On my last days at St. Nicks, I walked along main street, looking for bubble makers for the kids … made for delightful fun for us all!! The smallest squealed, the older ones tried to catch the bubbles …. Stephan, my trusty six year old assistant, ran in to help …. these simple pleasures of childhood … not always available for these little ones of Romania’s placement centers! The children appeared more subdued, my last day …. They sensed, as children always do, when someone will be leaving …. this revolving and steady stream of volunteers is what they know and they have adjusted to goodbyes on a monthly basis. The concerns I voiced before coming here have not left me ….. I know the value of consistency in a child’s formative years. Perhaps that consistency is what Coca, Mihaela, Dan, their daughter, Delia provide …….. Delia goes regularly on days off from school, to read to the children, feed them and just play …. she is their big sister! The children, in a very short period of time, have woven themselves into my heart and saying goodbye was far harder than I had anticipated. A few short weeks ago, they were strangers. My goal of living from the heart continues … It is rarely an easy path ….
Mihaela, Delia and Dan had me over for a delicious chicken roast dinner for our last meal together …. they live in a two bedroom flat, as do most people living in the cities and larger towns of Romania. Most buildings are from the communist era …. Lots of concrete …… houses are the norm in villages. For the slowly emerging affluent business owners, professionals and politicians, the suburbs, even in small town Birlad, are developing rapidly enough and there is a scattering of large homes and more on the horizon … times catch up with everyone I suppose.
As I waited for Dan to pick me up on the weekend for the long drive to Bucharest, I realized I had left my moccasins at the hospital …. I grabbed a cab, picked up my slippers from first floor volunteer room ……. stood for a moment, sorely tempted to run up the two more flights to see the children just once more …. took a lot of restraint not to do so …. It would have been cruel to stop for only a few minutes …. expectation would have been high to have me take them all to a park, as I had been doing all along in the mornings …. I could not do it, just to satisfy my own selfish desire to hold the children once more. Sad morning for me.