Today our family celebrates our One Year Home anniversary! I’ve often imagined what it would be like if I could travel back in time to those early days; what would I say to myself? What words of encouragement would One-Year-Home-Me have to say to Me-From-A-Year-Ago?
This is how I imagine it would go…
Hi there, Me-From-A-Year-Ago!
You are so tired, aren’t you?
Up until this point, you never even knew that this degree of tired existed. You made it through two weeks of the unimaginable; a hurricane of emotion, stories that will be told around the dinner table for decades to come… some funny, and some really gross ones, too!
You are so overwhelmed, aren’t you?
You never imagined the storm of emotion that could exist in your heart, loving a child you first loved via a computer screenshot and then seeing her walk into the same room you were in. Her. Your daughter! Right there in front of you! You never anticipated the paradox of having a daughter who was both undeniably resilient, and yet unmistakably fragile.
That is what you are, too. Fragile. Resilient. These first days might threaten to break you, but they will not. The firestorm of emotions might feel overwhelming, but you will not be overcome.
You know what, Me-From-A-Year-Ago… there is more to come. In the following year you will continue to be tired, and there are many times you will feel overwhelmed, but you will also find new life.
You will cry.
You will throw your hands up in frustration.
You will wonder how the world can continue turning on its axis like your world isn’t upside down.
You will question your sanity.
You will learn to depend on others more.
You will learn to depend on God more.
You will pray with a desperation you never knew before.
You will become a better mother and a better wife.
You will become a wound care expert, at least when it involves your child.
You will live what you learned on paper, you will figure out what works for you slowly.
You will mess up. Many times.
You will also seek forgiveness and revel in the peace that overcomes you when it is given.
You will watch your children learn to be siblings.
You will eventually sleep through the night.
You will figure out schedules, and how to communicate the needs of your children to others.
You will be gracious in responding to ungracious inquiries.
You will read about Chinese holidays in hopes of communicating the value of your daughter’s heritage to your family. You will find familiar snacks and buy them just to see that smile light up her face.
You will rock your girl, give her bottles, and carry her all so she can better handle the emotions she is processing.
You will make new friends who will become a lifeline for you during the most stressful of moments.
You will be amazed… simply amazed at who you will be on February 5th, 2016. Like a kaleidoscope twisting and turning, life will be a series of beautiful pictures you see for a moment before another twist takes it away to be replaced by chaos. The picture always returns, always a little different; a new normal.
Other people will tell you they are so proud of you, that you are doing a great job. You will hesitate to agree because the picture doesn’t look anything like what you thought “great” would look like. That’s okay. Just know that one day, you WILL think it’s great. You will know that the job you are doing is important because you are living a Yes you never dreamed for yourself. You will recognize that God is great, and that through you, His greatness found a finger print covered window to shine through.
You will be humbled this year.
It will be the best of the best and the worst of the worst, you just have to take every day as it comes.
Hang on to the good, discard the bad.
Take lots of pictures, but don’t berate yourself when you happen to take ZERO pictures on Christmas Day. 😉
You can do this.
A slightly older and wiser One-Year-Home-You