Grief, that strange beast, never really lets you go. I held my 11 year old this week as big tears slipped down his cheeks. "I miss her" he says. Five and a half years later, he cries for the baby that was his. Tears triggered, I am certain, by his big brother leaving for a summer job and a hockey future. It's there. Loss. Still. I wonder if it will always be for him? A burden he never needed, but he is altered forever because of it. And he misses his brother now too.
I lay sleepless in bed. My heart is frozen in terror for a friend who has been told, after four and a half years of raising her babies since infancy, that because they are 1/16 and 1/32 a different race, the system has deemed her an unsuitable adoptive mother for them. 2 weeks notice. Say good-bye and by the way, if you're too upset by this, they will be moved with no chance for last moments. Because someone, somewhere thinks that this is the best plan. You are good enough to raise them, just not good enough to be their mother.
I pound out letters of appeal and support. I google names and addresses trying in vain to find a way to save this mother, and those children, from the pain of the journey I have been. I scream at God about the insanity of a system that seems to make no sense.
Best interest? BEST INTERESTS OF WHO?
It is trying to make sense of the senseless. Find hope in the hopeless.
But behind the fury is the loss. It drives me.
And I miss my son. I am pretty sure kids shouldn't be allowed to grow up quite so fast.
Friday, June 22, 2012
I saw his picture, this little stranger that would become my child. Big brown eyes, a cautious smile. "Observant" said the description, and "wants a mom that will give him popsicles" it continued. "Greg feels deeply and watches closely. He is sensitive and internalizes his emotions." He had endured more in his four short years than any child, any person, ever, should. "My son?", I thought. "I don't know you at all" but I loved him.
I met this scared little boy. Terrified and grief stricken. His world, all he knew had imploded and was gone. And then he was mine. I rocked him that first night for hours. I cried with him at the loss and pain and horror he was experiencing that made him my son and made me his mother.
But become my son he did. And we became a family. Through tears and laughter, hugs, play, learning and endless hours of rocking we simply became. Doing things very right, and doing things very wrong. And I promised that little boy I would never, ever let him go. That I was his mommy forever and ever and nothing would ever change that. I promised him a thousand times when he told me he was scared he would lose us too. When he told me he wasn't sure he wanted to be mine. When he told me he worried that someone might take him away. "Forever, and ever, and ever" I said. "I will be your mommy forever."
And then we were six. Oh how I worried that my serious, sensitive son would feel replaced by a new baby. Instead, Greg claimed his little brother. "He is mine from the very beginning Mommy" said Greg "I've never had anyone from the very beginning".
Oh the good years. The endless memories. The laughter. The trips. The times with home schooling or the times at hockey. I cannot find the words this morning to encompass those endless days that today feel like they passed in a blink of time. But they were good. So good. And I thought they would last forever.
Those years now, feel like they were filled with endless fun. I am sure there were hard times, but from the distance of time and perspective, they are ingrained in my mind and heart as simply good.
I didn't realize it then, but a reality of motherhood is that kids grow up. And my son did too. He found his passion. It consumed his life, and in turn my own.
The teen years were not always easy. I fought for my son harder than I have ever fought for anything in my entire life. The hard times were very, very hard . The good times were hard to see. But still over and over again, that scared little boy needed to hear that through hell and back, I would be his mommy forever. Nothing. No one. No mistake, no choice, no attitude, no bad day would ever change the depth and the quantity and the foreverness of my love for him. Ever.
And we won. Through anger and grief and identity seeking and many tears. We won. Our beautiful son came out the other side of those years with maturity and wisdom and peace and gentleness and a smile.
Today I do the hardest thing I have ever had to do. I say good-bye. My baby, my scared little boy, my rambunctious tween, my obsessed hockey player, my rebellious teen, this beautiful brown eyed child I love with my entire heart -- my son -- is becoming a man. He has a job, and a car, and a wonderful place to go. It is an adventure. It is right. It is good. But it is away. I know he will be back, many months down the road, but these years of my six children under my roof, and within arms reach, are over.
I promised to be his mommy forever but I forget to make him promise to stay my little boy. And so I have this man-son. He is exactly what I would want my man-son to be. He is kind and funny. He loves deeply and laughs even deeper. He is passionate and silly. Responsible and wise, argumentative and silent. He still observes and sometimes you have to dig pretty deep to find what he is feeling. He knows that God has His hand on his life in a way that is sometimes scary and sometimes baffling. And he is mine. But starting today I have to share him just a little bit more than I want to with the world.
His story is not over. In fact, really, it is just beginning. But the chapters of his life that include the time that I got to be His Mommy will be some of the best of my life. And I am so thankful that I got to be the mommy that proved to this young man that sometimes, really, you are loved forever and for always, no matter what. I scoffed, many years ago, at a book that made me laugh at the mother that could not and would not let go, but today there is a big part of me that thinks that standing on the street corner screaming as the silver car holding my son pulls away to head down the highway, "I love YOU FOREVER! I like you for ALWAYS! As long as I am living, MY BABY YOU WILL BE!", is probably a really, really good idea.
Greg, I love you. More than you can fathom. I am proud, so very proud. And today, you leave with a piece of my heart. Forever and always. All our yesterdays, today and all your tomorrows we are here for you. God be with you my son.
Thursday, April 12, 2012
Fifteen. 15. Fifteen.
You say that word to any experienced mother and she will just sigh, nod, whisper "I understand" and hand you a tissue. As of this week, I will not have a single 15 year old in my house. I will have a 17 year old. A 16 year old. A 14 year old and the 3 littler ones. BUT for 6 blessed months I will not have a 15 year old.
Twice I have survived this journey. More importantly, so have both my oldest boys. Barely.
Just think, I only have 4 more kids to go.
Parenting a 15 year old boy is similar to running into a brick wall. Think the Great Wall of China sort of brick wall. You can't go over it, you can't go under it and trying to get through it feels close to impossible.
I advise a good friend you can vent to, a case of red wine and a really, really good therapist.
Because if you survive it, the payoff is apparently 17. 17, when the glimpses of the adult your child is becoming become more frequent. 17, when they offer you a chair in a crowded waiting room. 17, when they thank you for cooking them dinner and they know, almost, how to have a polite conversation about something other than themselves.
I had heard stories about being the mother of teenagers. I really thought that my 'spectacular' parenting and strong desire for harmony would mean we could sail through these years in a sea of calm mutual respect and personal growth, working together towards our combined goals of my peace of mind, and their maturity and independence.
All the mothers of preschools just hopefully smile and nod. All the mothers of teenagers laugh.
Parenting teenagers. Never dull. Never easy. Always rewarding.
And now I have two that drive. Where is the Ativan when you need it?
PS Sorry for disappearing for the last, well year or so. Hockey season absorbs everything. Teens and Toddlers absorb the rest.