On the top shelf of my closet, for the past three years, you would have found a white box filled with baby items. Shoes, clothes, bibs – items I found on sale or received as gifts… it was my “someday” box. It got dusty. It got pushed around behind other items and rarely taken down. It was too painful. I’d toss something into the box without looking if I had anything to add. I loved that box. And I hated that box.
Tonight as I was re-organizing the foster kids’ room for the millionth time, I started doing inventory of the items I have for future foster kids. I decided to go through the white box. I pulled out onesies and toys and smiled over all the fun things for these unknown children who will be a part of my life soon. I was getting seriously giddy about all the stuff in the box and all the ways my life is going to change.
But I began to get teary when I pulled out two baby tees my mom had given me in August of 2009 – one pink that says “sweet pea” and one blue that says “peanut.” I had just told her the news that Dave and I were going to try for a baby and she bought them, excited with me about the future. No doubt, she was imagining grandbabies with white skin and auburn hair, like baby Steph – thinking of rushing to the hospital as I called her, in labor, holding my sweet new baby and calling it “sweet pea” or “peanut” and rocking him or her to sleep. I was right there with her, imagining and hoping and dreaming about baby Hagen.
So much has changed since that August. Three years of negative pregnancy tests and blood work and trying and trying and failing. Three years of imagining and hoping and dreaming, but not seeing results. Three years of watching friends get pregnant, have babies, get pregnant again, have second babies. It’s been a really hard three years. But those three, long, hard, lonely years have brought me to this place I’m in right now. This place of being excited about bringing someone new into our home, learning their habits and preferences, getting to know their unique personality and hear their laugh for the first time. It’s not the place I pictured. The baby isn’t white with auburn hair anymore. My mom won’t be rushing to the hospital, Dave won’t be grabbing our hospital bag on the way out of the door, and I won’t be having contractions. Things are different – very, very different – than we all imagined. But they’re better, somehow.
Do I still hope all those three-year-old hopes? Of course! Do I still get sad sometimes when I think about the negative tests? Absolutely. But this new and different place is better. I don’t know how it’s better yet. I don’t understand it and I don’t know if I ever will. But I know that God doesn’t allow these hard things to happen for no reason. I know he’s growing me and changing me.
I know I will love the kid that comes into my home with everything I have. I know that I will do everything I can to be the kind of mother that this child needs. I know that Dave will have my back and be an amazing parent. Always. I know that my mom is going to be an awesome grandma and that I’ll call her with questions and worries and funny stories – just like I’ve been imagining for 3 years. I may not have a dusty white box in my closet anymore, but I have faith that this is better. Somehow.