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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…!

Sashenka Turns 14

happy_14th_birthday_boxers_greeting_card-r3fb241f80da9484b91bc3ee3c77949a1_xvuat_8byvr_512Our youngest, daughter Sashenka, turned 14. It was a week fraught with giddy highs and skipping gait, along with sullen lows. Birthdays never used to do that to her, but as a Russian adoptee, I had heard of this behavior in so many others before.

They rued the day they were born because apparently, it had caused problems for all concerned. For the birth parents who could not care for their own crazed and out-of-control lives, and definitely not for children who just kept being born. Not for the adoptive parents whose lives had a semblance of normalcy until the wild child, or children, were placed in their care.

So everyone tried to limp along as best as possible, the a-parents no thlonger doing half of their former activities, while caring for needy children and trying to maintain a smile on their face, the a-children who tried to act normal, yet struggled with the simplest of requests. Anyone who said it would be easy….

IMG_4281Of course, a birthday simply added to the stress of things. There were the expectations of a fun, carefree time, although dark shadows and clouds lingered. Not easy for anyone involved.

Somehow, we pressed through to the day. My four teens who had lion-hat-[3]-278-penjoyed no childhood to speak of in Russia now relished the most mundane of celebrations. I made them homemade cakes and the theme du jour was a lion, so that’s what I attempted. She compared herself to a lion since her middle name was Ariella (“lion of God”), and the lion cake came out not exactly as I pictured him, perhaps a little surprised looking that he had been summoned to a 14-year-old’s birthday, rather than a 4-year-old’s.

2107890_origNyeetchevo. Never mind. She loved him.

An adult friend purchased her a plush stuffed lion.

“I asked what she wanted, and that’s what she said,” the woman shrugged.

Thankfully, a Lear jet was not on her mind that day. Along with 115031-01other items, we bought her a lion-shaped birthday balloon and a furry lion winter hat which she promptly wore in the car for a few errands on a 70-degree day. I didn’t ask her father if she ever got out of the car, since it was later in the day by that time, and we had survived.

It turned out very, very well.

And surprisingly, no one ate the lion cake. They were too stuffed from a lunch out and from another friend who made another cake. By bedtime, Mr. Lion was still intact, hard Chinese noodle mane and all.

“Maybe for breakfast,” she giggled, as a happy future spread before her and we kissed goodnight.


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