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Destinations, Dreams and Dogs - International adventure with a fast-track family (& dogs) of Old World values, adopting the Russian-Italian-American good life on the go…!

A Heart, A Brain, and Courage: No Place Like Home

Wizard-of-OzI’ve often thought about our three youngest children stepping out of a scene from The Wizard of Oz. It’s because we have three distinct self-image deficits that seem to fit a pattern.

In many ways, our youngest, Sashenka, is like the Tin Man. She lacks a heart. But she’s getting there. She has flashes of caring and brilliance, yet for days and even weeks at a time, she shuts down, hard as steel and unfeeling. Kind of challenging to reconcile the duality.

Why does she harden herself and come to such awkward conclusions? Why does she draw comfort in saying the wrong thing at the wrong time? Maybe because she feels that she will never tinmanmeasure up, so best to be unfeeling and uncaring. At 14 years old, she almost has the personality of a hardened criminal—jaded, depressed and sullen—inbetween bouts of incredible sunshine.

Our hard little Tin Soldier, perhaps borderline manic depressive?

Nevertheless, she chews her nails and scratches constantly which means to me, she must be feeling something.

Her older sister, Mashenka, is the Scaredy Cat Lion who needs courage. Mostly a shrinking violet, she allows her personality to cowardly-lion-ozchange should there be another teen in the environs of… oh, about a 250-mile radius. She touches and retouches her hair nervously,reminding me of the lion stroking his tail in the Wizard of Oz, picks at her nails and cuticles, refuses to think about or plan for her future. She truly is counting on someone or something to somehow rescue her. The more we try to discuss her options with her, the more she withdraws. Occasionally, she tries to pick a fight, a real, smack-down fight, similar to the lion’s threatened fisticuffs.

She’s just not ready without courage, an almost 17-year-old child.

Our 18-year-old, Pasha, lacks a brain. No fault of his own, most likely exposure to alcohol in utero, the straw is sticking out from where the grey cells need to go. He can’t remember to study in school, he can’t remember to practice sketching outside of school, shave? did he shave thtoday? set the alarm clock? keep up his homework calendar?

However, if we can convince him to study he does well. I’m almost beginning to think that he might possess Einstein-like qualities where he excels in some areas, yet lacks the everyday common sense to move him from Point A to Point B.

“You’re a genius,” I tell him. “Don’t play the brain-damaged game with me,” I shake my head in a knowing, conspiratorial manner. “You’re really a genius and just don’t want us to know.”

Well, we can wish, can’t we?

WIZ001FT_dorothy_costume_1000My eldest, Petya, 18-1/2, is mostly like Dorothy, happy-go-lucky, skipping, inquisitive about the world around him, concerned about and encouraging his siblings down the yellow brick road.

It’s hard to grow up, and when there are lessons to be learned, character to be forged, and the demon-monkeys of our own imaginations and fears filling the skies above us, one thought rings clear.

There’s no place like home. May this be the safe training ground that gives them a firm footing and foundation for life.

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2 Comments : Leave a Reply

  1. avatar abby says:

    Your mouth to God’s ear! Very insightful post I’ve never thought about our kids like characters from classics. It makes sense. Thanks for sharing this Alexandra! (Do your children ever mind that you share about them?)

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