This past weekend was a great weekend for us, although it didn't end on the best note. Howie and I went to be with Jake at the cabin, so that we could help him work on the house renovations and get some more of our things packed for the move. It was quite a bit of work, but was sprinkled with some nice, normal weekend-y things as well.
Saturday, we had to make a trip to Lowe's for more bathroom supplies. We are having to gut and redo our master bath (actually, both baths, but the other one is finished); it hadn't been updated since 1991 and significant parts of it simply weren't salvageable. This weekend we had to get a new toilet and a shower door so that (hopefully) the bathroom will be finished in the next, say, two weeks. You can imagine how funny Howie thought it was that we were buying a potty. He is, after all, a boy.
We also took Howie to the park at Ft. Polk (his favorite, because it has a school bus), and he got to chase around some older kids.
We stopped at Walgreens (because I needed a shot; yuck), and Howie picked out a lace angel tree-topper for our neighbor Miss Faye. She loved it, and he was just beaming with pride that he made her so happy.
Sunday, we took Howie to see his FIRST MOVIE in the theater: Wreck-It Ralph. We went in with low expectations--he's two, so we viewed it as highly likely that halfway through he'd get bored and we'd have to leave. But he did GREAT! He sat through the whole movie, he was quiet, and he only had to get up once (to visit the little boys' room; hey, when you gotta go...). He had popcorn and lemonade, and talked about the experience all afternoon. We also had a nice lunch with Jake after the movie, before Howie and I drove home.
Last night, Howie and I met my brother Carl at City Centre for dinner. We had a nice visit over some quinoa mac-and-cheese and sweet potato fries from Ruggles, seated outside, with a calypso artist playing in the background. Howie was totally mesmerized by the musician. He saw other people putting money in his bucket and he asked me if we could "share some bucket money" with him. For the second time this weekend, Howie beamed with pride as he added a couple of dollars to the man's tips, and said "you're welcome" like a big boy when the man thanked him.
After dinner, Howie ran all over the City Centre park, taking only one short break to sweet-talk mom into some frozen yogurt before heading out to play again. One of the things I love about Houston in the Fall is the evenings--it was sixty degrees and clear, and such a great night.
There were tons of kids out playing in the park, which was lit by the giant snowflake lights on the surrounding buildings. There were lots of little boys kicking around soccer balls, so I figured Howie would go join them. Instead, he asked be for his Table Toys (the toys that stay in mom's purse for when we're out and about). Then he asked "Mommy, can I share with her?" pointing to a little girl playing by herself. I told him he could, so he walked over, plopped down beside her, and they played for twenty minutes. During that time, Howie gave the little girl every single one of his toys (including Harold the Helicopter and Lightning McQueen, two toys Howie rarely shares). When it was time to go, he said "Mommy, I shared! That's nice!" Again with the beaming pride. I have to admit, by that point I was glowing too, at my sweet boy's generous spirit.
After more than a few jokes to my brother about learning how to pick up girls from his two-year-old nephew, we headed home. What a great weekend! But then, I opened the mail.
Those of you who've been Hicks Hiking for a while (or who talk to me regularly) know that we have been furiously working away on our adoption materials to hit a December 1 deadline. It's been no easy task, between switching agencies, finishing a home study, finding psychologists to evaluate us, and working on an immigration application. But we've pushed forward and now have all of our materials submitted, except one item--the immigration approval from Homeland Security.
The immigration application was filed last month, so we were really hoping that would give us enough time to finish everything. There are really two steps in the process: evaluation of materials, and biometric fingerprinting. The former is easy as long as you have submitted all the right materials (and meticulous me certainly did). The latter is trickier. They send a letter stating a time and place where you MUST appear for your fingerprinting. If you can't go, then you have to request a new date, and a new letter arrives about ten days later telling you when/where to be.
We got our letters over the weekend. And the when/where to be is here in Houston on November 27. Jake can make it; Phil can make it. But I can't. I'll be in the Bay Area for mediation, which cannot be changed, and which I cannot miss.
I'm a little crushed right now, because my schedule has made it an absolute certainty that we will miss our deadline. It's my fault. Jake has spent the morning reminding me that things happen for a reason, and that it'll be alright. I know these things, but they don't make it hurt less that all of this hard work might have been for naught because of me.
So, my friends, please pray for us. We are going to keep pushing to complete our materials, and after that it's out of our hands. Please pray that everything will work out, but also that whatever happens, we will have peace. Because right now I'm really trying, but I just don't have it. Yet.