I was recently telling someone that parenting LJ requires multiple lenses. I can't just look at him as my son. I have to look at him as my son that has grown up in five foster homes, my son that has pockets full of memories that I cannot access, my son that has never had a father, my son that doesn't understand stability, my son that questions security, and my son that has lived a harder life than most thirty year olds, but is only able to communicate as a three year old.
Sometimes I forget about the extra lenses and LJ's emotions or reactions take me by surprise, reminding me how important it is to, continually, rely on our heavenly Father for LJ's success in our family.
We were on vacation, this past week, and talked about it for many days prior to leaving. Ty and LJ were excited and had fun packing their dinos, trains, and sand toys. On the way "Up North" (where we Michiganders go for breathtaking views and water fun!), LJ started crying, "Mama, I want to go home."
Excited about our trip, I didn't think anything of his outburst and dismissed his [what-I-perceived-to-be] reasonless cries.
It wasn't until about the third I-wanna-go-home meltdown that I connected his crying to a lack of security.
And then it all made sense.
It didn't matter that the four of us were vacationing together with our closest friends or that we shared the same bedroom or that we were staying in a dream lakehouse or that we would return home in a week. From LJ's perspective, we were sleeping in a new bed in a new home with "friends" that in his experience turn into a new family. He doesn't understand vacation or temporary housing. He only sees that he has been taken from the house and bed and toys that he has come to know as "home"- for the sixth time - and he isn't sure that he'll ever go back (in the past he hasn't).
I hate that.
I hate that security cannot be talked into place. It requires strong hugs, warm kisses, kind words, and so much time...
LJ trusts us - enough. But, how are we any different than the last five homes? He never lived in a home more than 6 months and he's only lived with us for 4. His experiences will override any good his heart conveys. Security in our family is going to take time.
My heart breaks for his. When it comes to mothering Ty, I can reason and love away any fears that exist. My arms are safe and forever and secure. With LJ, I spend so much time wondering about his heart and fragile emotions. I know he finds love and safety in my arms (although truth be told, he runs to daddy first), but the latter hold no definition. What does forever mean when your life has been chopped into six month segments? What does security mean when adults have been transient and boundaries crossed?
With me anyway. Always looking for that easy button. Navigating through this path has been more challenging than we were prepared, but we hold on, knowing that we are doing the work of God and applying sweet balm to LJ's heart.
We will move past these insecurities and one day LJ will only remember the unparalleled love of one mommy, one daddy, and one heavenly King.
Pray for us as we move toward that day.