cultivate (kuhl - tuh - veyt)
v. 1) develop 2) nurture

graft (grahft)
n. 1) transplant 2) bud 3) union

Monday, May 12, 2014

Where Wholeness Should Have Been

As I write this, there are forty-one minutes left of Mother's Day, 2014. 

This morning I awoke to the familiar sounds of a wire whisk scraping the sides of a scarred mixing bowl. 

And I thought of her.

With uncharacteristic solemnity, two girls offered dutiful "Happy Mother's Day" while dumping a fresh-from-the-griddle pancake in my hand. And we laughed.

I wondered if she had laughed today.

A certain baby of the family insisted the pancake was hers. I fed her only a nibble, despite her protests. A corner of my heart squeezed at the thought of sustaining life with such a meager nibble.

She had tried. She had desperately clung to fading hope. 

Lastly, one more entered the room, flinging herself on the bed for a restless snuggle. A little prompting..."Happy Mother's Day". She craned her neck to see my face. Like most people, I am drawn to her deep, liquid eyes.

And I see her look of defeat as pools threaten to betray her glossy resolve. 

Seventeen minutes, and ticking...

Just a day earlier, I sucked a breath into constricted lungs as I heard the words "You'll always be my mama. I'm so glad you adopted me." 

We share the lump in my throat, she and I.
"Children born to another woman call me Mom. The depth of that tragedy and magnitude of that privilege are not lost on me." ~ Joy Landers
The clock blinks 12:01, and just like that The Day is done. She and I have checked another day off the calendar. Though I may never again see her this side of Heaven, I carry her with me every day. Oh, I don't keep her picture in my wallet. I keep her heart tucked into mine. How? I hold her despite having the wrong arms. I double-check her toothbrushing job. I slice her sandwich from corner to corner. I dive into books and icy cold swimming pools with her. I wince as she wobbles on raised training wheels, and dance when she keeps her balance. I scold when she hits, and I kiss when she hurts. 

And I look into haunting eyes, wishing that hope had bloomed into possibilities, and possibilities into reality, and reality into wholeness. 

Instead there is irreparable brokenness, of which our daughter is the shared fallout. Yes, I love her fiercely, but I wish my love was not necessary in the first place. I wish the woman who loved her first could continue to see her firsts; Her first school day, her first date, her first...everything. Instead, I will be the mama to celebrate those firsts. Those moments are not stolen, nor are they merely borrowed. They are shared in the most intimate, most anguished, and most cherished way possible. And I am grateful. 

Her arms were, at the same time, perfect and inadequate and beautiful. Her image is too sacred to parade across the screen of some blog. Her face, too precious to squander on blog hits. This is the most you'll ever see of this strong woman:

Final Embrace

And it is enough.

Saturday, May 10, 2014

Did That Really Just Happen? (Home Edition)

Because I believe in transparency...

Because truth edifies...

Because there is power in stories...

But mostly because you'll feel better about yourself...

Did That Really Just Happen? (Home Edition)*

For my domestically-minded readers, may I suggest you take this post with a stiff drink, because you're about to lose all faith in my housery abilities.

1. When the Holy Spirit suggests you invite dear friends over, may I suggest you ask Him to remind you that your friend is a vegetarian, and also that chicken enchiladas are not a vegetarian meal? This close to having to serve up PB&J.

2. If you find yourself in a position where you will be instructing 20 girls in the mysterious ways of Origami cups, practice much. Measure twice, fold once. Unless you enjoy having 40 eyeballs glued to you while you attempt to decipher 6-step instructions that are clearly meant for people who have a working knowledge of pictures and folding things. BECAUSE WE ALL KNOW HOW DIFFICULT IT IS TO FOLD PAPER. This is not rocket science, I assure you. Just. Cups.

3. If you are dressing for a casual family event where a certain one year old is going to be climbing all over you for 5 hours, wear a turtleneck. This will eliminate any concerns you may have that your adorable baby will pull your stretchy top until the neckline meets your waistline. It only takes a second, precious readers, to scar your father-in-law.**

4. During remodeling and moving, if you happen to have a screwdriver handy, it will make a poor excuse for a pintail comb. You will use it anyway, because SMOOTH PARTS BE HANGED.

Looking for more blunders? Remodeling has afforded us many a ridiculous moment, which will henceforth be referred to as "blogging fodder". Additional (ahem) transparency is forthcoming. You're welcome. 


*If you're looking for the Original and Parenting Edition, look no further.
**Who may (or may not) avoid sitting facing you for the remainder of the day. It could be coincidence. Yeah, it's probably just coincidence.