Wednesday, June 15, 2011

A "not what I signed up for" day

Yes, today is one of those days for me. We all have them.  Days like this put a major kink in the chain of expectations we've set for our lives.

13 1/2 months ago I became a grandmother....not in the usual way, however.  Instead of having a newborn placed in my arms, two little munchkins, 18 months and almost 4, came into my life by way of foster care.  Our son and his wife were drawn to foster/adopt and even though they have no children of their own yet, they chose this route first.  I admit Rich and I were a bit skeptical.  "You said you'd take two???"

Those kids grew on us pretty fast.  By the end of our first weekend with them, we'd fallen in love.  They were adoptable (what our kids specified when they applied to be foster parents) and just waiting for two sets of adoring grandparents and a flock of excited aunts, uncles and cousins. 

Our plans went awry about six months ago. The children are being returned to their birth parent this next week.  Today is our day to say goodbye.

This definitely was not on my calendar six months ago.  We're all going through the wide range of emotions associated with losing those we thought would be ours "for keeps."  We invested fully in them without reservation which is why these last few months have been painful at times.  Some days we wondered if we should hold back a little, but that was never really an option.  We were fully committed.

We've seen changes in their personalities, their countenance and how they relate to others.  A childlike lightheartedness has replaced the blank stares that questioned our character and motives. 

As I continued to unpack from our recent move, I read a journal entry from July 2004 where I wrote in detail 5 main goals for my life.  One of them included my thoughts about grandparenting.  I said, "I do not want to merely remember their birthdays and see them on special occasions.  I want to really know them and love them well."  I have done that.

While I will never understand the brevity of this journey, I am thrilled to have been a part of it, tears and all.  I've received more than I thought was ever possible.  I am more prayerful, quite scared, slightly hopeful, often mystified and frequently "ticked" at authorities with whom I may not agree. 

No, I did not sign up for this day...nor did my son and his wife, nor these children.  Yet, we are all better off having had these 13 1/2 months together.  Why can't they continue?  I don't know the answer to that one.  The writer of Ecclesiastes says it well...

"Take a good look at God's work. 
Who could simplify and reduce Creation's curves and angles to a plain straight line?  
On a good day, enjoy yourself.  On a bad day, examine your conscience. 
God arranges for both kinds of days so that we won't take anything for granted."
                                                                   (Ecclesiastes 7: 13-14 from The Message)

Photo:  Jim Jurica

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