So my bride and the mother of no small army left just 2 days ago.
Wow. Where to begin……
How about with the plan?! Yeah! That's where I should start, or maybe that's where it all started! Melanie had (has) everything organized and set up and ready to go! You can't believe how well we are taken care of! Seriously, there is at least one sticky note on every item in the house! All I have to do for S's clothes each day is take the top two items off the pile Melanie left! That's right, 12 days of outfits waitin' to go! (Not that I don't understand female fashion, but if the pile gets knocked over, I'll post some pics of what she goes to school wearing!!!!!) There are 5 days of prepackaged lunches for the boys, play dates arranged, dinners being provided, rides home from school planned, and a packet of papers detailing every thing for every day for every heart in this house! That's my bride!
Now I remember! It all started with the weather! Doesn't it always?! Or, maybe everybody was still feeling a little cruddy (we've all been fighting it lately). No, that's not it. My radar must not have been working. I just couldn't see clearly, at least not like Mel can. No, that wasn't it either. Could I have been distracted? Looking in another direction? Humh…… Distraction. Of course. That's it! The place it all began! Isn't this always the battle?! Of course, the mother of these little men and little pretties understands this! Distraction. She even had it worked into the plan! Until the weather showed up and her distracted husband took over!
|Dad's current "distraction" - building Noah's Ark in the backyard!|
So, the boys arrived home Friday expecting the distraction of going to the park or feeding the ducks, but the drizzle didn't cooperate. Friday night did bring sleep-over adventures - 2 with aunt "Niney" and Uncle Collin and 2 with Pop! You know, the old "divide-and-conquer" strategy to get us off to a good start! But still, the boys REALLY reacted to their disappointment about not going to feed those ducks. Ducks? Web really took it hard.
Saturday brought more rain. Not the heavy kind, but just enough to keep everything wet outside and keep us inside most of the time. And, oh yeah….enough to wreck the boys morning planned adventures! The "grumpy" virus came raging into our house and stayed throughout the afternoon! So, we did what any gang of guys would do! We watched survivor-man shows all afternoon (My guys love it and even humm the theme songs when they are playing!) The boys seemed really tired. The usual "it's been a long week of concentrating at school" kind of tired. Especially Web.
We made it through Saturday afternoon, survived dinner, and got the girlies to bed! Full tummies and tired bodies. It was time to rest.
As the boys settled in their beds, the fog of distraction began to lift from the commander-in-chief and I found myself face-to-face with 3 "big boys" needing to share their hearts! (Did you know that emotions live in there?!?) Oh yeah, and one little guy wired on his big brothers' energy! Wow. How could I have not been more aware? Where had I been? OK. Wait! Seriously? I've got to talk these guys through this, and I don't even understand all that I'm feeling?!? This is WAAAAYYYY beyond my competency level! My "radar" is in a hotel in Bulgaria! She always knows what's up and when it's up and how to point me in the right direction! This was NOT on my Saturday sheet! I looked twice, but never found it!
Picture it: Barrett hanging from the ceiling fan saying "tooooooool!" (His "c" sound has got to be in there somewhere, or else we're headed for our 3rd child in speech therapy!) Actually, he was his usual self - putting his hands in his brother's fish tank and deciding to play Lego's in the dark at bedtime! Hank was rolled over to the far corner of his top bunk bed with the covers pulled over his head (huffing) all so I couldn't possibly comfort him! Palmer was on his top bunk sobbing, "I miss Mom." And Web was on the bottom bunk trying to fight back the tears confirming with nods that it had something to do with Mom being gone. Oh, and He also felt like he needed to burp which is a common event for Web to experience at bedtime. All I could do was start making the rounds and try and listen to their hearts.
This really is such a picture of the little men God sent to us! Barrett, the youngest, is happy when he is with "the big boys"! In fact, his biggest fear is that he will be left by them! He loves his brothers! Being a few years younger means he sometimes can't participate or go with them which crushes him. So, he was simply following their energy and emotion!
Hank, the third born is always trying to play "first born" and "only child"! He competes soooooo hard to be the top dog, but deep down he needs encouragement. He often tries to be tough….not show emotion….be mature. If I had a penny for every time he has said, "You don't ever [ ] ", then I'd be rich. I'm sure this is some birth order deal. So, he often tries to fulfill his own self prophecy…..like needing comfort and wanting comfort and asking for comfort but hiding under the covers on the far side of a top bunk so Dad can't possibly comfort him! It was so Hank!
Palmer, the kid we think the word "passion" best describes, just lost it! Of course, in classic fashion he kept it all to himself for a few days and went through the "meanies"and withdrawn stage for a while before he finally quit fighting it. This is the child that has often required his Dad and Mom to wrestle with him to prove our love and permanence. He is definitely the child God sent to prepare us to handle Sophi's rages, and he does everything with passion!
Then there is Web….our wonderer. Wonder has always best described him, even to the point of wandering in his wonder….about everything! This guy is a deep thinker that is always listening and never at a loss for words. He was very late in talking as a little guy, but now…..we have to help him remember to breathe because he has so much to say and share!
So, I one-by-one went around the room and tried my best to listen and speak to their hearts. (My bride's specialty with her little people!) Palmer's emotions kept resurging, and he finally found comfort in an old friend - Nuzzle. I never could physically get to Hank (or even tell if he was awake), but I did my best to encourage him and remove that tough shell of a third born fighting for belonging. As usual, Web's emotion took the most unpacking. So we talked….
