“Hmmm…” his little voice came from the back seat. “Are we gonna do Gotcha Day again, mom?”
What a loaded question from such a small child.
I knew what he wanted, knew what he was REALLY asking, but I was trying to draw it out of him rather than speaking it AT him.
“You mean you want to make that cake with all the candy again?” I started.
He breathed out a laugh. “yeah, that thing is so amazing.”
“Well,” I started carefully, silently praying the quickest most desperate prayer that God would grace me with the right words with zero prep time. “Remember last week when you had lots of trouble at school, and when you could finally use your words to talk about it, you told us you were upset because we had been talking about memories from when you first came, and even though you were just four years old and it wasn’t your fault, we had to practice so many things like looking in my eyes and using words instead of yelling and punching? You said you knew you were the one who brought it up, but you still didn’t like it?”
“Yeah,” he breathed a laugh again. “I didn’t like thinking about it anymore because I did not like who I was.”
“I know it, baby, and that’s okay. So I just thought I would wait and see what you wanted to do this year. There are lots of big feelings about it, and there is no wrong answer, so if you want to celebrate that day, we will. And if you want to not talk about it, we will. You decide.”
“Well…” he trailed of thoughtfully. “When is Kymber’s Gotcha Day?”
“November 16th is the day she actually moved in with us,” I explained.
“Oh, so we could do another cake then?”
“Well, that’s a lot of cake right before the holidays and your birthday,” I started.
(Mom aside: there are also four other children in my home, born from my womb, that have endured so much loss and trauma because of our two new additions. My mamas heart is ever so mindful of what this Gotcha Day could be perceived as by them. They understand the meaning perfectly. But what does it convey to them? Can they choose a date to get their mama to whip up a super chocolate candy cake just because they want it? No, life is not fair, but they gave and sacrificed and lost and were wounded from our journey, and there is no day to celebrate or honor that for them. Thus the conflict in my heart and mind in that moment.)
“What if we picked one of the days and celebrated it all on the same day?” I suggested. “If you feel like it’s a happy day you want to talk about, then we can all do it together.”
“Yeah,” he agreed. “I do.”
And this is how the wheel turns as long as we are on this side of heaven in this broken world.
It never ends but it’s always changing.
And though we never want to glorify pain or teach our children that bad things get more attention than the good, there is wisdom and space and time where we can walk out all the ways to heal in our journey.
What happened to my adopted babies was so, so unfair.
What happened to my biological children was so, so unfair.
The only way we made peace at the end of every trying day was to acknowledge that our lives were completely in the palm of God’s hand, and He was holding us all as we walked it out and gave it our best shot, regardless of our shortcomings and failures. He is a good, good Father that gives us beauty from our ashes. His love is perfect and all He asks for is obedience.
So as we walk out this other side of the adventure, we stumble, get blisters, get thirsty and get tired. In the middle of it all, He is there. Teaching us, healing us, and changing us to be more like Him every day.
And sometimes along the way, a super chocolate cake covered in candy is the best way to celebrate how far each and every one of us has come.
It’s all in how you decide to take it.
So excuse me while I go order the supplies in grocery pickup.
Celebrate what you will.