embrace the moment
i love when bina wakes up happy in the morning. i go to her room and find her making happy sounds, blabbing to herself in her crib. she sees me and sits up, then stands at the side of her crib to reach for me. she's getting so big. i'm not lifting my little baby out of the crib anymore. i carry her in my arms back to my bed with her arms wrapped around my neck, head on my shoulder. we lay down side by side as she nurses. my wiggly nursling. it is light in my room even with the blinds closed and curtains drawn. summer is here and we're sleeping in a little later even though it gets light earlier. i try to wrap my arms around bina as she nurses and she pushes my arms away. i smirk. that's my little stinker. she can suck on my boob, but i can't touch her. sometimes she pats me gently with her little hand. i'll take what i can get. she pops off the first side and then reaches for the other. i flip her over to my other side. i study her little lips and notice how her lower lip protrudes to the perfect pout and her top lip is thinner. just like mine. it makes me smile. we're two years into this nursing journey. i don't know how long it will last. morning nursing is my favorite so i cherish these moments. and when we're done our day begins.
today we had a vet appointment for jake. bella is on doggie bed rest in her crate due to an injury to her front right leg. i took her to the vet last minute last week when she wouldn't use her leg one evening after david got home. she's feeling better after resting and being on pain meds, but she's on rest for another 10 days so. it's going to be a long 10 days. i have jake jump in the trunk of the expedition and i strap sabina into her car seat. as i pull out of the garage i hear bina erupt into laughter, watching jake. she does this again and again. it makes me smile. i love when my girl is happy. she is happy all the way to the vet and throughout the appointment. everyone comments on how cute she is and her adorable blue glasses. yes, i know. i think she's pretty darn cute too. we head back out to the car and bina holds my hand as we cross the parking lot. i leave her at the side of the car so i can open the trunk and encourage jake to jump in the back. which he never does quickly. i'm trying again and again to get him to jump so i don't have to lift him. at one point i take a step back and unknowingly bump into bina who is hiding behind me instead of standing where i put her at the side of the car. she falls. and the meltdown begins. jake finally jumps in as i hold her, sobbing. thanks, bud. i check her hands. a little dirty but no scrapes that i can see. i check her knees. a tiny scrape on her left knee. this is the culprit of all the theatrics. i attempt to soothe her and strap her into her car seat again. she sobs and yells out all sorts of toddler gibberish all the way home. so much for my happy girl!
when we arrive home i let jake in and then unload her, still sobbing. i set her down in the kitchen, still sobbing. she finds my grocery list on the window seat with my mechanical pencil. she grabs the pencil and begins embellishing my list. and she's quiet. meltdown over, i wonder? the art of distraction. this time she distracted herself! soon she remembers her tiny boo boo on her knee and the theatrics start all over again. i place her on the counter to inspect her some more. she reaches for a pear, the peanut butter. i make her a peanut butter sandwich and cut up the pear.
she momentarily forgets about the boo boo. then remembers. then forgets. then remembers again. each time it's as if the boo boo just happened. poor little sweet. so sensitive. i feel my nerves wearing thin, annoyed that she just can't get over it and move on.
and then i remember. this is how i am too. i feel things so very deeply. they affect me. they affect my mind and my heart, my sleep sometimes too. i remember god made me this way. he gave me this passionate heart with big emotions. a strong sense of justice. i love to laugh more than anything. but often i'm overcome by sadness and and a sense of urgency to do something as i find myself thinking of the plight of others, those close to me and those i have never met that i read about in the news or see in a documentary. my sensitivity, my ability to empathize deeply, it moves me to action. to prayer. to doing something with my hands, my resources, my time. sometimes it is too much for me to bear and i have to remind myself that i am not so important that i have to solve all the things on my own. no. i am not god. i am one person. i am responsible for me, for my thoughts and actions. i am not so important that the world will fall apart if i do not act on all of my whims. i can only do what i can do. and that is ok. because i serve a big god. a big god bina and i read about in our big picture story bible almost daily (unless i forget or the day is going especially bad and the girl needs to go down for nap or bed as quickly as possible). we have also been reading the storm that stopped. it tells the story of jesus calming the wind and the waves, stopping the storm with three words: "quiet! be still!" showing that he. is. GOD. these books, written for little minds, minister to my soul. ground me in the truth. of who god is. of his big plan of redemption, a plan in place from the beginning. and i am a part of that plan, me and my passionate heart and big emotions. my sensitivity. and my little girl that god has entrusted to me, she's a part of that big plan too. and god will use these trying personality traits, both mine and hers, for his glory if we stay surrendered to him. if we trust that he is good and has good plans, and obey his commands.
eventually bina makes her way to the family room floor and lays on her back sobbing, big tears on the lenses of her adorable blue glasses. i look down on her and my heart swells with compassion. my poor little sweet. such big emotions for such a little girl. i take bina upstairs to put her down for nap. turn on her ceiling fan, her noisemaker. lay her across my lap to nurse, one side then the other. then i pick her up in my arms with her head on my shoulder and walk to the side of her crib. she begins to cry just a little in anticipation of being set down in her crib. oh my sweet girl. i whisper "i love you" and lay her down. as she normally does, she stands up, clutches the side of her crib, and wails. i quietly walk out of her room, pulling the door closed silently behind me. i don't enjoy hearing her cry. but i know she is so tired and needs to sleep. she cries for a few minutes and then is silent. sleeping. mama knows.
