Chapter Thirty Nine: Babysitting
Our four year old looked up at me with his HUGE brown eyes and said, “Mrs. Telli … how long are you going to babysit us?“. Babysit … so that’s what we’ve been doing. Huh. I giggled. So sweet, so trusting, so unaware.
Unaware is good most of the time, but it’s unsettling side effects can leave one guessing. When will there be a final decision? What will that decision be? Have we shown them Jesus enough and equipped them for what is next? Can we “do” what is next?
Our five year old is the thinker, he asks often, “What is going to happen? Will we stay here or go with our parents?”.
And there is only one answer (given with a big o hug), “We don’t know. But what we do know is that we get to love you today. And that is what we will do. ”
Love one another today. Friend or foe. Co-worker or neighbor. Parent or child. Stranger or acquaintance. Just simply love one another today. Babysitting or forever. Love never fails.
Chapter Forty: Camp Rule
A couple of conversations and situations had brought us to a point to discuss at length with our five year old appropriate actions when it comes to our “private parts”. There were a couple of weeks when it was all unfolding and hard conversations were happening and our snowglobe was being shook up something fierce. Blech. But, just as God does … He walks through it with us. Heck, He walked through it for us as we were mourning for this young boy and yet clueless as how to proceed with such situations. Not only did God walk through it with us gracefully … He provided a little affirmation that lessons were indeed sinking in.
I was going to camp to greet Day Campers one Monday Morning and our five year old wanted to come help. Absolutely, come along. When he asked what his job would be, I let him know he could help me greet campers. I told him he would be great at telling the new campers what camp was like.
Oh, he loved that idea. He stood up as if to practice. He looked into a “campers” eyes and confidently said, “Welcome to camp. You are going to have so much fun. Our first rule is, “don’t touch private parts.”
Oh my. While I don’t know how far he will make it in the marketing world, I do know … he has a teachable spirit.
And for that, I will count it as a blessing … and a really, really, really good laugh.
Chapter Forty One: Full
Our car is full. Our table is full. Our house sounds full. Our days are full. And. Our lives are full.
One day, one of our young guys jumped off my lap and I sighed a bit of relief. An empty lap. Ahhhhh. And then one of our olders walked in the room and saw an empty lap … and filled it up.
On Wednesdays, the youngers go to a MDO program (worth. every. penny.) and the olders and I spend that time together. I often think the questions will be less, the conversation will be calm and the fighting will be gone. But nope, Wednesdays are full of all of those. And I love it. Full of life. Real life.
Every day, patience seems to run low, creativity seems to simply drip, energy is running on empty and then the clock says three and some how, some way God fills it up. Just enough to fall into bed each night.
Without a doubt, our hearts are full.
Chapter Forty Two: Stranger Danger
On a recent road trip, we stopped for lunch. Libby blessed the socks off of Robert and I with a “table date”. (Translation: we sit at a table by ourselves and she takes care of the youngers). She explained to them that they were going to pretend not to know us. I turned to say something to one of them and the oldest of the youngest announced loudly, “STRANGER DANGER” and pointed at me.
Um. That works. Each and every person at the five surrounding tables were staring right at us. Date over. And reminder to carry paperwork with us … everywhere.
Chapter Forty Three: Glimpses of Goodness
It had been an ugly hard four days. Our five year old was battling deeply with something in his heart. Anger was raging and it was directed at me in full force. Extreme declarations that he was positive I hated him and wanted to send him back to the shelter were issued multiple times a day. The hurt was deep, the battle was intense and I was worn out.
The fifth morning yielded a public explosion, followed by a meltdown. (Explosion by five year old, meltdown by me.) It was an ugly, snotty, can’t-understand-a-word-I-am-saying meltdown as my soul, my spirit and my joy was beat down. Half way to the car, a one sided stand off commenced … that quite frankly I expected to last all day. A camp friend, a gentle spirited man, walked over and put his arm around me and talked a certain five year old to the car.
The tears and snot and ugly cry continued … all the way to the gas station. Where, again, I felt a arm around my shoulder. A women in town that so many of us look up to saw me (i.e. my mess) and stopped to hug me, encourage me and showed me another glimpse of God’s goodness.
I drove to our friends house with the two boys and my completely swollen eyes. Debbie and her kids watch the boys each Monday so that I can work. (to say it is a blessing beyond belief is the understatement of the year). Not only does Debbie watch the boys, but she watches my heart. You see, they have walked the same road when they brought their daughter home from Peru when she was just three. She assures me it is a win/win for all as it is such a blessing for her daughter, Alex, to serve in this way and be the “older” child.
At the end of the day, I went to pick up the boys (where no meltdowns or anger had surfaced). This particular night the rest of the family was gone so off to McD’s and their playground we went. Alex, their daughter, went with us. On the way home, anger against me started flying, Alex’s eyes grew wide and my heart began to break a bit more. It was the first time it had happened for others to see. I dropped Alex off, too tired to even explain to Debbie. I would text her later.
But she beat me to it … this is what she texted me, “You have no idea how your family is impacting us! Alex just came home worried that your heart was hurt by what R said. I explained that sometimes when people are hurt, they hurt other people, especially people they love. This led to an amazing conversation about foster kids and why they are foster kids.”
Her mom goes on to say, “to see sweet Alex’s heart for R and for her not to remember the times she hurt us as she was grieving and processing and afraid to love in the exact same way is just too much to process. Alex’s prayer tonight was, ‘and help fix R’s ouchy parts in his heart so he is nice to others.‘”
Whoa. I suppose the previous four days of the battle in the hearts of our home were worth the enduring to see the rest of God’s story in Alex’s life. She is no longer that angry child. She is now the child praying for the angry, hurt child.
We are all living in a shaken up snowglobe. The two that stopped to hug and help that morning I know have had their snowglobe shaken up beyond what they thought they could handle … but it didn’t keep them from letting God use them as a glimpse of HIs goodness. The family that provides respite for us has walked the same path … shaken and then shaken again … and the snow has now settled and for some sweet reason, the Lord is allowing us to see clearly just how He has healed Alex’s heart … and will do the same for each of us. Especially our sweet five year old.
He is good. So, so good.
In my shaken up moment … God quickly used shaken up people to calm me. He used a hurt child that is now healed, to love our child in need of healing for his hurts.
Look close in your snowglobe … the shaken moments have some pretty amazing things to see.