One of the strange things about having this blog chronicle our lives for as long as it has – is there’s a post from when Alma was born!
This one has been kind of a strange birthday – because we’ve entered a new stage of our family life. Starting this fall, we only have one kid at home 9 months of the year. That’s so strange to even write out. But now with both Micah and Matea at RVA in Kenya, and with Jonah in his second year of university back in Canada – we moved here to Kigali with only one.
One of the amazing things about having kids is you get to see a person grow and change in ways that you never do any other way. Sure I grew up with my siblings, but I was too young and changing and immature and naive to understand what they (and I were actually like). Sure you see other people grow up – but having a human in your house from the day they’re born is an unbelievable privilege. You start to understand things that you remember other parents saying before you had kids that just don’t make sense: “they’re all so different from each other” “I wouldn’t trade it for the world” or even “I don’t have a favorite”
Each of our kids has had a childhood so different from my own – but perhaps Alma’s has been the most so – at least in terms of outward, practical, physical things.
She was born in France, moved to Canada for six months, then Burundi – her third continent while she was still three.
Last year when she turned nine was the only birthday she remembers having in Canada since the only other one was her third.
She really grew up in Burundi more than the other kids. We moved up to Kibuye when she was just four – and now left a few weeks before her 10th birthday. If I think back to what I consider my ‘childhood’ – places, people, events, things – so much of those memories are from that time period. We moved from BC to Alberta the day before I started 6th grade, so I think when I imagine ‘being a kid’ it’s those tree forts, and bike paths, and school grounds and neighborhood friends. For Alma – all of that is Kibuye.
As teammates, we were not unaware of the unique situation our kids had, and we often used to say to each other “what an amazing place to grow up.”
For Alma, it’s meant not usually having a girl her own age around – but having incredible close friends. The kind of friends that if you don’t see 5 times a day something is seriously off.
It means thriving in our rural compound life. Bunnies, guinea pigs, chickens, bamboo groves, guava trees, finding baby owls, making mud bricks from the ground, carving miniature cities into the dirt, and populating them with beans.
She has become our animal whisperer.
She is so incredibly expressive, and jubilant and full of energy. Someone commented yesterday “you have the most expressive face I think I’ve ever seen – it probably almost doesn’t even matter if you have your face mask on – people can still see what you’re feeling”
So while we only have one child at home most of the time right now – our house is not placid and boring. We have our beautiful little fire-cracker here.
It’s amazing as a parent to look back on the day you bring your child home. You are pulled to care, nurture, and protect with a force that is almost impossible to deny. Now you see your child – who was that object of care – give love and help to others.
So here’s to our fierce, strong, loving, kind ten-year-old. A force to be reckoned with.