23 Hugs

Thursday, March 24, 2016

{Preface: For those who keep up with our family strictly through this blog...Sevy is home! I have a post in the works about our pickup trip, her homecoming, and settling into our new normal. But this moment had to be documented today}

Ace has been super anxious for me to bring Sevy up to school at lunch so that her friends and teacher could meet her. I was a little bit nervous as we walked in. She's still a little unpredictable at times, and I just wanted this moment to go just as Ace had been envisioning it. Sevy was excited. She didn't know what we were doing but she knew she would be seeing Ace. She skipped (her version of a skip) all the way in. Wearing highlighter lipstick and eyeshadow that she had applied, unbeknownst to me, in the car on our way there. 

Ace was so happy to see her. She beamed with pride as she walked her to our special table away from her class. Her classmates looked on to see Ace's new sister who they have heard so much about. We ate lunch and small-talked about Ace's morning. 

Then towards the end of lunch we headed over to her class table to introduce Sevy. We walked down to the girls' end of the table, and Ace rejoined her class. The girls were thrilled to see Sevy. They asked about her "makeup" and told her that she did a perfect job on her eyeshadow. They giggled with excitement and told her their names. 

The boys were obviously interested but kept quiet and just observed. I watched their faces as they looked at her. I could see the wheels spinning in their inquisitive minds. We stood there for a couple of minutes. I answered some questions from the girls as the boys listened intently. We were getting ready to say goodbye, when one of the greatest moments of my life happened. Without so much as a word, a little boy got up from his seat, walked towards me and Sevy and asked me, "would she like a hug?" I told him she would love that. He opened up his arms and she went in for the hug. He embraced her. Not just a pat-on-the-back, side hug. And the next thing I knew every single boy was lined up behind him. And the girls followed. I choked back tears as I watched my daughter light up with pure joy as 23 second graders patiently waited their turn to give her a hug. 

Ace was absolutely giddy. I know that it was completely unexpected for both of us. They didn't have to do that. They aren't at an age where I would have even expected anything like it. It wasn't in their comfort zones. While most of them have been around Archie, Sevy is even more "different" seeming to them. They know that she's twelve, but I know they wonder "HOW is she 12?" She's so much smaller than them. They know that she was an orphan. That she has only been with us for one week. It's all a lot and I know that it's hard for them to comprehend. It's hard for me to comprehend myself! 

It was just one of those moments that changed my heart forever. You know those moments. It wasn't some grand gesture. In fact, onlookers might have thought nothing of it. It was a simple act of love and compassion and kindness displayed by a class of second graders. And it was everything to me. Absolutely everything. 

Lots of Love!