I’m not sure where this saying came from or why the dropping of shoes sounds so ominous, but it’s the best way I can think to explain the mild concern I have lurking in my subconscious. I’m holding my breath, because everything is going so well right now.
The boy prince (aka – my son, the little brother and Daddy’s new best friend) has been making himself at home with us. Last night was our first sleepover and he did remarkably well. There is an occasional wariness and some quiet, somber moments, but he rallies quickly and jumps right back into the fray.
Things have been going so well, we’ve been able to move the transition forward. He’ll be back again tomorrow night for the whole weekend. So many exciting firsts to look forward to: lazy Saturday mornings on the couch, Father’s Day with his new Daddy, and our whole family to church for the first time!
So, what’s with the dread?
This is a honeymoon period.
Right now, Daddy is the star of the show! He is working from home and taking time off whenever S is with us. I’m still the second string parent: okay for a few laughs, but not the go-to comforter or cuddler. When all else fails, Daddy to the rescue! We double-team the chaos. When we’re not sure what to do, we bounce the questions back and forth: Do you think he’ll eat this? Is he getting overstimulated? What IS that smell?
Right now, he is the most exciting new toy our girls have ever gotten! The big girls debate who “gets” to play with him while I get dressed and clean the kitchen. They spend hours crawling around on the floor with him. They compete to coax the biggest laugh out of him. Even B, who is needing a lot of extra attention and playing “baby” right alongside her brother, is happy to share her favourite toys and pose for the endless photo shoot that is now our life.
Right now, everything he does is charming! Even the occasional temper tantrum is pretty darn adorable: “Look how determined he is! Did you feel that grip… he’s super strong!” But most of the time he is full of smiles and soaks up the attention. All the toys and games are new and exciting to him. He is sleeping and eating and feeling just fine. He fusses a little bit when foster Mom drops him off, but is quickly distracted by all the fun times. Although we’ve talked about it and show him pictures and put words to what is happening, he doesn’t really understand that his whole world is about to change.
Someday, it will be just he and I. And I will scramble around trying to figure out what he needs, and what he wants, and what to do with a toddler all day long, and how to be the safe person that he can always rely on. Praying that he will realize that this makes me “Mommy”, not just because it’s my name, but because I am HIS person, the one that will ALWAYS take care of him. Even if that means putting playtime on hold to change a diaper or making the busy road off-limits or collecting rent from him at age 20-something.
Someday, his sisters will realize that little brothers can be a real pain. And a busy pre-teen calendar of primping and bickering and thinking up new strategies to convince the parental units that texting is, like, ESSENTIAL at age 11… will seem more important than playing with the boy. And he will get into their stuff and decorate their new outfits with snot and throw their iPods down the stairs. And the child formerly known as “the baby” will realize that the competition is getting attention when she wants it (or possibly getting attention and THEN she’ll decide she wants it), and the fireworks will begin.
Someday, he will notice that this is more than just a visit. Perhaps when his foster family says good-bye and hands him over to us that last time. Perhaps when all his belongings are here. Perhaps when he stays night after night after night with no sign of return. Perhaps when they visit a couple of weeks later, but he stays here with us… Who can know? But toddlers do grieve. It’s part of a healthy transition and there is no short cut. He may not have the language to express it, but his heart and mind are mature enough to feel it. So it is coming.
Honeymoons don’t last forever!
BUT, they are meant to be enjoyed. Why focus on someday, when today, everything is going so well?
So I will breathe. I will enjoy. I will quit searching for signs of trouble and jump into the fray myself. Because everything is going so well and we are ridiculously happy.
Therefore do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about itself.
Each day has enough trouble of its own.
The Message paraphrase says “give your entire attention to what God is doing right now” and I can’t think of better advice for parenting, or work, or life for that matter. Right now, that means attention on our changing family and all the fun we are having discovering each other.
So here’s me, letting the shoes drop where they may, because I’m not going to borrow any more trouble today!