i take the opportunity to journal a memory from last july when i get downstairs. a vision i believe god gave me as i was driving up to northern michigan with sabina in the car napping. i was listening to a podcast from the jamie ivey happy hour with jessica robertson from duck dynasty. jessica shared about their recent adoption of a baby boy. i had been listening to the jamie ivey happy hour podcast that summer and many of the guests had adoption stories to share. jamie ivery and her husband aaron have one birth child and three adopted children. we sat in church in austin one sunday years ago when aaron shared about their family's adoption journey. how god came to form their beautiful multiracial family. and as i was listening to jamie interview jessica on that podcast, i had a vision. i saw my family in the future, a beautiful multiracial family. i had a sense of how hard it was, the pain and the suffering we had been through and would go through during the process of raising a multiracial family. the struggles of identity. children pushing as hard as they can against us, trying to see if they can break us, can break our love for them. but we would hold strong in jesus showing them a love that is unconditional and unchanging. i sensed the brokenness. i sensed the challenge. i feared the challenge, i didn't know if i was up for it. but then i had a sense of how beautiful it would be on the other side. how much david and i would grow and mature in christ, in patience and perseverance. in compassion. in contentment. god could take these broken pieces and make them beautiful. and he would. if only we fully surrender to him.
we began the adoption journey seven months later when we attended a domestic infant adoption orientation on february 14, 2017 through bethany christian services. valentine's day. a day to celebrate love. how fitting. our first home visit was last monday, june 12, four months after we attended the orientation. i fretted over everything that needed to be done to prepare the house. it must be perfect! i cleaned better than i've ever cleaned, top to bottom. unnecessary of course. as we were waiting for that first home visit i also began working on our family profile book on shutterfly. i wrote our letter to the birth parents for our book. then during our first home visit we received instructions on how to do these things. mind you, i based mine off of the family profile book of a friend who had adopted through bethany two years prior. so i hit the major requirements. but i decided to rework our letter (three times) and edit the format and order of the profile book some more. i ended up sending three separate links to our adoption specialist for her to review the book before i order the copies we need. wait! don't look at THAT link, look at THIS one! THIS one is the last one, i swear! times three. because, that's me. patience is a virtue i am still working on. at our home visit we asked about the quickest timeline we might expect, and if all goes smoothly it looks like we may be matched or placed by the end of august/september. two or three months from now.
i was relieved by that timeline. though that throws off my baby girl wardrobe seasons with sabina's old clothes if we are placed with a girl, i am thankful for two to three more months of time with just me and my girl. because our first two summers were rather rough. and i am in a completely different place now having made it through the other side of my most recent trial with insomnia and depression/anxiety. i feel more at peace and rest than i've ever been. and not because of the absence of trials, but because i finally am beginning to understand what it means that god loves me unconditionally, just as i am. i know that he is good. that he has good plans. that he WILL give me more than i can handle on my own so that i grow more in him. suffering produces perseverance, perseverance produces character, and character produces hope. i find peace and rest in the hope i have in god.
i had a thought the other day. that maybe god will give us another challenging babe. one that cries a lot, except when he or she is on the boob or sleeping. and maybe this time i will be at rest in the midst of the storm of the first three months. because i KNOW that this season is not forever. that we WILL eat dinner together as a family again. that i WILL sleep again (in two years). that soon this little baby will be crawling, walking, running, talking. that soon i will miss these little little baby days. how you can take them basically anywhere and they will just SLEEP. it's glorious. the sweet noises and cuddles. the milk drunk sleepiness after nursing. maybe this time i will embrace this season instead of fighting it, cherish it instead of willing it to just go faster. maybe this time i will be more gentle with myself and my needs. maybe i will laugh more and cry less. and maybe i will rest in knowing that god is the god of second chances. the god who redeems all things. the god who can take my brokenness and make something beautiful out of it, no matter how i handle what comes.
in the meantime, i will continue to rest in and enjoy this season. i will recognize when i am getting short on patience. i will stop and acknowledge this weakness and ask god for grace to face this present moment. for grace to remain calm in the face of two year old meltdowns and irrationality. for grace to be the adult, the parent, the one who models god's love to my child so that she can know that no matter what, that love is unchanging. for grace to show my child that i am broken as she is. and that i can say sorry when i fail. because it's not a matter of if, but when i will fail. i am not god. i do not and will not ever love perfectly. i need grace. so much grace. we all need so much grace. i am so thankful i serve a god who continually gives it as i surrender my life and will to his.
just as this mama knows when her little needs a rest, god knows when i need a rest. he gave me this sweet season to recharge. to teach me more about himself. to show me his love, his kindness. and i am so incredibly grateful.