Saturday, December 5, 2009

Little Russian Lady

Oh yes, the little Russian lady brings back a host of memories. Three and a half months worth. At seventeen I got on a plane headed to Moscow. I had a moment of panic. "What in the world am I doing? I won't see my family for a looooong time."  This trip was the first time my twin sis and I had been apart for more than one night. We experienced everything together. And now  I felt alone. I tried to shrug the feeling, thinking with nervous excitement about the adventure ahead.

I spent three and a half months with over 100 other homeschooled students and a few families on a small ship docked on the Moscow river. We had various assignments. Listen to lectures. Help with weekly meetings. Provide music. Create skits and visit orphanages and public schools.  Don't kiss any boys. Seriously, there was a rule against that, among other things! Make up funny songs laden with inside jokes. Minister to others. Traipse around Moscow. Visit families. Drink tea. Talk about Jesus. Listen to more lectures. All this without my sister.

We had other fun too. Our group managed to fit in a weekend cruise and saw a stretch of the Volga river. We saw pastures dotted with bright multicolored houses. We sang hymns in full harmony on the stern deck on a chilly evening. I still remember the gentle rocking of the ship, and the constant change of horizon. I remember historic sites, and shopping for a fur hat for my dad. I bought fresh roses at the market and hand painted metroyshka (nesting) dolls for my sisters and I bought the little Russian lady. It seemed a shame to be having so much fun without Sara.

When I came home, Sara and I lived life together again, but that trip marked the beginning of many things experienced separately. That's a difficult change for twins. At least it was for us. We had to redefine who we were apart from the other. Our lives took shape. Neither better or worse, not wrong or right, just different. She was in the city, me in the country. She had a job. I had kids and a husband. Our schedules were different. It was hard finding time together. Our adventures were different.

I don't mean to over-dramatize this, but I had a tiny bit of sadness that for ten years, my sister didn't share my journey in motherhood. I feel bad even saying it. It's not like she could do anything about it. But, I think growing up, we both assumed we would go through the same stages of life together, that our kids would grow up together like we did. And that didn't happen. Until now.

I cried with joy when my sister got engaged a few years ago. I think I cried when she announced her pregnancy.  It's just that I am so excited to begin sharing the adventure of motherhood with her. We've already taken stock of baby clothes, shopped for needed items, and picked out paint colors for the nursery together. I can't wait for the play dates and summer beach days. Yes, this is going to be FUN! This is an adventure we'll once again experience, together.

Hey. I just remembered: I have two little Russian ladies. Like twins wearing the same dress, but in different colors. Sara and Kristina.  I think I'll hang them on the tree, side by side.


MamaBear said...

I love how you weave your stories together Kristina!

What a beautiful ornament with so many memories!

Anonymous said...

Actually, there were 3 Russian ladies. Andrea and I used to play with them at Christmas. Two were red and one green. :) I love your story- I remember praying every day when you were gone that you wouldn't have to eat raw fish. Haha!

smr said...

Darn it, girl, you made me cry. And even being pregnant, you know that doesn't happen very often. :)I have a Russian lady for my tree too - will look forward to putting it on when the tree goes up! Remember when we used to get the same presents, one red, one green or blue?

Kristina Joy said...

So L, S must have a red one because I have a red and green. :) You guys keep me honest. :)

I thought this might make you cry Sara! :)

Kristina Joy said...

Oh, and I never did have to eat raw fish. Only some weird canned fruity drink with whole fruit in it that had a worm.