Imagine being completely unable to care for yourself. You live in a world where you cry, but nobody comes to your side when you cry. (Not because they don’t care, but because there are too many little cries in the night to console.) Now imagine the grief and stress of being thrust into a completely different world and separated from the only family you have ever known. Add to that being unable to communicate with those around you. You speak, but they don’t understand. They speak but it sounds like gibberish to you. What do you do? You learn to cry silently. Because being loud doesn’t get you anywhere.
And that’s what I saw that has shocked me more than anything since I have been in China. I have never seen a tired, scared two year old NOT bellow with indignation and expect the adults around him or her to bow to their every need. That’s what what we do in the USA. Right? Families in the USA teach our kids that we will at least try to meet their basic needs. They learn to ask (and often demand) at an early age.
Yesterday (Day 7,) we were so exhausted from the day before that we stayed at the hotel most of the day to rest. I put one girl on each side of me on our big fluffy bed just to rest and snuggle for a moment. I looked to my left and was suprised to see that our Little Li was sitting up beside me with tiny tears streaming down both cheeks. She was not making a single sound. Not even a whimper. She was just suffering silently. The exhaustion and confusion from the past few days had finally overwhelmed her little soul. i gently scooped her up in my arms and we rocked for a bit before she nodded off to sleep.
The same thing happened again today when the girls were playing at a small play set inside the hotel. The small plastic swing hit her on the chin. A typical US toddler would have wailed and run to Momma. She stood there and bit her lip processing how much it hurt. I want her to know that I hear her and I see her pain. So even though she didn’t want or demand it, I walked over and knelt down in front of her and kissed her boo boo. I hope that someday in the near future she WILL bellow like a typical American toddler. It will mean that she trusts us. (Dear friend, I may need you to remind me that I said that!)
It would be easy to only write about the joys of this road we are traveling, but the reality is the road will be hilly with many peaks and valleys. The view will always be beautiful. Thanks for joining me on the journey.