We get picked up by the classic brightly painted Haitian bus. Benches are crooked and dirty. Rusty. Creaky. Open windows. Picking up the orphans. They are excited and ready. There is one little girl and she isn’t allowed to go with us because she was bad. I sneak around and talk to Darlen and convince her to let me take her. I don’t know her name but she’s stuck with me for the day. We all get on the bus. 35 sweet little buzzards.
Most of the members of the team are covered in kids. I sit with Mackenzia and my little wild girl and all the kids start singing. Loud and beautiful. Their sweet little lips sticking way out as they over emphasize every word. My little girl is distant as she sits next to me saying nothing. I’ll leave her be until she’s ready to warm up to me. We are about halfway there and the kids are still singing at the top of their lungs. I feel a little hand slide behind my back. I look down and my little gal is snuggling her way over to me. She nestles her head on my chest and now she can’t get any closer. I like this little girl. I like that she’s a little wild and a little bit bad. I’m glad she’s with me.
All the little kids strip down into their undies as soon as we park the bus and go screaming down the hill as rain sprinkles down on them. I don’t know if I can hold any more kids as I walk down the hill. Little hands grabbing onto my arms and waist and hands. They are covered in goosebumps. The ocean is cold but they don’t care. They jump in and roll in the sand and scream and splash in the ocean. I jump in with them, trying to hold them up as they get tossed about by the ocean. The sun comes out thank goodness. We all have little clingers hanging on us and each one wants to go farther and farther. They can’t swim and yet they are so brave and trusting.
We play all sorts of games. Aunt Beck, Tori, Everett and Poppyseed are holding kids in the ocean. Sarah plays soccer with a group of boys. Sis holds a cold little girl. Mom builds sandcastles with a little group. After a couple hours I can tell the kids are getting tired. They all try to convince me they’re not but I know it's not the case.
We load onto the bus and the kids are so quiet and tired. They are so precious. My little wild one snuggles on my lap and I hold her as tight as I can. Rain is pouring down. The kids start to sing with all their little tired hearts, loud and strained.
My wild one starts dozing off. What is it about a kid falling asleep in your arms that is so wonderful? I feel it's wonderful because they are giving you all of them. They are totally placing their safety and lives in your hands. Unconsciously of course but it still gives us a feeling of being the protector, of holding something so precious and keeping it warm and happy and asleep.
Her wild little short haired head laying against my chest. I wrap her up in mom's shawl and keep her as warm as possible. I wish I could make her feel this safe and loved every day. I wish that she could wake up in the morning to me making her eggs and toast. I wish I could give her a warm shower, wash all the sticky salt off, and cozy her up in a big quilt. I wish I could be more than just a fun blan at the beach. I wish I could love her like she needs to be loved. I wish I could love them all. Won't it be wonderful when we are all in heaven together and they are all dressed in the most beautiful clothes? When everyone feels the love of a family. The love of a Father. I can feel my throat closing up and my eyes get blurry. The bus stops outside the orphanage and I carry my little wild one into a 12x14 room that she shares with over 30 other little girls. I lay her down in her damp room on a piece of plywood covered with a sheet. My throat closes again and I wave goodbye to everyone to get back on the bus to go home. Someday little ones, someday you will feel a love deeper than you could ever fathom. I will wait for that day with you. I’m sorry I can’t do anything more for your precious selves. Goodbye my little wild one.