Sunday, March 27, 2011

Perfectly Suited, Perfect Love

As always happens on road trips, I seem to come away with some new insight.  Home and settled now, a couple of things stand out for me...and one is profound.

I am deeply loved by our children.

Sounds silly?  Maybe it is, but as I spent the entire weekend with these incredible young people whom I adore...and they know that adoration exists...I realized all the little ways in which our relationship goes much deeper than I ever had the guts to imagine.  This is not mere dependence upon me to be the Taxi Driver or the Laundress, these are not children who show appreciation only when they get their way or when they want something.  What Dominick and I share with our children is the blessing of a truly reciprocal relationship.  I don't think I fully realized that until this weekend, and I am not sure why.  I also know this sounds very corny to some, too "To good to be true" ish, but as this blog is really for them to read someday,  I have to cast aside any worries that others might think that I might live under the incorrect assumption that my kids are perfect.  I don't, believe me, but I do think we are all perfectly suited to be united as a family, and I want them to know that and carry that with them throughout their lives.

We all have images in our minds of what parenting will be like.  Most of those are completely shattered within the first few sleepless nights home :-)  But as we are pregnant, or as in our case "paper pregnant", we conjure up the future and what our relationship with our kids will be like.  Dad's often dream of throwing the football around the yard on Thanksgiving afternoon, Mom's dreams may consist of baking side by side with their daughters in cute matching aprons (OK...EVERYONE knows THAT dream was not really mine! Hahaha!), or of Sunday mornings spent curled up in bed reading the funny papers.

As I drove over the snow capped mountains with spring beginning to make it's presence known, my mind wandered backward in time 11 years ago, when paperchasing to bring Matthew home  It was about the same time of year, as we traveled in May...and a time when I barely dared believe I might become the mom to one child and five was NEVER in the picture.  It was beginning to become more of a reality, this thought that after 13 years of marriage I just might find myself actually mothering a  much longed for child.  Previously, I had really never allowed myself to hold those dreams of what it might be like, for fear that it would never come to pass.

I do recall, as I had become enamored of this cutie patootie adorable little boy staring back at me from the video, that I finally let my guard down ever so slightly and allowed myself to think "I wonder if he'll like reading books with me?" and "Will he be into football or baseball?  I miss going to games!". 

Then, something truly wonderful happened...I let it go...I let it ALL go, every dream, every preconceived notion. And Matthew was allowed to be who he was, and was loved to the Nth degree even though he turned out to be utterly uninterested in team sports and is a very different boy than  the ones I grew up with. 

I might add that I am VERY grateful for that difference, for who he is...who they ALL are, far surpasses anything I could have imagined for them.  Our imaginations are so limited, and what God has wrought is so superior to any dreams we might have held onto so tightly!!  However, sitting next to Matthew in the car on the drive home as he was totally engrossed in reading his latest Landmark history book about the French Foreign Legion, I couldn't help but smile and recall that one question I asked prior to his arrival..."I wonder if he'll like reading books with me?"  169 pages later in about an hour and a half, and I almost laughed out loud...yea, he's my kid through and through :-)

At various times throughout the past few days the kids in subtle, gentle ways showed their love.  Walking hand in hand with 2 kids as 3 others rushed off to check out the latest treasures in the flea market booth, only to have another veer off in another direction and have another take his or her place with an arm around my shoulder, I recognized how very blessed I am to have children of this age who still unabashedly take their mom's hand in public, who are unwilling to bow to conventional attitudes among their peers that showing affection for your parents is totally "uncool".  Will it last much longer?  Who knows, but we have certainly had it longer than many have, and our family's open, easy warmth and affection is probably the single greatest gift we each receive in living as a member of this group of gathered people. 

I had breakfast catered to my bedroom and a second child on the second day come and ask if I wanted something, cuddled with Angela in bed as we giggled over gas (we ARE LaJoy's) as if we were at camp, took a shower the last day and came out only to discover that the entire room was not only picked up, but everything already packed down in the car.  I had Joshie curl up on my lap, Kenny wash the car windows without being asked as we stopped for gas on the way home, and Olesya making sure I was well stocked with Diet Coke.  In the midst of the usual chaos I was thanked nicely for virtually every single thing, and I had doors held open for me.  I also have a hubby, not to leave him out, who took time away from work on Thursday morning to surprise us and meet us at McDonald's where we awaited friends who were traveling over on the same day, just to say good bye and give us one last hug. 

What, I have to ask, did I ever do to deserve this precious love?  This active love?

Then I recall, the single dream I held on to through all those years of childlessness, through each and every adoption journey, was a very simple one.

Love...a loving family.  That's all I ever really wished for.

We may have children who will never, ever live out our secretly held dreams, they will likely never be captains of the football team or Rhodes scholars.  They will never be "mini-me's"...OK...Kenny JUST might end up being a mini-Dominick ;-)  But what they are is, well, themselves, and that is just about perfect.

And that is really all God asks of us, isn't it?  That we give and receive love, for in that love, we experience God.  For some, the receiving of love is easy, but being aware of the special ways in which we can offer love is the harder thing.  Surprisingly, for others, it can be that being the recipient of that love is the challenge, for we feel undeserving and yet offering love is natural. 

But when we get that balance right, when we can live fully in the giving AND receiving of love, that is the secret recipe for living in the Spirit.  Oh, we humans try to make it more complicated, we create litmus tests and creeds, we demand statements of faith and declarations as proof of one's relationship with God.  But really, sometimes I wonder if God isn't enjoying a great big belly laugh and saying "That's not about ME, that's all about YOU!!"

And I think that this morning, Joshie got it 100% right when he said something in the car on the way to church. We have friends who are striving to begin a new church, and thus far it has proven to be an uphill battle as they work to build a congregation.  The kids asked to attend their service this afternoon, and I replied "Well, it may be just us who are there, no one else may show up." and Joshie quietly said "Well Mom, that's OK...because even if it's just us and them, it's still God's family."

Amen, Joshie, amen.

5 comments:

Barbara said...

Cindy,

I don't think you have to worry about your kids showing affection as they get older. Mine at 19,18, and 16 still show affection in public to not only me, but to their Dad as well. It is a great thing and many comment on how our kids, boys at that, are so willing to give us a hug, tell us they love us, and even give us a kiss in public. It is a true blessing, especially in this day.

Barbara

Anonymous said...

I have dog companions partially because they are loving, non judgmental beings. They are a giving blessing. You, Cindy and Dominick, are like that, loving, usually non judgmental, a blessing---besides you're smarter than my dogs (except when I have a border collie). Your kids are becoming by total immersion in love. Kenny and the girls had a foundation greater than those of Matthew and Joshie, but from their cores they have been loved into the delightful, giving children they are now. Joshie was loved into existence by you, and Matthew has grown into love with you. And all of you are immersed in the love and care of God. No wonder you can't escape loving and being loved.

Which includes me,
Lael

Anonymous said...

Cindy- If Matthew like Foreign Legion books, when we were teens my mom read us PC Wrens, "Beau Geste". It is still one of my favs.

Bob; Carrie DeLille said...

:o)

Anonymous said...

I don't know why I finally found the time to read the blog or even what drew me to this particular entry. But I find myself in tears. Here I am complaining about the kids being home for school holidays, and I'm totally missing out on the whole picture. Aren't I? At least they’re here. They’re health and well. They’re able to spend this time with us as a family. Thanks Cindy. Through your sharing, I'm reminded how much of a blessing kids are.
Liz Hall