In February we celebrated our first year as house parents in the Promise House and now we have cycled back through to birthday season. There are three Promise House birthdays in May! Technically, our sweet Nikensly would’ve been our first repeat birthday back in March. I thought about and half-planned what we would do to remember his birthday but when it came down to it, I just couldn’t bring myself to do anything. I did finally watch a few minutes of his funeral video but somehow even that didn’t seem real to me. So I looked at some pictures (here’s a peek) and thought about our time together and thanked God that death is not the despairing end of life, but the glorious beginning to a life we can only imagine with Him.
And this month we have three beautiful kids celebrating another year of life. R turned 6 this week (can you believe it?!) and since we took her swimming last year, we decided to call in Wilson’s cousin for some horseback riding this time. While R has discovered laughter this past year, it’s still not super frequent, and her smiley moods are also sort of random, so it’s hard to tell if she really enjoyed riding or not. But she didn’t give any indications that she didn’t like it, so I’m calling it a win!
Wilson was the hero who saved the day and I’ll tell you why. It has rained most afternoons and/or nights for the past few weeks. At least. I can’t really remember, but it’s been in this rainy season pattern for a while. After we took the horses through the COTP property, we thought we’d be a little adventurous and take a walk out behind the property. We praised our horses for wading through little creeks and braving the mud in certain areas, but then we got to this little, I don’t know, 10-yard stretch of mud that was lined by barbed wire and apparently quite deep. Neighbors’ fields were on either side which, of course, we din’t want to trample. So Wilson has R at this point and is leading the way. I am on my horse behind him, which is just a little more stubborn, or maybe–and this is entirely more likely–i Just have no idea what I’m doing. So as their horse is shlupping through the mud, I see those hooves sinking deeper and those legs getting wobblier until I see the whole horse list to the right, lean further to the right, and fall flat on it’s right side. In my mind, this is all happening in slow motion as I envision one or both of them pinned underneath a grown horse in the mud, entangled in barbed wire. According to Wilson, it was not just my mind’s eye perceiving the fall in slow motion. The fall actually happened quite slowly thanks to the viscosity and depth of the mud, so Wilson did not experience any life-flashing-before-his-eyes panic that I would have. Rather, he just sort of stepped off the side of the horse with R in his arms as the horse laid down, with no more damage than a really muddy boot. I was so relieved! And in love: our very own muddy-horse-crisis hero! The horse could not get itself unstuck so Wilson’s cousin had to pull each of its legs out of the mud and help it upright again.
Just in time for the rain. Not a heavy rain, but a consistent light rain for the rest of our ride back home. I’m sure we looked ridiculous taking a small child out on a horse in the rain when, mind you, Haitians really don’t ride horses for pleasure in the first place. But we didn’t mind the rain and R didn’t seem to either and being out in the rain made home just a little cozier when we got back to sing “Happy Birthday” to R and eat some cookie dough brownie bars. If you’re wondering why Wilson is lighting the candles like that, here it is. We don’t use matches because Haitian matches are super flimsy and lame and since we have to light our stove and oven manually, we’d go through like a box a day. We tried lighters but the nannies just couldn’t figure out that child-proofing mechanism and broke an entire Costco pack of lighters. I am not exaggerating. So to light the stove/oven, we have the top half of a blow torch, not attached to it’s own fuel source. so to light the candles, Wilson had to light the stove, then that oil-dipped wad of paper, and then the candles. It was really classy. Because here is the Promise House, we’re always really classy.