On Thursday my mom came over for dinner. When we were done eating, I motioned for her to come to the back slider and I pointed out at my blooming wisteria. She gave a happy gasp and I smiled at her reaction. I was happy to share. We grabbed Carina and walked out to admire the billows of lavender blossoms hanging down from the white arbor, just as I dreamt of years ago when I planted it. My mom picked Carina up to smell the sweet flowers and they laughed. Carina talked and talked and pulled the petals off, letting them rain down onto the green spring grass.
My mom has been fading more quickly this past year. Moments like this are scarcer. With Carina close up to my mom’s bright eyes, I thought about the struggles that her brain goes through every day. It constantly fires off information that doesn’t always reach its destination. As tiring as that must be, how much more exhausting is it to then try to look beyond yourself and make connections with the words and actions and even facial expressions of others?
My mom is strong. So strong, as I am reminded over and over again, even as her mind becomes weaker. While I watched her in that perfect moment with my daughter, I knew. Knew that YES, being a mother is so hard and I make so many mistakes, but YES, it is the most important thing I can do on this earth. Knew that this woman had influenced me for good more than any person in my life even with all her past and present imperfections – imperfections that might have hindered her efforts but made her results all the more profound. She had done it as a partner with my father and my Heavenly Father.
There is so much sorrow in this story, but that sorrow makes the beauty all the more profound.
It takes some faith to see that beauty.
Earlier that day, I stuffed two gallon sized bags full of dresses, shoes, toothbrushes, and pictures. I mailed them off to a woman who is on her way to the DR Congo. She will deliver them to two sisters there. These two little girls are 23 months old and 3 1/2 years old and we are in the process of adopting them.
We began this process, in earnest, in February, and we still have a lot of waiting and paperwork ahead of us. Probably 9-12 months of it. We are far from being certain that these girls will become a part of our family – our case still needs to go through court in Congo and there is a real possibility that we could “lose” this referral.
Whether they become our daughters or not, we have unleashed our hearts to them. They are in our minds and prayers every day and every night.
The process is hard, and I know that welcoming them into our home will be even harder for all of us. For us to teach a child (not a baby) who doesn’t speak our language, in a world that is brand new to them. For my kids to get used to two new sisters who won’t get the family humor right off and who won’t understand the family rules. And for them? Trusting a face that looks so different than any they have ever known. Stepping into an already-made family. Bearing unspeakable grief for their loss of everything. Everything.
There is a lot of fear in my heart. As much as I want to start to mother these girls NOW, I am grateful for the time I have been given.
I am trying to use that time to replace fear with faith.