I am sitting in my studio on a Sunday morning, three years to the day that Melissa came to live with us. Turns out she did stay one week. Then she stayed another. Then a month had passed. I was able to convince the agency that I could be an affective foster parent and soon school started.
There were some adjustments to be made on all sides, but it was less of a struggle than I thought. Maria and Melissa learned about their boundaries from having a few spats. They made up quickly and no damage was done. Daria felt a bit unneeded at first, with Maria no longer barging into her room to tell her something. Daria used to complain about that, but it turns out she missed it. Melissa made a good bond with Daria though and before long Daria found both of them barging in to tell her things. She didn’t pretend to hate that anymore.
Six months later I started adoption proceedings and 6 months after that, it was finalized. My 4 daughters conspired to try to convince me to allow Melissa to change her name to match theirs. They suggested Laria, Staria and Faria. I suggested Blaria, Glaria and Ungaria. They didn’t think my suggestions were very good at all. In the end she stayed Melissa, because we all really liked her just as she was.
In September of that year she got another beautiful envelope in the mail from her brother. It was of a sunrise. In it he told her that he was going to finally be able to move back to Oklahoma. He had been discharged from the army and had found a job in Tulsa, the main city in the area. He was here in time for Christmas.
A nicer guy I had never met; polite, creative, caring and very much in love with his little sister. He also, it turns out, fell in love with someone else. Caria was home for the Christmas holiday and they spent a number of days together. They hit it off wonderfully and started dating. By the time the next summer came they were inseparable.
Now I sit in my studio 3 years later thinking about how the most random of events; the placement of an envelope in the wrong box, the desire of a young girl to learn to paint, the death of a good man at an inconvenient time, all led to the events of the past day.
From where I sit in my studio I can see into the kitchen. There, on the table, are 3 corsages. The flowers are white and red, the colors Caria chose for her wedding.
I can see beyond the kitchen into the yard. There is a bunny in the yard the dogs haven’t seen yet. I see it eating a dandelion. There are birds at the bird feeder fighting for a perch. I smile as I look beyond the yard, watching as puffy clouds make an orange and pink blanket in the sky amidst my favorite thing in all the world, a beautiful sunrise.