I am ashamed to say that somewhere in the weeks of preparing for our two oldest sons to leave the nest, the urgency and criticalness of his little life were lost on me. In the back of my mind I knew that there was a LITTLE boy. WEIGH to LITTLE (an intentional spelling mistake!!!!). I just couldn’t get to him.
The last two weeks of May were filled to the brim. Both with activities and preparations of graduation, of boys taking that step of leaving the family with only the intentions of coming back to visit. They were also filled to the brim with emotions. Oh mercy. This Mommy didn’t like the process of letting two boys go at once. Couldn’t they take turns or go in order? On one hand I was rejoicing at their success and maturity and achievements and goals and on the other hand I was grieving their double departure. I grasped for every moment to play another game of tennis or linger for another little talk or savor one more meal together. Yet time just slid through my hand, like grasping a hand full of sand. Their sweet quiet strong hugs would about make my emotions want to leak all over my face. Hugs that were not lost on me, because we had just recovered from the typical teenage boy “don’t hug Mom stage”. And yet despite my best attempts to savor each moment the day came when all their possessions, that were important to them, were smashed into a few duffle bags and suitcases. Their rooms had been purged of all their things, either discarded, packed or given to the younger brothers (who were waiting for them to leave so that their rooms could be moved into). And they boarded the planes and flew far far far away. Too far for me to invite over for a meal, or pop in and check on them. Yet, strangely, once they left my Mommy heart was fine. It was like all that energy spent trying to savor the last of our “normal” Boyd family life, was over. And I was at peace.
I have this gorgeous mental image of me here in Papua. My boys far away in America. Like two to three days of airplanes and airports non-stop-far-away. Jesus holding my hand. Jesus holding their hands. Jesus not limited by distance, time or space, spanning the ocean and connecting us. So when I pray to Him, He is immediately attentive to them. So I leave them in His very very capable hands.
I gave myself one day to absorb my new normal. To allow my female emotions a day of quiet, of rest, of acceptance, and thought.
And then I could not ignore him any longer. The LITTLE boy. I had just “lost” my two boys. It was now time to turn my focus on another. Shockingly right under our noses. Right on our campus we discovered a two year old boy who is severely malnourished. Wendy ran a malnutrition clinic in Chad, Africa prior to moving here. She taught me how to measure him, how to run his height and weight stats through a chart put out by the World Health Organization (WHO). All the protocol for starting a little one on a re feeding program. Deworm. Treat for infection because they are so malnourished they almost always are fighting infection (and sure enough he had a fever and cough). Buying the correct milk and adding the correct proportions of sugar and oil. Following closely with support, daily weights, assessments, teaching and more support and more support.
Due to an allergy with cows milk, we are running often to our local doctor’s farm and getting goat milk. Seventy calories a cup before oil and sugar are added is loaded compared to the prior powdered soy milk of seventeen calories a cup. And so with baited breath and prayer we started this little fellow, with NO WIGGLE ROOM for sickness, on this program. A liter of our milk concoction every day. Daily weights. Our goal is for him to gain .10 of a kilo every day. His beginning weight was 8.05 kilos. Not able to graft him on any WHO growth chart.
The first four days were rough. He only drank half of what he needed and only gained half of what he needed. The last few days he has made a steady .10 gain each day. Until yesterday when we weighed him, he had dropped half of his newly gained weight. Confused I’m questioning the Mommy “Why?” The little fellow had just vomited. So we press on. I’m praying that today when I do his little weigh-in that the scale will reward us with numbers reflecting his progress.
Yesterday I began to teach the Mommy how to make the special formula. Daily his older brother colors in on a special chart his younger brother’s growth. Today I need to write a proposal to try and get his special milk covered by insurance, because it is expensive and this is critical to his life. We have involved a caring Indonesian nurse, who is also his neighbor…..because we leave next week for our furloughs.
AUGH! I literally feel like I am fighting for this little boys life. Point ten of a kilogram at a time. It is rewarding. As already the family tells me that he has new life and is talking all the time and wants to go here and there with a new energy. And it is a bit of a nail biting experience.
Another complication to his story is that his Mommy is due to have a baby any day now. Dauntingly, the statistics of the survival of either the newborn or the severely malnourished child are not good. It is too difficult for the mother to give proper attention to both.
So while my heart has been scattered with my own boys flinging across the ocean. My heart has also been bound more to this land through this little boy whom I am fighting hard for life with. As excited as I am to “go home” and reconnect with family and friends, there is a strong part of me that doesn’t want to leave because what about “my” little boy?
I will place him in the same capable hands that are holding my older boys and me right now. The ONE whose hands are not limited by distance, time, death or severe malnutrition. I’ll leave him in a support system that has been carefully thought through and BELIEVE that with all of this, this little boy will grow and thrive and LIVE and SERVE. That he will be a part of Jesus’ plan to tell his Papua brothers and sisters and many more about the ONE who gives LIFE.