The People’s Park & Merida

Thursday morning was a free day.  We didn’t have anything on the agenda while we waited for some paperwork to finish up so after breakfast we headed out for The People’s Park.  This was our first chill day since we had arrived with nothing major planned…no offices, no waiting, no paperwork, nothing.  We really needed this day especially after the prior crazy heavy day visiting the boys’ first home.

Cuteness Bonus of The Day:  When Amon realized Leo was wearing his heart shirt he insisted on wearing his too.  Amon loves being a big brother again.

The weather in Zhengzhou was amazing and perfection the entire time.  Just the perfect temperature and even a little hot some days.  A breath of fresh air compared to Tennessee’s confusing weather situation in April.  The park was gorgeous.  It was busy and blooming and there we’re people everywhere.  As we walked in music was playing and lots of different groups were dancing.  We stopped to watch the first group and we instantly turned into a park attraction.  People gathered around to take pictures of us and with us.  Our littlest knows no stranger so she was made for China.  She obliges for all the photos, smiles, tells everyone ni hao…hello in mandarin…and makes friends with everyone.  They all ate her up at the park.

There were also lots of ping pong games going on.  Amon instantly jumped in on a game with an older gentleman and it was hilarious.  The men were so kind to Amon even though he wasn’t the best ping pong player.  Lots of smiles and laughter and pretty sure you can find Amon somewhere on Youtube now playing ping pong in China. 🙂

We spent the rest of the morning wandering around the park and doing all the things.  There are lots of fair rides in the parks in China, so the kids were super pumped to find bumper cars and swings and go-carts and rides of all kinds.

The bumper cars were totally legit.  Harper’s glasses got knocked off her face multiple times and pretty confident a few of us walked away with some whiplash.

We also loved the exercise areas.  Everyone jumped in and tried out all the equipment.  Josh and I had a little pull-up competition going until a 70-year-old man came over and showed us both up.  We know he was 70 because after he showed us up he told Wendy to tell us he was 70.  Hahahahaha.  I guess I might not be that humble either if I’m in as good of shape as he was at that age.

After the park we went back to our hotel for afternoon naps.  We have been so consistent with afternoon naps because everyone has been wiped out.  We had jet lag for an entire week.  My friend Meredith ended up coming in town too.  We met up for dinner and she spent the night with us.  We took approximately zero photos.  What we did do was talk each other’s faces off and laugh so much and hash out grief and world problems and everything in between.

Here’s how you know a good friend.  Meredith walked right into our hot hot and I do mean HOT mess and chose to even spend the night in it.  We are not easy people.  In fact, most days I feel like we’re too much for most people.  We’re too loud and too broken and too hard and too spicy and it feels like very few people even know what to do with us.  Meredith walked right into our angstyness and jet lag and fighting and grief and sadness and grumpiness and complete lack of personal space and a very very questionable game of Go-Fish all contained in a small hotel room.  I mean, the kids couldn’t even get the hang of her name and IT’S NOT A HARD NAME.  They called her Merida approximately 425 times in a matter of 18 hours.  Seriously.  They couldn’t stop.  I have no idea why.

The only picture I took of our time together was of Leo and Meredith’s backpack because they looked the same. 🙂  The only picture Meredith took was of a bowl of pigs’ feet.  It still makes me laugh.

One of the greatest things I get from being Meredith’s friend is this constant reminder that we are not alone in this life or grief.  Even across oceans Meredith understands the importance of showing up in the pain and she does it so well.  She knows and understands loss and pain and sadness and grief and all the questions and roller-coastering emotions which come with it so well and so deep.  She extends her hand and heart over and over again to me and she has compassion and wit and laughter always waiting.  She remembers Everett with us.  She acknowledges him and his story and his life in ways that breath life into my grieving body.  She just gets it.

Zhengzhou was hard.  Zhengzhou was heavy and beautiful.  So many things about our time there my mind can’t even fully process yet.  Meredith was an easy bright spot.  I don’t have to worry about my words with her.  I can say exactly how I feel and it’s okay.  I can tell her all the doubts and questions and pain I feel wrapped up in Jesus right now and there’s zero judgment and no Bible verse rebuttals.  There’s no agenda, just friendship.  In the midst of hard, exhausting chaos Meredith simply made me feel seen.  And for that I am forever grateful.  Here’s to many more late night chats and lack of all your personal space Merida. 😉

1 Comment

  1. Love love love reading these. Friends who can love you hot mess and all ate a rare beautiful jewel ♥️ Many prayers and love to you all. I also adore Leo’s birthmark. It looks like someone just kissed him with lipstick all the time. Adorable.

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