All the words and emotions were hard to keep track of, but here is where Web was "wondering": He was missing Mom badly. He was fearful of her not being there. (Don't worry, I wasn't offended!!!!!!) I miss her too!) It was also about a survivor show he had seen that afternoon when a man threw up from altitude sickness. You know….. eating worms, fighting crocs, and being stranded in the middle of nowhere don't phase him, but throwing up? Now, that gets to him! Oh, and the Thanksgiving play at school. That was also making him a little afraid. And, last-but-not-least, he needed to burp. (We help him through this all the time.)
So, I'm coaching my guys through this and tending to their hearts and pointing back to God. Web looks more and more uncomfortable and complains about wanting to burp. He makes some connection between him throwing up and his Kindergarten Christmas presentation of which I had no recollection. I explained altitude sickness, and we prayed against fear. He couldn't get to feeling better.
Then, he sits up and holds his hand to his mouth. Nothing. I ask, "Web, do you need to go to the bathroom? Are you going to be sick?" He exhales and says "I'm OK." (He was trying his best to self-coach.) This is when my throw-up panic mode kicks in! "Web, you're OK, but if you feel sick you need to go to the bathroom." He says, "OK, Dad. Do you think I'm going to be sick?" "No buddy. Do you feel sick?" "I just feel like I need to burp." Then I went into the "thinking-yourself-sick" sermon not knowing whether to encourage his "OK-ness" or to evacuate to the bathroom with a wait-and-see approach! So we go back and forth. Me trying to explain away fears and avoid a 30-foot potential throw-up trail over carpet to the bathroom. Did I mention I knew I would be cleaning it up by myself should it occur? Our family throw-up clean-up list is short and sweet with me as the MVP! Second is Mel (she doesn't do throw up very well), and third is MiMi if we really get desperate. Since I was the only one within 5,000 miles of the potential drop zone that made me #1 and #2 and #3 on the list!
I wish I could say I was praying, but the truth is I was panicking and wandering in my wonder of how I would clean it up, comfort, and contain the potential sharing with the family! Was Web really thinking himself sick? NOT another stomach virus! This was NOT ON THE PLAN SHEET!
So, Web sits up again, and I put the evacuation plan into force. "Web, lets go to the bathroom!" He complies, and stops in front of the potty. Again, I asked him if he felt OK, and he responds by asking me if I think he will get sick!?!? At this point I'm lost as to what the best answer is, so I resign to, "Buddy, let's just stay here for a little while and…"
He missed the potty…..(pretty sure I stopped breathing to try and gain composure)
He missed the potty…..(and I had him moved into position to handle just this scenario)
He missed the potty…..(the whole point was to ring the potty)
He missed the potty…..(really?)
Then Web looks at me and says, "OK. Aaaahhhh (exhales). OK. I feel better now."
This is when I start to cry! Just kidding, but talk about missing your wife!
So, I clean it ALL up and get Web in the shower. Sure, my compassion waned for a moment at the aiming difficulties, but then God begins to move in and help me unpack this whole night. What is going on? What is this all about? And, as always, He clears the fog and makes blurry eyes see.
|A great sight. A quiet and resting heart. A tough little man!|
So, Web and I slept in the living room. We never needed the "just-in-case" bucket or the "containment" quilts! Praise God, it wasn't a virus! Or maybe it was????? The virus of worry and fear and sadness that so easily overwhelms us when we lose our distractions and let our eyes fall off of Jesus! Even when we do our best to stare at Jesus, we still want to throw up and go into the fetal position!
The truth is my little boy was fearful and nervous enough about not having his Mama to throw up.
The truth is my little boy was saddened enough by not having his Mama to send waves of tears over-and-over-and-over.
The truth is my little boy was uncertain enough about not having his Mama to bring down a hard layer of "little tough guy" and turn it into a "hiding-under-the-covers" 6-year old!
The truth is adopting is tough.
The truth is every heart in this house pays a cost to journey down this road.
The truth is that if you follow Jesus it will get rough. But much is at stake!
There's a little girl without a mama or a daddy. It qualifies as an emergency!
There's a little boy that is learning to be brave - NOT to not have any fears!
He is learning to be brave especially when he has fears and doubts!
There's a little boy that is learning to run to Jesus - NOT to figure it all out
and discover "wisdom" on every matter on his own like his father always tries to!
There's a little boy that is learning to survive and to march through and that you will reach
the other side! He is learning that this too will pass! This little boy is learning what it will take
to carry his cross. To follow Jesus. To do His bidding.
There's a little boy that is learning how to live with the passion
that God has given him without letting it consume him!
There's a little boy learning that God didn't mess up when he put him in 3rd place!
It was no mistake, but actually beyond perfect!
There are little boys that are learning about how much God loves them!
Way, way beyond how much they love their Mama!
And they are catching a glimpse of The Love Story that is God
pursuing us with His Only Son, Jesus! How much He must love!
There are little hearts learning that to follow Him, much will be required.
Actually, All will be required! They are learning what it will take
to carry their cross and to help carry another's! They are learning
that as strong as their love is for their Mama,
they must love Jesus even more!
You see. Much is at stake.
Little girls. Little boys. Little hearts.
All for his glory.
"Anyone who loves his father or mother more than me is not worthy of me;
anyone who loves his son or daughter more than me is not worthy of me;
and anyone who does not take his cross and follow me is not worthy of me.
Whoever finds his life will lose it, and whoever loses his life for my sake will find it."
Matthew 10: 37-39
Lord, let these little hearts love you beyond measure. Let them fix their crosses to their backs and be brave to do your bidding. Lord, grace us with the steps to guide them toward your Glory! Amen