Around three in the morning, I heard Sweet Boy's voice next to my ear.
"Mom, I'm really scared. Can I lay next to Dad?"
We are strict "no kids in bed before morning" people, but this is the second time I let Sweet Boy climb in. He gets a free pass on a lot of things, right now.
Around four, I drug myself downstairs to pacify the baby.
I was in her room, when I heard Ben yell for help. Sweet Boy was sick.
He threw up all over himself and our bed.
It took us about an hour to strip and wash him and the bed. I've never had to do the kid-throw-up-thing and I had to concentrate hard on not gagging. Before heading to the couch for the last few minutes of sleep, I peaked in on Sweet Boy.
He lay shaking in his bed with huge eyes.
"How are you feeling, sweetheart?"
"I'm just tired."
My heart aches for him. He's not a good sleeper. We think it's because there are no distractions at night time - it's just him and his thoughts. And he can't rest. It takes him a long time to fall asleep and we go in just about every night to soothe him when he yells that he's scared. I felt so sorry for him, laying there. Sick in a strange home with a strange mom, in a bed that's not yours.
I do my best to snuggle and show him love, but he has me locked out. He's not interested in connecting beyond his general needs.
By morning time, he looked much better and was hungry for breakfast. I made him stick with two saltine crackers and a few sips of water. Just to be sure.
I went back and forth on what to do, but ended up sticking to the day's plans.
Doctor appointment for Little Miss and visit with mom at the agency.
Turns out, last week was not the first/last meeting. Given the information that came a few days after our encounter, I would say God was strategic in when he placed compassion in my heart for this woman.
The judge overruled our case worker's request to suspend visits because he did not find substantiating evidence that the visits have been/are harmful to the kids. I was annoyed, but I understood his point and took the information in stride.
Mom made a couple other moves, this week, that furthered my annoyance, but I was determined to keep an open heart toward her.
Back to this morning.
Because we followed the same routine, last week, doctor appointment - agency visit, there was no way Sweet Boy was going to gloss over the details of our day. When I explained to him that we needed to take little sister to the doctor's, he immediately asked if we were going to visit his mom.
"Yes, honey, we'll visit with your first mom, after sister gets her shots."
He cried and begged to stay home. "Please, please, please mom. Can we just stay home?"
It's so difficult to navigate our relationship. I love him so much and feel this tremendous desire to bond and connect, but he's not ready. And then. We have moments like this, where I could connect with him and show him that his emotions matter...and I can't.
We spent part of our long car ride talking about how important first moms are and the time we get with them. I tried to distract him by telling him about the things I had packed him to do. He settled in and didn't say much through the doctor's appointment.
We were a few minutes ahead of schedule, so we sat outside the agency, letting Little Miss take a cat nap. Then I got the call.
Mom was a no-show.
I looked back at Sweet Boy and bit back anger. I had just spent half a car ride defending her worth to her son and that's how she was repaying me?
"Okay, buddy, it looks like we can just go home, like you wanted to. I think we should get you back on the couch, watching cartoons, to make sure your body gets enough rest."
"But, what about my mom?"
"Buddy...she didn't come, today." My voice caught in my throat.
"She didn't come?" Long pause. "My mom didn't come?"
As realization set in, I searched his eyes and wanted to hunt her down. I wanted to drag her by the hair and force her to the agency, myself. How could she be so selfish.
He must have repeated, "My mom didn't come," a dozen times in the first several minutes back on the road. I was furious.
Her son deserves more. MY son deserves more.
We weren't far into the drive when Sweet Boy started throwing-up, EVERYwhere.
If I wasn't feeling sheer panic, I would have started crying with him.
There was nothing to do, but console him and then drive home, soaked in vomit.
"Buddy, I am so sorry. I am going to get us home and I will take care of you...okay?"
"Mom...will you drive as fast as you can? I just want to go home."
I couldn't even enjoy the reference to home, I was so broken over my broken boy.
We spent the rest of the day on the couch.
Every time I looked over, I saw hollow eyes and my insides wept.
I know God will make this good; I know the rejoicing will come. But man...we are in the trenches, right now, and it is far from comfortable.
Please pray for us.