Monday, January 14, 2013

Being real

Dear Eli,

I spent the last few days making a baby book for Rose. It was fun to relive the last sixteen months since we knew she was going to be our daughter. Even though I know she'll probably only be interested in looking at her pictures for the next few years, I also decided to include all of the letters I wrote to her while we were waiting. Holy cow, there were a lot of letters.

And, of course, that made me feel really bad, because I haven't written to you nearly as often as I wrote to Rose.

Back in August, when we found out about you, I told myself that the wait would be too long to write every week. Back in August, I was trying to pace myself because I knew that our wait for you would be long and hard, and the longer I could hold you at bay, the easier it would be.

I'm not holding you at bay any more. With great luck, you'll be in my arms in just two months. With average luck, it might take an extra week or two. There's not a waking hour that goes by when I don't think of you, or when someone in the house doesn't talk about you. We want you and anticipate you just as eagerly as we anticipated Rose's arrival last year.

But another thing I noticed in those letters is how starry-eyed and idealistic I was while we were waiting for Rose. Even though I was already a mom four times over, even though I knew that parenting was at least as much hard, boring work as it was laughter and rewarding times, I put on some weird soft-focus lens when I thought of Rose.

I said I would stop running for her. If anything, I need the running, the sanity break, all the more now.

I said that I would give up writing and friends and obligations for her, but somehow, I've managed to get myself even more obligated. I like being obligated, and she manages to deal with it (and I do feel a little bit bad about that).

I think that part of it was because I felt that adopting her had to transform me into a more selfless, more Christlike kind of person. But I'm still the same person, just with more kids.

I implied that I would be the best mom ever for her. But most days, I find myself muddling through, just like I did with the older kids.

Just like I'll muddle through with you, too.

And maybe that's why I can't write the starry-eyed letters to you, Eli. Because when we were waiting for Rose, I'd had five years to forget that having a baby and a toddler is hard work. And it's not that I don't want to do my best as a parent, it's just that my best is sometimes not so great. And being part of a big family, while it has its benefits, also has its drawbacks. You'll never be the only child in my heart, on my mind, or probably even on my lap (your big sister is mighty possessive). So while I want you, desperately, I also feel like writing idealistic letters would be a little bit disingenuous.

I do want you to know this:

We want you.

We love you.

We'll do our best to be the best family we can for you.

And sometimes, we'll fall short.

But no matter what, we will always want you and love you.

And I'll try to do better with the writing thing. It's only two more months-- it's the least I can do.




Christy said...

Darn it Shelah! *sob* I guess I should know better than to read your posts without tissues in hand. Thank you for sharing your journey! Though our adoption experiences are different, I find so much comfort in the emotional similarities of our stories.

Bridget Cole said...

:) Amen!