Thank you for including such a long line of screw-ups in your genealogy: liars, adulterers, illegitimate children, prostitutes, murderers, law-breakers, home-wreckers and outcasts, to name a few. I’m finding some serious grace in that list of names today, and feeling right at home among them.
Today, I showed up at Samuel’s 1st grade school field trip (upon his request, mind you) only to have him completely ignore me – I’m talking wouldn’t even say “hi”, clinging to his friends. (I know what you’re thinking, “what’s so atypical about that?”) Probably nothing, but coming off the heels of my 3rd grader-slash-momma’s boy’s field trip where the child HELD MY HAND the entire day, it was a little hard for me to swallow. (see momma's boy pictured on right...)
And there’s also the fact that this is Samuel’s first year not being homeschooled by me, and not a day goes by that he doesn’t let me know how much he loves it, hated school BEFORE this year, wants to live at his school, etc. So I continued on the first 30 minutes, taking photos of all the kids/teachers, helping when I could, etc. During a brief lapse of judgment, I decided to take a quick photo of me and Sam (just like I had with my momma’s boy), I held out the camera and said “hey, let me take a picture of us real quick” – to which he rudely, emphatically protested, to the point of groaning and putting his hands over his face. I put the camera away and whispered in his ear what any …. 3 year old… might say, “Fine, I don’t want a picture with you anyway, you’ve been rude to me since I got here”. Yep. I did. Not proud of that, btw…
I know you’re out there thinking, “get over it”, but I’m just being real with you, I COULDN’T. See, my love for this kid has come at great personal cost. He’s got so many issues, you’ll want to be on meds just to READ the list. And I spend a lot of emotional, physical, spiritual and mental (not to mention financial) energy to try and help him cope with his early abandonment, perpetual fear of, well, EVERYTHING, adoptive insecurities, lack of empathy, hyperactivity and extreme insecurity. (And yes, I’m well aware of the fact that my giving you that list only made you more sympathetic to HIM, and less to ME…. that’s ok. Apparently, I’m the grown-up).
So I did the natural thing that any … 2 year old… would do. I told him goodbye (very solemnly, and sadly so he’d know how hurt I was) and LEFT. Yep. Walked right of of the store. Began to cry. Resisted the urge to text my sweet hubby who I KNEW would NOT have my back on this one (since, again, I’m apparently the grown-up), and began the short drive home.
A drive which began with me to declaring to God how hard that incident was for me. I know Sam won’t have any regrets about it. Because while it very well could have just been typical behavior among peers, it also was a potentially good indicator of what I’ve already been thinking lately: this kid is not experiencing healthy and whole attachment with us yet. My adopted 6yo (the one who was suspended TWICE…in KINDERGARTEN….really?) at least knows when she’s crossed the line with the people in her family and has remorse, even tears at the eventual knowledge she has alienated or hurt them. That’s an indicator of attachment – empathy. But after 3 ½ LONG years, we’re not there yet with Sam.
What should I have done? Stayed there, avoided Samuel, been thankful that I was dealing with attachment and not drug rehab or juvenile incarceration, and said to Sam (by my actions alone) loudly and clearly:
NO MATTER WHAT YOU DO, I’M NEVER GOING TO LEAVE OR ABANDON YOU. I LOVE YOU. PERIOD. NOT FOR WHAT YOU DO FOR ME EMOTIONALLY, BUT BECAUSE OF THIS ONE SIMPLE TRUTH:
YOU. ARE. MINE.
Wasn’t that beautiful?.... You have no idea how I wish that had been my response, darn you, 20-20 hindsight!
So the rest of the drive included (1) confession – God, I’m an idiot who is completely selfish and not fit to be this kid’s mom, forgive me for choosing the toddler response, (2) repentance – God, help me not make this mistake again! Help me see beyond the here and now to what WILL BE by your grace and power as I continue to love him UNCONDITIONALLY, and (3) thankfulness – God, thank you that the end of my story (and his!) is not dependent on my non-existent perfection, but on the finished work of the cross where you died for today’s bout of stupidity and rose again to LEAVE IT THERE!, and (4) resolve – God, this afternoon when he asks me why I left early (because as I mentioned earlier, he will be COMPLETELY OBLIVIOUS), help me to say with love and compassion, “I thought maybe you were embarrassed that I was there. I’m sorry I left, sweetie – I promise I will never do that again. I love you, and I want you to feel secure, safe, and happy.” End of discussion.
So thankfull that the walk from my SIN to your HERO HALL OF FAITH is as short as THE CROSS.
“Therefore, there is now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus” Romans 8:1. Hallelujah. Movin’ on…
(the one photo I did manage of him - guess it wasn't a complete failure...
he's the happy black kid in the center...:-)