Author of the New York Times Bestselling Memoir CARRY ON, WARRIOR
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During the school year, we decided to let Chase walk half way home from school all by himself. He was dying to walk all the way home, but Craig was opposed. He felt like “something might happen” in our rough and tumble planned community. I wanted to take a chance, because the proposition of stuffing two tired and screaming girls into the van, yet again, can make a mama brave. But in these scenarios our policy is that the more cautious parent wins, even if the more cautious parent is at work twenty miles away. Which, incidentally but conveniently, is just out of ear shot of my screaming girls. We are presently revising our policy.
Each day I’d pile the girls in the van, drive halfway to the school (500 yards) and sit in the van on the side of the road listening to my precious girls think of ridiculous things about which to get disgusted with each other. The kindness revolution has not penetrated the walls of my mini-van or home. My girls fight like it is their job. Like someone is actually paying them to NEVER STOP FIGHTING. No hoodies for them.
So every afternoon I’d sit in the front seat, mentally block out the girls, and watch for Chase in my rear view mirror. And every time he’d come into view, I’d feel a little amazed. It’s so strange to watch your child when he doesn’t know you’re watching him, when he’s in his element. Because you think . . . he has an element? He leads a life that has nothing to do with me? A life in which people say things to him and he says things back with no guidance or explanation from me? Look at those legs…they work! I made that person and he’s just walking about as if unattached to me!
Every day I’d feel like Gepetto….watching this thing I made come to life before my eyes.
He’s alive! He moves! Amazing!
I don’t think he’s gonna stay in my arms anymore, now that he has this life of his own.
It’s all so magical but a little heartbreaking, too.
After a while I noticed that Chase was always walking to the van alone. There’d be a group of kids in front of him, walking and laughing – and a group of kids behind him, walking and laughing. But he’d be on his own. All alone. Each day. Oh, God.
Something deep inside me told me not to bring it up to him. He’s fine, that soul voice said, this is your issue, not his. Don’t pry. Don’t kick open all his private doors or he’ll start locking them. Wait for him to invite you in.
So I didn’t say a word to him, but I worried. Every afternoon. Every single afternoon.
Oh Jesus. Let him get caught smoking in the boys’ room. Let him fail social studies. Let him get punched on the playground . . . But please don’t let him be lonely.
A few weeks ago I was flipping through an old notebook and I found this:
When I walk
out of the classroom,
away from any other souls,
close to beautiful nature
all by myself
I roam around
of anything that shall bother or disturb me.
I take a deep sniff
of the snow scented, fresh air
and I think.
I think about
anything that will happen
prepare for it.
this is my moment
The kids are all right, Lovies.
Our little Pinocchios are going to be just fine. They’ve got the whole world in their little hands.
So find a moment of silence for yourself today. Deep Sniffs, Lovies. Just take a moment to roam free.
Love, G and C
It’s six am and I already hear my littles stirring. This makes me sad because – well, because they’re awake, honestly. But mostly because I’ve had so little time to write to you lately and I miss it so much. Most of my life I’ve lived off of five hours of sleep a night. Now, because of the Lyme, if I don’t get ten hours I’m a mess all day. So there goes my writing time, and it’s making me a little nuts. I have all these posts swimming in my head each day and no time to write them to you. But listen – in September, Amma starts preschool, which I am devastated (ecstatic) about. And then I’ll have three whole mornings to write to you each week! Recently Craig and I were talking about that extra time and he said, “It’ll be so great for you to have that time to get the grocery shopping and cleaning done!” I just looked at him and laughed and laughed.
Okay, quick update:
First-no final word on the adoption yet. The reason we think it’s not going to happen is that the officials in the country from which we are adopting have become super strict about the criminal records of adoptive families. For example, a few families have been initially rejected for ten year old violations like “trespassing” and such.
Now please understand that had I been ticketed simply for trespassing in my festive days, I would have considered it a banner day. A day to write home about. Let us just say that in general, I have been much more poorly behaved. I laugh at trespassing. Ha. Ha. Ha. Trespassing? C’mooooooon.
As a matter of fact, after learning about this new strictness, Craig has predicted that we will receive a letter from the ministry of our adoptive country saying that not only have they decided absolutely not to give us one of their orphans, but they have cleared out some room in their orphanage for Chase, Tish, and Amma and are sending for them immediately.
And honestly, with the way that they’ve been behaving this week, I’m not sure I’d appeal that decision.
So there you have it. That’s where we are. Waiting each day for a final decision so we can get some closure or celebrate a miracle. You know what, though? I’m really okay. I have my sad, sad moments but mostly I’m all right. There’s not a moment that goes by that I don’t feel completely forgiven and even grateful for my festive past, but I also accept that there are some unavoidable consequences of the choices I’ve made and crazy life I led. For some strange reason, I wouldn’t change a minute of it. None of it, no matter how this turns out. I love my mistakes. Love the twisty, tumbly ride I’ve survived. It’s made me an open and loving and forgiving person. And so if this doesn’t work out – I’ll try something else.
But there will always, always, be an extra chair at my family’s table for a child who needs one. Actually, there are always several extra chairs available at my table because at meal times around here everyone hides. I’m just saying- if you know a baby who needs a home- I know a family who needs a baby.
*No background checks, please. Gotta be a pretty desperate baby.
Tomorrow- book update.