suffer the children

Not your typical July 4th post – be warned.

I’ve done hard things before.  Things that require patience, endurance, strength.  I’ve climbed things. I’ve conquered.  I can do stuff.  You don’t get 39 without doing hard things.  You just don’t.  But I took on a thing this week that has wiped me right out and today I am a kind of bone weary I have never, ever been before.  My face feels painted on – and not just the smile part – hairline down people.  I am going to need a minute to recover – if you don’t mind.

This week, due to a very unusual aligning of stars, I had the pleasure of hanging out with and taking care of five of the very best kids. It’s a confusing and motley crew so try to follow if you can:

  • My 10-year-old
  • My 22-month-old son in foster care
  • My 9-year-old husband’s cousin’s daughter who is the 1/2 biological daughter of my son in foster care
  • My 7-year-old husband’s cousin’s daughter who is also the 1/2 biological daughter of my son in foster care
  • My, I can’t really say “my” because she’s not mine but we hope someday soon she will be, 4-month-old full-biological sister of my son in foster care

If you think you were confused about who was who and how we all fit together, just go ahead and try to imagine how the kiddos felt about the whole thing.  The 10 and 9 year old’s started things off with a full-on fight about who littlest sister “belonged” to.  Ho boy.  I could have done some better prepping on that one.

By the way, the pleasure of caring for them was mine a long, long way from home.  I don’t think I’ve ever had so many children depend on me so much for a very long time – maybe ever.

You know in the Bible, that really endearing scripture where Jesus tells his apostles to “suffer the little children to come unto me?” I’ve always liked it.  Don’t you?  He loves kids!  But do you think “suffer” meant then what it means now?  I kind of hope so.  Because He nailed it  (seriously bad pun not intended).

Some kids are hard.  I know because I have one.  And my husband’s lovely cousins have one.  And I adore hard ones.  You can do so much for the hard ones!  They deserve and get (willingly or not) the most back-breaking dedication and work.  But two under two and two hard ones is a lot.  Even for one as capable as moi – hence the face thing.

I have never shied away from hard things.  Honestly, with the possible exception of the last 30, I loved every minute of our time together over the last four days.  Even the bad last 30 minutes were good for me because they made it so I could walk away from that 4-month-old, brown-eyed lovely who stole my very heart the minute she reached for me.

Can I give her one paragraph here?  Oh my meltyness!  She is a little song.  She and her brother are girl and boy versions of the same person.  Beautiful.  Same little frowny faces and tickle spots.  Same giant brown eyes and chubby thighs.  I never wanted to put her down.

My weary is equal parts lack of sleep and demanding kids.  But the inside weary is because of the goodbye part of that trip. It’s a goodbye that may be permanent or temporary with that little one.  Still, I don’t regret “suffering” those children.   Weary or no.  I’d do it again in a second.



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