It’s late and I’m sad so I’m gonna get a little heavy on here. You have been warned.
Tonight I got the news that a fellow adoptive family is having to say good-bye to their precious daughter. Sweet Z fought the good fight and she will soon find her well deserved rest in the arms of Jesus. My heart breaks for her family and her sweet mother who went above and beyond to fight for her girl and give her a chance. There are no words that could express the admiration and the pain that I feel for her now. You are my hero, B.
Nor are there really adequate words to express the aching fear and hurt that is gnawing at my heart tonight for a totally different reason. I have to be honest, this is a fairly new feeling for me. And I’m a little ashamed about that. Maybe it shouldn’t have taken this long but, after 7 months of being a mommy, I’m finally feeling the parental terror at the thought of losing one of my children.
I’m hit with this realization tonight that those kids down the hall, the same ones who yell too much, chew too loudly, have snot faucets instead of noses, and drive me crazy at least 12 out of every 24 hours in the day have become a fundamental part of who I am and, if they were removed from my life, it would be like cutting my heart from my chest. That is an overwhelming and terrifying thought. And it is keeping me awake.
Confession time: When I heard the news of Newtown back in December, I was overcome with sadness and grief – for the kids, the families, the teachers, the first responders. There was no part of me that wasn’t devastated by the horror that took place that day. But, my pain wasn’t personal. I didn’t see their tragedy as my possible own. I didn’t hold my kids for hours and watch them sleep all night and imagine my world crumbling if they were gone. Oh, I hate myself a little just for typing that. But, hey, it’s the truth. I mean, they were my children and I loved them but, we were three months in and I was still getting to know them. We were still very much attaching. We still are. It’s amazing how every month, I can look back and realize how much things have changed, how much we’ve grown into a family. But it’s difficult for me, also, to acknowledge that even though it’s wonderful that my feelings are so strong now, there was a time when it was hard to feel this way. When it was hard to adjust and feel normal in my new role as a mom and in our new dynamic as a family. But, it is hard sometimes. Kids don’t come home and just melt into perfect families. There are tears and there are fights and sometimes there are just times when you briefly reminisce about how simple your life was before you took that long plane ride to parenthood.
And then one night you are paralyzed at the thought of those children not being there. And you realize that it’s because you don’t just love them like you love all God’s children and powdered sugar doughnuts, but you love them with a fierceness and boldness that makes you their mother and that makes them yours in a way that you never imagined possible. And you realize that all the nights of uncertainty and the thoughts of inadequacy were and are worth it. And that the terror of losing them only exists because of the joy you have simply because they are here. And that’s a wonderful thing. A ridiculously wonderful thing. You also realize that, because you are a hopelessly flawed individual, it probably won’t even be 9 o’clock tomorrow morning before you raise your voice or roll your eyes at those two angels you just spent 15 minutes watching sleep. But, hey, that’s one reason you blog. So you won’t forget that you have these feelings the first time someone spills their orange juice or you find yet another green bean in the playroom.
So, yes, now I get it. I get why parents rush to pick up their kids from school or hold them close when they hear of another family’s tragedy. I get why bad news for one mom strikes fear into the hearts of all others. I totally get it. Again, I apologize if I’m late to the mommy-party on this one but I guess I’m a slow learner. Or maybe this adoption thing just takes time. Maybe being a family is just harder than it looks sometimes. Perhaps it’s one of those things that you have to work at daily with the understanding that it will never actually be perfect but that it is always worth the struggle. And your daily reward is two mini someones that you love so stinkin’ much that you simply can’t imagine living without them. I dare you to find me a better reason to fear.