05/23/15

Now a word from my daughter

We started foster care for my daughter Jessica when she was three years old. She had seen some horrible abuse from her birth family, and came to us with many of the issues common to people who’ve been treated that way from an early age. We fell in love with her, and decided that we would be her forever home. We fought to adopt her for years, with the adoption finally being finalized when she was eight. It has the ring of a sappy holiday special, but there were huge ups and downs in parenting her. Most days didn’t look anything like a TV special.

Later in life she fought her demons of addiction, almost an echo of my own battles. It is a relief beyond words that she has found a way to maintain a clean and sober lifestyle. She has found friends and a community that support her, and she has blossomed in a most beautiful way.

I was there when her beautiful son Joseph was born, and it was clear that this was a turning point in her life. She has written about her experience, and I thought that I would share it here on my blog.

 

As I sit here, washing dishes that fell behind while Joseph was sick, I see toys scattered around, books we have read over and over- precious belongings that have caught my toes many a time. I reflect on what my life has become.

My house is a cluttered disaster of toys, unpacked things, and remnants of a beautiful life that I get to be a part of today. A year ago… I never knew my life would be so blessed. I was going through pregnancy, knowing I would be a single mother. Anxiously awaiting the beautiful baby I knew would change my life forever.

Change can be scary for a person like myself. This change, however, was a long awaited dream. It has been my life’s desire to be a mother. My mother gave me the best chance in the world, when, from birth, my chance was less than most.

I look upon the scattered toys, as I move from the dishes to the beautiful, playful, learning mess that becomes once my beautiful baby boy comes home and gets his time with Mommy (Me!! How blessed I am to be his Mommy!), and all I can do is smile. Every book, every toy, is a memory of the life I get to build with him. As I put things away, to be ready for the new mess that will ensue tomorrow, I see his smiling face in my head. His little cheesin’ grin- his happiness. He is the most beautiful, blessed, amazing miracle of life that I have ever been given a chance to be a part of.

Once upon a time, I was granted forgiveness by someone I never thought would do that. It is a forgiveness I never thought possible. It was that forgiveness that gave me the strength to forgive myself. I still miss that person’s smile, laugh, and how much my son adored them.

Now, at this very moment in time, I sit beside my son, Joseph, and I can’t help but think, I wouldn’t have it any other way. I remember my life as a childless person, and then my life’s true purpose called upon me. Once again… I wouldn’t have it any other way. Being a Mommy- THAT is my true life’s purpose. “To give back what was so freely given to me” is what many I know say.

My parents gave me a chance at life, a chance at happiness, a chance at fulfillment. That is what I hope to give to my son. I love him more than the infinity of stars in the universe. I just whispered him his “Goodnight, Sleep Tights” for the third time tonight, and I know that he will sleep tight. Why? Because I know, in my heart of hearts, that he knows he is loved. I know he is well taken care of. I know that he is happy. I know that I am his Mommy, and nobody can take that from him. Joseph Charles… I love you with all my heart and soul. All ways and always. Gosh… I am so blessed to be a part of his life… I am blessed to finally be a Mommy. I am grateful that my HP saw fit for me to be given the opportunity to be a part of the miracle of life- the miracle of true love!

And now…. I better get to bed! Being a single Mom is no joke, and I gotta be up and at ’em tomorrow to continue to provide for my lil’ miracle baby!

05/18/15

In the Middle of the Night

It was around 2:45 in the morning, and I was holding my sleeping 14 month old foster son in my arms. The house was still, and of the nine people within its wall, I was the only one awake. The fever in the sweet boy I held had broken, and he was resting peacefully.

I looked out the windows and marveled at the amount of light still present, nearly enough to read by, and the trees outside were fully visible. Song birds continued to sing the night through. A mere few months ago it would have been profoundly dark outside by five or six pm, and if a bird was to be heard, it would certainly be an owl.

If there is sweeter experience than holding a sleeping child, I don’t know what it is. My first child just turned 29, but I can still almost feel him in my arms. Over the years, and through the many seasons, there have been other children, other nights. It felt as if all those times weren’t long ago, far away, but more as if they were closer than the thickness of a gossamer curtain.

It is commonly believed that being a parent involves sacrifice, but I see it as an exchange. I give up some of my “self”, and I get to participate in the start of a new and profound being. I become tied to the cycles of life in an intimate way, and the exchange is more than fair. The loss of self and the discipline of parenting are not to be taken lightly, but there I sat, a beautiful boy in my arms, and I am the world to him. I am complete.

 

05/5/15

Not Knowing

It’s been awhile since I’ve heard this, but I’ve been accused in the past of being a “know-it-all”. While it seems that my love of learning has filled my mind with fact after fact, my spiritual and philosophical growth has lead me to realize how little that I actually do know.

 

Based on this understanding, most of my conclusions are simply page markers. Mentally, my inner dialog goes something like “Based on what I currently know, this is my current, temporary understanding.” Hardly anything is fixed with surety, and to be honest, this ever shifting view of the world sometimes becomes wearying.

 

Not often, but on occasion, I look at someone who goes through life secure in their conclusions and understandings and wish that I too could see the world the same way, never having to actively seek to maintain my balance.

 

The appeal is short-lived, because this thought almost always is followed by the recognition that I am a product of my decisions, and I have actively sought out the path that I’m on. On a bad day, these thoughts will form a running loop and bother me for some small time. Fortunately, days like these are rare.

 

My sense is that many who have mapped the world to their content, and have firm and fixed opinions and understandings of matters large and small. My concern is that if I become too comfortable in my assumptions I will become mentally brittle, resisting new interpretations and new information that challenges my assumptions. It isn’t possible to avoid some level of fixation and the formation of bias, but I hope to at least recognize it when it occurs.

 

From my perspective, facts and trivia are small pieces of a larger whole. They help build a picture of the world, but they don’t constitute a universal understanding of what they represent. The more I learn, the more humble I become, for every summit reveals new realms of things to learn. Rather than feeling lost by this understanding, I’m exhilarated. My love of learning appears to have the stamina to last as long as I do. Quite simply, what I am coming to understand is myself.