Photo: A simple basket weave stitch blanket for a new child in the world. The best part about learning how to knit and sew is that I can make things for my favorite people instead of buying cheap crap at a store.
A child was born in Baltimore last Sunday morning. A little boy, highly anticipated by dozens of people, all of whom checked their Facebook feeds throughout the day waiting for word from anxious Mama and Pop. There had been so many events, so much planning, that went in to bringing the child, a boy, into the world, and when he came, great joy and fanfare and comments and likes were given in his honor. A boy, a bi-racial boy, came into a world that loves him and wants him, and a family that is large and bubbling over to meet him.
So I’ve been furiously knitting. A little blue blanket for a precious little boy. I stopped the project that I’d planned to be doing, used the child as an excuse to buy a new set of needles, and have been trying to hit a quota of at least 12 rows a day (on top of struggling with my writing, keeping Camp Mama afloat, and prepping for my in-law visit!). I had to do it because there was a precious child born in Baltimore on Sunday morning.
To two sets of parents: His biological ones and his adoptive ones.
His adoptive parents are my old college friends. Two people who I watched fall in love during my junior year of undergrad. They got married, started a life, and while many of us were wondering out loud when they were gonna “just do the thing! Have that baby!”
They were trying.
I had no idea until a few months ago just how much they were suffering. Two people who I love beyond words, trying their best and finding it impossible to conceive a child. It was heartbreaking news.
They started the process to adopt a child, putting their hearts, home, faith and love out there so that government and prospective families could examine them, evaluate them, and ultimately choose (or not choose!) them to be parents. By the grace of God, their love for each other, and their deep Christian faith, they’ve embarked on this journey. It’s been emotionally and financially expensive, eventually costing them tens-of-thousands of dollars. They’ve been picked and unpicked, they’ve waited and waited, they’ve conceived and lost babies of their own while they’ve waited, they’ve been interviewed and scrutinized…
And here they are, having been chosen by a couple, having held the baby in their arms, having named that baby and now… they wait.
Because there is still a small chance that they won’t be chosen. After everything they’ve been through, and even though the parents of this child say they want to expedite the adoption process so that my friends can take their son home sooner rather than later, there is still a chance that they may change their minds.
So they and we who love them hold our breaths.
And I’m sitting with my Quiet Thoughts, knitting a blanket in new boy blue.
I write a lot on this blog about my two boys. The good, the bad, the ugly, and the sacrifices that The Husband and I are making as parents to give them everything they need and some of the things they want. I’ve written in anger at times, and I’ve had my moments of wondering: why in the hell did I think this was such a good idea? I’ve joked that if I could get my ovaries removed, I would. “Take out all the plumbing!” I told my nurse practitioner. “I’ve had enough! And you know what? I’m givin’ my boys away! Two-for-One special!” I’ve lamented about people telling me to “enjoy” this time when my boys when, on most days, it’s a struggle. A supreme one. One that I’m annoyed to deal with sometimes. I have been flippant about this role and identify, this responsibility that I have.
I wish it didn’t take the suffering of others to make me stop and be grateful for everything that I have. I wish I wasn’t so short-sighted or so petulant, and that I would stop and think and say “thank you” before complaining about these boys of mine. Because for every bitchy post and lamentation I’ve ever written, there have been moments when people I know and love have taken to their knees and asked the Lord for the gift and blessing of a child in their life. They’ve gone to extraordinary lengths to make such a thing possible.
You and I both know, Dear Reader, that I really wouldn’t exchange this for anything in the world. I wouldn’t be who I am without these two boys. Their challenges keep me interesting, our struggles keep me growing, their triumphs bring me joy. I would be a diminished version of myself without them. I’m blessed. I’m lucky. I’m unworthy.
So I knit. I knit in prayer and in gratitude. I knit in fear and anxiety, and I knit in joy and elation. I knit wishing that I could give more, that I could alleviate my friends’ pain, take off the burden of their anxieties. I knit because I love them, and I’m so proud of them. I am astounded by their bravery: to open their home and their hearts to a child in the way that they are is something I’ve never considered and I don’t know if I’m capable of doing. They humble me in a way that few others have.
And though I don’t have much to give, I know that I can give this. Something to wrap their most precious child in, something to give him warmth and strength in the days ahead. On Thursday, I’m taking it to my pastor to have him pray over it and give it a small blessing. Just one more way to send my love from here to there, because I can’t do much, but I can do this.
Because I love my friends and their new child, and I’m grateful, beyond measure, for my two precious blessings.
In the face of great humility, I hope that you choose reflection and action, Dear Reader. In these summers days of abundant food, drink and company, I hope that you choose stillness and really listen to a story. If you have time, or talent, or money, I hope that you choose to give a bit of it to another person, in joy, prayer, or simply because you can. I wish you the opportunity to perform a service before the weekend fades away. In the hours in between, I wish you a cool breeze and sunny blue skies. I wish you fresh crisp vegetables and a hot grill to roast them on. I wish you a soft hand to hold, sweet kisses on your cheeks, and laughter in your ears. I wish you the knowledge that you are admired and honored by someone, somewhere, and that your actions are watched and emulated by others. I wish you the wisdom of knowing that what you do on a daily basis means something, especially when you do it selflessly, reverently, with love and even joy. And, as always, I wish you the joy of knowing that you are profoundly loved, and that you are forever worthy of that love.
Until Monday, Dear Reader, take care.