Monthly Archives: April 2013

Four Years

Four years ago, we walked into Judge Dixie Park’s courtroom for the first time. I don’t know what your papa was thinking, Levi, but I was scared to death. That there would be some document unsigned, some report unfiled, or some other reason that she wouldn’t sign the adoption decree.

She did, of course, and an eight-month weight slid off my shoulders.

hospital

From the first time I held you, my heart was yours. I’d meant to hold back. I’d already given my heart away to one boy, and knew exactly how it would break if we lost you, too. But I couldn’t help myself. You nestled down on your papa’s chest, and sighed a big sigh, just as if you’d known all along: We’re your people.

But I never stopped being scared, right up until the judge banged the gavel. You? You aren’t scared of anything, as far as I can tell.

snowmen

You love being outside, in any kind of weather. You love your family, every bit of it, and with the big boy cousins, it’s possible you have a little hero worship going on.

gunshow

You are goofy to your core, little boy.

crazy

You make me laugh even when I’m furious with you. That happens more than I’d like. Sometimes it’s hard to believe you aren’t flesh of my flesh – we both seem congenitally unable to let anything go. It’s been – and this is not news to you, buddy, I know – a rough week.

Still. Our toughest days are bookended with love. When you crawl into bed and hug me good morning. When I wrap you up tightly and kiss you to sleep. All our shenanigans don’t tarnish that. I love you fiercely, and I will never stop.

You made me a mama, Levi, for keeps. And that is what mamas do.

A Golden Oldie

I found an old picture today, and I think it’s just as cute as ever. Here’s our Bean, about four years ago.

oldie

For the record, his father did that to him.

I have to say that out loud?

Today’s addition to the list of things I never thought I’d have to actually say out loud:

Stop eating the toilet paper!

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At least it was clean.

Humble Pie

I sing on the worship team at our church. I don’t sing every week, but when I do, it means that I get there an hour before the first service. Paul gets the boys out of bed, feeds them breakfast, dresses them, and gets them out the door. He has varying degrees of success showing up on time for the service, depending on tantrums, strategically timed poopy diapers, and general cussedness. Often, he’ll text me when he leaves the house or arrives at church, just so I know what’s up. And occasionally to complain a little. Those darling boys can be a full-tilt pain in the neck when they decide to turn it up.

Yesterday, I was singing, so I sailed off unencumbered into the dawn, with, “NO! Do not hit your brother with that!” ringing in my ears and – full disclosure – just a touch of schadenfreude in my heart. Cut me some slack. He gets to go off by himself almost every day.

I drove to church, ran through the worship set with the band, and then settled down in the music office to wait for the service to start. I got a text in remarkably good time that said the brood was leaving the house. I figured he might actually be in his seat before the first song started.

He didn’t get there for the first song.

He didn’t get there for the second song.

He didn’t get there for the third song, and I started to steam.

While I sang about sacrifice and praise and smiled smiled smiled, I was plotting passive aggressive ways to make Paul feel bad about his dawdling and his nonexistent sense of the passage of time. The music was finished, it was time to exit the stage, and he still hadn’t shown up. Even the chronically late people were already there. (Being on stage offers you a unique window into when people arrive. My unscientific survey indicates that almost all latecomers are parents of small children. I find this unsurprising.)

I walked around the hallway in the back, and slipped through the door during the communion prayer. And there he was, sitting all calm in the bench, like he hadn’t been 25 minutes late. The bench we typically sit in, since I haven’t told you, is riiiiight up front. So he walks all the way up the side past everybody, no matter what time he gets there.

As soon as the prayer was over, he leaned over and whispered, “Hi! How was the music?”

And I hissed back, “WHERE have you BEEN?!?!”

“I picked up Maggie* on the way.”

Oh. Maggie just started coming to our church. She doesn’t have access to a car. This isn’t the first time Paul has seen her walking and given her a ride.

So, yeah. I’m a jerk.

I don’t much care for humble pie. I prefer berry custard, like this:

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But I did think about why I was all worked up about Paul being late(r) that morning. It wasn’t because I thought he really, really needed to hear the music that morning to complete his spiritual experience. It wasn’t because I wanted him to hear me sing. 

It was because I was worried about what people would think. Would they think I was a bad mother and/or wife because I left him on his own some Sunday mornings? Would they think he was lazy and apathetic? Would they think we just didn’t care? I was upset because it looked bad.

I’d like to think that if I’d been in the car with them, I wouldn’t have hesitated to stop, just as Paul didn’t hesitate. I’d like to think that I’d have climbed happily into the backseat between the carseats to make room in the front, and not worried about whether it was taking extra time and making us late.

But I know what I’m like. I think Paul would have stopped, and I would have gone along, but I wouldn’t have been happy about it. I’m afraid that I’d have been less worried about helping someone and easing their burden a little, and more worried about what it would look like when we slunk into the service late. Again.

And that, my friends, is a flaw that runs deeper than dawdling.

I’ll be working on that. If you have any suggestions, feel free to leave them in the comments. Berry custard pie I’m pretty good at. Humble pie, not so much.

*Not her real name, because she didn’t sign up to be in a blog.

Two Years Ago Today

Two years ago today, Paul took the day off work. Me, too. We got dressed in “church clothes” and loaded both boys in the car for the drive to Canton. We got lost, as is my tradition when going to Canton (Why must there be eight varieties of the same street? Eighth Street WNWSE? Why, Canton? WHY?!?) but I’d planned for it, and we got to our destination in plenty of time.

At 10:30, we trooped into a family courtroom – along with my mom and my sister, who’d shown up as a surprise – and talked to Judge Dixie Park. She decided we looked alright, and she’d let us have a boy two years before that we hadn’t demonstrably damaged. So she signed papers and banged her gavel, and it was done.

finalize

The baby with the chia pet hair became ours, officially and forever.

He’s gotten awfully big since then, and joined the I-want-to-go-outside brigade.

outside

He swims like an otter, whines like a champ, and rarely lets Clifford out of his sight.

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He adores his three grandparents beyond all reason, chatters like a jaybird, and has more girlfriends than you can shake a stick at. Which is unsurprising – look at that face.

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We love you, ‘Lias. I’m so happy I get to be your mama.