When we met two little displaced girls in the dark on our front walkway last Spring, we were told to expect this to resolve in a few months. Last week marked one year since our oldest foster daughter, Bug, came to live in our home.
Unlike an anniversary to celebrate, May 13th brought mixed emotions. What do you do with a day that represents brokenness, removal and the reorientation of a little life? I chose to lay low and not say much, until bedtime when she brought it up.
As I was tucking her in, her abrupt words sliced through the fading evening light. "I've lived here a year now. I'm never going home, am I?"
A long conversation followed. It was full of love but devoid of promises or timelines because decisions about outcomes aren't mine to make--nor are they hers. This is where we live...running a race with no idea of the length or challenges remaining on the course. One day we will round a corner and spot a finish line, but until then we run--loving, stumbling and learning-- together.
This week I noticed another trend--second timing. Today is her second field day in our home and tomorrow is her second last day of school in our family. Again, this trend is bittersweet. We have a trove of memories together. There is depth to our relationship. But there is now a widening gulf in time between her old life and this one. What we initially viewed as a layover on her journey has extended to an ever-lengthening chapter.
She's even come to embrace that while I am not "real" Mommy, I am "right now" Mommy for however long God sees fit. I cannot imagine the past year of my life without Bug and her sisters in it. Our hearts and lives are forever changed.
And tomorrow we start our second Summer break.