Tuesday, September 27, 2011
Stranger in my bed
Last night I couldn't sleep. I went to bed too early because when you are in a hotel room when the first kid goes to sleep everything has to be dark. So that was at 7 pm. And I went to sleep. And I woke up wide awake at 1:45 and stayed up until 4:00 am. I spent most of my time on pinterest building my virtual bulletin boards that no one cares about. But in the midst of this I had some amazing thoughts. Lily was smashed up next to me with her face near my hip and her legs intertwined with mine like a pretzel. I would get so closterphobic that I would take it as long as I could and then I would shove her as far as I could to the other side of the bed to which she would roll back half way immediately and slowly inch back. In her sleep. I just thought, "Who is this stranger in my bed? Who's kid is this? Where did she come from? How did she get here and why is she stuck to me like glue?" Lily has zero boundaries. She gets all up in your face. She doesn't care if her breath is fresh or who you are! She is going to get noticed and going to get her needs met no matter what. And she had her legs all over me just like I used to do to my mom growing up. Because I watched too many scary movies growing up I would wake up every night and run down the long hallway to mom and dad's room where I would always be accepted on my mom's side. I did this until I was about 13 I would guess. And every night as long as I wrapped my legs around mom's I felt safe and happy. I would ask her if she minded if I put my legs all over hers. She would say no. Then I'd say, "Is it because I'm your daughter or would you let anyone do this?" (This became a game and I'd ask her this many times over the years as I slept with her). She would always laugh and say she wouldn't let just anyone put their legs all over her! Then I'd proceed with the game and call out certain people, family members or friends names and she would tell me if she would let them put their legs all over her legs! I have a fun mom, for those of you who don't know her! We would laugh lots and she would always say she wouldn't let a stranger! So when I found myself in mom's position last night I thought to myself, this IS a stranger with her legs wrapped all around mine! And then I thought, wait a minute, this is MY DAUGHTER! It still takes me by surprise sometimes. With Hope it's different because she's a baby. She kinda is becoming a product of our family. You can see how we've already influenced her this way. But with Lily, there's more there. She was already shaped for almost 10 years by others and circumstances not us. So she is like a stranger. But she's our daughter. Weird. The three originals have been so great about it. I cannot say enough good things about them. They are such great kids. And they must have had a solid foundation of love and trust built to be able to let their grips loosen on us and share us with Hope and Lily. They demand a lot of time. So in my deep thoughts last night I thought......what makes a person my responsibility? Who are my kids? Why will I let this kid into my heart but not others. And then I thought of my Aunt Penny and Aunt Suzie back home and how they loved every person and every kid like their own. They reached out to kids, always had their doors open to them, and always had a stove full of food for any kid that dropped by. And then I thought. All children are our responsibility. Just last week I read a story online about a mom in Tulsa that left her three children under the age of 6 home alone while she went drinking. Who's looking out for them if their own mother is not? In today's world we like to keep our distance and stay out of other people's business so we don't endanger ourselves. Hmmm. We all know the mother who speaks up in a crowd and takes on the maternal role when some kids get out of line or are in need. While others sit back and do nothing, they are in the kids face either nurturing or rebuking them in a way only a mother can. Those type of women get out of theirselves and into the needs of children and cannot stay silent. I don't just want to love my own kids and be annoyed by everyone else's. I don't just want to raise MY children right while neglecting their friend whose mother never makes them a lunch or buys them new shoes. I want to get outside of myself and see the hurting children around me. Whether they are in an orphanage in another country or down the street. Little Lily never had a momma to wrap her legs around. She didn't ask me if she could. She's beyond that. She's got to survive. Shes got to take everything she sees the opportunity to take! She NEEDS to be nurtured and loved and touched and smiled at and told she is so good! (She always says Momma I'm goooood!) We opened our hearts and home (and bed) to a stranger from the other side of the world who doesn't look like us or talk like us or smell like us. We don't need to be commended. We don't take credit for this. We heard from God. We didn't even have a choice when it came to Lily. We were more certain than anything in our lives that we were to bring Lily home. I say that sincerely. It's all God. Not us. And since we did this, I realize how there are so many others. Not just orphans. Kids with moms and dads that are too consumed with work or money issues or can't even hold their marriage together for the sake of their family to meet their children's needs. I am gonna keep my eyes open. And if all I ever do in my life here is be a mother, that's good enough for me. I'm gonna strive my hardest to do it well! I may not let them sleep in my bed, but I can certainly let them into my heart.