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Happy Homecoming

“Happy Homecoming Day” I said to Ben this morning. In the adoption world there are special dates that you always remember. The day my daughter got “the call” and the days between that day and “homecoming day” (which I remember as being like a very short pregnancy where we were scrambling to help our daughter get everything ready for her new arrival). Then there’s “adoption day” which happened just ten days before his first birthday. At the same time, the fact that Benjamin joined our family through adoption is not something that I dwell on – he’s our grandson.
It seems a lifetime ago since my daughter got the call that there was a sweet little 2 1/2 month old baby boy who was soon to become her son.
There were no diagnoses yet. We had no idea that our life journey would be forever changed by this tiny blessing of a boy.
Although we very quickly knew something was up, Benjamin would double in age from that first day before we would hear his first official diagnosis. One followed another, it seemed, for several months. Each time my daughter would kiss Ben and tell him that it was okay. We accepted that all of the firsts that Ben would experience would not be the ones we were so excited about when Jamie told us that she had gotten the call on a little guy whom we thought we would be experiencing so many firsts with. We accepted that many of the firsts we were excited about would probably never happen at all. But still we would look at this little miracle of a baby and know that we are so blessed to call him our grandson. We’ve worried more than we would ever know was possible, even though I am a huge worrier by nature and have been my whole life… nothing has compared to what I’ve experienced in the past two years. Hours and days spent in the ER, hospital rooms, the PICU, hospital waiting rooms, and doctor waiting rooms. Prayers, prayers, and more prayers. I’ve mourned a lot and questioned a lot, still do sometimes. Even though I love Ben exactly as he is, I can’t help but mourn for what he and his momma (and yes, me and my husband and all those who love him) have missed and will miss. We walk on egg shells, in a constant state of worry. I’m not sure I’ll ever totally sleep soundly again. It’s what we’ve learned is our new normal. I’m not complaining, just stating a fact.
But what has this blessing of a boy, my grandson, taught me over the past two years?
He’s taught me first to “cross that bridge when we come to it”. This is a big one because I thrive on routine and I like to know what’s going to happen. I’m a planner and a worrier. There are some things we just can’t plan and there are too many worries in the future to dwell on constantly in the now. We’ll cross that bridge when we come to it, even though we still exist in a constant state of worry.
I’ve learned that many of the things that used to bother me aren’t really things worth wasting the stress over now.
I’ve learned that some of the little things are the really important things.
I’ve learned that if you act with class and kindness, others are more likely to treat you with class and kindness. Even when you’re frustrated.
I’ve learned that I’m a lot braver than I thought I could be.
I’ve learned to be more thankful.
I’ve learned to be more empathetic and less judgmental.
I’ve learned that the old saying “when bad things happen, you know who your real friends are” is very true while at the same time I just haven’t had the time and energy to devote to some of the relationships that I hold dear.
I’ve learned that a baby’s smile can light up a whole day. And that a baby’s laugh is one of the best sounds ever… especially when it comes back after an absence of too many months.
I’ve learned that it’s easier to adjust to a new normal than I could have imagined.
I look at my grandson and thank God every day that He chose to bless our family with a perfect and beautiful little boy.

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