When I get a little emotional, my right eye begins to “leak”. It’s like a little stream, but just out of that one eye. I’m not sure why it happens that way, but it does. As I was sitting in my bedroom in the Ikea “rocking chair” that was given to me by a friend who was moving, long before I had any idea I would be a foster parent, my eye began to leak. I wasn’t alone as I sat rocking, my eye stream activated; Baby Incredible was lying on my chest. He’s almost getting to big to do that now. His legs curl up under him, and his arms hang off of the side of me.
The first time I put him down for his nap, he woke up as soon as I left the room. When it was clear he wasn’t going to go back to sleep, I went in, cleared off the rocking chair that had clothes piled on top of it…after all, what’s the use of it when there’s no baby in the house…and plucked him out of his crib. He lay on me as I rocked, his ear against my chest, listening to my heartbeat. We were both quiet. I played with his hair, a little buzz cut now, his “jewish curls” gone. His eyes fluttered, and my right eye leaked.
I thought about how God knows just what we need, how he made the ultimate sacrifice for us, sending his Son to die on the cross, how all of my “sacrifices” for Baby Incredible pale in comparison to that. I thought about how God knew exactly what I needed in that moment, and God is so amazing that it was actually what Baby Incredible needed, too. We both needed each other, to have that skin to skin contact, for him to hear my heartbeat and for me to hear his breathing and smooth his hair and skin. I don’t know if his mom rocks him when he is at home. I know they don’t have a rocking chair. I can’t imagine on her doting on him as much as I do when he’s here. This is a gift for both of us.
Everyone always tells new moms to sleep while the baby sleeps. It is advice that seems to make sense. New moms are sleep deprived and have a very demanding little human whose needs come before their own; moms need sleep. This advice that sounds great in theory, doesn’t work out so practically. There is laundry to be done and dishes to do and floors to be swept or mopped. A lot of times, laundry or dishes or floors trump sleep. Sometimes, though, holding your sleeping baby trumps all of that. It is true for all moms that you never get that time back, but for this former foster mom, it is truer than true. I will never get back that opportunity to hold him a little longer while he sleeps, and I only get that opportunity once in a while.
When I was a little girl, I had a lot of ideas about how my life would go. Never in my wildest dreams did I think I would be a “co-parent”. Never did I picture sharing my little boy with another family, one who gets to call the shots. That’s really what I have become. Where I once was a foster parent, now I am a “co-parent”. That said, I am grateful beyond words that I still get to be in this little boy’s life. Actually, it is a miracle of God that I am able to be a co-parent of sorts. This kind of thing virtually never happens. God is definitely working in this situation. I am grateful for all of my friends who have prayed for Baby Incredible and me and his family. I am grateful for those who continue to pray. This is one amazing little boy.
It’s interesting to think about the way I once pictured my life in comparison to the story God has written. When I was a little girl, I thought I would be married by the time I was in my twenties. That’s when my mom and dad got married, in their young twenties: my mom was 20, and my dad was 21. I thought it would be easy to meet my “prince charming” and that we would have a fairytale wedding and have a few years to enjoy some time together before we started having babies. I thought I would begin having kids when I was in my mid to late twenties, and I thought I would be well into the rhythm of being a mom by the time I was in my thirties. None of the messy realities of adult life ever entered my consciousness. I never thought about not meeting my prince charming or not having kids before I turned thirty or of foster care or adoption or co-parenting. My picture was that so many things were difficult for me during the kid part of my life that things had to go easier in the adult part of my life…easier, no. Better with God, yes.
God has given me an amazing man to live the rest of my life with, and I get to marry him in 77 days. Although fairy tales are not real, God has given me such a phenomenal story that it feels just as good to me as if it were a fairy tale. Erick, my incredible beyond words fiancé, and I have been through more than most engaged couples and have learned and grown so much through it. We have each been on a journey that has been tying us closer and closer together. None of that would have happened the way it has without fostering being in our lives. God knew. Every time I am fearful of what lies ahead for us, I think about God’s plan being bigger and better than I could ever ask for or imagine. Even in all of my ideas of what my adult life would be like, I never pictured that I would get to marry my best friend, that he would propose to me in such a well planned, well thought out, and romantic way, singing a song to me before he asked me to marry him. Never did I think that we would get to have the courtship and dating relationship and engaged relationship that we get to have. Never did I think that I would have such amazing friends and family around me during such an important time. I am truly blessed.
God is never finished working until Jesus comes. “…being confident of this, that he who began a good work in you will carry it on to completion until the day of Christ Jesus.” -Philippians 1:6