I was going to post today but my husband Tyler T. Watkins did a much better job- READ BELOW....and grab some tissues. Happy Birthday our* 4 year old.
--What a Mess--
Today is our son’s birthday. He isn’t legally our son, he’s just living with us, and we love him and feed him and play with him, so that makes him our son. He is turning four today. I can’t show you a picture of him, but trust me, he’s precious. But he has a lot of issues: medical issues, issues following directions, some issues at school, a few issues he sees a therapist for. I told you he has a lot of issues. He’s a total mess. And that’s why he fits in so well with our family. He’s an imperfect little human in an imperfect society doing his best and trying to get better every day.
I’ll never forget one day this past January. After dropping the kids off at school, Bethany and I drove the 28 miles to the courthouse for our one-year hearing. In an ideal world, a world with no mess, this would be the hearing where his biological parents triumphantly announce that they have surpassed all the benchmarks they have been asked to complete in order to regain custody of their children. But it was a mess that got them into this situation in the first place, and some messes are really hard to clean up. Unfortunately for our son, and many other kids every day, his parents hadn’t made a single step towards improving. In fact, they had regressed. They stopped showing up for visits about 60 days after their son was placed into our custody, and we never saw or heard from them again. After court that day, when I picked up our mess from school, I hugged him extra tightly and was sick to my stomach knowing that he had effectively lost both of his parents that day and he didn’t even know it. I knew that he technically lost his parents when they got into this mess in the first place, but I was able to lie to myself and hold out hope that maybe they could clean up their mess. I felt a finality about the judge’s decision that I didn’t expect. I was a mess.
The only solution after a really hard day like that is waffles. We made breakfast for dinner with lots of waffles. Our son loves waffles. It’s just before 7am as I write this, and I have the waffle maker out ready to today, his very special day. I promised him last night that when he wakes up today, on his birthday, he is going to get waffles. Not just any waffles, we have chocolate waffle mix. And I told you he has issues, right? He has some issues with food too: since he lived the first two years of his life without consistent access to food, he tends to binge eat. We have to curtail his eating and ensure his school knows not to overfeed him. We have to keep reminding him that we will feed him, and explain why he can't have more food since he's just finished eating. Today, however, I am going to pull the governor off of the waffle pipeline. Today, my son, you can eat as many damn waffles as you want. Is that the best parenting decision? Maybe not. But I’m a mess.
We are all a mess in our own way. I love my mess.