I took both of these pictures, today. Ty and Little Miss have a, closely woven, bond. I'm pretty sure they prefer each others company over ours. They play and laugh and snuggle. It, truly, is a live stream of God's faithfulness to his promise. Ty was unrelenting in his prayers for a baby sister and the joy in his heart at her arrival is evident, every time they're together.
I pick the kids up from preschool everyday (today was our last day!) and have a few hours with them before Ben gets home. As soon as he walks in the door, it's a main event. All other activities cease and ALL the kids pile on. They want to snuggle and tickle and tell him all about their day's adventures. It's magical to watch. Even the baby joins in, calling "Da-da". No one even notices when I slip out to work on dinner!
Pictures like these highlight the warmth and fullness of our family.
And it's genuine. We thank God everyday for the measure he has poured into our life.
What these pictures don't show is the heavy cloak that drapes my heart for Sweet Boy. He continues to be distant with sporadic engagement. He is always on the outside looking in, observing. We are overly inclusive, but we respect his need for space.
Today, Ty and LJ woke-up with gusto. They were jazzed up about the last day of school and couldn't wait to get there. I listened to their banter and smiled as they sang, "School's out for the summer!" As usual, Sweet Boy sat, quietly, smiling occasionally, and ate a few bites of breakfast. After a few minutes he pushed it away and asked if he could be excused. That was not usual. All three boys can eat their body weight in cereal and oatmeal, requiring Ben and I to cut them off at the point of overload. I asked him if everything was alright and he said, "Yeah. I just want to get dressed."
He can be moody and internal, so I didn't think much of it and he was off to finish getting ready. About five minutes into our drive he threw up. This has become a somewhat normal occurance and I pulled over as soon as I heard his gulp.
We headed back home, took a quick bath, changed his clothes, and had a chat before deciding whether or not he should stay home. We've ruled out allergies, as his throwing up seems to be a trend, but not consistent enough to point to anything but anxiety.
He was tight lipped.
"Does your tummy hurt?"
He shook his head no.
"Are you nervous?"
"Do you have thoughts in your head that you can tell me?"
"I was just thinking about the stuff coming out of my mouth, Mom."
The only thing out of the ordinary about our morning was the fact that it was the last day of school. I had to run with that strategy because there was no other obvious trigger. I re-assured Sweet Boy that last days of school are full of fun and explained why the boys were so excited about summer. I told him all the things we love to do in the summer and emphasized how glad we are that he will get to do all of those things with us, since he's part of our family, now, too.
I let him choose whether or not he wanted to go to school, but prayed he'd pick the latter. Today, was, also, my last day of work, as I will be off most of the summer to stay home with the kids. He said he wanted to go. By the time we got back to school, he had disposed of his melancholy and was excited to see his teachers and friends.
I prepped the teachers on our eventful morning and asked them to call me if he became distant or sad.
I never got a call.
It's so hard to know what is eating at him. Was it the talk of change in routine? A previous last day of school experience? Did he misinterpret "last day" for last day in our family? I watch LJ's unwavering security and pray for the same swift redemption of Sweet Boy's. I know it will come, but the wait is excruciating...
I couldn't shake this morning's incident all day and thought through all the ways I fail him as a mother. I'm not looking for reassurance, here. I know that I AM a good mother in a multitude of ways, but things are different, now, with four.
I'm exhausted most of the time and do my best to push us through our day, making sure we have underpants on and full bellies. There's not a lot of room for extras...and Sweet Boy needs a lot of extra, right now.
The one area that has been grossly neglected is my quiet time with God. Instead of daily bread, I'm living off years of stored up faith. It's good, but not enough. Pretty much how I feel toward my ability to mother, right now.
Tonight, after the kids went to bed, I headed for the patio with my Bible. I was desperate for rejuvenation and wisdom. I committed to making his presence a priority and giving him some of my precious sleep minutes before the kids get up. I have to. If I don't, I fear we won't survive the summer!
I need supernatural direction and love for my newest son. Both Ben and I love him with a compassionate, Christian love...but we have yet to feel motherly/fatherly love for this son that does his best to play the part, but withholds the treasures of his heart.
I didn't get the answers I'm so desperate for, tonight, but my spirit was filled with reassurance. I know God is on our side. He brought us to this place. He will not leave us, now.
We are going to explore therapy, but we want to wait until after the results of the termination trial (end of June). What this boy needs, more than anything, right now, is to know that he will never move, again. That I will be his mom forever and Ben will be his dad forever. That his newest siblings will be, here, for all of his firsts - camping, dating, driving - all of it. We. Are. Family. He needs to hear it over and over and over and over, again. We used to tell LJ no less than a dozen times a week. He needed constant reassurance that we were not just another stop on his path.
Sweet Boy needs that, too.
Three homes in one year is too many for a four year old boy.
Thankfully, our trial is nearing the month mark. Given the delicacy of our little man's heart, it still seems like a decade away. I'm, normally, a strict "pray God's best" girl, but I can, barely, handle the torment I feel wrestling in Sweet Boy's heart. I'm praying for finality...that Sweet Boy and Little Miss will know us as home. Forever.