As the night went on, I took all the toddlers to the play area outside, and the other babies from the clinic came as well. It was golden hour, and rays of warm, deep yellow light covered the children like a garment. I could see specks of dust hanging in the air, and the children’s two year old mechanical movements cast long shadows on the concrete. I was standing away from all the kids, blowing bubbles. Since there was no wind, the bubbles hung lazily in the air, like beautiful glass orbs, and as they moved the colors inside of the spheres seemed to go from red, to gold, to reflecting the blues and greens from the trees. I watched all the babies look up at the bubbles and laugh and squeal with excitement,
and suddenly it was like time slowed.
I could see Blessing, in his shirt and pants we had already changed three times today, running for them yelling, ‘bubbles!’ in his toddler garble. I saw the three year old girl, reaching out to them with her tiny, black, emaciated fingers, with the hugest smile on her face. I saw the baby with the burn on his leg, standing on his legs supported by the plastic kid sized car, gazing up at them, his pudgy mouth standing agape as he watched them in awe. And in the back ground, I could see gangly legs looking at me, holding his pudgy hands together, and laughing hysterically up at the bubbles that hung in the air.
And all of these things froze, and the light made their faces glow, and I just started to feel my cheeks grow warm and I fought salty tears from my eyes because I knew, in a little over a week, I would have to say goodbye to them. How. How am I going to say goodbye to these beautiful children. These babies- they have grown so much in the time I have been here. They are growing, and learning and healing and I have held their hands as they have cried and I taught them how to do things like play catch, and tonight, when I left them, gangly legs clutched onto my skirt and I had to rip it from his hands so I could leave, and he threw an all out temper tantrum and starting sobbing uncontrollably as the baby with the burn cried after me “Mama! Mama!”
What do you do with that. How do you say goodbye?
And I am having one of those moments where I feel like I have empty hands again. I am going to sleep in a bed far to big, and I wish that all these kids were here with me. Nicholas, and Eva, and the little boy who let me catch him, and that two year old street kid with the big dimples, and now the three year old girl from the clinic, and the gulu baby with TB and gangly legs, and the baby with the burn and Blessing.
I want to have this huge huge bed, and they can all come sleep in it with me like a family, so they never have to want for love because here I am, I have it. But that makes no sense, because I am not the old lady who lives in a shoe, I am Kelly, a 20 year old college student who hasn’t even finished her degree. And I can come back a year from now, but these babies will have moved on to homes. And I find myself, in the back of my mind, wishing they were up for adoption- how stupid is that?
I wish I was forty with my shit together and a husband so that I could just rent out a room in a guest house here and start the adoption process for all the babies in the clinic, and then some. I’ll just take them all home with me- that’s okay right? Katie Davis can do it.
I guess what all this rant means is- I am leaving. I am leaving soon. And that is so incredibly exciting, and so incredibly hard.