Tuesday, December 3, 2013

Baby's First Christmas

I miss this place. Big time. I am not abandoning my blog and I expect to be back here in the new year. I, simply, over-committed. I took on an extra teaching load, this fall, right before the move, and it nearly sent me over the edge...but our semester is almost done, I only have miscellaneous boxes left to unpack, and we're all ready for Christmas!

Before I dive into the conversation on my heart. Here is an update on the state of our family! The boys are doing great in school and continue to be best buds. We gave them the choice of having separate bedrooms in the new house and they wouldn't hear of it! In the last few months, their ability to imagine and play pretend has magnified and it has been fun to listen to their interpretations of the world.

We updated our foster license when we moved in, so we're all ready to go. In one of Ty's cutest moments ever, he asked if he could put a baby sister on his Amazon Wish List. I told him that it didn't work that way, but that he could continue to petition our heavenly Father. While Ty prays for a baby sister, LJ tries to bargain for five more brothers. Yup, that's right. Five.

We don't pretend to have a "plan", but if God's taking requests on how we continue to grow our family, Ben and I would really like to bring home a set of sisters, next year. Trusting God with our future is easy [now] and laughing at the days to come seeps out with little effort. I'm thankful for that.

Now for my heart.

Last year was our first Christmas with LJ. I don't know if it was the excitement of being a family of four, our Christmas travel schedule, the house hunt, or the boys' limited knowledge on the holiday, but I was never struck with loss like I was, this year.

We took our time decking the halls and trimming the trees. Ty insisted on lighting his bedroom window with a tree three times his height. Admittedly, it didn't take much convincing. I, gently, unpacked Ben's box of special ornaments. His mom's handwriting still scripts the outside. My box was next. Sandwiched between our treasures was a smaller wrapping of sweet ornaments for Ty. There were at least seven renditions of baby's first Christmas, with two years worth of made-for-mommy ornaments. We were taking in each bulb and remembering along the way...until I realized that there wasn't a box for my second born. Sure, he had the same handmade lovelies that Ty had, thanks to their thoughtful preschool teachers, but there were no ornaments.

I made a big deal of LJ's handiwork and lifted him tall to reach the high branches. I gave him the "extra special" task of putting daddy's ornaments on the tree and he didn't notice otherwise...but I did.

Of course, the easy solution includes a box as big as he is, full of ornaments, under the tree, this year, but that doesn't blot away the sadness in my heart.

I KNOW we have many more years of memories to come....but these memories, the ones I'm missing, matter, too. It's easy to forget that he once wasn't ours. He jokes like his daddy, worships like his mama, and pretty much does everything that his big brother does out of complete adoration. But then I open the Christmas box of memories and remember the years we were all robbed of.

Ty was six months old during his first Christmas. We were in Ben's parent's family room when Ty lifted his chubby fingers to his perfect "O" shaped mouth and discovered he could make noise by tapping back and forth, for the first time. By the next year he was walking and learning to climb up his new slide. The year after, we shared our holiday with Shamu and all things sea-like.

It hurts my heart that memories for LJ are lost in the abyss, or worse, the worst are trapped inside him - a haunting reminder of his past. (I have been meeting with a therapist and crying out to God over those; more on that later).

I don't allow myself to wallow in the missings too long...because the beginnings are just as bright and beautiful. Our favorite beginning, right now, is to reminisce our first meeting at the agency. LJ tells the story as well as Ben and I. He tries to add embellishments along the way that sometimes include flying dragons and talking hamburgers, but we keep the tale pure. It's no less miraculous.

I thank God through the sadness. If it weren't for loss, we wouldn't know redemption. If it weren't for pain, we wouldn't know peace. And if it weren't for these boys, I wouldn't know love abounding joy.


  1. "I thank God through the sadness. If it weren't for loss, we wouldn't know redemption. If it weren't for pain, we wouldn't know peace. And if it weren't for these boys, I wouldn't know love abounding joy."

    I needed this, right now in this moment. I have a foster son that has been in my care for 12 months, and he will be returning to a less than desirable situation. I love him so much, and I have no control over the situation and don't have peace about it. How can I send my child to that? To such an uncertain future when I know he is more than happy and healthy right here, in my home? I have been beside myself since hearing he would be returned despite certain things that have happened... But this. Right here. Is exactly what I needed to see and read and thank you for this.
    It helps me see beyond the pain and remember that there is a greater plan and there is purpose in all that happens.
    God bless you.

  2. It is hard not having been there for the firsts. I am thankful for the future though. My heart echoes yours for all the same reasons.

  3. You have such a beautiful mama heart. Glad you checked in. Loved to hear the updates.

  4. Glad to hear you're all doing well.
    Happy Holidays to you and your family!