At least six weeks have passed since the last time I sat down to write. I just completed 5 weeks of full time work, training for a new job. My brain is literally about to explode. In the past several weeks, milestones and life changes have occurred under our little roof. Flowers have bloomed and the Will’s strawberry plants have produced fruit. The kids were introduced to Young Frankenstein and we froze our butts off camping over the 3 day weekend. Life went into hyper drive and finally today, time is starting to slow down.
For starters, Billy and I both began new jobs this May. We both also turned a year older but still feel like a couple of young kids, who happen to have a mortgage, four mouths to feed and we are thinking about paying for college in our very near future. Zoe graduated from preschool, and Will graduated from 6th grade. Faith left Junior high behind (with joy) and Jack continues to blaze through high school at a speed I am NOT okay with.
The fun doesn’t stop there. Billy joined a gym. I on the other hand, have worked so much in the last month my flat butt is now dragging 3 feet behind me everywhere I go. I have not shaved my legs in weeks, however I have made time to paint my toenails. It’s all about priorities, is it not? And to top off the sweet, insanely busy, changes-around-every-corner month, I spent the last night of May with 5 other amazing moms getting our pictures taken.
I’m not typically invited to “photo shoots”, even though I obviously missed my calling in the arts and humanities. However, my sweet friend Christy won a night with Heidi Howard, an amazing photographer from Superior, and invited all her mom friends who have adopted children. What a gift to give 5 moms who are busy, not always told “thank you” by our children, and mostly wear pants with elastic waist bands. I made sure to brag about the “photo shoot” in front of my kids every chance I had.
“Oh sorry you guys, I won’t be able to hang out with you guys tonight since I’ll be at my “PHOTO SHOOT” getting PAMPERED.” And, “Hey you guys, what outfit do you think make my butt look less flat for my PHOTO SHOOT?” The boys and Zoe naturally tuned me out the minute I said, “Hey guys”, but Faith looked at me with a combination of surprise, jealousy, and disdain, all in one startling glance. I continued to brag, as I knew this was probably my first, and last, official photo shoot. In 45 wonderful years I have learned this: one must take full advantage of what life hands you.
The night turned out to be one I will always remember with joy and tenderness. There were 6 of us moms, and most of us were strangers to the group. You would not know that we had met just minutes before, the way we connected and shared our different stories with each other. Within minutes, tears were flowing, and hearts were united with the ability to relate on a level that few can understand. Parenting children who come into our lives with their own stories of despair, abuse, abandonment, and hurts is not an easy task. No matter how much love is showered on a child, their pain is never magically erased. Being able to talk with other moms who have walked a similar road filled me with hope and renewal.
The thing that touched my heart the most was being able to admit my imperfections as a mom with others, talking about our lowest moments with these amazing little people God has graced us with, and being able to encourage each other that their story is not yet written. We reminded one another of the way God can redeem any situation, any person, any family, any past, and that apart from Him, we really have nothing.
We laughed as we smiled for the cameras, feeling light and free, enjoying a night off from the reality that we all share. Motherhood is the most rewarding job on earth, but sometimes a night away is necessary. Being with these other women was a gift, and I learned that the road I am walking is full of other moms doing their best too. Turns out I’m not the only one going to bed defeated and sad, and waking up covered in new mercy.
Summer is here. The days will be full of adventure, sunshine, lazy afternoons, and being together. There will be popsicles and I will yell that someone dripped on the floor. Kids will say “I’m bored” and I will give them a chore to help them remember it’s best to not complain. They might want to hang out with friends instead of me, and I’ll reluctantly drive them to their friend’s house, and maybe even cry a little as I drive home alone. I will cherish the moments we have and pray for them when they aren’t in my little nest. No matter their journey, these 4 kids are mine. There is no place on this earth that I’d rather be. Not even a photo shoot.