Ha! Gotcha on that blog title, didn't I? No, we are not adopting again...I just wanted to share some thoughts about Joshua.
We have been alone for a few days now that my Big Boys are back in school. It has allowed me the opportunity to focus solely on him, to talk and work side by side, to laugh and play and giggle. I was thinking today as I bent to give him a kiss after he cleaned my fridge for me (OK, I had to go back behind and wipe a little) that this little boy is so extraordinary, so special, and he has changed SO much this past year!
I now see a boy who is relaxed, calm, warm and funny almost all the time. He is different than he was at the end of the school year last year when we were last alone, he has morphed into the little boy I always hoped he could be. His spirit is at peace, and it is actually as if I do have a new son, a child born of love rather than abandoned in fear. A child who has a lifetime of happiness and joy ahead of him rather than years of feeling stiffled by this niggling thing he can't quite put his finger on that causes him to feel inadequate and prickly. I remember years ago before Josh and Kenny came into our lives saying that I dearly loved hanging out with Matthew, that even though I was his mommy and was supposed to love him, I actually really, really liked who he was!!! I had that feeling so strongly today, looking into Josh's eyes and thinking to myself "You are one cool cat!!". He has a great sense of humor now and loves playing silly 4 year old practical jokes on us with a straight face and then bursting out with laughter saying "I teased you!". He has thoughtful ideas, and demonstrates such great kindness all the time. He snuggled with me in bed this morning after waking with a bad dream, and his physical closeness alone spoke volumes. It was something he was totally incapable of as a toddler, and now he relishes it. He has a very special older girl in his life whom he adores, and she is so tender with him. When we were at the retreat she held him until he fell asleep snuggled in her arms, and I realized how God has placed so many loving and accepting people in his life, he has been bombarded with closeness and warmth! I also realized how there are several more children who are in or who have passed through my life who I truly love.
I can't begin to tell you how I am looking forward to this final year at home with him before he starts Kindergarden. In many ways, now that the Attachment Disorder has dimmed, it is as if I am exploring a totally new relationship with my son, and his light is finally being allowed to shine through fully. I have a child I can have fun with, share the world with, just as I was able to do with Matthew at 2 years old but was unable to do with Josh at that age because we had more important tasks to attend to when he was 2...he had to learn how to let go of control, and how to love and trust others. It took so much work, so much patience and effort, and we missed those precious toddler years together. Now, as a preschooler, we can finally have the relationship we were denied due to his past and his emotional pulling back because of it.
Watching the slow, tentative steps Josh has taken over the years to get to this point has been painful, frustrating and totally rewarding. Joshie, my Little Man of the great big dimples high on your cheeks, you are My Superhero!!!
On another note, from Kenny I received a special gift last week...the gift of being important in his life. Friday was my birthday, and all week Kenny proceeded to tell anyone who would listen that it was his mommy's birthday!! When Friday morning came and he realized that I would be out of town, as I was leaving that day for 2 days, he started sobbing and I couldn't really figure out why until through his sobs he said "But no Happy Birthday tonight! No present for you! No cake for you!!!!" and then he continued to cry. I reassured him we would celebrate when I got home, but he wasn't totally satisfied and still continued to cry a little. Talk about getting a lump in my throat...
That's when it really hit me like a ton of bricks...I am actually important to him!! And not because I am a provider of clothing and food and toys, but because I am his mom and he already loves me. At this stage, so early in our relationship, I assumed I was slowly becoming someone important in his life, but mainly because of what I could provide, not because of...well...just being me. It is so soon, so early in our relationship to expect much more than that. I know we are not anywhere near where we will be in a year or so, but to be this far along and feel this much like "real" mother and son so soon is awesome. I know that there are moments when I look at him and my heart swells with pride and happiness, and I wonder how in the world our family managed without him all this time! I am profoundly grateful that God planted those feelings in me so early as well, because we have much to go through yet and having already claimed him in my heart makes the Mother Bear in me come out, which might come in very handy.
So I had a wonderful 41st Birthday with terrific, thoughful gifts from the dollar store from all 3 kids, and a great night to look forward to tomorrow when I go out to dinner with several friends all for the reason of celebrating with me. I thought to myself this morning how there was a time, not all that many years ago, when I felt that if I died tomorrow there would be no one there to even miss me or mourn me other than my mother and my husband. Today as I write this I think of the effort several friends made to send cards, call and sing to me, and special friends who came by with a cake during a very busy day to celebrate my Geezerhood. I think of the smiles and jumping up and down with excitement of 3 precious little boys who could hardly wait for me to unwrap my presents and show me the cake they made. I think of the embrace of my husband as we looked into our ever-more-wrinkling faces and smiled.
Wow, how did I ever, ever deserve all of this?