My husband and I are blessed . . . and enriched . . . that we were chosen to welcome Monroe, help him begin life on the "outside" and to share some of his "firsts" in the English world.
We also have had the responsibility of helping him experience not-so-pleasant "firsts" like severely burned ears! People don't realize that the first time an Amish male cuts his long hair and tosses aside his hat that his once hidden ears are exposed to the sun. And, wow, did Monroe's ears suffer from raw sunburn the first weeks. He burned, peeled, picked, bled, and burned again. My sofa still shows greasy stains from Monroe reclining while his ears were coated in pain relieving gel. Eww.
I enjoy the easy-to-entertain former Amish because they're used to making do, using their imaginations, inventing and playing games. Unspoiled by too much technology, they're contented to chat, joke, and build relationships.
You might recognize Josh (on left); I shared about him in February. My family is expanding as we count
these young people as our family.
Monroe accompanied us to a wedding - his first English wedding. There are major differences between Amish and English weddings; the parents' responsibilities, the planning, clothes, reception, etc.
We wanted Monroe to feel he belonged in our family so we took him with us as much as he felt comfortable.
After a quick trip to buy clothes dressier than a t-shirt and jeans, my patient husband tutored Monroe in wearing a tie. Doesn't Monroe look handsome?! My hubby does too!
In the Swartzentruber Order (uber strict) he wasn't allowed to ride a bicycle. When he said he'd like to learn, my husband, Monroe, and I loaded up our bikes and headed for a nearby trail where my patient-again husband taught Monroe.
He got the hang of it quickly. Then feeling confident, he wanted to race. After one slip on loose gravel, Monroe learned to slow down a bit and carefully control his bicycle.
A few days following, my cousin donated a bicycle to Monroe. He used that bike to ride to/from work each day; often timing himself and trying to beat his own record.
I've been privileged to give Monroe his first "mom" hug. What mom couldn't reach out and love a kind, grateful, respectful, teachable, witty, naive, hardworking teenager with stunning blue eyes and an impish grin? Monroe told me he never remembers his mother hugging him - I wanted to make up for that so each morning I embraced him before he left for work whispering in his ear, "You're a good person."
Shopping for a bed, sheets, groceries and other necessities to live on his own were "firsts." Recently Monroe moved into an apartment to launch life on his own but, he still visits and gives me a hug.
We've enjoyed many "firsts" with Monroe - and probably will many more - so I may again share about him in future posts. If you're a subscriber you get my blog post in your email inbox, if not be sure to come back here next week for more true Amish stories.
See ya next week. ~ Brenda
(C)Copyright 2013, Brenda Nixon.
9/17/14 Update: Monroe remains in our lives and hearts. He shares an apartment with Josh - another former Amish - works FT, drives a red car, and stopped by last evening...at dinner time. Among other matters, I think he wanted a home cooked meal and a mom hug.