It’s been a rough morning in mommy land. Today was one of those days when I needed to be at the top of my game, and I just wasn’t feeling it. I had lain awake last night for hours shivering with fever, but what was worse was worrying about our little boy who was away on an overnight visit with his biological mother. Was he sleeping soundly? Did he wonder where we were? I pray so often that he knows we would give anything to be with him always. If it wasn’t for cold medicine I could have stared at the ceiling all night. I awoke from my Nyquil induced coma at 7 a.m. to the buzzing of a text message saying that she was on her way to bring him home. God is so good, and by grace alone she had asked to bring him home early today. I couldn’t wait to have him back in my arms. It was time to get up and get moving but my body ached like I had aged sixty years in my sleep, and my leap out of bed was more like a sad little creeping crawl to the shower. We had to get going though, ready or not, it’s Christmas program day!
We gave sloppy cereal breath goodbye kisses to Daddy as he headed out to work this morning. We’re short-handed at work so there was no way he could come with us today. He felt terrible about it, and we sure do miss him when he’s gone during the day. At least he got to see the baby this morning before he left. It’s so hard on him when he has to head out before Baby wakes up, and then he’s gone when he gets home. We finished up our breakfast and began the Hudson madness chaos dash to brush, dry, fluff, apply bows, and get shoes on the right feet. Once again it was ten minutes until time to leave and there I was with wet hair, still in my pajamas, and trying to keep my wheezing and coughing somewhat isolated from my three little germ catching munchkins. Somehow, someway, we survived and managed to get everyone snapped, zipped, polished (sort of), loaded and buckled in.
We FINALLY made it to school, albeit ten minutes late, but we made it. I threw on as much make-up as I could in the car, and loaded up Baby in the stroller while trying to keep the girls from darting across the parking lot full of cars. You know they only want to run in different directions when your hands are more than full and your throat feels like you swallowed hot coals for breakfast. As we’re heading in, Aryanna looks at me and says, “Mom did you even brush your hair today?” Truth hurts, doesn’t it? I calmly replied that yes I did brush my hair and that I had decided to wear it “curly” today. She was not convinced. She looked me over again and said, “Hmmm…okay.” It would do no good right now to explain a mother’s sacrifice, and my feelings of inadequacy and stress at the moment, so we just walked as quickly as we could with no more talking. My fears were confirmed when the first person we encountered was the school director. She had a concerned look on her face when we blew in (literally…the wind was crazy) through the door and she asked, “Are you alright?” Ha-ha, if only I could answer that openly. We would need a great deal more time to discuss exactly how NOT alright I am feeling right now. “Oh yes,” I replied, “I’ve just been a little sick that’s all.” If running a 102 plus temperature for the last two days constitutes being “a little sick”. This is one of those moments when moms find themselves quoting obnoxiously optimistic kid shows…..“Just keep swimming.” At long last I made both drop offs, and now all I had to do was find a seat, try my best not to appear sad, exhausted and awkwardly alone, and try even harder not to let Baby take over the Christmas program with some out-of-this-world tantrum. He had already been giving me that not-so-subtle “I was woken up too early” cue. Can we do it?? Yes we can!!
Astonishingly, the little one almost made it entirely through both programs….almost. I’ll call that one a win. The girls did FABULOUS! It was definitely one of those moments where you find yourself sitting there looking at them thinking God I cannot believe that you have blessed me so with these beautiful and talented children. Every ounce of chaos is worth being their mom. Every bit of it. It’s impossible to feel sorry for myself at that point no matter what I am going through behind the scenes. Building a family through the foster system has been an ongoing spiritual battle to say the least. Our children have become ours against incredible odds. There is no other way to explain it than just to say it is a God thing. Still, it is all too easy at times to overlook that incredible victory, and become so inwardly focused on the struggles we’re facing right now. I was blessed to run into an old friend as I was leaving the school on Monday. I was in my normal state of frazzle without the dazzle (some of you manage to pull off both nicely), and toting a heavy wiggly baby on my hip. She asked me about him and I told her that he would be leaving us soon. She was sympathetic of course, but then she smiled and she said, “But the girls are all yours right? They’re okay?” Yes, they sure are. They are all ours and nobody can ever change that. God is good. He has been good and He continues to be so so good, even when it feels like we are experiencing a season of hardship. I was thankful right then that she had reminded me of that. I find myself needing to hear it often lately.
