In the fall, he moved with his family just two doors down. He was 6 years old and in the first grade. It did not take him long to worm his way into my heart, to our hearts.
It's not always easy. He is very often here and sometimes for hours before anyone from his house asks for him to come back. And he calls multiple times a day and knocks on our door just as many times. He fibs, he takes things that don't belong to him or tries to claim things as his, he asks way too many questions about where we were or where we are going or why we didn't answer the phone.
But mostly he's just a spirited, charming little boy who doesn't seem to be all that loved at home. However, he's managed to find a spot here, in our home and in our lives. And we are thankful for him when we aren't rolling our eyes in frustration. He's really taught me a lot, and I believe, will continue to teach me.
Following are some of our favorite "Élie Stories":
One Saturday afternoon, the phone rang, and when I answered, I heard Élie asking if the kids could play. I told him that they were away somewhere with their dad (library maybe?). Here is how the rest of the conversation went:
É: Well, could I just come do a puzzle with you? That`d be a lot of fun, wouldn't it?
Me: Yes, but I`m sorry I can't right now. I have some work to do.
É: Could I come over and help you?
Me: It's not really the kind of work you could help me with (I think I was studying)
É: Could I just come over and hang out with you? (What he actually said in French is way cuter...Est-ce que je peux juste venir rester tranquil avec toi?
One night when he was eating supper with us we were going around the table telling things we were thankful for. I didn't expect him to participate, but he wanted to. He said, "I'm thankful that we are all together as a family." I had a hard time not losing it.
Sometimes he says, "Can I have the telephone so I can call my mom and ask her if I can have supper with you?" I used to be a push-over, but Mark encouraged me to not help him with his impolite ways. We had a little talk one day. I explained how much we loved him and that we love to have him over to eat with us, but that we'd like him to wait until we invite him. Not five minutes later he asked if he could have supper with us. I said, wondering if my French was that bad that he hadn't understood at all, "Élie, what did I just tell you a few minutes ago?" "You said not to ask," he said. The kid is persevering, anyway.
On Joel's birthday he came up to him, gave him a side hug and said, "I wish for you lots of love, lots of presents, and that your birthday cake would be a chocolate one." The kid has charm, too!