A Painted House

Archive for August 2011

Dear Edison,

You’re nine months old!  You’ve doubled your lifespan, having now spent as much time outside my body as you did inside.  I trust you find this world to be much more exciting than your previous environment, if only because out here we have food.  And you LOVE food.  In fact you learned to scoot in order to reach your brother’s peanut butter and jelly sandwich which I thought was out of reach.  Rather than give up the opportunity to taste something you saw someone else eating you instantly learned to propel your own body forward for the first time.  That’s like me seeing one of our neighbors enjoying a new Taco Bell entre and instead of taking note and moving on, attempting and succeeding to fly across the yard in order to swipe it from his grasp.  Impressive, little one.  (As a side note, you also finally, finally rolled over this month.  If I’d only known that all it would take to motivate you was an ill-advised snack, we could have crossed that milestone off of the list ages ago.)

And whoo boy were you mad when I jumped in and fished every last bit of peanut buttery, allergy-prone goodness out of your mouth.  You’ve reached that magical age where you realize you can protest if something doesn’t please you, in hopes that the sheer decibel of your voice will produce better results.  I’m here to tell you that in this house volume isn’t going to earn you permission to try something dangerous, no matter how ardently you want to.  Unless of course you’re screaming “My Mommy is so pretty!” on repeat; then you may jump off the top bunk all you want.  We’ll just hope that “pretty” and your Dad’s personal work connection is enough to keep those nice ER doctors from calling social services, mkay?

I’m guessing you were extra cranky about it because you were just sure you could handle that sandwich, what with the two new teeth that have sprouted from your bottom gums.  I can’t say I blame you.  If I had a new toy that cost me several weeks of pain before it finally, achingly slowly arrived I’d be anxious to try it out too.  We were thrilled to notice that those teeth had finally come in because you’d been working on them for so long that your Dad and I were beginning to fear your mood swings had less to do with discomfort and more to do with a split personality.  Thankfully once your teeth popped through your personality bounced right back to its sunny self so we can go back to assuming any genetically induced crazy will be limited to compulsively tucking your t-shirts into your jean shorts and the urge to spray paint any static object white.

In some ways I feel I should have just let you have the sandwich, allergies and choking hazard be darned.  You, like your brother before you, are steadily slipping your way down the national growth chart.  At your nine month checkup your stats place you a good quarter of an inch below the curve.  In fact you’re farther below the chart than James ever was because you’re a full inch taller than he was at this age, further stretching what little fat you have over your slim frame.  I had to laugh because the first time I had a skinny  baby I blamed it on his distaste for food in general and hair trigger gag reflex.  However you haven’t met a meal you didn’t want.  So it seems your wiry little body is just how your Dad and I make babies.  And to be honest, I prefer your little body over the cutest chubby baby out there.  You fit just right on my hip, you curl into my side like you were made to be there, and your quarter-sized eyes radiating out of your petite little face could melt stone.  It’s a compulsion I rarely resist, to nibble on that sweet spot just below your left ear.  I could just eat you up, Edison, like a peanut butter sandwich.

Love, Mama

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I’ve been really hit-or-miss on the blogging lately because it’s summer and we’re busy and honestly, I’ve gotten so far behind on cataloging my projects that it seems overwhelming to pick a place to start.  I have a list of topics saved off to the side about which I want to blog and no joke, it’s seventeen items long.  And that doesn’t even include the MAJOR project just completed in our kitchen.

So a couple of weeks ago I felt the blogging itch again and decided I’d just sit down and start with the first topic on the list and work my way down as I have time.  And then I saw the first topic titled “My kids’ other Mom”.  Oh crap.  It’s a post I’ve been mulling over since March when I first added it to my list.  And everytime I sit down to write out the thoughts swirling in my head it seems too big, too important, too hard to put down in words.   Gah.

It’s no secret to our family and close friends (our second family, if you will) that Travis and I hope to adopt someday.  We’re not sure of the number of children or from which country (I’ve always seen an African boy and he’s fixated on an Asian girl; who knows, maybe we’ll end up with both) but we know that God has called us to bring at least one non-biological child into our family.  And until recently “someday” has always seemed far off…..after he graduates from medical school, after he finishes residency, after we have our biological babies, after we own a home big enough to accommodate a larger family.  But did you notice something?  All of those “afters” have come and gone.  Well, almost all…..there’s still the matter up for discussion regarding more biological children. 

Even should we have one more birthed baby, we’re within five years of beginning our efforts to be matched with our adopted child(ren).   And up until recently I’ve always thought of them as just that – OUR children whom we simply haven’t met yet.  Who probably don’t even exist yet.  But you know who does exist?  Their first Moms.  Those beautiful women who likely aren’t even pregnant with the babies I will raise as my own.  Who are even now entering the stage of life that will lead to their being unable to care for the kids who will someday become my babies.  And before each baby becomes ours, he or she will first and in some ways always, be hers.

I don’ t know these women but they are so heavy on my heart that I can almost physically feel it.  I don’t know what is going to happen in their lives that will cause their babies to grow up in my home, but it’s happening soon.  Will they become pregnant unexpectedly?  Enter a marriage that will fail?  Contract an illness?  Lose their spouse?  Lose their own lives?  They may have no idea that extremely difficult things are coming into their lives in these next few years, but here on the other side of the earth, I do.  Because God has called me to raise their children as my own; which means they cannot.

I don’t know these women.  I don’t know if they’re teenagers or mothers already multiple times over, well or already suffering with an illness, loved or alone.  But I pray for them.  Oh, how I pray for them.  Because someday, someday soon, they are going to have to face giving up the most precious gift, their child, into the care of someone else.  Someone they’ll never meet.  Me.  I’ll never be able to assure them that their child will grow up so very loved.  That they will have older brothers to watch out for them.  And Grandparents who will cover them in prayer and affection.  That they will be nurtured in a home with two devoted parents who desperately love God.

I don’t know these women.  But I know the God who knows these women. Who created them and ordained all of their days.  Their children may someday be committed to my care, but these precious girls are already in God’s care.  So I pray for them.  I pray that God will give them strength when they need it.  I pray that their pregnancies will be joyous times.  I pray that they will have the courage to face what is coming, even if it is the end of their own lives.  I pray that they know God loves them.  I even pray that God will spare them the pain and allow those babies to stay with their parents, even if that means I never get to hold them.  But should He choose not to, I pray that they will know deep in their hearts, even though I can’t tell them, that their children will be loved.  And that they will always, always be their Moms.


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