I’m giving in! And starting a blog. I have to say I have resisted for a number of years, convinced that blogs are pretty self-focused. But I guess that most people just stop reading the real narcissistic blogs… So if I find that no one’s checking in to the Takameter after a time… I’ll know more about myself.
(Disclaimer: This blog will generally NOT be profound. This blog WILL contain many photos of our children.)
Yesterday, Eric took our partners Peter and Wendi and their 4 children to the airport, as they are flying back to the US for a three month home assignment. Already Sanda feels lonely without them. I have felt strongly the need this summer to pray for God’s protection on them. Please pray with me for these friends who will be covering a lot of ground.
This week has been a notable week for Olivia, our one year old. Last night Eric heard her say her first word (besides mommy and ba-ba, or daddy)… and I heard it myself today. Her first real word is “pocha pocha”, the Japanese children’s word for bath. It’s one of her favorite pasttimes… we frequently find her crawling into our shower/bath room and trying her best to get wet. Then, today our friend Yasko was over, and Olivia took 2 steps from her to me with no one holding on! We keep telling her to stop growing- where is our baby??
Owen continues to do well in yochien (Japanese pre-school/kindergarten). He seems to be a friend-maker… today another mom came up to me and said that her son keeps talking about Owen every night, and asked if he come over and play soon. Apparently several moms have heard their sons playing at home saying in English, “Everybody!” — guess who they learned that from?
Our favorite recent incident happened last week, when I went to pick him up. In true Japanese-school departure form, Owen and his classmates were all sitting on the step in front of their classroom, waiting for their teacher to dismiss them. As I walked up, I noticed that one of Owen’s good buddies, Sousuke, had written all up and down his legs in magic markers. I glanced over at his mom, also waiting for the teacher to dismiss the class, and felt really embarassed for her. When the teacher dismissed Owen, she motioned me to come over, and in a quiet voice she let me know that it was OWEN who had written all up and down Sousuke’s legs in magic marker! NOW which Mom was incredibly embarassed? Thankfully Sousuke’s mom and I have become friends, and we had a good laugh. (Keep laughing, Mom! keep laughing! Sousuke’s in the forefront; Owen in background)
We are already finding that Owen’s school provides a wonderful place to build new relationships… to begin walking with new friends in their places of joy and pain…to care for people and become part of their lives. Yesterday 3 moms and I took our kids to the park after class. (Owen and Annie are in the center).
We were sitting eating lunch, and one mom shared with me that her first daughter died as a baby from a heart condition. She would be 8 today. Suddenly my friend N. became more real as she opened up and began sharing layers of her life…. Isn’t this what it’s all about?
Henri Nouwen says it well:
“More and more, the desire grows in me simply to walk around, greet people, enter their homes, sit on their doorsteps, play ball, throw water, and be known as someone who wants to live with them. It is a privilege to have the time to practice this simple ministry of presence. Still, it is not as simple as it seems. My own desire to be useful, to do something significant, or to be part of some impressive project is so strong that soon my time is taken up by meetings, conferences, study groups, and workshops that prevent me from walking the streets…. But I wonder more and more if the first thing shouldn’t be to know people by name, to eat and drink with them, to listen to their stories and tell your own, and to let them know with words, handshakes, and hugs that you do not simply like them, but truly love them.”