In the early morning stillness, I sit cross-legged beside my husband in a patch of sunlight, a cup of steaming coffee balanced on my knee. Lance looks up from his studies and leans over to kiss my forehead softly. Content in our morning routine, we sit in silence. I close my eyes to pray, setting my well-worn Bible to one side. As I search my heart, I find my mind wandering back over the past 34 years of my life and our 14 years of marriage together.
Abruptly, my reverie is broken by the sound of pattering little feet. The door creaks open and two very large brown eyes peek around the corner, followed by a loud childish whisper.
“Mommy? Zavey snuck downstairs to play with some of the other kids even though I told him he needed to get dressed first and now he lost that teddy of his. He can’t find it anywhere and he won’t do anything but hunt for it.”
The jumble of words flows from our oldest daughter’s mouth without a pause. She plants a hand on her skinny 8 year old hip, wearing an exasperated mother hen expression on her face with impish precociousness.
Lance sets aside his book and holds his arms out towards the door. “No hug from my Princess?” He makes a comically sad face and pretends to whimper pathetically. Chaya bounces across the floor to tackle her father in a hug. “Dad! Of COURSE you get a hug! she giggles.”
Sounds filter up from the lower floor of the orphanage. Quick scampering noises are punctuated by bursts of muffled laughter.
Standing, I place a hand on Chaya’s head, ruffling her fine brown-black hair. “Okay, Sweety. Let’s get those rascals ready for breakfast and find Teddy. That bear is probably under the covers of one of the beds again. Run down and tell the boys to quiet down a little, so they don’t interrupt Daddy’s study time, okay? I’ll be there in one second. We still have two hours before chapel. You are all up early this morning!”
“’I know. Zavy has been wiggling in his bed since 4 am! He just couldn’t sleep, I guess. He’s so excited about doing VBS this week. Anyway, Mom. I’ll tell ‘em.” Drawing herself up straight, she flashes me a grin and skips out of the room.
The other kids tend to flock around Chaya, following her natural leadership like ever so many puppies. Xavier, her five year old brother loves mischief almost as much as Chaya loves being in charge. Despite his spunky independence and love of fun, Zavey also has a tender heart.
I take a deep breath and let it out in a happy sigh. Another day has dawned, here at Hope Center. What will the next 24 hours hold? I don’t know, but I’m glad to have this moment in time.