Sidamo finished up at his preschool last week, and it's been sad for all of us (especially him). We really grew to love the teachers and other students, and Sidamo grew tremendously while there. When we first started taking him, he was terribly shy and wanted me to stay with him all day. By the end of his year-plus there, I narrowly averted a broken nose more than once as the door to preschool slammed behind him. He turned into one of the leaders in his class, and it was just such a beautiful thing to see.
This week we have him enrolled in an Ethiopian culture camp that has been … fine. Sidamo has gone back to his old habit of clinging to me in the morning and begging me not to leave, but then telling me after camp that he had a good time and wants to go back. (For the record, when he begs me not to leave—especially at a camp that's all about getting in touch with his adopted side—I don't. Today I stayed for two hours until he felt comfortable staying by himself.)
Next week (the week before Sidamo's new school starts) we go to visit my sister in NY and stay with her and her family at their beach house. We've been looking forward to it for months. Meaghan offered to sign Sidamo up for camp with Catherine and George, and initially I thought it sounded like a great idea. But then last night Greg and I were talking about the fact that this might be too many transitions for Sidamo in a row—ending his old school, going to a week-long culture camp, going to his cousins' camp, and then immediately coming back and jumping into a brand-new school.
So while driving to camp this morning I called Meg and told her what I was thinking. Sidamo was in the backseat and was uncharacteristically quiet as I described my worries about how he might feel going to camp, what insecurities it might stir, and how I wanted him to feel empowered to make his own choice about it—no pressure from anyone. We agreed to just take it day by day and let Sidamo decide what he's comfortable with.
When I hung up the phone, I looked back at my sad-seeming boy and said, "You probably heard me talking about you and all the changes you've been going through."
"Uh huh," he sighed, as he stared out the window.
"I was just telling Aunt Meg that I want you to be able to enjoy your vacation and do whatever you want to do. If you want to go to camp with George, you can. If you want to stay with Mommy and Daddy and Nora, that's great too."
"Uh huh," he said, still not looking up toward me.
"So what are you thinking about that? Do you have any questions?"
"Well, I have one question."
"What is it?" I asked, ready to field whatever he had for me—and feeling immensely proud of fostering such open dialogue.
"Why are squirrels diseased?"
Ready to field almost any question, I guess. Still immensely proud, though.