Friday, June 22, 2012

One month

One month ago we met YH for the first time.

Is that possible? Hasn't he always been a part of our lives?

Hasn't our house always had a layer of toys covering every surface?
Hasn't our grocery bill always been this high? (The boy can eat.)
Haven't I always felt his heavy weight in my arms first thing in the morning? Had his warm cheek pressed against my neck as I walk to the kitchen?

Hasn't he always been there to delight us with a nose honk/fist bump/high five?
Hasn't he always rushed the fence when a neighbor walks by, in order to call out "TRALALA" in greeting?

Didn't we always automatically open the sun roof when starting the car, because we know he loves it so?
Didn't we always call the dog "Roooo-tie" because that's the way YH says her name?

In some ways our family routine has quite naturally expanded to include our newest member. We for sure love this little guy--each and every one of us. Even the newly-middle child, who yesterday asked me, "Mom, wouldn't you agree that YH is sometimes annoying?"

In other ways each day is a challenge.

It is a challenge to pay enough attention to the "big" kids (who are really not-so-big-after-all) when my littlest needs constant supervision.
It is a challenge to make time for my husband when our schedules are pulling us in opposite directions.

It is a challenge to feel like myself when there is someone small who needs every piece of me (inside and out) every minute that he is awake.

If I'm being honest, this third child--my 30lb "newborn"--is the first one who has brought me to my knees to this degree.

It's not that *loving* him is hard--that part is sooo easy.
 What's hard is giving up personal space, emotional space, time to think, time to shower, time to wash my clothes, time to exercise, time to read, time to be spontaneous.

I know that before long I will start to feel like myself again.
But for right now I am a little bit lost. I am drowning a bit in this little boy, and his needs.

There are times when it seems like he is adjusting so well to our family, that I almost think "Maybe he is at a good place with his grief. Maybe we got through the first wave."

Then there are times when little things happen--tiny tremors--and I can see that we are just at the base of the swell of his grief.

Like when we were all enjoying a shaved ice at a picnic table, and a white van pulled into the parking lot and started to turn around right in front of us.

YH's eyes grew wide.
He dropped his spoon and scrambled--literally scrambled--across the table into my arms.
He grabbed my shirt with both fists and started to moan, head turned away from the parking lot.

It was a white van.
Just like the white van that took us from ESWS to the hotel on the day we took custody.
A white van that took him from the people he loved.

Or like the day when he fell and scraped his knee and a tiny spot of blood appeared.
And he couldn't bear it. Couldn't stand to look at it, couldn't let anyone touch it.
He just needed to sit in my lap and sob--heavy, wrenching sobs--for over an hour.
(This is a child who regularly crashes into things, climbs tall objects and acquires the bumps and bruises of boyhood with zest; nothing phases him--except a scraped knee)

The grief is there.
The loss is there.

But also: The joy is there. The love is there.

We're family. No doubt about it.


  1. I hope this comes out the 'right' way--I'm just a teeny tiny bit relieved to hear you say this...the stuff about the loss of yourself, personal space....because in so many ways we continue to feel this and I have often said to my husband "these babies would have been better off with parents who HAD BEEN parents before adopting." We have felt so unsure, so world turned upside down that even one year home, we still sometimes feel we are in survival mode. But every month gets better and you're right--the loving part is the easy stuff! But thanks for making me feel more like a 'normal' mom :)

    And the story about the white van, be still my heart. Poor baby, I'm so glad he has a mama like you to hold onto him during those times.

  2. Oh friend, it is soooo stinkin' humbling. I'm lucky if I feel "normal" for more than an hour a day--but it's good to hear that it does get better.