Eden and My Girls

Elise is wide eyed at everything, from the start of each day. Her wide eyes search me out in the morning hours, and she is keen to touch my face as she greets me. In fact, she touches every face she can reach, no matter how unfamiliar the face. To her, every person is attractive, a potential friendship.

She zealously crawls about the house, hungry to see and touch everything within reach; when she finds an item of interest, she stops to taste it and forgets all else.… Continue Reading “Eden and My Girls”

Elisabeth’s Arrival

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Elisabeth’s Birth Story

I only had time for one pre-natal appointment with my Chiang Mai OB before giving birth to Elise. At the appointment my doctor echoed the words of my Myanmar OB and mentioned that I was measuring small and that the baby seemed small. I wasn’t overly concerned, as they said the same thing about Lena, and she was 6.5 pounds at birth (She was born at 38.5 weeks). I was nearly 37 weeks at this appointment, so I expected that I had some time for the baby to pack on some more weight before birth.… Continue Reading “Elisabeth’s Arrival”

To Lena: All you have to do is be my daughter (Or, My child is not a missionary)

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To Lena, as you grow up

You get to be our child, and that is all you have to be. Yes, your childhood is set to be quite different from that of your North American peers, your challenges different. When well meaning people say things about being a “little missionary,” don’t take it to your heart, my dear. In North America, an accountant’s daughter is not expected to be concerned with tax code, a fireman’s child is not expected to respond to emergency calls in the dead of night, and no one is asking a trucker’s child to obtain a commercial license and know all the best routes to drive in winter weather.… Continue Reading “To Lena: All you have to do is be my daughter (Or, My child is not a missionary)”

The Advent of Magdalena Lily

_B3A6959 photo credit: John Shaw

Last August, Jim and I went hiking in eastern Washington, on a route through a stunning area called the Enchantment Lakes. (It is breathtaking—just take a look here.) Due to the popularity of this particular hiking route, you had to either obtain an overnight pass to hike the Enchantments over a three-day period (which means applying for the pass over 12 months in advance), or go for the gusto and hike the entire route in one day.… Continue Reading “The Advent of Magdalena Lily”

A Blossom in Hand

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31 July 2015

Dear little baby,

You’ve been in utero over 37 weeks now. Two nights ago, I started to experience some unusual muscle twinges, as if my body was going through a quick dress rehearsal—or perhaps a cold reading is more accurate, as it was so mild—for the upcoming task of ushering you into the world. I woke every hour for a few hours, feeling a bit unnerved and thinking, “I could wait a few more days; could we just wait at least till Saturday, maybe?… Continue Reading “A Blossom in Hand”

Some Things Weren’t Meant to Be Flat

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Dear little one,

Here in Yangon, they call you ka-lei-lei (“kalei” means child, and the extra “lei” means small, or baby). I ate so much watermelon when I first got here that the locals said you must be a boy. Someone saw me eating a whole avocado and asserted that you were going to be a white baby. (Shocking, considering your parentage, eh?) I’ve been told to stay inside night and day, to wear a thick shirt, to stay off my bike (much to the chagrin of the neighbors, I haven’t taken that advice), to avoid anything hot, cold, spicy, or salty.… Continue Reading “Some Things Weren’t Meant to Be Flat”

He Gives Rest

 

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This city is an exhausting place. I say this with no ill will. I am fond of Yangon and would miss it if we had to relocate. I enjoy the diversity of faces, the confounding (yet amusing) tetris grid that is the traffic system, the sounds and smells of food hawkers, the old buses, and the children reciting their lessons in nearby classrooms. Living here may well have ruined me for the excessive, almost funereal quiet of suburban North America.… Continue Reading “He Gives Rest”