As I'm sitting here listening to the silence, all is right with my world. It's one of the Sundays when my children are actually home and in their beds. It doesn't always work out that way. Just like most of you, my life has its own set of less than ideal circumstances. It seems like life always comes with some give and some take, but very rarely does it come with pick and choose.
My life circumstances mean that I have to share my children. Each week, I have to send them to someone else's home for a day or two or three. I'm lucky. That someone is a dad who cares very much about his daughters. And, for all his faults and foibles, he's a pretty good dad. I know when my kids are there that they're safe. But ... I am a mother who has to relinquish the care of my children into someone else's hands. That, for me, has been one of the most difficult challenges that I face.
When I was little, I dreamed of having six kids, of being a stay at home mom, of having my home and my family be my world. Some dreams come true. Some are withheld for a later time. And, some are dashed on the rocks of life's shores. My home and my family are my world, but that world is different than I envisioned it would be. I have two kids. While I am home much of the time that my children are, there have been sacrifices of time as I've had to return to school, as I've met work requirements and schedules, and as those kids have had parent time with their father. My world involves letting go and trusting that my little ones will be safe in God's hands until I can have them back in mine.
I'd like to say that I've adjusted to life's curve balls with grace, but really, it's simply been a growing process. There've been nights of tears, saline-stained journal entries, and chocolate. There've been heartfelt, aching prayers pleading for safety for them and peace of mind for me. There've been smiles and hugs to mask the heartache of letting go far earlier than I was ready to do. But ...
There have been moments of unspeakable joy. There have been times of such pride I've thought perhaps my heart might burst. As I've watched my daughters grow into the women they will be, as I've watched them overcome challenges that would cripple many adults and devastation that would crush some grown-ups, I've seen God's hand in our lives. My daughters have had to learn and grow and adjust ... and they've triumphed with grace.
I've watched my children grow in faith and strength. I've seen their own determination to be their best selves. I've watched them learn to stand in the face of terrible opposition. At the same time, I've watched them grow in understanding and empathy and compassion. They've learned to separate the actions and words from the person, to reject unkind behavior while still loving the individual who acted that way. My girls teach me often about what it means to accept others unconditionally. They stand up for what's right and the things they believe in, but they do it in a loving way.
Don't get me wrong ... my kids are simply that -- kids. They have girl drama. They bicker occasionally. They "forget" to do their chores. They can be loud and giddy and crazy. There's even been once or twice when I've been driven to the unthinkable ... a Mommy Timeout. Fifteen minutes hiding out in my bedroom or the car with my Kindle and a water bottle can work wonders for all of our attitudes.
But, my girls are a light in my life. They make me laugh every day. I smile more often because of them. My life is whole and complete, and I think that theirs is too. If I only get two children in this life, I'm more grateful than I can say that God chose to send me these girls. Life doesn't always hand us our dreams, but, with the sorrow, sometimes it gives us something even better ...