Wednesday, February 17, 2016
I've been eagerly anticipating Six Months.
Six Months means that the foster period is over; we can apply to go to court and adopt. We signed the papers on Friday, and now we wait for our first court hearing that will make him officially a Medina.
But now that it's here, I'm kind of sad. Six months is half of a year. Half of a year with this little guy, and it's already gone. I find myself clinging to his littleness. Relishing the feel of his small hand in mine, laughing at the jumps and twirls that accompany four-year-old exuberance, squishing him into the toddler seat at the front of the shopping cart. I already missed out on so much of his littleness, and now the rest is going by too fast.
It's hard to believe that it's been half a year, but the evidence is everywhere. He's grown two inches since he came home, and he's losing his baby belly. He's already gone up into the next clothes size. He knows our routines; he knows his neighborhood and the names of dozens of people and what it means when I tell him we are going to the store or the post office. He can dress himself (usually backwards) and write his own name and put together three 50-piece puzzles that are all mixed together in the same box.
And though he's got pretty much everyone wrapped around his little finger, he has learned what it means to be a son and a brother. That means he's gotten really good at whining and is not too shabby at holding his own in a fight. His food tastes have become more particular than those first few weeks when he would eat anything. He doesn't need my cuddles as much any more, and I grab him for three-second hugs....I take what I can get.
But the old life is still there in his consciousness. I tell him, I love you, Johnny. I'm so glad you are my Johnny. And often he looks thoughtful and pauses for a moment, and responds with, I need to go to the Baby Home. I need to see my friends. Because he knows that it was our love that took him from that life.
So I ask him, But what about Daddy? And Grace and Josiah and Lily? And he says, They can come to the Baby Home too.
And I tell him (again) that his friends aren't at the Baby Home anymore, that they have all grown up and gone to new places, just like he has. That we want him to be with us and that he is ours now. That he makes us happy and that we are a family. He sleeps deeply at night and he laughs a lot, but it is actually the whining that shows me he knows I am his mom.
I revel in my four. For so long we had thought there would only be three, yet the four of them fit together so perfectly. Lily was more than willing to give up her position as the youngest, which she never liked to begin with. And I love the unexpected blessing of watching the older three appreciate their brother's littleness. Last night at dinner, I told them, When I was buying onions today, Johnny asked, 'Why you buying minions, Mom?' He makes them laugh like no one else. It used to be only Gil and I that would laugh at our kids' antics, and now the big kids get in on it too. Josiah regularly tells me, Mommy, I love having a brother! There was no transition, as far as they were concerned; Johnny fit right into the hole that was always there in our family.
This morning I made my last trip to a social welfare office, at least, I think it was my last. I needed to get one last report done. It was long (as always); it took an hour each way and involved two hours of waiting once we got there. Johnny had to come with me and he was a trooper; he played with his Matchbox car. Another little boy sitting next to us found a piece of metal and pretended that was his car; the two boys zoomed around the cramped waiting space. I stared at the cobwebs hanging long from the high ceiling and reflected on the dozens--hundreds?--of trips I had made to this office during the last ten years. In many months, I made that trip twice a week. I'm getting old now; I don't think I could do that again.
Gil asked me today if I would have rather gone through the physical pain of labor rather than the daily-waiting-driving-work-sweat-hours-and-hours-of-time-over-months kind of pain. I told him that I think that real labor pains would have been easier, since it's awful but then it's done in 24 hours. It's hard to compare when I haven't experienced it. But I do know that I wouldn't trade my journey for anything. When a child is the result, the pain is always worth it.