Saturday, March 20, 2010

Snow storms and grace

Today we spent a lazy Saturday at home.

I read, Sergei made pancakes, we all slept in until nearly eight o'clock. The girls played upstairs. There was a lot of commotion in their play. They made a book store and then later, an orphanage. I took stock, realizing that my children have been changed by God's stirring in our hearts to adopt Evangeline.

At some point Elaina and Zoya took a bubble bath by candlelight in their bathing suits. Oh yea, we're fancy.

In the midst of it all Polly's glasses were lost, which is almost comical if they weren't so expensive; my attempt at making her look less like she has special needs (incidentally, we are finding more and more that she does not, indeed, have special needs) and we had just gotten them replaced under warranty.

Polly and I took a nap for an hour in the afternoon. I fell asleep feeling privileged to be her mother, marveling at all the lessons this little soul has taught me. Her birthday is in a couple weeks. I cannot fathom how far we've come in four years. Her birth is a painful memory. And yet, daily, she holds out her hands to us and offers joy. It's like texting with Jesus.

I went to Nohea Cafe on Roscoe for an hour to write and got so excited that it's a cafe run by Christians. I have this bad habit of deciding people are going to be my best friends without giving them the chance to get to know me.

Sergei fed all four girls dinner in my absence. I am blessed to have him as my husband. Seriously.

My brother's birthday is today. I've been thinking about him and a time in my childhood when he watched me after school. It was when my family lived in a small town in Michigan; it seemed like half of the town was family, but looking back, now I know that everyone was family. Justin would make us a frozen pizza and he'd split it down the middle and we'd each eat half (back when I could eat half of a frozen pizza without consequence). We'd watch The Munsters and he'd try to coax me into playing with a friend so he could meet up with his high school cronies. My brother is funny and kind. He makes people feel at ease and I've always looked up to him. Intuitively, I know he is a good father. When I was little he would use me as weights; I'd be his dumbbell and he'd lift me up over my head ten times. When I'm around him, still till this day, I feel safe.

It snowed today in Chicago, after a week of temperatures upwards of 50 degrees. Waking up this morning, the snow blanketing our neighborhood was a disappointment. Before I knew it, our little family of six hunkered down for our last winter hurrah. I revelled in being inside for one more day, watching my children imagine a new world in the playroom. Our cocoon was happy, safe, healthy. For today, at least.

Don't be mistaken, I'm ready for spring. The flip flops are staying out. But today, surprisingly, was sweet.

Tonight after dinner I did my in-home walking video. I walked 3 miles with Leslie Sansone, feeling middle-aged. Evie loves the walking videos. She dances and jives; it's worth it to see her get so excited about the beat. There's a point in the video where we do kick backs, with our arms raised, "Hallelujah." After the birth of Polly, my brother advised me to buy a double cheeseburger from McDonald's without fries, if I really wanted to lose weight.

Elaina watched me well into mile two. "You've been exercising a lot more recently", she noted.

"I just want to be healthy," I lied. I don't want to tell my nine year old daughter who is probably smarter than I am that I desperately still, four years later, would like to lose my baby weight. And I only eat a double cheeseburger with fries like twice a year.

I feel like our family has really gotten a day off today... I don't know if Sergei would agree as he manned the children more than I did.

But it felt nice.

And at the end of the day, after the walking video and Zoya's turn at Bible story time (another gripping account of Jonah and the whale); after three out of four children were tucked into bed, I rocked Evangeline to sleep, totally enthralled with her. We've really started to connect lately.

"I hope it lasts forever," I say to myself as I sip a glass of Chardonnay.

And I am excited about church tomorrow morning; honored that God gave me the grace to believe His gospel and that each week, while sitting at Christian Fellowship Church, a place where immortals merge and focus their attention on the Almighty for two hours, I am fed and stupefied. Where does my husband come up with this stuff? Why does God love me?

And the answer comes: Grace.

Tomorrow is World Down Syndrome Awareness Day. Elaina and Zoya both have plans to do presentations for their class on Monday to honor their sisters. To them, there is no difference; adopted or not. To them, their sisters are not disabled; they are simply Polly and Evie.

I, myself, am almost brought to tears to think about the level of awareness God has brought to our Marchenko lives.

I give Jesus all the glory, realizing that some people who read this will think I am absolutely mad.

All I can say is I'm thankful, that my belief is outside of myself, something that was handed to me by grace. I'm a fish who grabbed the bait.


  1. You know, this post was RELAXING to read! I loved it. I'm so glad you had this day.

  2. i love your post. thank you for including me in your 2 double cheeseburgers a year! the last 2 sentences are incredible. love it, will post it on my frig...some place i will see it always. thank you for inspiring.

  3. Your post made me rest. In a good way. I love reading your life.

  4. Grace. It is truly so amazing and astounding. Thanks for sharing, Gillian.


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