one of these things just ain’t the same.
I am a mom first. In every aspect of my life. My successes. My failures. My joy. My pain. From the clothes I wear and the shoes on my feet ( sandals always. This mama cannot rock da heels no more) to my schedule and interests, I’m “just” a mom.
When my oldest daughter was 6 weeks and 4 days old September 11th happened. I remember watching the live broadcast and hearing witnesses call the TV station to give their versions of the story.
One man talked about racing down the stairs of one of the towers after the plane had hit. The chaos. The fear. The pain. Then he mentioned seeing a man in a wheelchair on like the 90th floor and how the man was trying to get out through the stairwell. The caller said everyone was so afraid they wouldn’t stop for him. They just left the wheelchair bound man in the stairwell.The man on the phone began to sob.
So did I.
In that moment, looking at my first borns perfect face, I understood what it meant to be someone’s everything. I understood what it meant to love someone so much that through them you loved everyone, because, damnit, the world needed to be a better place.
There is nothing like a child to make you question what kind of person you really are.
Making the decision to become a foster parent was an easy choice. I’d been a foster child myself, I’m all too familiar with the need for good people to be a support system for an innocent child. Being that person for someone just made sense to me.
Despite the logic behind the madness, I have to confess I still didn’t know if I could form a bond with a child that wasn’t really mine. – I’m not saying I wouldn’t love them, I just wasn’t sure it would be with the same …..irrational passion that fuels my core when I look into the eyes of the children I made from scratch.
Today I learned that unconditional love comes in all sizes.
It started outside of a courtroom. The baby and I were waiting to be seen by the judge and I realized we were all alone in the waiting area. I knew…. I knew when I started the day that the mom and dad of the newborn foster child we are caring for couldn’t make it to the hearing . I knew that. But knowing that and seeing that are 2 totally different things.
That wooden bench gets mighty cold when you’re the only one sitting on it. My heart broke for her.
As court ended and the attorneys came to see the newborn they’d been discussing for the last hour I began to notice she was twitching. At first it was just one arm. Then it was both. Suddenly all of her limbs were flailing about.
I rushed her to her pediatrician who ordered some labs and discussed what will be happening in our lives over the next few weeks as we try to figure out if these apparent seizures are permanent.
Getting her to the lab was easy. Having her blood drawn…. Not so much. As two adults held her down and pulled blood from her tiny little arms I paced frantically behind them. I’d never heard her cry like that before and every inch of my being wanted to call them off or throw them into a wall.
I finally caved and allowed myself to wedge into a small spot between the lab techs and the wall. Scopping up her delicate hand and locking eyes with her just inches from her face I whispered “it’s gonna be ok baby” as I stroked her cheek and began humming.
And she stopped crying. It was almost instant. It was stunning.
“Oh. My. Gosh.” Said one of the techs. ” She knows you. Look at her face! That’s amazing!”
It really, really was.
She may not be just like the others, but she is the same.