The Journey...Part Three


Hope was what I clung to through a bizarre flurry of phone calls and meetings that followed after meeting the baby with dimples I knew was to be my son.

His history, both familial and medical, was complicated at best. But I was determined to see this through, determined to make this boy my own.

My patience and persistent paid off. Eight days after meeting that sweet baby, I was on my way to his foster parent's house to pick him up. I was granted weekend visitations and my family was over the moon. Fric and Frac could barely contain their glee and eagerly waited to meet this new life, a boy they nicknamed BamBam.

As I drove to the city and navigated the directions to where he was being pimped out to meet me again, I worried nervously about what it would mean to have a baby in my house again. It had been seven years since I had given birth to Bug. Seven years since I swaddled and rocked a child this small in the wee small hours of the night.

Bug was an anomaly at birth due to his disabilities. He couldn't cry because he could barely muster the energy to pull his lungs for air. Crying came when he was much older and even then it was more the sounds of a kitten pathetically mewing than the angry screams of an infant.

But Bambam wasn't like Bug. He had lungs. His cries still echoed in my ears from our one previous meeting and I worried that he would miss his foster mom, the only parent he ever knew. What would happen if all he did was cry all weekend and my older children, unaccustomed to having a squalling baby around changed their mind?

I worried about nighttime feedings, diaper changes and soothers as I drove into the city to get him. I started to doubt my instincts and myself the closer I got to his house. Fear and anxiety thrummed through me as I pulled into the driveway of the address I had clutched in my hand.

"What if BamBam doesn't like me?" ran through my head, over and over again. Walking up that sidewalk and knocking on the door, I felt like I had my heart in my throat as I waited what seemed an eternity for the door to open.

And then it did. It felt as though the gates of paradise had swung open to welcome me. My angel from heaven, BamBam's foster mom smiled at me and chuckled at how nervous I looked.

"Come in, come in, he's been waiting for you," she smiled as she turned to lead me to my miracle baby.

He sat in a baby swing, dressed in an orange and green jumpsuit emblazoned with an embroidered Tigger and Winny the Pooh on it. He was watching his foster siblings, all toddlers, buzzing around him and he was smiling.

It took everything I had not to grab him and chew on those dimpled little cheeks of his. Common sense chided in though, reminding me it'd be better not to come off as some crazy cheek chewing, baby babbling lunatic which would frighten him forever whenever he saw me.

So I knelt down in front of him and waited for him to make eye contact. Slowly, his eyes met mine and my heart burst into a billion pieces when he smiled at me and started to coo.

"He coos!" I gasped, shocked. Bug barely ever made sound at this age. His foster mom laughed and told me he was quite verbal, happy to chatter the day away whenever he was feeling good.

That hour was a blur of information quickly being tossed my way, instructions being learned, and introductions being made. I was itching to leave with him, but I didn't want to seem rude so I accepted an invitation for coffee as Bambam sat in my lap, happy enough to be held.

Finally it was time to go. His foster mom packed him into his car seat as I loaded all his gear, food and medical equipment out to my car. When I came back in to grab him, I had tears in my eyes.

"Thank you. For everything. You have no idea how much this means to me. To my family," I half whispered, half croaked as I bounced the car seat around to keep BamBam from getting annoyed.

"It is my pleasure, Tanis. I know this is going to work out. Enjoy your weekend with him and we'll talk on Monday when you bring him back," she smiled knowingly.

I practically floated to my car to strap him and myself in. I talked to him the entire way home so he'd get used to my voice. He kicked and wiggled and cooed back, ignoring my chatter and probably thinking about what he had done to be stuck with a head case like me for the weekend.

Because it was lunchtime and the kids were in school and Boo was up north at work, I drove to my best friend's house. The Dragonlady was eagerly waiting to meet this little man to see if he was all that I had talked him up to be. I was just as eager to get him out of his car seat and smooch on those adorable cheeks.

