Friday, April 18, 2008

Cracking Each Other Up, Crazy Happy, & Do They Know?

K & O have always been really good at making each other laugh. Almost always with inside jokes that seem very twinny (i.e., nobody seems to really 'get it' except for the two of them). Even as little babies they'd regularly crack each other up. I remember when they were about 13-14 months old they had a "da!" phase where they would shout "da!" at each other with every variation of intonation that you could possibly imagine -- just cracking each other up like it was the funniest thing in the whole wide world. They'd often do it in the grocery store as I was rolling them in the cart. People in the isles wouldn't be able to help themselves from stopping to watch them... and people couldn't help but crack up themselves when they'd see it. Regularly I'd get asked, "What are they saying to each other? What is so funny?" And all I could say, was, "I have no idea! Who the heck knows?! But obviously they think that whatever it is is absolutely hysterical!?!!" But lately they've taken their art form to a whole new level. They are cracking each other up -- BIG TIME! They laugh so incredibly hard at/with each other that we worry one of them will choke. But it is very hard to not crack up yourself when you're in their presence and they're on a roll. These seriously intense laughing spells are happening at least a couple of times a day, sometimes many times each day. This particular twinny laugh session (photos below) took place after dinner the other night when the two of them were eating ice cream for dessert. Braydon and I were sitting at the table with them, but they were in their own little world... and whatever it was that they thought was so funny was very, very funny! These guys are so crazy happy so much of the time. It is hard to imagine that this is normal... even despite the fact that they are 3 year old twin boys. How can any two people be that crazy happy that much of the time???!

Recently I was chatting with a mom of one of K & O's friends from school. School was out and we were watching our kids play on the playground before heading home. Out of nowhere she said, "I want to ask you something, but please just tell me if you don't want to answer because I'd totally understand." I said, "O.k.?" And she said, "Do you think they know?" I was caught off guard and I wasn't exactly sure I knew what she was asking. She clarified, "Do you think that Kyle and Owen know-- like, they know hardship and pain and they know how lucky they are-- and maybe that is why they are so happy and full of life all the time? I mean, I just don't think it is normal-- for kids this age to be like that. There is something different about them. It is like they must know or something." This is not the first time that someone has asked me something like this. Many people have, actually. But I was surprised to hear it from this mom because she doesn't know much of K & O's life story. I said, "Honestly, I don't know. Braydon and I do wonder about that. We wonder if somehow that is all deep inside them at some level and that's why they are this way. But we really don't know. There is no way to know." She then asked me if it bothers me for her to call them "lucky." She explained that another adoptive family she knows has a big problem with it when people describe their child as 'lucky.' I know that many adoptive families do feel this way. When people refer to their kids as "lucky" they make short retorts back like, "no, we're the lucky ones!" etc. Braydon and I have talked about this at length in regards to our boys. I understand why it bothers people to refer to their adopted children as "lucky" (the reasons are many and I empathize with all of them). But in our specific case, it really doesn't bother me. First of all-- on so many levels, K & O are just not at all lucky. Lucky to have been born in one of the worst most violent and desperately impoverished slums on the planet?? I think not. Lucky to have been abandoned at birth with absolutely nothing?? No. Lucky to have been forced to survive in a very tough Haitian orphanage for their first eight months of life? No. Lucky to have then, at age 8 months, had everything they had ever known (bad as may have been, it was still their life and the only life they knew) ripped away from them as they were brought to an entirely new world where nothing resembled anything from their prior life whatsoever? No. But are they lucky to be twins who at least had each other? Lucky to have been abandoned early enough that they were able to get at least some sustenance in the orphanage? Lucky to have been adopted by Braydon and I? Lucky to have been two out of 1.5 million orphans in Haiti who 'got out'? Lucky to have been two out of only approximately 200 Haitian orphans adopted into the U.S.A. in the year 2005 (many of the other 200 having been adopted by their extended family members who had somehow managed to immigrate to the U.S. in years prior)? Lucky to have been given a new life with opportunities and life-chances that exceed anything imaginable in their birthplace of origin... that exceed anything imaginable by all of the other hundreds of thousands of orphans still struggling to survive in Haiti? I think so. What are the chances? 2 out of 1.5 million. The chances of winning any number of lotteries are higher. Is it luck? I guess that is one way to describe it. Destiny? Perhaps. God's will? I'm sure many people look at it that way. Coincidence? I suppose that's possible. I don't know what it is. I only know that K & O have never looked back. I know that they are the two happiest, most engaged-in-life, most full-of-life people I've ever known. Is that because they know??? I am not sure. I just know that I know. And it makes me feel like the proudest most grateful mother in the whole world. Words cannot describe how crazy happy it makes me to know that they are so crazy happy.

[top 5 photos are K looking/laughing at O; bottom 5 photos are O looking/laughing at K]


ManyBlessings said...

"What are the chances? 2 out of 1.5 million" Exactly. I often look at Jellybean and think this same thing (and it often reduces me to tears). He is one out of 1.5 million and I feel so incredibly blessed. Some might say, "Why bother? One child won't make a difference." But I look at this little guy and know that for one it makes all the difference in the world.

Beverly said...

I think the phrase "lucky" is sometimes offensive because it makes an assumption that adopted children need to be so grateful that they can't be normal kids and have meltdowns and be angry. But people ought to take the time to explain that the loss is not lucky!!


Anonymous said...


It is so like you not to take any credit for the boys' happiness. And it's possible that by nature they tend toward a positive outlook (which does seem to some extent inborn). But you and Braydon deserve a huge amount of credit for the loving, encriching environment they are now so very lucky to inhabit.

Gail (Braydon's Mom)

Tricia V. said...

I don't even know what 'luck' means. Life is a series of events - some good, some bad. And a lot of our perspective (whether or not we think of ourselves as 'lucky') relates to whatever we are comparing ourselves to...

Having lived in Haiti, I often think of your boys as wonderful examples of how EVERY child, in Haiti and elsewhere, deserves the opportunity to live and thrive and be nurtured.

I had an emergency appendectomy when I was living in Haiti. "Very unlucky", I was told. Unlucky that my appendix was about to explode, that I was in one of the most desperately poor countries on earth, that I was 21 years old and thousands of miles from my family.

But oh so lucky, was I! I received top-notch medical care. I had health insurance, which paid 100% of the costs. I continued with my life, unlike many others without the resources and access to care necessary to live.

So: perspective. I like yours. And obviously your boys have a great attitude towards life - a joy-filled perspective!

M & M said...

Oh my gosh - thank you for sharing. I think I just received a really important lesson in the form of a lovely reflection. Thank you.

Malia'sMama said...

I just wrote to a friend having sleep issues with her newly home baby on much the same thing- on the grief of being ripped away from what she knew, such as it was, on just loving her enough to let her "become". Your boys do seem to have a little extra glimmer- I have always believed it to be the light that I truly see in all the people of Haiti, only in their case they are able to be the children they are b/c of your love and wonderfully secure family, so theirs CAN shine, undaunted. Blessings.