Summer began in earnest today. Last week I had a foretaste as I ran back and forth between the airport and interns and other responsibilities. Today 8 children aged “nearly 10” to “just over 1” occupied my day.
We threw balls of yarn at each other as we learned names and some likes and dislikes. We attentively listened to a very long song in Ukrainian (or was it Russian?) about the joys of kindergarten. We practiced our three main rules a number of times before we added a fourth one–if you’re less than 7 years of age, you need to hold onto a grown up as you cross the street. We met the Pair O’Ducks. We stitched patches onto what will become pillows. They rode bikes around, and around, and around. And we played a splendid game of link tag (thank you, SHARE teens!). Oh, yes–we also broke the ice many times in spite of the game’s name specifically admonishing us, “Don’t!”
All in all, I’d say it was a good day. My interns and high school assistants couldn’t have been more helpful. They volunteered for the dirty jobs. They ran and ran and ran. They took crying toddlers for walks. They led the way when both of my legs were asleep from the knees down and standing (or attempting to stand) would have thwarted my goal of staying ouf of the hospital this year.
It wasn’t a perfect day. There were tears brought on by the unknown, departing parents, unkind words, and untimely meetings between toes and bicycles. Wood chips found their way into shoes. A sister mistook a sibling’s arm for a vegetable and managed to get dip down the length of it. I’m still not sure I’ve convinced all the parties involved that a China rabbit and a Chinese rabbit are very different things, but we’re working on it.
Today I remembered that the characteristics of the Third Culture may show up at early ages–just as the characteristics of any other culture can. I was reminded that while they may vex you, older siblings are great for paving the way and setting the pace. I was shown that it’s not easy to be five and have the pacing and paving jobs. I was thankful that I have four amazing interns who go with the flow, act quickly without complaining, and show thoughtful love easily. While relearning how much energy preschoolers and lower elementary students have (and conversely how much I lack), I became even more grateful for the high school students who come alongside and lend their time and energy to these kids and this program.
This morning I was sure I was unready for the day. There were moments when I wished my pre-program morning could’ve been longer without the sacrifice of more sleep, but really it was a good beginning. I’m glad the first steps have been stepped. I’m glad the things that were cried over became the day’s favorites. I’m thankful I get to do what I do with the amazing people on my team.
How was your day?
photo courtesy of suzN80 on creative commons