Ever have one of those nights when you’re pretty sure your kiddo(s) is(are) stalling at bedtime with random questions?
Yeah, me too. If I’m going to be honest, around here that happens pretty frequently.
Take the other night’s conversation for instance.
Caleb ~ “Mommy. Hey Mommy.”
Me ~ “Yes Caleb?”
C ~ “What amoebas eat?”
Me ~ “Um. I’m not sure exactly. But I think bacteria. I’ll check in the morning. I can tell you for sure that they eat really, really small things.”
C ~ “Smaller than cous-cous?”
Me ~ “Yes baby, smaller than cous-cous.”
Quiet for a minute.
C ~ “What about Cheeta? He got caught by amoeba.”
Me ~ “That’s just a silly song Caleb. [The Tarzan song] It isn’t real.”
C ~ “Oh. Okay.”
Silence for a minute more.
C ~ “Mommy. Hey Mommy.”
Me ~ “Yes Caleb.”
C ~ “Who bigger? David or Golliath?”
Me ~ “Who do you think?”
C ~ “Golliath.”
Me ~ “You’re right.”
C ~ “But Mommy? Who bigger? Golliath or God?”
Me ~ “I think you know the answer to this sweetie.”
C ~ “God.”
Me ~ “Yes Caleb. God is bigger than Golliath.”
Another round of quiet. This time his eyes were closed and I thought he had fallen asleep before I left the room. But then he sits up, puts his hand on my arm and says,
“Mommy? I always be Caleb?”
Me ~ starting to get tired of the question game tonight, “Yes honey, you’ll always be Caleb.”
C ~ “Even when I grow up?”
Me ~ answering in a slightly irritated tone, “Yes Caleb. You’ll always be Caleb. When you are a teenager, when you are a grown up, you’ll always be Caleb.”
C ~ “And I’ll always be your boy?”
Me ~ how did I not see it coming just yet? (growing even more perturbed with his stall tactics and I’m sure my voice conveyed it) “Yes Caleb, even when you are a big boy, you’ll always be my boy.”
C ~ “Oh. Okay. Cause once I was Lu Tao and I had foster mommy.”
Oh. my. Such big thoughts for such a little guy.
I mean…there are times that I would give almost anything to be the one who gave birth to him. Not because I think it could possibly make me love him any more than I already do. It’s just that I wish could prevent him from facing the ghosts of his past.
But I can’t.
And honestly, even if I could, there would be other things to face. That’s part of parenting, isn’t it? No matter how our children come to us, no matter what their story, no matter what their past, they will have difficult paths to travel.
For children who were adopted, at some point one of those things to deal with will likely be questions about the decisions made on their behalf when and where they had no say in the matter. Some of those questions may have answers that we don’t know. Some of those questions may have answers that we wish we didn’t.
So instead of trying to pave over that painful part of his past I will do my very best to answer his questions head on, in language and terms that he is ready to process at the time that he asks. And I’ll choose to feel relief that he’s comfortable enough to ask them.
We will walk this road together. As a team. Because he doesn’t need someone just to “say all the right things” or “give him all the things that are necessary for survival.” He needs me ~ and his daddy ~ at his side, making it very clear that while we may not have all the answers to give, that we will stand with him as he searches (in his time) for answers.
Me ~ “Baby.” (Scooping him up to hold him close for a minute). “Oh honey, you’re right. You were Lu Tao in China. And you did have a foster mommy who loved you very much. We can talk about before we met each other more in the morning. For tonight I want you to know that you will always be my Caleb. I’m your mommy. Forever. We’re a family.”
C ~ “Okay good. I love you mommy.”
Me ~ “And I love you honey. Always.”
And with that he relaxed, laid down, and was asleep within seconds.
How I pray that he’ll continue to feel “safe” enough to ask, long after his “babyhood days” have passed.