Fast forward to supper Thrusday night... There we were nibbling on pig's feet and slurping some noodle soup (just another clue of our hankering for China!), when Ari shocked us all by pulling his tooth so far forward that it touched his gum. We were surprised to see that while we had been distracted by all the moving, hospital visits and whatnot, Ari's tooth had already begun to discolor in his mouth. In case you were starting to suspect negligence on our part, let me point out that we do brush his teeth everyday. However teeth brushing is usually fairly chaotic and is peppered by these types of statements (the type that are highly distractive to making close observations). "Ari, stand still on TWO feet!" "Ari, stop pushing the toothbrush with your tongue". "Ari, don't bite the brush"
So after supper, James got out the thread (I was quick to inform him that I would NOT be one doing this task) and retreated with Ari to the upstairs bathroom. I sat expectantly waiting for the screams and howls, but heard none. A few minutes later, Ari came down and said very calmly, "Papa says that we're going to have to use pliers". The pliers went into the bathroom too, and I sat again waiting for the screams and howls. But in short order, Ari, James, pliers and tooth all emerged with zero tears and minimal blood. Ari was very proud of himself as you can see from the photos.
In typical James fashion, Ari's first experience with the Tooth Fairy took on some unconventional character traits.
The most unconventional trait is that his name is Ondar (see photo). Ondar is a man from Tuva who is famous for his traditional throat singing, a talent that James covets and aspires to. If we are driving down the road, chances are that James is trying to teach himself how to throat sing at loud volumes. He has tried to teach me how to do it on number of occasions, but it involves creating ticklish vibrations deep inside the recesses of your skull, nasal passages and ears which drive me batty! It makes me want to rub my head vigorously, so I leave the throat singing to him. If you are curious to know what throat singing sounds like I have created a link to a Youtube video showing Ondar and his five year old protege singing for Chevy Chase. Maybe someday this will be James and Ari! Here's the link: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ElwKydsd0e8
Anyhow, the boys are very familiar with Ondar, having frequently watched Youtube videos with James of him and often throat singing along with James in the car. Strange family activity yes, but family bonding doesn't always have to take the form of Monopoly right? So, for Ari to think that him losing a tooth was an occasion for Ondar to slip into his room at night time (all the while throat singing), take his tooth, and leave a surprise, was a very big deal indeed. He stared wide eyed and tried very hard to pinpoint exactly what time to expect Ondar to come into his room. He was crestfallen when I informed him that Ondar only comes when kids are sleeping. I warned him before he went to school the next morning that his friends and school and teachers would probably think that Ondar's real name is the Tooth Fairy.
Now for a new tone altogether. I want to take a moment here to thank everyone who has been in contact with me over the last few months, but especially in the last few weeks. I can't even count how many people have sent emails, facebook emails, sent forwards or links, left comments on the blog or made other personal contacts. Everyone of these contacts has been personal and meaningful to me. I have to simultaneously thank everyone (you know who you are) and apologize for not being able to personally respond to each one. As I read each one, I think about what I want to say to each person in response, but I am unfortunately in a season where my energy is extremely limited and has to be portioned out. I have teared up at many an email. If I may, here is a mass response with a summary of the many different thoughts and responses that your emails have elicited.
1) I feel honored. One of the greatest rewards I have received from being open is that others are being open with me about their own pain and struggles. Please don't think that I would ever be burdened to hear about the struggles that are happening in your lives. It makes me glad to know that me identifying lies I believe in my life would help others to identify lies that they have believed in thier lives (or other things that have been written about). I want you to know that I have a deep respect for the stories and experiences that are shared. We are only given one life to live and unfortunately, sad times make up as much of our lives as good times. If we despise the sad times and do not carry a respect for them as part of our lives, then we can not truly value our lives.
2) I feel humbled. My story may seem big and flashy, but in reality it is no harder than the things that other people face. I can truthfully say that on this road so far, I have not thought "Why me?". This is because I have spent the rest of my life wondering "Why not me?". Why have I had such a charmed life, while I see others around me who live daily with great disappointments. High hopes for marriage that came crashing down. Family feuds. Tragic deaths. Years of illness. Struggles with depression. Bad relationships between parents or children. Fill in the blank. I have had none of these disappointments in my life. My big tragedy happened suddenly and it seems more terrible because I am so young and happily married and have kids. But I am in far greater admiration of the people who have lived with years of disappointments and still have faith (and also those who don't have faith). Life has not been a disappointment for me, but for many others it has been.
Another part of the humbling has been to see how far the net goes. There have been a lot of people in contact whom I have never met, but who are reading what I write. I am also stunned by the variety of people reading. People who I have met once, or have a distant mutual friend. People with different faith backgrounds or who are somewhere around the world. It amazes me to think that God dropped a rock in my pond, and the ripples are spreading to places that I have no idea of.
3) Sometimes I feel frustrated. I know that people will always interpret my experiences through their own life experiences, but there are times when I also feel misunderstood. I may express deep sorrow and sadness on this blog, and even use words like "depression", but this does not mean that I have lost hope or that I am becoming a pitiful creature. What it means is that I am on a bumpy journey that changes everyday and that I experience every emotion on the spectrum from very low to very high. That said, I can understand how it would be easy to misunderstand much of what I write.
Just because I have a deep yearning for God does not mean he has deserted me... maybe it means that I want more of him now than I ever did before. Maybe I veiw him differently now. Before I viewed him as more of a friend or a Father. Now I find that I am beginning to see him as more of a lover, and that is far more intimate. Lovers have a different type of relationship than friends or fathers and daughters. Lovers desire each other, and I have never desired him before the way that I do now. In our idealistic view of marriage we often say even a lifetime with your spouse/lover is not enough. That means that in a dream-like world we veiw spouses/lovers as ideally having an insatiable appetite for each other, even if reality often does not look that way. I have more of that appetite now for God.
There is a lot less to distract me now. I may express my doubts in God, but in the end, I know that I will get exactly what I want from him. What might that be? HIM. I don't want only one part of him... just his healing, his joy, his love etc. I want ALL OF HIM. All inclusive. To only experience his healing would be incomplete. I want EVERYTHING that he has.
So thank you to everyone who has been in touch with me. If something I write rings a chord of recognition in you, I'd love to hear about it. Please keep it up. I often find myself thinking about the individuals who sent me the emails (I have a lot of time to sit and think these days). As I said, if I do not respond it is merely a indication of my energy levels and not of my reception.
Bye for now!