For Junu

Tuesday, December 28, 2010

GRATITUDE

Getting my "sea legs" back after this most incredible journey has been a mere feat. It has been nearly 2 weeks and I still don't feel quite myself. I'm not sure what "myself" really feels like anymore as I have been invariably altered...I am hoping for the better. The above photo was taken my first day back to work. Junu and I became poster girls :) Let me explain:

As a pediatric speech language pathologist, I have had the opportunity to work in many local daycare settings. Out of all the daycares I have spent time in, there is nothing like IC3 "Ithaca Community Childcare Center" http://www.icthree.org/ ! IC3 sets itself apart from the others through their solid commitment to children and families, investment in amazing staff, sharing with the Ithaca community and believing in issues that make a better world. IC3 has become a place I look forward to going to everyday, sort of a sense of home. The people have become family to me and I am truly grateful for the opportunity to share the journey to Junu with all of them. It is my hope that Junu will spend time here. I couldn't think of a place I would feel more at peace with my daughter spending time than at IC3. I feel like all the staff are already her new "didis" (aunties). Junu has spent so much time with children and young woman, that I believe IC3 would give her a sense of comfort. In fact, I know it would. Of course getting her home is my number one priority, but after that, we shall entertain the idea of IC3 becoming her "school".

So my dear friend Robin, or Binnie as I call her, worked together with Sherri at IC3 to put up this HUGE poster of Junu and I in hopes to assist me in gathering funds to put towards the unexpected and exhorbant legal fees I now had to pursue. Robin's older daughter Seneca attended IC3 as a young child and now her 2 year old daughter, Fiona, is enrolled there.

Let me tell you about Robin. Robin was my first friend here in Ithaca, nearly 18 years ago...yikes that long....how old are we??? We became fast friends. She is brilliantly silly. She has an amazing mind full of ideas, concepts, questions, solution, so much. I appreciate her "researcher" mind as I do not have that kind of thinking capacity. We could enjoy deep, complex talks about "cranial flora" and at the same time make up words that to this day her children repeat. "Can I get a ZOWIE?" Zowie has become our signature call to one another. It needs to be produced with increased vocal intensity and a slight "drawl" on the "ow" part. Given the antics of two twenty somethings before marriage, kids and serious jobs, you can imagine how such a word might manifest (hint: happy hour). But that was when we were young and immature ;) So moving onward, our friendship has stayed strong through all these years, through all our own personal changes and challenges. We are the kind of friends that never seem to miss a beat and always pick up where we left off. We haven't always seen a lot of one another because life is busy or we lived in different states , but we found ways to make time for one another. Robin was in my wedding, years back, and yes I was once married. She was there for me during many joyful and not so joyful moments. She has stimulated my mind, at times challenged me, but moreover has always loved me and this is the best part.

Robin is a "get it done" person. She gets on a mission and she is a fire cracker. She has more energy than one could imagine, I need to find out about her secret elixir . She is the mother of 2 beautiful girls, a wife, a full time researcher at Cornell University and on and on. In short, she is AMAZING. So the day I came back to work and walked into IC3, this is the poster I saw in the main lobby. I was so moved. It still brings tears to my eyes because at a time in my life when I was feeling most vulnerable and really scared, I had people pulling so much together for me and assisting in ways I couldn't do alone or maybe even at all. In fact, Robin has been my point person for the legal firm I am using and she was able to review all the contracts prior to my even returning from Nepal. She had it set up so all I really had to do was review the contract, sign and send out the money.

So I'd like to give a special thank you to all the families, teachers, old friends, new friends and future friends for your support, donations and heart felt prayers have made a difference in my life and the life of my little girl Junu. In some ways she may represent all of the children of the earth whose lives begin without the simple treasures many of us take for granted. A parent's love. If somehow Junu's situation can bring awareness to the 143 million orphaned children through the world, then perhaps this challenge will serve an even Higher Purpose.

And Robin...the words "thank you" never seem enough. I suppose the gratitude will be felt when little Junu wraps her arms around you. It is with this most difficult time that I find our friendship has been strengthened even further. That we have stepped into another phase of growing together and trusting. I suppose this is the hidden blessing in difficult circumstances; as you ride the current and bobble with the waves, underneath there can be peace, knowing and true treasures. Your love is this treasure.

So now it is onto more planning and fund raising. I have made the decision to return to Nepal at the end of January 2011. I can't bear to be away from Junu any longer than this....which is already way too long. I am doing what I can here to organize, simplify, re-negotiate financial commitments, sell that which is not essential, store my belongings and move my life to the other side of the world. While I love the home I have been in and was hoping to make it my permanent home, I am forced to let it go. I really don't know how long I will be in Nepal, given all the unknown factors regarding my investigation, but I trust all will work out for the greatest of good. As I have often referred to my faith to see me through these times, I draw upon this knowing in my Soul. It's like there is this inner GPS (God's Perfect Solution) that despite the messed up appearances and what seems like a wrong turn, re-calibrates itself, sets the course and guides me to my destination. I am trusting, even on the days I find it difficult and still listening to that small voice inside that urges me forward and tells me to keep looking up. Just keep looking up.
Peace and blessings
Sharlyn

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