Wait and See

I never wanted kids. I never played with dolls and dreamed of having my own little minions to one day boss around and mold into personal slaves love and cherish. I never dreamed of white picket fences, home baked cookies, pigtails and cute little outfits.

I never gave parenting much thought at all. Up until the moment I murdered a rabbit peed on a stick and faced the reality of looming motherhood, I never figured I was cut from the maternal cloth so many of my friends seemed to be made from.

Until that moment, the moment the little stick showed it's plus sign, it never dawned on me what having children would, could bring to my life. I never understood the blessing of children. I just saw snotty noses, dirty diapers and stressed out moms. I didn't see that as a future I could embrace.

Some where between my own babies caterwauling, snotty noses and dirty diapers, I discovered the joys of parenthood. The sweet coos of a sleeping baby, the robust giggles of a toddler and the gap tooth grins of my kids charmed me into thinking I could do this. I could be a mom. And like it.

Then Bug was born and the rules were changed. There were no late nights nursing a sweet infant back to sleep. It was all about hospitalizations and doctors and medical procedures. It was about scary diagnoses, impossible hopes and fighting fears.

When other moms were rousing themselves for late night feedings and rocking their babes back to sleep, I was stumbling in the dark, stubbing my toes and trying to figure out which monitor was shrilling it's alarm in the wee hours, warning me of Bug's imminent doom.

While other moms dealt with sore nipples or dirty bottles, I was trying to lift my kid out of his specialized high chair or his crib without trying to yank out his gastric feeding tube.

As other moms struggled with solid foods or temper tantrums, I was juggling a medication schedule that would give any nurse a headache and trying to keep my other two kids from hiding the plastic syringes in the couch cushions.

While other moms worried their toddlers weren't playing nice with others or were being bullied on the playground by an obnoxious sand-thrower, I was trying to get other parents and children to simply see and acknowledge my child. Other moms worried about preschool, princesses and television programs. I struggled to fit the damn wheelchair in the back of my car, remember his speech equipment, his splints and wonder if I was going to be on time to pick up the other two children after a day at the hospital.

It was trial by fire and more than once I felt the burn.

Yet I would sell my soul to the devil himself to have one more minute to experience that flame.

In a blink, it was over. And there were two stunned little kids who didn't understand why their brother was no longer banging cupboards in the wee hours of the morn, no longer there to play choo-choo with them.

I'm was left with hard questions and no answers. Just tears, enough to fill an ocean.

As time passes, that ocean gets deeper. And yet, every morning the sun still rises, the clouds still part and the waves from our ocean of loss no longer threaten to topple us over. Instead, they mostly bathe us with the warm memories of a life that was filled with love and joy.

With the adoption looming, and the possibility of a new brother or sister to love, we are all reminded of the little boy absent from our home, yet never from our hearts or our minds. I've found myself explaining to family and friends, again, why we want to walk this path once more.

Why would we want to put our hearts on the line for a child who may never be normal, or healthy or even grow up. Why would we want to wrestle with hospitilizations, medications, therapies and social frustrations.

I nod my head and agree that it's easy not to be able to see past the frustrations and scariness of a disabled child. But, I remind them, it is impossible to forget the joy those children shine with and spread to all who come into contact with them.

Bug made sure of that.

And so will our next child.

That's what I tell people when they ask why we want to adopt such a needy child.

Just wait until you meet him or her. Then you will know.