(Pardon Our French.)
We’ve reached the point in this foster adventure where — you guessed it — sh*t is getting real.
In the past few weeks we’ve had All The Feelings. All of them. Joy, sadness, fear, anger — basically your whole Inside Out crew. And they like to fight over the control panel. More than usual.
If I don’t step back and look at it every once in a while, I get bogged down in the frustrating minutia of parenting and working and fostering and annoying phone calls and meltdowns and nothing being simple. But when I do look at the big picture, I really can see God working in this messy story of ours. For that, and many other things, I’m thankful.
I will admit, though, that it can be exhausting. There are a lot of moving parts to our ridiculous life right now. A lot of people are involved at any given moment, which means I have to be a lot of different things to a lot of different people. A playdate/visit planner, an appointment transporter, a mommy, a mommy-but-also-someone-who-respects-your-bio-mommy person, a house-cleaner (but don't quote me on that because people would probably laugh), an advocate, a squeaky wheel, a high-maintenance question-asker, a dinner-maker, a writer, a dont-touch-that sayer, an animal feeder, an animal-yeller-ater, a comforter, a contact for the girls’ lawyer, a mentor of sorts, an encourager…while still trying to have a healthy grasp on what I feel and letting myself feel it and all that.
Thankfully I kind of hit a breaking point and thankfully I have a husband who encourages me to let stuff go and just take a minute to go get a gel manicure (have you ever had one of those? I’m forever changed).
All that to say, sh*t is getting real. Soon Dubs will be transitioning over to live with her dad, which we fully support, but it will be a difficult reality, for sure. We have been ridiculously blessed by God that her dad is who he is. He is kind, humble, eager to learn, trustworthy, and he adores that little girl. We couldn’t ask for a better situation for us, either, because he is not only letting us be involved, but wants us to be. It’s Three’s Company up in here, y’all.
One of my favorite things that’s happened so far is Dubs’ dad commenting to Craig that due to their difference in college allegiances, Dubs will need a license plate when she’s 16 that says “My Two Dads are divided.” I mean, you guys. My Two Dads. That’s how he sees this. Like I said, we are ridiculously blessed by this.
None of us knows what we’re doing. He doesn’t; we don’t. But we are thankful to have someone in it with us who understands that and is willing to just come alongside us and stumble through it together.
As a side note, we are thankful also for a church community who loves our girls and loves Dubs’ dad and wants to support all five of us in any way they can.
So here we are, just moving forward the best we can. We adore each of these girls with all we have. There has been a couple of moments lately where I’ve felt like I’m a true parent, and I wanted to share them, because I feel like they are irrational feelings only parents will understand.
A couple months ago P was carrying around this off-brand Croc we have (I don’t know) with a cap to one of her bottles in it. She was carrying it so carefully, and so pridefully from one spot to another, that I had this overwhelming feeling swell up in me that I would curb-stomp anyone or anything that threatened to dislodge that bottle cap from that shoe. Like she was so proud of this thing that she’d carefully constructed to be what she wanted it to be, however trivial, that I would not let anything happen to it or her so long as I was breathing. See? Totally an irrational parent feeling.
Similarly, I walked with Dubs up a hill at our pastor’s house the other day. She was wearing her bathing suit and shorts and flip flops and had come to play on the slip n slide. For whatever reason no other kids were playing on it, but she loved it. We had gone down to their swing set and were walking back up the hill toward the slip n slide. She was the only kid in her bathing suit but wore it proudly and was ready to go back in for more, and I had, again, an overwhelming feeling to never let anything bad happen to her or let anyone make fun of her or so help me they would feel my wrath.
I think this feeling just equates to their utter innocence and joy, untainted by anyone else’s opinions or feelings, un-muddied by self-consciousness or perceived limitations. They were just free. And vulnerable. And I wanted to protect that with everything I am.
Anyway, as always, this post rambles and wanders. But here are some things the girls have done that have given us joy lately:
-P’s laugh. It’s the best tiny person laugh and she blesses us with it daily, especially when Dubs makes her laugh.
-Dubs’ full sentences and addressing names on the end of sentences. “I love you, mommy” was my favorite so far. “I don’t want that!” is my least favorite so far.
-How proud P is when she stacks blocks by herself, one by one.
-Dubs and P holding hands (prompted by Dubs) and playing together
-How Dubs loves her bio dad
-Dubs drawing her bio dad a picture
-P saying “Dada!” when Craig walks up
-P saying “puppy” for the first time
-Dubs recognizing the letter A
If you’d like to pray for us or our girls or their families, we welcome it! We would love prayers for peace and God’s sovereignty and grace for all of us. Safety and protection and unconditional love for the girls, no matter where they are. And courage for us and Dubs’ bio dad as we walk into this new season.