School's out and Summer is in. As if someone flipped a switch, backpacks and tennis shoes vanished to be replaced with flip flops and damp towels. Grateful for the break, no one is yet crying boredom. My days are filled with sunscreen, swimming lessons, bicycle helmets and ice cream.
For the next month I will be dropping off and picking up my "big kids" at their respective Summer camps, while enjoying the simple pleasures of childhood Summer with the little girls who have dived right into the mostly happy chaos of my home. I have no choice but to simply tackle one day at a time.
We have had some adjustment bumps, but thankfully they have been minor and expected. My bio kids are discovering the joys and challenges of younger siblings. My foster kids are experiencing simple things for the first time. Last week they had their inaugural Chic-fil-A meal and finally asked "why do you keep putting dishes in and out of that oven?" Dishwashers and drivethrus...I am giving them such a cultural experience! Ha.
I keep questioning how smoothly this is going. Waiting for the other shoe to drop.
We had a call about a placement before this one. It was only one child but it was complex. We knew him and had a sense of the challenge involved. After prayer, counsel and gut checks we felt led to decline...and I felt like a failure.
My pride wanted to take him, but wisdom told me we were not qualified/equipped to meet his needs. My impatience with being on the bench wanting to serve needy children grew as two weeks of quiet passed with empty beds despite our willing hearts. Or could I even call us "willing" after saying no? During that time, I wondered if we had made a mistake.
Then we got these girls--and it has felt like God's plan. Peace is the only word I can use.
As they learn to ride bikes and swim, I am experiencing the refreshing reminder that obedience is not always hard.
Letting go of my agenda? That was difficult.
Entering into the unknown with thoughts swirling of all the 'bad' things that might happen? Challenging!
Choosing faith even when I was fearful? Gulp-inducing.
But, right now, I feel "peace that passes understanding." I am writing this down to remember...when we wait on the Lord instead of trying to write our own story and pull our own strings, there is peace. It is worth the wait.
Four decades of life have taught me that the comfortable place is not permanent...to drink it in while I can. There will be bumps on the road ahead, no doubt.
I already LOVE these girls. I am pushing away thoughts of telling them goodbye eventually. But I KNOW God brought us here and I KNOW He is trustworthy for all the chapters that come after this.
Yesterday afternoon as the sun was setting and we were walking home from the pool I heard laughter and looked over to see well-dressed people sipping wine on the country club porch on a glorious Summer evening. It was picturesque--right out of a lifestyle magazine.
I was sweaty and rumpled, carrying a soaking wet eight year old I could hardly hold (at her request). I glanced at the beautiful people on the porch and had a flash of resignation...that's not my life now. This choice has me on a divergent path.
And what of the spontaneity of roadtrips and adventures that classically mark our Summers? I can't cross state lines without permission...and I have 5 kids now!
I started to self-examine: Will I miss that life? Am I OK with the trade-in? And then I glimpsed the braided pigtails of one of my little charges, exhaled and allowed a soft smile to take over my face. This is my portion and my cup for this season...and it really is good.