Obviously, swim caps are required to swim at the pool in Nanning. Gratefully, Speedos are not. Unfortunately, Chinese men wear them anyway. Some things are no different cross-culturally and that’s one of them.
Anyway, I love this picture not only because it’s so funky but primarily because it shows six heads all lined up (though mine could count for two). Becoming a family of six requires all kinds of adjustments. Some of the minor changes include changing Sonia’s email address to fivehoris@…com to sixhoris@…com, remembering to ask for six seats when dining out and paying a little more to do so, and counting heads more often to make sure you haven’t lost one.
There are also greater adjustments needed to re-relate as a family of six. Adding one more individual seems simple but is more complex than it appears. It effects everything and everyone. Today, I was in the pool with my four kids and at one point, I felt tugged in four different directions, relationally and literally. Each child is learning to re-relate to one another and to me and to Sonia. This does not worry me because I know it’s natural and necessary but I know I will need to be intentional to give each child his or her own time. I know Sonia and I will need our time together as well.
At the same time, Eden has made a remarkable transition into our family. It is clear that she truly enjoys being part of a family. She loves to call me and Sonia, “Daddy” and “Mommy” and soaks up our affection like a dry sponge dropped in the ocean. She looks up to her big sister and is willing to follow her lead as Tani holds her hand crossing streets and helps her get ready in the morning. I hear Eden calling Evan’s name the most either to play or out of playful frustration.
But, the most interesting dynamic is watching Jaren and Eden together. At times, he is competing for attention as the baby of the family and at other times, he and Eden are playing like equals. We keep reminding Jaren that she is his big sister even though she’s not that much bigger than him. Today, Sonia had Eden take responsibility to hold Jaren’s hand when crossing the street and walking in the supermarket. This brought out her motherly side and helped her bond with him. Plus, he loved all the attention he received from her and gladly accepted the role as the baby of the family.
So many adjustments already made. So many changes yet to come. Is it a little more hectic to be a family of six? Of course it is. Would I have it any other way? Of course not. Six heads are always better than five even in a big pool full of tiny Speedos.