'R' left yesterday and 'A' misses her terribly.
It didn't take long to get the house back into some sort of order. The girls were pretty gentle on it while they played. The most delicious part of yesterday afternoon came during 'H's nap, when it was just me and 'A' together. The two of us haven't been completely alone in the afternoon for about a month and it was so nice to reconnect. We played together and then she helped me cook dinner. We made broiled tofu in a coconut curry sauce with short brown rice and some skewers of grilled vegetables on the side. The best part came during dinner, when she tried everything with an open mind - a clear difference from the past several days when she wouldn't eat anything because she wanted to be like 'R'.
'R' is a sweet girl and overall the experience was more positive than negative. I know that the real rewards for all of us - for our family and for 'R' - are still unseen, still to come. This experience has made me realize just how much my Christian upbringing has affected my outlook. I don't go to a Christian church now and I don't believe the tenets of Christianity, but I do hear a little voice telling me to do the right thing, and to have faith that if I do the right thing, the process will unfold as it should and the rewards will come, even if I can't see them now. Of course, Christians believe that the reward is entrance into Heaven, and that isn't my goal, but still, the messages are there, and they've stuck for good.
This experience also makes me see how idealistic and optimistic Jeff and I are. When we talk about why we wanted to have a child stay with us and what good can come out of it, I see that we have a vision of a better world. We believe we can make a difference; we believe that change is brought about by regular people doing small things; and we believe that our actions will have a long term effect on this world.
On a separate note, I got my lab results back from my doctor yesterday - basic stuff like cholesterol, and other tests like liver and kidney function, which are always good to do every so often. She put me on a Vitamin D supplement (Jeff's doctor just put him on one too, after seeing his test results. Most people in our neck of the woods are deficient and from what I hear, Vitamin D is a hot topic in medicine these days). She also put me on a Vitamin B-12 supplement, so now I'm popping 9 vitamin pills a day which is making me a little nuts!
The mystery I'm trying to figure out now pertains to my cholesterol. It's always been low, and I like to track my numbers over time to see what effect my lifestyle has on it. Since we gave up animal products, my overall cholesterol has gone down 8 points, but the other numbers (HDL, LDL, Triglycerides) have changed for the worse - gone up where they should be lower, and down where they used to be higher. When I think about the things that have changed that might affect it, I can only come up with exercise (I stopped visiting the gym regularly a few months ago) and shrimp (I used to eat a lot of it, and although it does raise bad cholesterol, it raises the good numbers even more). I'm going to go back to the gym for some good cardio workouts (yay for me!) and see if that makes a difference.
These photos of 'H' were taken during S'mores Fun Night last week at our home with little 'R'. 'H' is a cute little bundle of energy lately!