I have definitely been feeling like we are in the throng of a powerful storm recently. I have spent a great deal of time and energy trying to figure out how to wage this battle over Baby in a way that is edifying to God. I have failed on so many levels time and time again, because my heart just aches for my little boy. I have pain to the very depths of my soul over the grief that I have watched my husband and my girls endure as they try to make the most of what time we have left with him. We have prayed over the other families that have been affected by the case; namely, the caregivers who had taken temporary custody of Baby’s siblings. I have been fortunate to keep in contact with the grandmother of one of the children. She is grieving much the same as we are. Late last night she sent me a message asking, “Do you ever feel forsaken?” Yes I do sometimes. I feel forsaken, punished, abandoned…you name it. I feel broken. As we talked we realized that we were both experiencing the same fears and doubts. Then she asked me how we get past these feelings. I sat there searching my heart, and all I could think was that I wished he was home right now so I could hold him. You know why? I LOVE loving that little boy. It has been one of the greatest blessings of my entire life. Whether he stayed forever, or only for a moment, it does not diminish the mercy, grace and incredible affection that God showed in allowing us to be a part of his story. People tell me all the time that we have been such amazing parents sharing God with him and planting seeds in his heart. Maybe there is some truth to that, but through and through I have learned more about God through this little baby boy than he has probably learned from me. It has been quite a humbling experience. So that is what I shared with her in that moment reminding her to focus on the blessings and the great joy she had shared with her granddaughter. I told her to seek wise counsel, and look to the Word. I also told her that being surrounded by godly people who have prayed over us, built us up and encouraged us has been so crucial. I can’t even begin to express the love we have received from both old friends and new friends. It has been incredibly moving. It has been a constant reminder of how God provides when it just seems like giving up is the only option. He sends messengers of grace at exactly the right moment. Today was one of those moments for me….
We made it back home about 10:30 this morning after avoiding any melt downs about not staying to see Santa for the 3rd time this month, and not indulging in donuts after we had already had a full breakfast an hour earlier. Baby was in desperate need of a nap time. I rocked him gently, running my fingers through his hair and singing a raspy version of unchained melody. He didn’t seem to mind that I was off key. He had just nodded off when I heard a car pull into the driveway. Who could be here right now? I stood up slowly trying not to wake him as I saw a flash of blonde hair whisk past my front window. Then the door knob rattled. I had a little moment of irrational panic thinking heaven help us someone is trying to break in!! Then before I could get to the door the car was backing down the driveway just as quickly as it had arrived. That was strange. Hanging there on the door knob was a Christmas gift sack. How unexpected. Why didn’t they knock and let me thank them? Did they come to the wrong house? Did we leave something at school in our mad rush to get home? I laid the baby in his crib and sat down on the couch with the sack. As I opened it up I saw that it was filled with cards with my name on them. Tears were already welling up in my eyes. “Now, what is this all about?” I asked myself. One by one I opened them and read them, with the sound of the girls playing in the room behind me.
“When you pass through the waters, I will be with you; and when you pass through the rivers they will not sweep over you. When you walk through the fire, you will not be burned; the flames will not set you ablaze.” Isaiah 43:2
“But those who hope in the Lord will renew their strength. They will soar on wings like eagles; they will run and not grow weary, the will walk and not be faint.” Isaiah 40:31
“We are praying for you…”
I can barely write this now without tearing up all over again. It was an anonymous act of great love. Sitting there holding those cards there was no grief or sadness big enough or great enough to outshine the overpowering joy that washed over me. We are only mortal humans, with mere mortal hands and bodies, but when God decides to use as conduits of His great love, the simplest acts of kindness can move mountains and calm raging seas. So….thank you God for reminding me today that I am not forsaken. Thank you for forgiving me when I fail to acknowledge Your nearness and the many blessings that I have received. Thank you for my friends who give selflessly without seeking anything in return. Thank you for loving them in a way that stirs them to share that love with others just to make much of You. Thank you for not being disappointed in me when I need to be reminded over and over…and over….that You desire good things for me, and that You have a greater plan in all of this. Thank you for always being at the top of Your game….especially when I am not at the top of mine. You are good, You are great, and I love You too, God.
P.s. The cookies and the banana bread from Lida’s are amazing.
“Oh, taste and see that the Lord is good! Blessed is the man who takes refuge in Him!” Psalm 34:8