Wednesday, August 5, 2020

Just enough for today

He was taller. Had a different haircut. But I would've known him anywhere.

Little Man.

The first child I ever brought home from the hospital who was not born from my body. The first child to need me in a way I'd never experienced before. Our first foster son. Gone from our family almost two years now but still always in our hearts.

His aunt and uncle, now his adoptive parents, didn't have to let me know they were passing through town. Didn't have to go out of their way to stop and see us. But they did. He climbed out of the car and it was like the last two years disappeared and there was my Little Man standing at my knee. Only this time he didn't know me. Didn't know what the fuss was all about. Didn't understand why I kept taking his picture.

It was one of those moments you can never really prepare for. All we'd ever wanted, all we'd ever prayed for, was that he would someday have a loving family and be happy and whole. And there he was, loved and happy and whole, and all I could do was stare and thank God. I didn't know what to say, but Little Man smiled at me and I thought, "He's okay. After everything he's been through, he's okay."

Our new foster son, Baby Shark, was there too, wearing a shirt Little Man used to wear and sitting in a stroller Little Man used to ride. Little Man played peek-a-boo with him, laughing, and said, "Baby." Then he looked at me, the wheels in his brain turning, turning, trying to figure out why I seemed so familiar...why I felt like family...and said, "Grandma?"

I never imagined I'd be a grandma in my 30s, but it felt right. It sounded beautiful.

When our visit with Little Man and his family ended, we all said goodbye. It wasn't nearly as hard to do this time, knowing he was exactly where he needed to be. But as I drove away, listening to Baby Shark babble in the car seat behind me, my heart squeezed. I need to give him more kisses, I thought. I need to give him more snuggles. More, more. But will it be enough? Any month, any week, any day now, he will be gone, just like Little Man. He will leave and there will be no guarantee we will ever have the chance to see him again.

Baby Shark was ready for his nap when we got home and I closed the blinds in his room, turned on his fan, and held him for a minute, a little tighter than usual. Little Man's story had turned out better than I could've hoped, but what about Baby Shark? Would he too have a loving family and be happy and whole someday?


My breath caught. Yes. Because he has a loving family and is happy and whole right now. Today. I don't know about tomorrow, but today?

"I love you," I whispered.

I don't know how long he will be here or what will happen to him. I don't know if he'll eventually go on with his life with nothing but a vague memory of some lady who smiled at him and gave him kisses. But because of Little Man, because of the gift of seeing him again, I know that what I have to give Baby Shark, all I have to give, is just enough for today.