Have you ever seen the rain?
Coming down on a sunny day."
- Have You Ever Seen The Rain, by Creedence Clearwater Revival
The children at Casa Adalia, the ones I wrote about two posts ago, completely frustrate me and subsequently break my heart. When I say that they are wild, I'm not exaggerating. I've been kicked, hit, spit on, screamed at, and found myself yelling and being rough right back in order to keep the kids from hurting each other and the house. They enjoy scraping stools across the floor just to hear the squeal on the tile, throwing things to purposefully break or hurt, and on Monday I found myself leaping across the room to stop the boys from pulling the huge, old, heavy TV down on top of themselves. Yet ... I love them. It didn't take long to see that their response of behaving worse when called out is because they're getting attention and want more attention and haven't learned a better, healthier way of attaining it. They act out not just because they haven't fully learned why their actions hurt others and that everything doesn't revolve around their whims, but because they want so desperately to be noticed and loved. Their mom had her first child when she was 15: she's a survivalist, abused since she was little, still an emotional child herself.
On Monday I needed to pick up four-year-old "Stephen" from school. It was a fifteen-minute walk through the rain. I stood with the rest of the moms and caretakers, looking for the boy whose bright eyes light up with mischief and excitement and become so achingly sad when he is punished. When Stephen saw me, he held out his arms to be picked up. We walked out of the school and along the sidewalk, crowded as always with vendors selling everything from grilled plantains to baby clothes, Stephen happily wrapped around my hip. We stopped to buy some eggs and bread and Stephen insisted on pulling the wheeled basket. When we left the store, Stephen again reached out his arms to be carried, but I couldn't carry the groceries, umbrella, and him. I also couldn't say no. For him, this was a little slice of time when he got to have someone all to himself. He wanted to make the most of it and so did I.
I knelt down and motioned for him to climb onto my back and hold on. As we walked on, Stephen was like a little monkey on my back, sliding down and wigging around and sometimes clasping his arms so tight around my neck I found it hard to breathe. He giggled in my ear as we walked around people and mannequins. He was so content.
Stephen asked if he could hold the umbrella, so I passed it to him and on we went, walking through the rain to the chaos and hope of the place currently called home. We may not know what the future will bring, but for the moment we are happy; the girl and the little boy on her back, holding onto a blue umbrella in the rain.