I had hoped to be in bed by now, but thoughts are swirling around in my head, so it is pointless until I have the chance to spill them out on imaginary paper. I had not realized what a gift the blog would be to me when I began it a year and a half ago. I didn't understand that in addition to creating something lasting for the boys and documenting Kenny's adoption and subsequent adjustment to family life, I too would find the blog a way to help me adjust to this new life that we had created for our family. It helps me clarify for myself what my own positions are on certain subjects and it provides me with a place to spew when I am frustrated.
The past few days were hectic and yet very rewarding. They were filled with intimate times shared with friends around campfires and on couches, there was laughter and tears. We went camping again this weekend but this time it was not just with our family, but with our amazing church family. 8 different families went together to the local State Park and had a weekend camp out together. These 8 families couldn't have been a more eclectic bunch to gather, families with younger kids, older kids and expecting kids, families with no kids, and older folks well beyond kids. The really neat thing about this weekend was that one by one, almost every grouping imaginable happened as we all grew to know one another better. Images that remain in my mind from this weekend were adults waving glow sticks overhead as they recalled old songs from their youth and sang with great gusto around the campfire, watching caring adults from our congregation all leaning over to help kiddos put bait on their hooks at "Huck Finn Days", seeing Joshie cuddled up in an expectant mommy's lap saying he was sitting on her baby, and having 5 little boys joyously rush up to the adults gathered round singing to show off how they broke up glow sticks and squirted the filling all over their clothes so they could glow in the dark. The fear of toxicity and staining quickly gave way to a warm glow as Matthew danced around for joy turning round and round with glowing spots all over his shirt of varying colors declaring gleefully "Look Mommy...I'm a constellation!!!". The slowly dying embers were watched by Dominick and I along with two other companions as the crickets chirped and the moon rose, and we all quietly shared about our experienced with organized religion and how that differed so much from what real faith is supposed to be all about. Then it was time for us party animals to go to sleep, where I heard Kenny and his buddy who came along with us talking sincerely at 1:30 in the morning about how their families each helped the poor, and how hard it is to be a farmer (the other child's daddy's job) and a car wash guy (Kenny's Daddy). The respect and awe in their whispers was what lulled me to sleep, and a better lullaby was never sung.
Today was one filled with shared confidences with new friends, as the boys and I met another mom and two of her children at the local park for lunch. She is another adoptive mommy and one that is very, very "real". We talked a lot about the adjustment of our boys, creative solutions we have come up with for behavioral challenges, and how despite the frustrations we are so happy to have the children we have who needed us as much as we needed them.
Later this evening I met for a meeting at another newer friends house and after the meeting she and I had a long conversation, mostly centered around my life at the moment and it's challenges. While it was mostly a one-sided conversation which made me feel a bit guilty, it was what I needed just when I needed it. I marvel sometimes at how God puts JUST the right person in our lives precisely when we need their wisdom and comfort. The conversation took a turn towards an as-yet-unspoken subject that has perplexed and vexed me and actually kept me up late at night during the past several months, and while I came no closer to resolving anything, I did at least acknowledge something that has been hovering in my soul for quite awhile and distracting me terribly at times.
The conversation I had earlier in the day was one that touched on how "real" friendships are very hard to come by...that phoniness or even a hint of it is enough to turn us both off as our lives are to busy to play games or go for the drama of it all. That may sound harsh and uncaring, and it is not meant to be but is a fact about picking friendships that fit you well. I learned after a friendship gone sour a few years back that being direct is the most important thing, and that friendship prospects can often be lost because of our inability to get to the point with someone. I have since taken to telling someone straight out "Hey, I really like you and think we could have a great friendship. I look forward to getting to know you better.". The idea of flitting around the subject, beating around the bush because we are too fearful to simply what we really feel is annoying to me and makes me wonder how many terrific potential friends have I lost in the past because i never let them know how I felt.
Tomorrow Kenny and I leave for Chicago for his first appointment at Shriners Hospital for his cleft lip and palate assessment. We have been so incredibly blessed to have our best friends there who moved recently. Kenny is so focused on seeing them that he has totally blanked out that we are going to the hospital! This is a good thing as his fears are overpowering and will be our biggest obstacle to his medical care. We'll see how he does on Wednesday when he has his appointment. Having already had the same thing done at Children's Hospital in Denver, it might be easier as he knows they are not going to hurt him yet. While I am happy to get going more on Kenny's medical needs, I am beyond joyful at the thought of seeing our friends again. We have missed them terribly, their absence has been deeply felt and being in the midst of their love once again will be a real gift to me, especially right now as I am sagging under some pressure coming from all directions and feeling like I can't get anything done and looking at my plate and admitting it is simply too full.
As I was packing tonight, Matthew had an almost unheard of meltdown when he hurt his hand by accidentally hitting it on the wall when he walked down it scraping his knuckles. His cries were far too deep for the nature of the injury, and he finally broke down and told me "Mommy, I'm going to miss you SO MUCH when you are gone!" as he hiccuped and gasped between torrential tears. I asked him if he was sad because he was not going to get to go this time to see our friends, but he said no...he was just feeling like he missed me already and didn't want me OR Kenny to go as he was going to miss him too. I held him there in my lap, or at least halfway on my lap as he is so big anymore he barely fits, and I rocked him as he cried. We then talked about how wonderful it was that he had a family he cared about so much, that many kids wouldn;t even care at all if their moms left for 5 days. He then paid me my highest mommy compliment ever by saying "That's because those kids don't have YOU for a mommy!". And then my own tears came.
To complete the love fest this week, Kenny told me just as he was getting in bed that he was so happy that he was going to be all alone with me for 5 days, that he didn't even mind going to the MD if he got to be with me.
Having felt loved by so many, having been held and hugged and helped through conversations this weekend, I leave tomorrow with a happy heart. Please say a quick prayer for Kenny that his fears will not surface this visit, that he can relax and not worry about anything hurting him and trust that I mean that when I say it. Our longest road with Kenny;s adoption is going to be his fear of medical procedures, and our ability to handle it with honesty and information.
Our "Chicago Bureau" will be blogging next, stay tuned!!!