One small step forward

A friend shared good news today. It reminded me that I’m more prone to vent the negative than celebrate any size victories.

A few nights ago, I was washing dishes. Mr. T came out of his room and asked me to come lay on his bed with him while he fell asleep.

This has never happened before. 

Like ever.

I dropped the dish I was washing and it shattered into smithereens and my foot was bleeding but I just left it all and limped with a shredded foot to go lay in that bed.

Well, not the dish breaking or bloody foot part, but if there had been a glass dish in my hands or I was starring in a sitcom, that would have conveyed the shock I was experiencing in that moment.

I laid on the bed listening to 39 Clues. We giggled every time the voice actor talked in a weird voice or shouted one of the character’s names, “DAN!”

All of a sudden the little guy rolled on his side and wrapped his arm around my shoulder and heaved a huge sigh. He said, “I wish I could fall asleep every night like this.”

This has never happened before. 

Like ever.

After a few minutes I had to return to the three other kids who needed homework help and those pesky unwashed dishes.

The following morning, he woke up in a fantastic mood. He said, “Last night was awesome. Can you come in every night like that?”

And that is the closest I have come to getting an “I love you, mom.”

Because that has never been said before. Like ever. And sometimes the opposite is shouted at me (shoot…see, it’s so much easier to default to the negative!)

Who knows if we’ll ever get there, but I’d like to think that maybe someday that part will come. And this invitation into his room…well it’s a step in the right direction and definitely worth celebrating.


giggle, giggle



rockabye redemption

imgresMy  5 1/2 year old son asked me to sing him a song like I used to when he was a baby. We adopted him at almost age 2, so there aren’t as many baby rocking songs or memories as there were with my older three children.

It just so happened that my oldest daughter wandered into the bedroom during this nighttime routine, so I asked big sister to pick one of her favorite “baby rocking” songs for me to fulfill his request.

She chose “Rockabye Baby”.

I folded my 40 pound son up like an acordian to get him into my arms and began crooning and swaying.

I never do anything by the book and always try to add an element of fun to what I do. So of course in the song when we get to “the cradle will fall”, the “baby” is jostled, faux dropped and jiggled til there is copious giggling as we crescendo to the super silly, vibrato-filled finale of “cradle and aaaaalllllllll”, which ends the experience.

After catching his breath from giggling, my chocolate-eyed boy asked, very seriously, “but mom, who will save me? you have to finish the song and say who saves me”.

My jaw dropped open, but I couldn’t utter a word. On the inside, I was jumping up and down shouting “Yes!”, as epiphanies lit up like fireworks inside my head.

There’s something in each of us, not matter how young, that longs for redemption. 

Something groans inside our beings that won’t let us settle with a story that ends with a baby falling out of a tree. Something pokes us from the inside that won’t let us get comfortable on our pillows and jilts our peace not letting us settle for “well, that’s the end of that.”

You see, my little guy, he can’t live without knowing that something or someone comes along to save Him and finishes the story properly. He’s not content with falling out of a tree and being left there on his own with “The End” stamped on his forehead.

I pine for this for him. I long for this for him. I pray for this for him. For that moment when the he hits the ground and realizes that he needs someone to save him. To pick him up, brush him off, and tell him it’s not the end, but rather that it’s just the beginning.


We recently visited a waterfall in Tallulah Gorge, where we climbed down literally hundreds of steps to get to the bottom of the tumbling torrents. The stairs were even numbered so we’d know how many little planks of torture there were left for us to endure. After descending to the foot of the falls, we huffed and puffed and popped Smarties to fuel our weary selves all the way back up to the top of the gorge again so we could hike around and view the falls from every angle up above. The scenery was spectacularly breathtaking from the myriad lookout stations that had been strategically placed and beautifully built to give you the best views of the roaring waters.

Toward the end of the trail, everyone else in our troupe had gotten way ahead leaving tiny-legs Taye and I behind. I could tell he was running out of steam, so instead of pushing him on I  paused at the last lookout before the end of the hike, got down on one knee and called him over to peek with me through the lookout fence for one last glance at the waterfall. I hugged his little middle and told him I was so glad he was here and got to see this with me, then I told him the last time I remember seeing a waterfall was in Ethiopia.

During our week of “getting to know Ethiopia” and soaking up as much of the culture as we could before meeting our son, we were taken to a waterfall that we were told was very important. Stymied about what could be so impressive about a dinky, dirty little stream, we had awkwardly and dutifully taken pictures, oohed and aahed until we had pleased our guides enough for them to let us get back in the rickety van and bump along the road to the next significant sight. The waterfall was small and completely muddy brown. It was kind of gross and underwhelming to us, but to them it was a beautiful sight. Because of their severe drought, this waterfall was about 1/10 of what it used to be. The Ethiopians were thrilled that there had recently been a rain to get it hydrated and get that water “falling” again. Seeing this waterfall wasn’t worth hundreds of birr to me then ($5-10 US dollars), but it is priceless to me now as I realize how important this sight was for me to see.

As I knelt next to my tuckered out Taye at Tallulah Falls, taking in the beauty of the powerful, crystal clear, full of water, resounding waterfall, I had to fight back my emotions as I thought back to the dry, crackled land where Taye came from, the reason he had to leave, and how blessed he is now to live in a land that has more than plenty. How blessed we are to hike rubber-mulched paths, climb neatly-numbered stairs and peek through artistically crafted viewing stations at the beauty of our abundantly blessed land for a mere $5 parking fee.

I’m up a tree

This is the picture Mr. T brought home from preschool today. I guess they spent the week studying the first family. And, shame on me, all week I assumed they were studying the Obamas. Thankfully by Thursday I put it all together (Christian preschool + “first family” = creation/the story of Adam & Eve)

It appears that the class did a little craft where they used scissors and glue, learned shapes and colors, texture via the cotton balls, spatial awareness etc to create a picture of their family.

I know the picture is blurry, so I’ll tell you that each little pink “person” has the name of someone in our family written on it. And one  person is CLEARLY…um…well…not with the others in a conventional location.

The person who got stuck up the tree is me. “Mommy”.

I laughed about it with him and the other kids. But the Tater Tot is nothing short of extremely bright. He lets us all know exactly how he’s feeling at all times.

I know where I stand with the little guy. And I’m ok with it. I am willing to not be his BFF in order to be his parent. I’m honestly just glad the “Mommy” character wasn’t ripped up and thrown in the trash can or scribbled out with angry slashes of marker.

We’ve come a long way in the past 2 years with this little guy. He’s got so much potential and so. much. willpower. Not to mention a whole lotta spunk and color to his personality. And drama. And the best smile ever. And willpower.

When I asked him why he put me in the tree, he had a sparkle in his eye as he not so convincingly said, “so then you can get all the apples”. I didn’t buy it, but I pretended I did. We’ve got each other’s numbers. Let’s just say I love a challenge and this is going to be a fun, fun life making applesauce from the apple tree I have been assigned to dwell in.