So that's happening today.
We've taught our children not to lie. Oh sure, they still do from time to time but they know that the punishment for lying is SEVERE and CATASTROPHIC even. Maybe. They know that the consequence for lying is much, much worse than the consequence for whatever they did in the very first place. This is a great trait to instill in children. No one likes a liar.
Except. Well, I'm always a little worried when the social worker comes over. What if my kids just get hit with a sudden case of verbal diarrhea and one of them opens the door and just starts shouting a laundry list of our parental failings? What if they tell her that the house was a mess until that very morning when we decided we should probably dig ourselves out of a heap of toys and mail and smudge marks because we want her to say that we're fit to have a baby and not that, instead, she's calling some government office to have our home condemned? What if they tell her that we JUST discovered that the window in the baby's room is cracked and no one knows how it happened and we didn't have the time or the money to fix it right this second but it will be taken care of soon and so, for the time being, the blinds are drawn so don't try to open them, mkay? What if they tell her that, just this morning, the first seven things out of Matthew's mouth were negative and so I matched his sour disposition by YELLING at him to, "FIX YOUR ATTITUDE NOW!" What if they share the fact that, once, I thought Garrett was just going to get better and then I finally took him to the doctor after several days and it turned out that he had a raging case of strep throat (except he hadn't once complained about his throat hurting!) and I won the award for worst mom ever that day?
The truth is, see, that I have no idea what I'm doing. I forget to check pockets and I wash chap stick and ruin three shirts and two pairs of pants. I take kids to the doctor for a windburned face that looks like the rashy plague of death but don't take them for raging cases of strep and doesn't everyone know that if left untreated STREP CAN KILL? I clean my house but often not until I know someone is coming over. Occasionally, on Saturdays, I don't get out of bed until after 9:00. Sometimes, I serve canned peaches on the side of frozen pizza for dinner. (Well, for clarification's sake, I do cook the pizza first.)
I don't want my children to lie to the social worker* it's just that, if they decide to go spewing nasty truths about my many failures, I hope they include the decent parts of their lives as well. I hope they tell her about the nighttime snuggles EVERY NIGHT and how my eight and a half year old still asks for them. I want them to tell her about our dance parties and the fact that last night's meal involved turkey and mashed potatoes baked into a pie with a side of broccoli. Maybe they can tell her about all the books we've read and how Matthew knows, when I pucker my lips, that he's supposed to back his scrumptious chubby cheek into them for a quick kiss and that this happens multiple times a day. They can regale her with stories of reading the Bible and learning how to read and walking in Israel where Jesus walked and swimming in the crystal blue waters of Maui. Or stories of countless bloody noses stopped or bowls held to catch the volumes and volumes of vomit. But more than anything, I wish they'd tell her that sometimes, if they turn fast enough, they catch me staring at them and that, for a moment, I'm not even breathing.
Because they take my breath away.
You may not see that, friends and social worker and maybe even family. You may see the moments of correction and instruction and teaching them how to be men of integrity, honesty and kindness. You don't see the quietness (AND ROWDINESS!) of the door that closes behind you. The four of us on the couch laughing over a silly TV show, or all of us in the baby's bedroom trying to pick the exact shades of gray and pink that will make all of us happy (not gonna happen), or our quick games of football before the boys climb into bed. You might not know that I really do love them so very much that sometimes it hurts. Because I know how quickly it is passing by.
And because it's the only thing I've always wanted to do. I fail every single day. But I'd also like to think that I have some successes every day. I love being a mom and, more than anything, I hope they feel that. I hope they know it.
Several weeks ago, I was suddenly overwhelmed by a thought. I was watching my boys playing together and my heart was so happy. I thought, Oh my gosh. What are we doing? Why are we adopting this baby? What if I just can't love an adopted child the way I love these boys? That would be so unfair to the baby.
It took me a solid five seconds--at least--to remember that one of those boys is adopted. And in that moment, I realized that this is all pretty great. It's exhausting and frustrating and I'm a hot mess of a mother who screws the whole thing up every day, but these kids God has trusted me with mean the whole world to me. That He'd trust me with another one (that her mother would trust me with her) is just...breathtaking.
My children can tell the truth. And I will hope that they've absorbed even a small amount of how I really feel.
*The truth is, I'm not actually worried about our home study. But I just reread this post and, maybe, I should be?