So everyone always says parenting is the biggest job in the world and the most underpaid and underappreciated. Today I figured out what is even less of a thankless job than Mom....being Mom to someone else's child:)
I started out the day feeling sorry for myself and these babies, truth be told. It wasn't pretty but it's true. I got P and L up this morning and gave them baths and redid hair and tried to talk about how fun it would be and reassured them they would come home to us by dinner and we could go get ice cream together as a family. P was excited to go and wanted to take the 2 day old flowers sitting on our table. L cried and clung to me and as soon as I would get him comforted and distracted by something else, I would hear him crying again. He didn't want to go and he didn't want to see her. I'm sure he is mad. I'm sure he is confused and I'm sure he is sad. I have come to figure out that I think L was the target of many of the frustrations and brunt of the punishments. P smiled and was cute enough and little enough and L was always in trouble. He shuts down when he is stressed because of it or acts out behaviorly. P just smiles and talks about how much she loves you.
I met Safe Families to drop off the kids around 11:30 and that went pretty smoothly. They were excited to see our caseworker and ride in her convertible!! I took the other 3 on a picnic to see Papaw at work and it was a really nice little treat. Went to the park to kill some time and the day just seemed to drag on. I finally got the call that they were on their way back around 2:45. It had not gone that great.
L barely said a word the entire time and just kind of stared off in space so instead of seeing how painful this is for him, MOM is afraid he is like that all the time and we've done it to him. I would give anything for her to see him playing and laughing and acting silly and loving on his brother and sisters. P cried hysterically when leaving MOM and our caseworker had to literally pry her off of her. MOM was upset the visit was so short and was reminded that it was short because we were squeezing it in for her because she failed to show up this weekend. She wants a longer visit so I'm sure that will come up soon. I could not wait for them to pull up in the driveway and was hoping if I prayed hard enough they would come running to my arms and all would be well with the world.
But their pain runs deeper than that.
I got a smile from L but he was very quiet and reminded me much of the boy we first met two months ago. I worried about how long this would last. How much silence it would take and how many fits and tears.....P woke up crying and reached for me but continued crying and crying and crying. This beautiful little girl was inconsolable for about twenty minutes. She just held on to me crying and I just held her back. She was calling out for her other mommy and when I asked if I could care for her today she said no and wanted her other mommmy. She was heartbroken and so was I. So I held her on the porch and we both cried. I told her how sorry I was that she couldn't be with her and she asked me to love her and care for her and I was so happy to do that. I worried how many more tears would fall this evening and in the days to come....thought about how many would fall over this lady I feel so far away from for the rest of their lives. I wished that I could fill that spot and that her journey had been different. I wished that I could take all that hurt and heal her where I know only God can.
I was finally able to calm her and we all had popscicles. By the time the last popscicle wrapper was sitting empty, L was off and playing with Noah and talking. P was smiling again and touching my face and saying I love you, Mommy. I know she was trying to reassure me, don't take it personally...it's not you. I told her that I know she loves me and I love her and I know she loves her other mommy and that is fine, that there is room in her heart for both of us and I am fine with that.
They were able to tell Trevor about their day and didn't seem upset about it. They carried on laughing and playing and it was like a little miracle in our house....they were just right back where they left off and I am so thankful. I was sure there would be tears at bedtime but there werent'. There were big huge hugs and sweet prayers and lots of I love yous.
This is what struck me the most today. Grace, Noah and Ava are really the finest kids I know. They were called to do this too and it was so evident today. I just sat back and watched Jesus working through their little hearts and I've never felt so proud. Ava ran to them at the car right away and she just sat on the porch next to L in his silence as if she knew he just needed that. She put her little hand on his leg and just sat there. For those of you who know Ava at all, she doesn't just sit and she is never quiet:) Noah just walked over while I was gently rocking P\on the porch and he kissed her forehead and said P I'm sorry you are sad, Bubby is glad you are home. Grace just kept giving me this look like she knew that this moment, this time in our lives is so much bigger than we are. They all just kept engaging them and loving on them and hugging on them and accepting them until L and P were just part of the landscape around here again. It was beautiful. It is my greatest joy to see.
I am so thankful that I have my children to remind me that we have nothing to feel sorry about for us or them, that we are blessed more abundantly than we could ever dream.We went and got the ice cream I'd promised and danced in the fountain by the store. Then the storm came and a rainbow followed. My friend called to tell me there was one and we all ran to the porch to see. I saw these five little faces looking up and saw the older ones pointing it out to the younger ones and the jumped and giggled and clapped. I know there will be so many more days that the tears and the pain will seem overwhelming and will bring along the worries that it will never end. But today reminded me that their is also healing and a reason for suffering...even the suffering we can't begin to imagine. Today reminded me that we can do all things when Christ is at the center of our relationships, especially our familiies. Today reminded me that our family will make it through no matter what and that is what will make us great. Not the fact that their won't be drama or struggle or suffering but for the fact that we will be in it together and we will hold each other and kiss each other's head and pat each other's legs and engage each other. We will dance in the storm and at the sight of the rainbow.