“Papi,” cries a beautiful baby girl with dark brown eyes to my husband who is catching them on the end of the slide. We’ve had an empty nest of sorts for a bit, so our time of slides and babies is like a fondly remembered movie from years ago. But there is something about the sound of a deep, belly laugh. If you’ve head it you know it. Like you can almost feel it and you absolutely can not contain a smile. Belly laughs are a gift. Absolutely, undeniably one of the sweetest sounds on the earth.
This crooked pony tailed baby girl and all of the others are full of joy. They soak up the love around them, they smile and laugh like they have not a care in the world. They are in a safe place. Loved. Precious. Celebrated.
This darling thing was found in the dumpster? I’m sure there are desperate situations, but I struggle to even imagine the dark space you would find yourself in to think that “tossing” a child out is the only option. This adorable, sweet baby boy absolutely stole my heart with his smile. I can not imagine a more perfect and precious human. Absolutely heart breaking that any beautiful child would be treated as trash. It’s just a reality I can not wrap my heart around. I whisper a prayer in my heart for the mama, the child, those who knew and walked away. I can’t imagine.
Another moody little girl flashes her feisty attitude, angry that she had to share our attention. Adorable. Seems like a lifetime ago when we were facing these very moods in our own home. A lifetime indeed.
The children had their strong allure and pull on my heart and my emotions and my mind reeled thinking about each story and their journey. I thought, prayed and contemplated each one and marveled at the house moms who left their own family for the week to stand in as a loving mother to these little ones. And yet my mind kept coming back to my “little one”. This confident adult woman who has spent months giving to these kids, pouring out of her own time, her own treasures and her own heart to be with them. My heart ached so that I felt self conscious of it. I was confused by the mix of emotions I was experiencing but I knew a deep and profound heart ache was coming.
Fast forward one week. Time for baby girl, our nearly 21 year old baby, to return home.
I was antsy, emotional and had no tolerance for BS today. Everything seems to rile me and I found myself agitated in my heart. What was going on? Why am I behaving this way. I whisper another prayer…this time for her…for me. Probably should have for those around me. I was a wreck.
After finally taking time to just settle and listen, I realized my reactions were merely deflecting from the real state of my heart…my hurting heart. As I lay quietly trying to whisper another prayer, I realized I could feel actual physical pain in my heart. I knew my kid was hurting. Still too far away for a hug and too grown up for a trick or a treat to forget the pain. I felt rushes of the same protective urges I did when she was three. Her heart was hurting and there was absolutely nothing I could do to help her. No words would help. I could not wrap her up and promise her everything would be alright. Her social media posts were mature, grounded, full of heart, yes pain, but so sincere and so pure that I felt ashamed of my worry. She has grown and changed.
Somewhere, when we weren’t looking, our baby became an adult. A beautiful, confident adult who will no doubt change the world. I know several little kids whose lives have been changed already.