About a month ago -
September 21 at a quarter till midnight to be exact -
We had a reunion in the New Orleans Airport.
Ava was dressed up fancy and I was looking down at her.
When my favorite person in the world snuck up on me.
I let out a little scream and some people stared.
But I didn't care.
We found a donut shop that was open all night and had a little celebration.
The owner looked around at our multicolored family -
Three of us obviously white, two Mexican boys, one Haitian, and a a little Cafe au Lait baby -
And asked my mom,
"How are all them kids yours?"
We've had a busy month.
Zèzè has driven across Arkansas already.
Explored caves by the Buffalo River and eaten Haitian pumpkin soup by the fire with my mom's brother's family.
This last weekend his sister came down from Kansas.
We went crabbing down by Holly Beach and their little boy got to see the ocean for the first time.
We went to see an attorney and he says we can stay if we can conquer the mountain of paperwork.
And so we moved into my mom and dad's little white rent house across the road.
The congregation had a welcome for us last Sunday night and we felt a lot of love in that fellowship hall.
I guess it's my turn now.
To say all the things like
Turn here babe. I know a shortcut.
I spent hours in this park as a little girl.
This is my friend's uncle and that lady over there in the blue dress is their first cousin.
My mom has one of those she'll let us use.
Let's ask my dad. He'll know.
These people really do love you, even though they don't know you that well yet.
Try all these new things, even tho it's hard.
And I believe in you. Always.
And when life looks complicated, there's a little brown baby with always-cold hands.
She looks the best in pale pink like me - or maybe bright blue like her daddy.
Sometimes we think her eyes may stay gray-blue like her Louisiana grandma.
Wouldn't that be cool?
Her Haiti grandma wonders if she will be scared of her... Because when will they ever get to meet?
But surely not.
After all they share a name.
And little Ava has the tiniest cutest little pug nose that makes a horizontal wrinkle on top when she frowns.
And how does a baby this little have such big opinions?
I feel like she's noisier than the other babies at church.
And often, late at night when we just want to sleep, she makes her body stiff.
Eyes wide open and staring.
Head determinedly held up with only a few wobbles.
Little hands gripping your finger with knuckles turning white.
Little feet kicking the bed... Boom. Boom.
Trying to win you over with wide mouth smiles and adorable baby squawks.
Until finally she collapses.
Gives in to sleep and cuddles so close that it's actually kinda hard to put her in her little bed.
She's getting the hang of rolling over by now.
I went to Ollie's and bought the biggest, furriest area rug I could find and it was only $30.
So in the evenings our family of 3 hangs out on the floor.
Sometimes she looks back and forth - first at her mommy then her daddy - like she already knows family is the most precious thing in the world.
Sometimes we laugh till we cry at all her stunts and funny expressions.
The world is big and there is lots to learn, but she has an even bigger determination.
This morning I thought she was gonna sleep forever.
But of course as soon as I got busy I heard loud, happy screams.
She wasn't so happy about getting a bath tho.
And I saw how cold her hands were and took pity.
Wrapped her tight in a soft pink blanket and sat down on the old brown Facebook marketplace chair that's just my size.
One little cold handie tucked under mine and the other one playing with the front of my dress.
It's such a precious thing to watch those bright, wide eyes get soft and sleepy.
You don't care about your cold coffee or the work that isn't getting done.
It's such a precious thing to be a mom.
It's a precious thing to be a housewife too.
I appreciate it more after having to move in with my parents for three months.
I want to love this little white house.
Make bread in my Grandma's old Kitchen Aid and have company and eat off her china.
Grab two coffee cups off the blue mug-shaped shelf my dad made for me during school teaching days and fill then up with Haitian hot chocolate.
And I will always make egg sandwiches the Haitian way now.
No little scrambled egg blobs with milk added. And no almost flavorless fried eggs. Especially no runny yolks.
My big Haiti painting is hanging in the living room by Zèzès Big Papa Bear Facebook marketplace chair.
We want to paint the doors yellow.
I'm trying so hard not to miss my other yellow house too much.
My black and white cat.
The beach chairs, the warm weather, and the French hymns to put me to sleep.
Eating that spicy fried chicken that I'll never be able to quite recreate on the porch in the evenings.
The bright blue morning sky with the lady coming by calling, "Bannan miske, ze bouyi, figmi."
Just in case you want to start your day out with a boiled egg and banana.
But I'd always choose to cut thru the back alleys by Kesner's house and get a perfectly fried pate filled with chicken and pikliz.
How can she stand and joke around with you while making those perfect round pies so effortlessly?
Sometimes I want to just cook a big pot of bean sauce with mayi moulen -
Mom in law sent two plastic bags of it all wrapped up in purple and green duck tape.
And then maybe cry just a little
For all the familiar voices we only hear over a phone speaker now
Or if we're lucky, we see blurry faces on a tiny phone camera
Their internet is sketchy right now.
When gas and diesel cost $20-$30 USD per gallon, the cell phone companies sometimes can't run their generators.
They tell Zèzè, this isn't the same Haiti as when you left.
As if even a month ago things were better.
Like those days when I was so worried about Zèzè were actually the good old days.
And we can hardly imagine.
Ladies in our congregation trying to get syked up to have their first babies at home unless hospitals in the area open up.
Another girl trying to plan her wedding.
She's dreamed of getting married for so many years, and I want her to have a special day so bad.
They talk about how expensive food is.
And I know the reality is that even if food was easy to get and normally priced they would still be struggling.
Because who can work and earn any money at all right now with burning barricades in the street and people throwing rocks?
And we all just say things like
Bondye konnen tout bagay. God knows everything.
Pa dekouraje fre'm. Pran kouraj. Don't be discouraged brother. Take courage.
If you have a friend or two in Haiti, take time to talk to them.
They need us right now.
They need to know they're not forgotten.
Let's help each other get to heaven where all these earthly injustices can be finished forever.