Tuesday, May 17, 2016

Old Care

"When I grow up can I wear your makeup?" Avocet asks, while spinning around the banister base of the stairs.

Putting away dishes, "Sure." I say.

"And when you are old, I'll put your makeup on for you."


Last week it was, "Mama, I'll feed you when you're old."

In the last few months, she is getting more and more maternal, so caring for animals and baby dolls. And the comments like above come up fairly often. They stop me in my tracks. They make my heart happy. On more than one occasion, I've hidden tears from her and Ceiba, who more than speaking as much about love, relishes in deep hugs and moments of her own with Chris or I. Ceiba is our quiet love bug, who just wants to be wrapped in a 10 minute long bear hug.

I kind of drill into them both (... regularly) about how important family is, how their sister is ALWAYS their best friend, how they WILL be in each other's weddings, how you stand up for each other on the playground and on and on. We lost their great grandfather a few weeks ago and since have had many talks about family, quality of life, the legacy you leave behind, what we hope for our children and so forth.

In Bangladesh, I remember how much the Muslim men wanted sons, specifically telling me Allah was blessing us a son even after I assured them the ultrasound was a girl. But our Mukta spoke often of how much she dreamt of a daughter, as girls care so much more for their aging parents. She told me how lucky we truly were to be blessed with daughters.

I don't expect our girls to take care of us, they'll have their own lives one day. But for now, I love that those kinds of conversations so often escape their lips. And if they grow up in a loving home, like we did, the thought of caring for aging loved ones is just what we do... forever.

Thursday, May 12, 2016

Chincoteague Island, VA - 2016

It'd been far too long since we'd been to the shore. We had planned heading out east for about 4 months to get away and celebrate Chris's 40th bday and Mother's Day. Over the last 2 months, two unexpected trips to Illinois came up, so the fun 4 hour drive wasn't quite as fun after 4x13 hr drives recently, but the finish line was well worth it! Four years was too long of a wait to see this beautiful area again. 
After usual DC road delays and congestion, we were happy to cross the Bay Bridge and stop off in Kents Narrows, MD for a seafood lunch.
We passed NASA at Wallops Island, which Chris and his dad have been talking about a lot lately with the upcoming launch. It was fun to send pics to Gpa and show him where we were.
Our great Malta cohorts were passing through the area during their transition to Alaska and able to meet up with us for a night/day. The kids (and adults) were beyond excited!  We sweet talked the hotel into forfeiting their 3 nt rule, so we were all in the same hotel for the night. After dinner out (to seafood, of course!), we enjoyed some hours in the pool/jacuzzi. As the kids drifted off to sleep in their rooms, the dads got to share stories and a bottle of wine in the lobby chairs. How rare in our house for Papa to whisk away for chill time. Meeting global friends just for a visit... priceless. More faraway reunions must stay on the radar!
On Saturday morning, after breakfast, we (and the entire lobby) sang "Happy Birthday!", followed by a little Maltese "cha cha chas" from the Littles. Out blew his black candle, LOL, and to the beach we drove.  
Chincoteague Island is a National Park, one of the few in America with a herd of wild ponies. We stopped off to hike to and climb the stairs of the Assateague Lighthouse, circa 1860. It is in AMAZING shape and as beautiful as they come. The old station is below, marked with the US Coast Guard sign. It is surrounded by low water marsh and offers a stunning 360 of the Assateague and Chincoteague Islands. Luckily, we beat the school tour group, as they do limit the amount of visitors up at any time. 
We farewelled our friends, so they could journey on north to family. The comfort of having friends together 1000s of miles from where you met is incredible. Know our kids all love these kinds of reunions... not realizing how special and unusual they really are.
Our little group of 4 spent 2 more days walking the sandy shores, picking up skate egg cases, horse crab shells, seashells, burying sand toys (even the beloved new pony... completely... and realizing once people were packed in the car to leave... but we recovered it while the older couple behind us enjoyed the show), watching fishermen and surfers and being 100% completely in our element.
I am beginning to realize that I really love the craggy low waters of the East Coast. Our family mingled and meandered in the sand for as long as we could, in between the raindrops.