“Isn’t he a bit BIG to be carried that way?” she greeted me as I walked into the waiting room after almost three hours driving. You, all hands and arms, and legs and face; you all wanting to crawl inside my skin, where you’re trying to convince both of us you once came from.
I looked into this kind older lady’s eyes and I thought “we have all lived such different lives, and let this remind me never to judge another’s journey” and where there was anger in my heart, grace seeped in, and where there was disappointment, grace welled up.
“Well, he only came to me two weeks ago, so I think he has a lot of catching up to do on the holding thing,” I said. “We just brought him home from China, and he hasn’t had a mama in a very long time and I think this is probably EXACTLY where my big baby needs to be.” And I kissed him hard and he grinned and cooed and she smiled at me in a way that made me skin feel warm all over.
“Bless you,” she said.
And it was that blessing that carried me through today.
Because grace? It’s everywhere, if only we look for it. Today promised to be a long and hard day. And it was. But the eight hours we spent driving to a nearby military base and back home, simply to enroll Leo in healthcare, well, it carried a beautiful grace.
It was eight good hours. Eight hours where grace lifted my eyes and surprised me again. Those long driving hours? Well, Leo played endless ipad games and I relaxed into that. Quinn scratched endlessly beside me, on mandatory quarantine from school, and I relaxed into that too. What can we do but open our hands for more grace?
And the fields opened wide before me as I drove towards Grass Valley and into vistas of beauty I had never seen before, Amanda Cook’s newest album on endless repeat. It was all grace, all of it.
And back at home tonight, so tired I was afraid I would snap. So mentally done I could barely think. So emotionally overwhelmed that it scared me a little. At home we somehow pulled together dinner and we ate and we bathed children and we put on more parasite creams and we tucked everyone in.
And Leo, sweet Leo, he told me about the ipod he wants and the new kitten he wants and he told me exactly how he wants his bed made up for him in the evening. And every time I tried to say good night he just held me a little bit tighter. And he asked again about the cats. About our two cats and how they came to be ours. And where is their Mama? And I listen to him transfer all his questions, the ones he has no words yet to ask, into the stories of our two cats. And he asks me, “but Mama, if there were six babies why didn’t you bring home all six? Where are they now? And where is their mama?” And I hear all of his heart in these few words. And I marvel at his wisdom to find any way he can to ask all the most important things. And I look for words about the cats that will answer well all the other questions, too difficult to voice.
Today, Leo began to ask me to “bao” him – to hold him. And after he had used it once, he used it a million times. And now he is all hugging and kissing. And now he finds ways to trick Ava out of her mama time and to tell me he is the mama winner.
Endless grace is here. All around us. If only we look.