The air was wearing thin, the last of the sunny fall days. I could feel it in my bones, the way the air shifts when it’s turning, yet it hasn’t. The wind was tossing the leaves around and the summer kittens were romping through them, trying to catch the elusive leaf or shadow.
I sent the children outside to play. They love to be out there and my baby girl, my youngest–just 4 precious years old–loves it the most. Her happy eyes dance as she works on her sweatshirt, the one with the hood that is perfect for these blowing, last fall days. Her sweet voice carries me through all the adventures she’s planning and I’m caught up in this one normal childhood moment; this small, irrelevant instant in time when a child is acting like a child should. There is no pretense, no manipulation, no heart-wondering if she’s trying to get something from me. Just pure, innocent, sweet joy at the opportunity to play outside.
And I revel in this and let it soak in, down deep. These moments are rare and I pull it into my memory and even jot it down so I don’t forget. It’s these precious times my memory engraves, because they get swallowed up when the broken and hurt becomes my world. It’s these delicious seconds that are the rungs of the ladder I use to climb out of the pit.
So I remember.
My son, the one who hurts so much it spills out of his every pore, is excited, too. His eyes don’t dance and I just wish they would.
They say the eyes are the window to the soul and his dark eyes give me a glimpse of his darkness. Anger at how a mother could not mother starts to rise up in the dark places of my own soul and I swallow it down with a swig of coffee and smile. It’s fake, but that’s all I’m capable of these days.
This boy, his hurt is so big it’s turned our world upside down and now kissing kids have become the normal. Not acceptable. Just normal. Again, I chide myself for putting my innocent baby girl in harms way. Does it help to tell myself that I just didn’t know? Does that excuse make it all OK? I feel my sanity slipping away, little by little, like a leaking faucet. My right and normal thoughts draining down the sink and I question it all.
Who does this? This adoption thing? This weird, parenting broken children thing?
They run outside, their energy blasting through the door and they are free. I can’t leave them alone, so I watch through the window, my coffee warming my hands through. All the coffee in the world couldn’t warm my soul. I wish it would.
Her hood won’t stay on, a victim of the wind and her exuberant playing. She is determined and stops over and over to put it on, only to have the wind blow it off within seconds. I open the door to call out to her, wanting her to come in so I can fix it and I stop. My son is walking toward her and for a minute a small panic rises up.
Is he going to kiss her again? Is he going to push her, hurt her, yell at her? He has no reason to, but there is no reason with RAD, so I watch like a hawk, poised to come screeching down on him if he tries to pour out his pain on her.
He gently lifts up her hood, fastens the buttons in front so it will stay and sends her on her way.
My heart melts, pouring out of me, and I shut the door, stunned. Within my 20 years of being a momma, I’ve witnessed kind acts among my children all the time. But these hurting ones? These babies from hard places? They can only hurt, because they are made up of hurt. Empathy? It’s not a heart-skill they have learned. So this small act of kindness, this tiny thing that wouldn’t have been a blip before, is like fireworks and sweet dark chocolate all rolled up into one momentous event!
The seed of this act has been sown in the dry, cracked soil of my momma-heart and I recognize that seed all too well. I’ve seen it before, when my marriage was failing, when my unsaved mom was dying, when the depression was so thick I couldn’t see straight.
Once that seed is planted, it grows into a life you didn’t know was possible.
I know. I’ve walked similar paths before.
It’s name is hope.
Rejoice in hope, be patient in tribulation, be constant in prayer.
photo credit: <a href=”http://www.flickr.com/photos/tico_bassie/120810354/”>–Tico–</a> via <a href=”http://photopin.com”>photopin</a> <a href=”http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc-nd/2.0/”>cc</a>