Monday, March 14, 2011

Monday Inspiration Celebration: Hope ... (we have a boy!)

I could blame my fuzzy and foggy head on any number of things:

* the 2 am wake-up call - Cowgirl yelling "Mommy, I have a bloody nose!" and me stumbling out of bed, aware in the murkiness that I am also bloated and cramping and would soon have to attend to That;
*the 2 hour nap (more like a collapse) taken before dinner to recover from previous night's activities which included making my way down to the basement, trying not to wake the dog, as I searched for the only jar of vaseline which I had been using in an art journal project and now needed for Cowgirl's nose;
*the pancakes I ate for dinner because, well, we both napped until 6:30 pm;
* 2 days of being solo caregiver to Cowgirl who had strep throat ... yes, for the second time ...

... and the dog who does not have strep, but did throw up, probably the result of eating rabbit poo and disgusting in all respects (and so I had to adjust his medications);

But the obvious explanation is all of the above being ladled upon a heart weary from the stories and images of pain and despair coming from Japan. It does feel like the Mother has had enough of the global disrespect and is letting us know who really is in charge of things. The level of destruction and the depth of suffering taking place is of a scope beyond anything my brain or my emotions can take in.

I dragged myself to work this morning and it was hard to summon up much enthusiasm on yet another cold, gray day. And then I checked my email and saw this face:

Our boy. Pan Xiong. The boy we are now sponsoring through Half the Sky Foundation for one year. And when I say we, I mean all of us - everyone who supported our Painting with a Purpose campaign last summer by donating, entering to win one of the paintings Cowgirl and I created for the art marathon and by leaving words of support and encouragement. (Yes, there have been a few mishaps but finally we got confirmation of our sponsorship which is the result of raising $900 through this blog.)

Look at that face! He about 2 1/2 years old (born August 29, 2008) and lives in Baotou in Inner Mongolian Autonomous region. He is in Half the Sky's Infant Nurture Program and it is unclear what is going on with his legs or feet. This is a translation of a report by his caregiver:

When I play games with PanXiong face to face, if he is happy he will pout his mouth and ask me to kiss him. If I kiss him, he will smile at me happily and lean his head on my arms while swinging his arms.

His legs are very agile. When he lies on his back on the mat, he can use his feet to kick on the mat while stretching his head. When he moves to the baby gym, he will use his feet to touch the toys to play. When he sits on the mat, he can use his feet to turn the pages of the books. He can put the big toes of his feet into the holes of the rattle and swing it left and right.

He has established a deep emotional attachment to me. If I hide my face in `peek-a-boo', he will kick with his feet and shout `a a' loudly and angrily. He likes me to kiss his neck. If I kiss him, he will kick with his feet, swing his body and laugh out happily. When he hears music he likes, he will swing his arms and dance happily.

Seeing the obvious joy and happiness on his face, I feel Hope rising within me. It felt odd to think about celebration today, much less feeling any inspiration, but little Pan Xiong's face is a reminder that for those of us who can, we have a responsibility to celebrate the gifts of today, whatever they may be. I will not squander the flashes of joy, the moments of comfort and love that life does hold out in any given moment for right now, perhaps we are the ones keeping the flame of hope alive and burning in this seemingly darker world.

Tonight, while reading Cowgirl her bedtime stories, I crawled into bed with her for warmth and comfort. I gave her an extra sandwich cookie and joined her for a sweet treat this afternoon. We both ate the filling and then dunked the cookies into our glasses of milk. Small matters, I know. But that is how we find our way out of the darkness ... one cuddle, one shared treat, one smile at a time.

This is what inspires me right now. This is what I am choosing to celebrate. We can still choose Joy, paint rainbows and find ways to create a sunnier tomorrow.

Perhaps all we need is a rubber bouncy horse?

cowgirl on her Rodie; almost 3 years ago! (age 3 1/2)


  1. I get overwhelmed sometimes by all the destruction, anger, and hate in the easy to give into hopelessness. Thanks for reminding me to celebrate the gifts of today and the joyful moments. XOXO

  2. Hello, Pan Xiong! Lovely! :)

  3. Thanks for posting this photo of "our" boy! His sweet face really brightens the day. When I started reading I thought you were about to announce adopting a little brother for Cowgirl!;)

    I'm off to an early morning ultrasound appointment to visit with my own soon to arrive baby boy, just 21/2 more months till he's born! Yay

    Btw, I'm planning to get back into regular blogging & commenting next week so you will be seeing more of me. I've missed you!

  4. i posted a comment, i swear i did, where'd it go?

    so, another one then! :o)

    joy and pain, two sides of the same coin. thank you for the reminder of the joy side Lis. i think i had forgotten.

  5. Such inspiration here, always. For those who think they can't make a difference, I hope they see what you did/do here. That face could turn anyone's world around. I assume from the wording that Pan Xiong isn't walking? But how encouraging to hear someone working with him and caring enough to send these words back to you. Little glimmers of light in these dark days, it's what helps us put one foot in front of the other.

  6. Evan was so excited to see "his" painting at the top of this post! There are only two things on his wall (I'm not one to decorate), and that special elephant is one of them. This little boy's pictures warm my heart and I am so, so proud of you and Cowgirl for raising the money to make his life in China a little better. Sometimes I forget about the children who haven't been adopted yet or who never will be. We're sending our love to Pan Xiong and all the others waiting for families and homes.

  7. Wow!!!!!!! What an inspiring and hopeful post. I am so glad you are in the world to spread the joy and love! And I stopped by to give you a BIG THANK YOU for the surprise art card in my mailbox yesterday. Thank you thank you thank you!!!!!! I can't tell you how much I love it, and it is sitting with its sister art card in the art nook, beaming positivity on me :)

    Thank you so much and thanks for sharing all the info on Pan Xiong and thanks to you and Cowgirl for making a difference in his life :) and mine!


  8. yes i'd like that pink bouncy horse! :)

    loved your comment- and keep thinking about frieda blooming!! xoxox

  9. Congratulations!What a magical day :) One of my all time favorite toys from 70's childhood was a Hoppity Horse- I miss him dearly!!!

  10. LOOK at those faces....that beautiful little boy who is a symbol of all the goodness we come into the world with and we REALLY need to hold onto...kisses, hugs, the love for our fellow human beings.....and Cowgirl...who needs cuddles and love and is so lucky to get them from such a warm, adoring Mom....thank you for the gift of your words and the reminder that simple actions can bring light in the world and change it for the better at any time. I'm going to go hug my wee ones right now

  11. What a beautiful post, and what a beautiful thing to be doing. Thanks for sharing this with us. :-) Gives me some hope too.