It’s never taken me this long to figure out what to say. Ask anyone who knows me: I am rarely at a loss for words. Possibly never… until today.
There are no words. Just love, love, love…
Seeing my best friend at the end of the aisle.
Hearing my daughter’s cry for the first time.
Watching the new big sister put a gentle kiss on the baby’s head.
Celebrating those very first steps after years of physical therapy.
Holding my son in my arms for the first time!
We come bearing gifts. Not just for S, but for his 6-year-old foster-sister. They wave to us from the window. Be cool. Be cool. It’s a bizarre blind date. Please, please God make him like me!
We hug foster mom and then meet his nanny, a lovely woman who has been with him all his life. We sit around the living room while he hides his face in her neck, peeking out at us with a little grin.
He is leery of us at first, especially the noisy little girl who seems determined to hog the spotlight. He pulls out the book we had given him last week, the one with pictures of our house and each one of us. I wonder if he recognizes us?
Small talk, trying not to stare like a creepy stalker, getting to know the sweet family who was raising my son and keeping my hands to myself. Be cool. Be cool.
I will be content with the smiles. I will be content from a distance. I will not overwhelm this shy little man.
We play a game of ball – rolling it between all the sisters and parents – new and old. A strange kind of family. There is nothing natural about this situation, but it is not as awkward as I expected. We all love him. We all want what is best. And they are so welcoming to us. Even when B starts up with the tantrums.
Oh no! Not today, of all days! But that is the reason, I’m sure. She knows that changes are afoot. We have pictures of him everywhere. We set up his room yesterday. We talk about the new baby brother daily. And now we bring her into this strange situation, so many new people, each of us keyed up and excited. About someone else. Unacceptable to the one we sometimes tease is “Queen of the Universe.”
As the afternoon wears on, the kids begin to play more freely, talking amongst themselves, wandering from room to room. B and S have a few very sweet moments. We even catch some on film. And our little guy pushes the stroller all around the room, beaming at everyone. He has a smile that lights up the room.
He literally throws himself across the room, looking to all the world as if he is going to pitch right over, but miraculously staying upright. He moves faster than he should, an unsteady, almost drunken gait, each step fueled by pure determination. He buzzes around like a happy little bumble bee, checking in with his Foster Mom from time to time, touching her face, sitting on her lap, then back into the fray.
He chatters constantly. Occasionally there is a word we can understand – usually “ball.” He reminds me of the Swedish chef from the Muppets. So much to say. Such a happy boy.
But he doesn’t have ANY trouble making himself understood. B helped L make banana muffins this morning and they are a big hit. He eats everything put in front of him and demands more. After three picky eaters, this is a revelation. I can live like this.
Naturally, B says “No” to every question, insisting she does NOT want to eat, but clearly dying to. Sometimes her words express her feelings and not her wishes. At one point I end up taking her to a room on her own. We listen to some music, play just the two of us… the lovely nanny steps in to play with her so I can join the rest. Attention is attention. She is happy again.
Foster-sister has “helped” S make a picture for me. It has my name and several x’s and o’s. Some may see a scribble on a scrap of cardboard, but it looks like a masterpiece to me! I’m pretty fond of that kid too! I think we’ll adopt the lot of them.
All the kids find their way to the bedroom, bouncing a balloon between them. S plays with each of the girls. He lets C pick him up and carry him around. He holds L’s hand. When it is time to go, he joins the crowd by the front door.
I’m pretty sure the puddles and the Great Outdoors are the biggest draw, but we’ll take it. He lets Glen pick him up and hold him for pictures, while we get our shoes on. I am closest to the door. He leans over and jumps into my arms.
I was going to be content with smiles. I was going to be content just to see him. So holding him is such a gift!
He stays quite happily in my arms while we put his coat on and make our way outside. When we put him down he grabs my hand and we walk around the garden, splashing in puddles along the way.
It is so hard to say goodbye.
But I get to see him again tomorrow. So, I’ll reset my countdown clock right now.
This gospel song has been looping through my head today. Celebration. Grace. A gift we can never earn, but can’t live without. It seems appropriate.
So here’s me, happy.