It's pouring rain here in Addis. The sky was heavy with stormy clouds all day and then around 5:30pm, the heavens opened. I've never seen anything quite like it, even when we were here in August at the start of the rainy season in 2012. In ten minutes, 1/3 of the roads were impassable because they were flooded with water up to the van's hubcaps. And not just pools of water. Rushing FLOODS. I was out with a driver and I tried to take pictures but my phone was dead.
Today was good, but super emotional. Natalie was good; as silly as ever and we took a thousand more photos. I wish I could post them. She copies everything she sees Levi and Z doing in pictures and videos. It's beyond adorable.
Side note. This girl is SASSY. She is her mama's daughter. #scaryandcool
Today, Natalie experienced music, for what I think was the first time. It was one of the most beautiful things I've ever seen. She's been begging me to bring headphones, because I have SO many videos of Levi with headphones and the iPad. I had little tiny earbuds that I brought today and she almost lost her mind with excitement.
Her very first song was "50 Ways to Say Goodbye." Her second was, "Loca," by Shakira. Both have excellent bass. ;)
The look on her face the moment she first felt the music is indescribable. She closed her eyes and pressed the headphones right to her ears and pure joy and happiness and REALIZATION was all over her face. Then she picked up her hands and started signing her own song to the music. Just like Levi.
She was on beat, had rhythm, and was signing her song. Then she started dancing in her seat.
The girl has moves like Levi. And she loves music just like him.
I ALMOST cried. It was the coolest thing this week.
When the music stopped she turned to me and said, "Mom, MOM! Again!!!!!!!!! Why did it stop?!?!?!??"
We ran my battery into the ground.
Some parts of today hurt.
This afternoon, I saw a child that I will never forget. I remember him from our last two trips. I love him.
He's a little younger than Z. He has the most beautiful dark brown eyes, wide, and rimmed with thick, curled lashes.....but they are vacant in his precious face. I know he sees, because he navigates everywhere without bumping into things, even moving objects/people, but his eyes show no recognition of anyone or anything. He's not deaf, but he doesn't physically respond to sound. He CAN follow simple directions. He spends his days wandering around singing. The same song, over and over and over. Two lines.
He is so beautiful.
I asked for him and they brought him to me. I knelt and touched him gently, so he would know I was there. Even though I knew he COULD see me, he doesn't appear to, and I didn't want to startle him. He grabbed me, and felt my face all over, with his tiny, grubby hands. Then he kissed me. Once, twice, three times. I hugged him tightly and he put his arms around my neck and his head on my shoulder. And stayed there. I rocked him. I told him I loved him. I told him he was beautiful.
After awhile, I wanted to sit instead of kneeling in the gravel. But the moment I moved the slightest, he would grab my arm and pull it snug around him. I tried a couple times and then gave up and just hugged him in the red dirt. Sometimes he would touch my face, singing softly, and then he would kiss me again.
I held him until they took him away for lunch. He reached for me when they led him away and I cried for the ten thousandth time on this trip.
The rest of the day I spent in various places. Always hugging kids. It's all I want to do here. I ended up crying so hard near the end that my driver tried to comfort me by taking me to get buna (BOO-nah.... coffee). We drank caramel macchiatos in the van and listened to the rain beat on the roof of the car (and some Fiddler's Wage!), and I finally stopped crying.
These hard moments are gifts too.