When we initially interviews with MTW, Avonlea was only 18 months old. So when they asked me if we’d discussed our plans with her, I sort of chuckled. I don’t know if there’s an 18 month child you could have that conversation with, but at that point in her life, the only words Avonlea knew were “Mommy, Daddy and Fish.” *1* It simply wasn’t happening. Avonlea was a pretty late talker, and so even after her second birthday we really hadn’t discussed it with her at all.
She’s almost four now, and her vocabulary has come along way, the other day she told me that if I made her take a nap she would be aggravated with me, *2* but I’m still not certain as to how to tell her. We’ve looked at maps, talked about France some, I think Donnette’e even forced her to watch a cartoon in French once, but I still don’t think it’s anything real for her. I feel like the only way I could really describe it to her is in terms of loss, as in “you know how you have all these friends, and family you love, and your church, and all the little places you like to go? Well, when we move, you won’t have any of those! Isn’t that exciting???!!!” Of course, that’s an oversimplification, and there are many positive things about moving to France that wouldn’t be true of other mission fields. It’s not like we’re asking her to give up running water. Really, France offers all the “things” that America does, they just call them something else, which will probably be a harder transition for me than her. It’s really the loss of people, and as I write this, I realize that maybe I’m just projecting some of my own worries onto her.
She does really love her Grandmas though.
We have been telling her a good bit about our upcoming trip to Belgium. This mostly happens while we go for walks (to prepare ourselves for the amount of walking we’ll do over there), as every time she complains about walking, I tell her it’s to get her ready to see the Eiffel Tower. *3* Oliver doesn’t complain as much on our walks, mostly because he’s being pushed in a stroller and gets a cookie one way or the other.
I’m telling you, the kid loves cookies.
If you’re wanting to pray for us though, this is something you can pray about. We often hear that moves are pretty easy for children under 6, and I’m certainly hoping that’s the case. But between our time here, and language school, and an internship with a French pastor, we’ll likely be moving several times over the next few years, and that’s going to be stressful on everyone, kids included. Avonlea makes friends well, is usually happy if we’re happy, and enjoys macarons as much as any kid I know, but I worry that that’s not enough to get through the sad days. Not that worrying does any good. If Jesus is to be believed, it doesn’t even give you grey hair. *4*
That’s enough for now. Oliver says he wants another cookie.
*1* Two thing: 1. Fish, because the Chinese restaurant we frequented had a Coi pond out front, and for whatever reason, they excited her enough to make “fish” her first real word. 2. Oliver, by contrast, knows at least 50 or more words, and so as an experiment, I tried telling him about our upcoming move. He then said “cookie!?” Which leads me to believe that as long as there’s cookies, wherever we go, he’s fine with it.
*2* As an aside, it is both hilarious and a little humbling to have your child use the same terms you use for them back at you. Rarely do you feel impressed, amused, and wonder if someone needs a spanking, all from one sentence.
*3* Yes, I know the Eiffel Tower is in Paris, not Brussels, but it’s only about two hours away by train, we’ve heard we’ll have the free time to go if we want, and the Tower is the only landmark that has really stuck in Avonlea’s mind.
*4* I read Matthew 5 this morning. Jesus is right, you can’t make one hair on your head turn grey, that is entirely the responsibility of one’s children.