I have never truly understood the full meaning of the saying, "grace for the moment," until this past week. Let me explain...
On Thursday, August 24, I went to a meeting in which it was formally decided that Little Man will be going to Aunt L and Uncle P's house within the next few months. I am very thankful, as I mentioned in my last post, for this family and for their dedication to these boys. I have been determined to stay positive about the move so that my emotions will not go insane over the next month. Having this much time to prepare Little Man and myself (and my friends and family) for the impending move is a luxury that is rarely seen in foster care. In order to begin the prep, I began talking immediately about Aunt L and Uncle P and how great they are and that Little Man will get to see them soon. Once he became comfortable with the idea of meeting them, I began throwing in some questions about brother, "Wouldn't you like to live with brother again? You can live with him at Aunt L and Uncle P's house... isn't that awesome?" A week went by with simple answers to my questions and not a second thought. Then Wednesday happened.
As we got in the car to go to choir this past Wednesday night, Little Man realized the full extent of what we had been talking about for the past six days. Now, don't get me wrong... this kid can cry. It's usually, however, when he doesn't get his way and then ends up in trouble. This was different, though. As he began crying, it sounded as if his little heart was breaking into millions of pieces. When he finally calmed down enough to talk, he said what I had been dreading for almost an entire week: "But I don't want to leave! I'm going to miss you too much."
This is the point where logically, I expected myself to start tearing up and losing it. It didn't happen, though, surprisingly enough. After reasoning with Little Man for the last of the drive to choir, he calmed down and we went about our Wednesday night business. It was a different story when we got home, though. As we got ready for bed and started reading our Bible story and saying prayers, this 4 year old little boy wept in my arms at the thought of having to say goodbye to his home again, and to the people and things that he now loves and holds dear to his heart. He wept hardest as the thought came to him that Sunny, my dog, would not be going with him. My heart broke, but yet the tears still did not come. As Little Man finally went to sleep that night and I left his room, I found myself wondering what was wrong with me that I had not become emotional and cried at all.
Thursday night was still bad, but yet better than Wednesday. Still... no tears. Friday and Saturday nights were normal. I'm not sure if Little Man is just coping with the thought of leaving better than before, or if he's just tuned it out, but we haven't had anymore discussions (or cry-fests) over his impending departure. As for me, I found out that Baby M would be joining us this Tuesday, so my thoughts shifted gears pretty radically. Honestly, Little Man's departure was the last thing on my mind as I walked into church this morning. (Wait, walked? I meant to say ran with wet hair flying!) During communion, though, I sat in a chair to pray and began crying immediately. Every tear that had refused to surface during the previous few nights made its way down my face. With every tear that fell, I felt Little Man's day of departure growing closer and closer.
As irritated as I can get with this little ball of energy, I will miss him desperately when he is no longer with me. No more talk about Wonder Pets... or Wonder Pets prison. No more movie quotes that make absolutely no sense in the conversation. No more incessant "what if" questions. No more zurbits or tennies. No more scrunched up mad face that drives me crazy. No more feet that smell to high heaven after a day of shoes. No more impish grin and guilty face when I walk into his bathroom and the floor is covered in water because he's playing in the sink. No more flipping off of my chair and kicking everything in his path (yes, including my face!). No more requests for a bunny, hamster, mouse, turtle, duck, chicken, or lizard. No more finding the entire bag of guinea pig treats stuffed into the guinea pig cage. No more guinea pig. No more Little Man hugs and "I love you"s. No more thank yous for the smallest things that would go unnoticed by most kids. No more Little Man.
I already grieve for the day that he leaves. I already dread having to let go of him and entrust him to another family. I already dread having to say goodbye and not seeing him everyday. But God is giving me grace for the moment. What good would it do for Little Man to see my anguish? How would it make him feel if my tears fell and I clung to him instead of letting him go? With every positive word that I utter about this life change for him, I pray that he hears it as an affirmation of where he needs to be. I pray that he begins looking forward to being with his brother again. I pray that he begins to heal before he even moves. And when the day comes for me to drop him off, I pray that he jumps out of my car and runs into his new home with joy, even as my heart shatters. I pray, for the both of us, for grace for the moment.