why is it when we just step into the shower or just sit down with a coffee or just pick up the phone that we are needed so desperately? after parenting for almost 14 years...i know this is how it works. how it goes down. i could stand in the kitchen ready and waiting for The Beck and Call and there would be....nothing. but given the chance for a stolen moment, and a frantic summons is a sure thing. there are times right now where i could certainly do without this madness.
but as i stood in that non-relaxing shower, it occurred to me, i will someday miss this. i may someday glory in a silent shower or a hot cup of coffee, but there will come a day when i will, undoubtedly, wish someone was calling me mom. calling me loudly. calling me often. i know they will not always need me and, perhaps, not even always want me. that time feels quite distant, especially as we consider adding to the tail end of our family. that time seems impossibly far-flung this morning as i carefully avoid the stack of breakfast dishes, step around the dirty laundry, and contemplate the items on the grocery list.
earlier this week, after tucking all four children in for the night...i climbed into my bed with a book and a cup of earl grey. "ahhh..." was my only thought as i snuggled deep into the sheets. within minutes i felt a set of eyes staring at me. sarah elizabeth. she stood quietly in my doorway.
"honey, what's wrong?" i asked.
"mom, are you sure you don't mind being alone tonight?" she replied.
i thought of my book and my cup of tea and my comfy sheets and my quiet...
"i feel bad that daddy is traveling and you have to be all alone. you must be so lonely. i am sad for you," she tenderly continued.
now any of you mothers of multiple children reading this are completely aware of what was passing through my mind at that moment: "um...no, i'm good...not lonely ...good...fine...happy...hot tea...good book...quiet. alone. good. really."
you know how after a day of being available to everyone for everything...we are practically giddy with the thought of crawling into our alone time. however, this looked quite different from my child's perspective. after assuring her that mommy was not in anyway lonely, but really quite content, i persuaded her down the hall into her own room. five minutes later, i settled, once again, back into my own bed. my cup of tea was a little cooler, but my thoughts ran a little deeper. i couldn't help but consider the perspective behind her words. i was embarrassed with how for granted i take my life. lonely is not a word on which i regularly reflect. but lonely is a very real thing - especially to children.
our adoption continues to change me - my perspective - maybe even change my heart. i may delight in the stolen moments of alone-ness, but that is only because they are indeed a rarity. loneliness must look very different for xue zhu, our bella. this little girl ...millions of little girls have no one to come to...no one to trap in the shower...no one to share in their injustices or listen to their stories. psalm 68:6 tells us how, "God sets the lonely in families."
i wait eagerly for the day when bella grace will push her lips to the crack in the door and complain about her older brother. i will know then that she is truly a mcnatt. if someday i can tuck her safely into her bed and happily retreat to my own room...if someday i am held captive in the shower by her complaint, i hope i will realize the great gift, the great blessing, even in this. as a mother, i never long for a grievance or a squabble or an outcry of injustice, but am sure i will have a moment of rejoicing when life has become that normal....someday.
"as father to the fatherless, a defender of widows, is God in his holy dwelling. God sets the lonely in families, he leads forth the prisoners with singing..." ~ psalm 68:6