March 24th, 2007
The predominant smell of Baby House number 5 is that of boiled potato and cabbage. Underneath that is the laundered clothes being cleaned of exactly what you would imagine 110 children would need to have cleaned from all their clothes. And finally, there is the hint of the heated water in the pipes that heat the building. It was this smell that my brain associated with our children.
It is no surprise, then, that when this smell hit my nose as we walked through the doors, the wall I had kept my emotions behind broke. Fortunately, Yana and Tanya were ahead of me and did not see the well of emotion that momentary overtook me. But at last, I we were going to be with them again.
It seemed an eternity as we waited for Dascha and Nikolai to finish their afternoon snack. Finally though, they came in. Dascha was tentative as she walked in. Nikolai walked behind her. His walk was still a little stiff legged, but it was a much stronger walk then when we had left him. I could see, in Dascha’s eye, the belief taking hold. She ran to Tanya’s arms and Nikolai was not far behind.
Soon they were also in my arms. Both of them had grown. Nikolai’s legs were much longer. I think both he and his sister will grow to be tall.
It wasn’t long before we were playing Dascha’s favorite game. It is the one where I fall on the mat, and she falls next to me and we both roll back and forth. Her laugh, her smile, all the memories that sustained me were once again before me.
And Nikolai! His progress has been remarkable. We have no idea what he is saying, and neither does Yana, but he is talking quite often. Fortunately, it is a language his sister is familiar with. She helps us understand.
Nikolai has also done something with me that no other child has done. For those that have see me with children, you all know my duck language. It turns out that Nikolai was adept at it, for when I spoke to him in that tongue, he replied back. I responded, and he responded, with a smirk on his face.
And his laugh. He is past bubbles now. It is balloons which cause amusement now. “Uppa!” he says as he throws them over his head, or kicks them across the room. He laughs a lot now, and follows his sister constantly – always wanting whatever she is interested in.
It has been a reunion we could not have asked for. We are together with them once again, and we pray that we never had to leave them again.