The morning after Noah and I arrived home we were both wide awake when the morning sun filtered through the Cascade foothills to the east. Inquisitive Noah set off to explore his new world while I drug myself to the kitchen table after pouring a cup of Ethiopian coffee, the beans purchased 36 hours earlier in Addis Ababa.
I was in need of some serious re-booting.
Resting my chin on my palm, I guiltily looked out toward our five acres of pasture and woods, and watched the shadow of our home appear against the backdrop of forest with each passing minute, and I began to ‘digest’ Ethiopia. Not long after, Nick joined me at our table. I shared with him what I had witnessed in Africa. Beauty. Death. Hope. Despair. Faith. There was so so much.
A shrill, high pitched scream broke the morning calm. Two bunnies raced past the window in a frantic pace followed by an equally frantic Noah, slicing the air with a tribal Ethiopian knife. Nick’s eyes grew wide. I just rolled my eyes. I’d been with Noah for ten days and had come to expect…well… the unexpected.
Too exhausted from jet lag to do anything more than nod my head toward the sliding glass door I muttered, “You run faster than me. Go catch your new brother.”
Nick’s eyes followed Noah as he sprinted across our lawn and descend toward the forest.
“Go. Fast,” I sighed, “before we have to deal with bunny carnage too.”
Nick’s fast. Even barefoot he’s fast. Within a few seconds he crested the small hill that leads down to the woods and caught his new brother and convinced him in his best early morning charades to put down the knife.
Noah has an amazing teacher who keeps me in the loop of his adventures several times a week. Yesterday I got an e-mail from Mrs. O’Neill that took me back to that first morning of Noah’s life in America. The morning that made me realize within hours of Noah landing in our world that our furry little forest friends were more than furry little forest friends to Noah. They were breakfast. Lunch. And dinner. Here’s how it all went down:
Mrs. O’Neill: Guess what your son brought to school today in his backpack? I’ll give you three guesses.
(At this point I am trolling the house looking for anything missing he could have picked out to share…trust me, anything is possible.)
Me: #1 Money #2 A water balloon #3 Squirt gun AND a bonus brown nose answer #4 Flowers for his lovely teacher
Mrs. O’Neill: No No No Do you give up? A baby bunny (seriously, he was trying to rescue it from a crow) : >) We talked about admiring his need to help. However, you always ask a parent. : >) Bruce (the janitor) is “taking care of it” : >)
P.S You may want to wash his backpack!
On their way to school yesterday, Noah and Sam spotted a crow carrying a tiny bunny away. Immediately they jumped into action and chased the crow down. The crow dropped the bunny. While Sam waved the crow away, Noah opened up his backpack and coaxed the baby bunny into the outer pouch. Once safely inside, they continued the 1/3 mile walk to school. I don’t know what was going on in their minds during that walk except they had time to name their new furry friend Roxy. (I know…not exactly the name we would give a three week old fluff ball with Puss n Boots eyes, but that’s beside the point).
So Noah, Sam, and Roxy made their way to the school and the first person they encountered is Sam’s life long friend, Hayley, munching on her morning apple. Immediately they called Hayley over to show her what was in Noah’s backpack.
Asking her opinion on what they should do, Hayley responded, “Let’s feed Roxy my apple.”
So Hayley dropped the apple into the outer pouch of the backpack and they continue on their way to Mrs. O’Neill’s class, Roxy happily munching and bouncing in Noah’s backpack. Once inside the classroom, the buzz of Noah’s classmates crescendoed as word trickled throughout the desks about Noah’s real life Go Diego Go animal rescue. It was decided, thank goodness, that Mrs. O’Neill should be let in on the news so a group of five or so students circled her desk as Noah repeated his adventure while opening the outer pouch of his backpack for Mrs. O’Neill to take a peek at Roxy. Mrs. O’Neill later confessed to me that although she acted excited she actually looked beyond the backpack to the floor because she did not want to be a witness to bunny carnage in any way shape or form based on Noah’s detailed narrative.
While waiting for Bruce (the janitor) the class decided to create a bunny habitat for Roxy and soon she was happily munching on collected grass, apples, and carrots in her new shoe box habitat. Throughout the first part of the morning a steady stream of fourth graders visited Roxy as Noah told and retold the daring rescue of the baby bunny.
Later in the morning Bruce (the janitor) came to pick up Roxy, the furry little forest friend Noah and Sam had rescued. Noah shed a few tears when she was taken from the classroom and released to the distant forest behind the playground.
He shed a few tears. For a bunny. From his first morning to yesterday morning…he has certainly travelled 180 degrees!