I really want to go to bed but I wanted to get this out so it probably won’t be long (unlike SOME PEOPLE’S POSTS ALL THE TIME) (aka MINE).
Our biggun has been with us for a little less than 3 weeks now. It has been… a trying time. I am reminded of the line from As Good As It Gets, if you’ll remember, where a fan comes to the door and asks Jack Nicholson(‘s character) how he writes women so well. His reply: “I think of a man, and take away all reason and accountability.”
Well, think of any almost-two-year-old you know, or preferably one you have raised. Now take away all familiarity, earned trust, knowing their triggers, knowing their chill-out tricks, long-built affection (going both ways), etc. So there’s that.
He is a dear, really. I mean, you know. As much as a 23-month-old can be. He really is probably top of the stack (I have limited experience). He has more sweet moments than I probably had any realistic right to expect, and he is sweet to the baby (after a little warming-up period), he responds reasonably well to redirection and is good in new situations. But it’s still tough. Especially trying to open up our hearts wide to this little stranger at the same time as we try to prepare them for saying goodbye to our little very-much-not-a-stranger-at-all-any-more-actually-pretty-much-MY-sweet-baby.
I said before it was like having one hand in ice water and the other in boiling water. Maybe it’s more like, you know, being under a shower of like a really strong base and one of a really strong acid; in some ways they cancel each other out where they overlap, but most ways they probably might explode. [/End heavy-handed simile.]
Well, I learned a few things over the past couple of weeks, that I would like to share with you:
– I do not see how I can possibly continue to be chipper, upbeat, patient, gracious, patient, loving, patient, etc. with this big little one after our little little one leaves and takes most of my heart with him. I already am .008 millimeters from crying at any moment, night or day.
– I cannot parent a toddler, especially one I don’t know. It is too hard. He needs from me all day long and I don’t have it.
– This sucks and is hard.
– This is not fair. I see people with their toddlers who know what their toddler will eat and who have the same nose and who have been the safe place for that toddler since the toddler was two little cells stuck together, and this will never be that and can never be that. Not fair.
– My life won’t be even remotely the same as it used to be if we keep this guy until he is in school, or really until he can drive, or really until college. Sixteen more years. [Deep breath.] Okeedokee.
– What I’m doing isn’t even half as hard as what some of my friends have done, not even close, and I am buckling, because I thought I was a strong and compassionate person and apparently I’m not. I was in it while the baby was perfect and adorable and slept well etc., and now that it’s hard I’m cracking, losing patience sometimes with a TODDLER for crying out loud who was just torn from his home and his family, and I fail.
– I asked God for grace and peace, yesterday and this morning and the day before yesterday and the day before that, and I don’t have it. I am out and I am done.
– This situation sucks and there really isn’t a way it will end well (long story). This whole fostering system is trying to make gold out of trash and the best you can do is make it a little less stinky but it’s still broken, broken, broken.
Well, today I went to this women’s event thing at church, and heard from several different ladies just talking about their lives… and something stood out to me very clearly.
They said a lot of things that God has said, whether he said these things to them in their own lives, or from the Bible. And the thing that jumped out at me is: God does not sound like that. God does not say things like those eight things and all the other bazillion ones that were parading themselves through my head. I’m not sure where those things were coming from, but they were not from God, that is for 100% sure.
Then I thought about the dozens and dozens of times I had asked for patience, peace, and grace with this situation: in bed at night; in the morning before the kids got up when I had a 20-lb brick of dread in my stomach at trying to figure out how to navigate the day without bawling over the baby leaving and without setting off a mine field of tantrum triggers that I don’t know about; in the moment when I had no idea how to respond to a situation – and I was so frustrated that I had not felt like I received any of those things, at all.
And I kind of heard, in my head, How am I supposed to give those to you when you are meditating on and obsessing over lies that go against me completely?
[Kicked my heel.] Um. You kind of have a point.
Today I took one little dude on a walk (he was in a particularly squawky mood and the other was trying to sleep), and while on the walk some truths started coming into my head, and I decided to get a new “page” in my “note pad” (app) and “write” them down and just read them over and over and over when I need to. This is what I wrote:
– I have not been given a spirit of fear but of power, love, and a sound mind
– Rejoice in the Lord always, again I say: Rejoice
– Consider it pure joy when you face trials of many kinds, for the testing of your faith produces perseverance / when it has finished its work you will be complete, lacking in nothing
– This too shall pass
– In this world you will have trouble, but take heart: I have overcome the world
– Naked I came from my mother’s womb, and naked I will return – The Lord gives and the Lord takes away, blessed be the name of the Lord
– We demolish arguments and every pretension that sets itself up against the knowledge of God, and we take captive every thought to make it obedient to Christ
– The joy of the Lord is my strength
– Peace that passes all understanding will guard your hearts and minds in Christ Jesus
We were called to something that is literally impossible. Giving a person a forever kind of love, whether you FEEL it or not, usually either not knowing if they’re forever at all, or actively knowing they’re NOT forever in your family… It’s impossible. It actually is. People used to say that they couldn’t do that and I’d say (at least to myself) “You COULD, foster parents aren’t superheroes,” but now I agree with them. You can’t. I can’t.
I am pretty excited, in a way. I made good grades, I made reasonably good decisions, I interviewed well and tested well and have always for the most part had gainful employment. I have not done many things in my life that absolutely could not be done without God. And I have never felt like I had a faith that was really built on a rock, if you will.
Well, I can’t do this without God. So maybe this is where I will finally really really meet him: when I have no choice. He’s paring down my 32,000-man army to 300, so maybe I can finally be SURE it’s not me that’s accomplishing anything.
It’s a good thing, doing this impossible thing, that we’re doing it with God who pretty much does impossible things all day every day.
Maybe that sounds trite to you, I don’t know. I don’t often talk like this, but that was my day, and it feels like a big turnaround. I can’t promise I won’t still be a puddly mess at any given point in the day when I consider what’s coming with our sweet baby. Mourning is one thing, despair is another. I’d like to choose to be done with the despair, thank you very much.