Tuesday, April 13, 2010

Dear Charity,

Happy Birthday!

Oh, sweet baby. You've lived with us for 2 years now, and you turned 6 today. Wow. In some ways it seems like you've always been a part of our family... I can't remember life without you. In other ways it still seems like yesterday you stamped your little foot at me, threw your lunch plate in the floor, and with your cute little nose turned up told me my lunch was completely unacceptable. And that I should now fix you a grilled cheese sandwich.

I laughed. It was funny then, and it's still funny now. However, had I known your little bossy demand was RAD on that very day, and what RAD would mean for all of us, I might have tucked tail and ran. Maybe that's why God had things happen the way they did. I don't think I would have tested the waters... I would have been too afraid if I had read so many discouraging things about RAD before you came. If I knew you were living with it. Because sometimes I still try to make it about me. Like I'm the one living with RAD. Like I'm the victim. I have no idea what being a victim is, do I, sweetie? You do. And I still see it in your eyes sometimes.

I'm so glad I didn' t know. Because I would have missed life with you. I wouldn't trade you, what you've taught me, or how you've blessed me for anything in the whole wide world! I'm in for the ride, baby! And I suppose if I feel like I'm on a roller coaster, then what you feel is ten times that.

RAD is diminishing and Charity is emerging. And what a beautiful, smart, COMPASSIONATE (wow, only you and I can fully appreciate that), hard little worker you are. I'm so proud of what you are accomplishing. It's hard work for your Dad and I, but it's even harder work for you, and I can't believe you're still putting up with us and our silly selves. Some days we just can't get it right, huh? But we're trying. Just like you. I see you trying... you're trying so hard, and that's so great to see! There was awhile there I didn't think you were going to try. Or that you were going to give us a chance. And who could blame you, really?

Oh, you still like to play some games. Your Dad laughed his head off the other day as you held up a crayon, the coloring book laid out in front of you, and looked at it all completely perplexed and said, "What do I do with this?" It was so obvious. You've only colored pretty much every day since you've been with us. But, I'll let that slide... after all, that day was full of indulgence and love and fun and praise to celebrate your birthday. It was sure to be met with some back sliding. But you know what? It didn't end with a fit. In fact, you laughed. You shrugged your shoulders without becoming all pitiful or whining or melting into a pot of rage and frustration. Look how far you've come! You did later exclaim, "Look at those goats!!!!" as the horses in the parade went by. But it was a fleeting moment and you went on to enjoy the parade. And cake at Nana's house. With no over-the-top-ness or maniacal laughing or ANYTHING! Wow! You're doing SO well!

Birthdays are hard for me. And I wonder if they'll be hard for you, too, as you grow and wonder what your first years were like. And what your first moms were like. As I hug and kiss little Mercy's face I realize how much I missed with you. How many kisses, how many hugs, how many hours of staring into each other's faces? How many tickles, lullabies, and feeding each other cookies? Were you chubby? Were you an early walker? Were you a nosy body like your sister Hope, or a whiny baby like your sister Grace? Were your little personality traits cherished and laughed about by your caregivers? I want all that with you. And if it isn't bad enough that I didn't get to have those moments with you...it seems no one did. It's not as if you were being cuddled and loved by anyone for all those years. Not consistently. Not by the same mom. Maybe not at all. Definitely not at all for some length of time. I know that much to be true. 3 different homes in 6 weeks? and at least 7 in your first 3 years?

But one thing I'm sure of is you're mine now! And I'm so happy about that. And so is your dad, your sisters, and your grandparents. You are an amazing little girl, and we might clash heads often, but it's just because your little will is so incredibly strong. And you know what? I think that's a wonderful thing. You have so much to offer this world! People just naturally gravitate to you. You're already an amazing leader, you pay such close attention to detail.. and you're good at EVERYTHING you try!

I might not be the best mom in the world. You might have even had one fat motif candle stuck in the middle of your cake instead of 6 little birthday candles. Oops. But no mom can love you more than I do.

Love Always,

Your mom. Not your foster mom. Not your birth mom. Not the best mom. But YOUR mom.

And I'm so happy it gets to be me.


Maury said...

This is such a beautiful post...coming from a beautiful mom, to a beautiful, special little girl. I am so proud of both of you!!

Mandy said...

Oh Brandy.. BEAUTIFUL.

I am also sooo proud of you all. I often think of all you've gone through and wonder how on earth you made it through. The inspiring thing is this. You did. You are still doing it. You are a huge encouragment to so many that might tuck tail and run otherwise.

Happy birthday sweet Charity!! I am SO thankful that God brought you to this family that loves you so much, so fully, and so completely!

Becky said...

That was beautiful Brandy! And full of perspective....I need a lot of that right now...