I told you about a man that seriously pulled my interest lately – tonight I want to tell you about the other young man in my life. I’ve recently become lucky enough to get cleared to provide a home for a 9 year old who’s been away from his family for a long time. They aren’t ready for him to come back yet, and so he needed a place to go.
The way the county is set up at the moment, their plans for him included sending him far away, three or four hours from where his family lives. I could not just stand by after being part of his life for nearly two years and watch silently as the county sent him away – away from visits with his parents, away from the school where he finally feels successful, and the city he knows so well. So I volunteered to let him come and live with me.
We’ve been in process for MONTHS, which I understand is the norm but which is nevertheless extremely frustrating.
The actual move date is finally getting close (maybe one week, maybe two – I’m totally serious – even this close we still don’t have an actual date) and I am feeling mostly terrified. I was talking to someone about this and expressing my struggles when they said, “Welcome to parenthood!” but this is not just parenthood. This is so different from parenthood. First of all, we don’t get to start out with oxytocin, with sweet baby moments and years to get to know one another. We are starting a few jumps ahead, with both too much and too little time to get ourselves together.
Last week I was able to talk to a friend, also a mom who has had a similar experience, and it was such a great conversation. Finally here was someone who understood, and who didn’t think I was either whining too much or worrying for no reason. She even got to meet him and it felt so easy, knowing that she knows, knowing that she understands what’s going on, or at least make a good guess. I felt so relieved after we talked! (Thanks so much, it really was an amazing night for me!)
And then the next day he came to spend the weekend (as he has been doing for a few months) and the terror came back. I mean it. I tossed and turned and couldn’t sleep the night before and so was dangerously low on reserves by the time he arrived. And then he came to the concert my community chorus was putting on. Watching him from the risers reminded me of how much I want for his life to be a good one. How much I believe he deserves a chance to be happy. Watching him go from serious and intent to smiling, from trying to sing along a few words to waving at me, I remembered what it’s like to love a child.
Am I still terrified? Hell yes. But I’m also fortified. Fortified with the certainty that this is what I want.