that? Our daughter, who is often ruled by her fears and emotions, used words to tell us that the conversation was making her feel anxious and respectfully asked us to talk about something else. It was stunning. Her ability to recognize and verbalize her feelings is probably the most notable change we’ve seen.
Thursday we spent over six hours at Seattle Children’s. It felt very, very long, especially the last couple of hours. Thankfully the girls had good appointments. Both girls had lots of time with special friends on this visit, as did Russ and I. It was sweet to see how happy everyone was to see Bee and Dimples.
Friday morning, I could see Dimples’ anxiety and irritability begin to rise. I tried to stay very calm, feed her food she liked, and help her pack snacks in her backpack. On the drive to the airport she realized she had forgotten her snacks and I assured her I would get food for her. When we got into the airport, I could see she was getting more agitated. I stopped, touched her arms, looked in her eyes and said, “I can see you are really worried about not having enough food to eat. As soon as we get to your terminal, we will buy lunch for you and pack it in your backpack.” That reassured and calmed her a bit.
She was disappointed with the food choices available near her gate, but she finally chose something. We sat down to wait. I suggested we play cards, or do another activity she had with her, but she refused. I told her I knew she was struggling with leaving, but that I didn’t think she wanted her visit to end this way. I said, “Tell me three things you liked about the visit.” She said, “Nothing – I don’t know – I can’t think of anything.” We sat silently for a few minutes, then she said, “Fine! I liked being with my family and our friends, and I liked the Ethiopian food. That’s it. Only two things.” I praised her and told her I was glad she could think of some things she liked.
The visit was good. It was not at all like real life at home, but that’s okay. I still had the feeling that being with us was not nearly as important as being away from her school and doing special things. Regardless, we created some good memories and shared some nice time together.
Thank you to all of you who prayed; we’re thankful for you.
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