Sunday, June 26, 2016

Hey Kid: Eight

June 20 (Part Two)

Hey Kid,

On Saturday, when you were one day old but I didn't know it, I loaded up the van with everything I couldn't return. Every baby supply we'd been given. A swing. A bouncer. A baby bathtub. Toys. A swaddler. Dad spent the day turning the playroom turned Kate's room turned library turned your room into a game room. He installed a shelf in the closet and hooked up the boys video game system. I organized their games and pieces and moved the board games from the office into the new room. Your brothers loved it and, if we weren't going to be able to bring a baby home, we were happy to come up with something fun for the room. As Dad put the finishing touches on the room, I stared at the pictures I'd bought to hang on your wall, pictures of birds with the words Hope, Believe, Imagine, and Dream. "How did we end up here?" I wondered. I'd done all those things. I'd hoped, believed, imagined and dreamed and all I had left was a broken heart.

It wasn't that I didn't trust the Father, or that I was angry with what He'd decreed. I had actually reached a peace with the whole thing. I just knew I would always wonder where you were and how you were and what you were doing. I'd see you in every boy I passed on the street from now until forever. I struggled to process that piece of the baffling puzzle.

The next morning, on June 5, I transferred all the baby stuff that I'd loaded into the van into someone else's car--a woman at our church who is due in September. Save for a disassembled crib in our utility closet and a car seat and stroller that your Dad procrastinated on returning, we had no baby stuff left. We were done. This chapter of our lives had closed.

That afternoon, the boys were playing video games in their new game room. Dad and I were sitting on our bed together, talking about what the future would look like now. We were planning on going out for ice cream with our friends that night. At 3:56 pm, I received a text from our coordinator. You had been born on Friday. Your mom wanted us to come get you after all. I think I instantly started sobbing. I didn't know if it was real, if she was serious, if she would change her mind back, if I was dreaming.

I think I experienced every emotion known to man in a five minute span of time. I'd been ready for you for months. And then, suddenly, you were there and I wasn't ready for you. I had nothing here for you. I had only my own fear that it was all a dream I would wake up from.

The next 24 hours were insane, miraculous, terrifying, wonderful, emotional, heart wrenching, exhausting, and altogether quite impossible to describe. Your mom hadn't signed yet, so we decided that I would go alone. Dad would stay here with your brothers and we would hope for the best. We told them that I was going to "talk to a birth mom" and that "we'd see what happens" and we crossed our fingers and said a lot of prayers and I threw clothes into a suitcase. I tried not to get my hopes up. I knew the next day would pretty much be a coin toss. Would I end the day with three children or not? I tried not to fall in love with the idea of you all over again.

At 9:12 that night, I got this picture of you...


I suddenly couldn't believe I had to wait another minute to meet you and hold you. I loved you so much I wanted to get to California as fast as humanly possible. It was as though I had known you since always.

My flight left at 8:00 am on Monday morning. It was Dad's birthday. 

Grandma picked me up in San Diego and we drove to Riverside. With every turn of the wheels, I was closer to you. But so much was unknown. I wanted to hope but I was terrified. Denial seemed the easier choice. Or, in any case, the default setting. So much of me felt numb, a defense mechanism to use as a salve for the heart that had grieved long.

Your mom had been discharged the night before and the hospital you were born in didn't have a nursery, so you camped out in the NICU. As I entered the hospital, your mom was nearby, signing the paperwork to give you into my care. I scrubbed my hands and went in. You were so tiny--only 5 lbs 5 oz and 18.5 inches long--that when I picked you up it felt like the rest of you must have been in a different part of the NICU. It was as though I needed to find your pieces and assemble you. I held you and fed you and forgot to be numb and somewhere in the middle of that, I noticed our coordinator on the phone about 25 feet away.



My heart plummeted into my knees. What if she'd changed her mind again. What if I had held you and loved you and I was going to set you gently in your bassinet and walk away? Will, all you ever need to know is that if I had had to do that, a piece of my heart would have forever been with you and mine would never have beat the same way again. The coordinator hung up the phone and came toward me...

She was smiling.

Your mom signed.

Your dad signed.

They chose us for you.

We spent the next few hours saying painful goodbyes. Your mom and dad said goodbye. Your grandparents said goodbye, I promised them that, like your big brother, we would have open communication. We would celebrate your first family and they would never have to wonder where you were or what you were doing. Your life would not be a secret from them.

And then the hospital released you.

Into my home.

Into my heart.

For as long as I shall live.

It was, to be sure, the best birthday present your daddy has ever received. As we drove away, I sighed. There, in my mom's car, was the tiniest of bundles, a miracle so many eons in the making. And I would like to believe that your big sister was sitting on the knee of her Father as they watched the scene unfold. I would like to think that she smiled at Him, knowing, beyond the shadow of any doubt, that without first having her in my life, there never would have been you.

I don't know what the future holds. But I know that this family loves you huge. And I promise you, I will do my very best.

And they put you in my arms
And I realize in an instant
That I've known you all along
That I've wanted you forever
That I'll never do you wrong
And whatever this world comes to
And whatever comes our way
I will watch you, and protect you
I promise, kid, we'll be okay
We'll be okay
-If/Then Musical

I love you.

-Mama



11 comments:

  1. Oh I have goosebumps! What a story!

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  2. Idina speaks your language....caught another quote up in the paragraphs ;-). So glad you got to bring him home

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    1. I need to sneak more lyrics in and make you find them! I always need a little Idina in my day. Although, to give credit where credit is due, that one technically belongs to Kristin Chenoweth.:-)

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    2. Yes it does.....but when I think of Wicked, I think Idina first.

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  3. God is so good :) I hope you, Troy and the boys are basking in all the joy that comes with having a new baby in your home! He's just beautiful!

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    1. He is so good! Thank you so much.

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  4. Oh my word, I'm sobbing. Thanks for that. ;-) Praying for y'all.

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  5. Wow, just wow. I echo everyone's comments! Thanks for sharing the fragrance of a good God. What a beautiful baby boy! Enjoy those newborn squeaks and head under chin snuggles :)

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  6. Congrats, Lori! And daddy, Garrett and Matthew. He is gorgeous. Hurry up and reveal his name. 😊

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  7. Never mind, now I see him on your sidebar. Lovely. And his name fits him well. It's His will that you have this new boy in your lives. 😊

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