It wasn't long before we had that poor baby stripped down to his diaper, examining every little inch of him and smothering the poor thing with kisses and cuddles. The Dragonlady introduced her three young children to my BamBam and we watched with delight when he seemed to light up around the kids.

Any doubts I may have silently harbored about Fric and Frac not liking him quickly dissolved as I watched the Dragonlady's kids maul BamBam with love and his good-natured reactions.

That first afternoon was a blur of smiling laughter and baby kisses. I kept checking the clock waiting for the kids to get out of school and soon I was packing BamBam back into his car seat and heading home while the Dragonlady looked on enviously at my new little sweetheart. She was my biggest supporter since Bug's death and to see me finally within reach of adding a member to my family practically had her floating of the ground with happiness for us.

I shouted promises to bring him back tomorrow, along with Fric and Frac and waved to her through my open window as I watched her standing on the front door watching my tail lights disappear down her winding driveway.

It felt strange to pull into my driveway, get out of my car and lean into the backseat to unbuckle a child. It had been almost three years since I have had to do that and a weird sense of deja vu settled over me.

I had just barely got BamBam settled into his bassinette before Fric and Frac hurled into the house like two little rockets. They climbed over with each other with excitement, practically pushing one another out of each other's way while asking where I'd hidden the baby.

I laughed and put my fingers to my lips to shush them and then crooked a finger, beckoning them to follow me into my bedroom where BamBam was playing with some crib toys, drifting in and out of slumber.

They tiptoed quietly over to the window where the bassinette was set up and peered in to catch their first glimpse of this new little ray of hope in all of our lives.

In that second I felt my heart expand and I knew everything would be all right as they gently introduced themselves to the blue-eyed baby staring up at them.

"Can we pick him up, Mom?" Fric asked, holding her breath, half expecting me to say no.

I nodded yes and helped her lift him out of his crib and placed him in my daughter's arms while watching her face light up like a Christmas tree.

"He's so tiny! So light!" she breathed as she went to sit on the couch to hold him, Frac not far off her heels.

I agreed and as they gently examined their new little friend I explained the challenges he faced, some similar to their brother Bug and some very, very different. None of my medical speak phased them, they were too thrilled that he smiled and laughed with them when they made silly faces for him.

It turns out all my fears about re-entering the world of babydom were unfounded. BamBam was happy to be the center of attention and to my delight, at eight months old he slept through the night. I woke up to the soft sounds of a baby cooing. Both Nixon and I were delighted.

It was a magical weekend and it seemed time accelerated the way it always does when one is having fun. The ache that haunted me since Bug's passing was still there but it was far off in the distance. Baby giggles and Fric and Frac's delight drowned out any shadows of grief that threatened the horizon.

There was only one black cloud that marred our family's perfect weekend getting to know this special little boy. My husband Boo was at work and was unable to make it home to meet our prospective new son. I was a bit heart broken about this. How can one commit a family to an eternity of loving another when the beloved father had nothing to base his opinion on?

Sunday morning quickly came and as much as I anticipated waking up and spending another day with my darling new buddy, I was all too aware of the minutes and seconds ticking past to the hour I had to return BamBam back to his foster parents.

I lay in bed that morning, refusing to open my eyes and start the last day of our first weekend together. I wanted to savor the knowledge there was a little bundle of joy not three feet away from me, who could possibly become the next little Redneck.

With my eyes squished tightly shut I listened to hear if the baby was awake or if Fric and Frac had snuck in to steal him out of his bed as I slumbered on. I knew something was different. Nixon, the World's Greatest Dog Ever, was sitting at the edge of the bed with his ears perked instead of his usual position of having his butt in my nose.

Raising my head I peered at him to see what was up.

Boo smiled back at me, standing at the end of our bed cradling BamBam in his big arms and breathed, "Happy Mother's Day, Tanis. The kids and I wanted to surprise you." Then he picked up little BamBam's arm and waved it at me, while whispering to the baby, "I think I couldn't have imagined a cuter kid to call my own, right Mom?"

It was the best Mother's Day gift I could have ever wished for. My husband meeting his son for the first time.

To be continued....