February 10, 2016

Dear baby, with love - from one of your mamas.


Dear baby M-

You had your two month doctor appointment today. You did so well, of course - you are just about the sweetest baby ever. Mama was so proud of you.

We both were, we moms.

You see, your real mom came with us today. She asked what she should refer to me as, what we call ourselves at home. It was hard to tell her we usually call ourselves Mommy and Daddy. It's what's most natural, what we've done with all of our babies. She didn't seem to mind; it made me want to cry to hear your mom call me Mom, and then call herself Mom, too.

You are doubly loved. Two mamas who love you so much.

I've gone to lots of pediatrician appointments over the past ten years, including six different two-month appointments. This one was unique, and it will always stand out in my memory. At this appointment, I wasn't sure who should carry your seat. Who should get you undressed. Who should pick you up when you cried. I'm not your real mama, and yet I am.

I'm the one who can answer all the questions. The one who knows your sleep schedule. The one who knows what normal is for you. The one who has trimmed your nails and tasted your tears and knows just how to hold you when you feel upset. I'm the one whose voice you turn to, the one whose face you respond best to. But you're not really mine. I'll love you forever, but someday you might not remember me.

This week I was reading about Jesus' birth, and a tiny, two-word description of Joseph lept off the page for me: foster father.

Foster father.

Joseph didn't get to name Jesus - he was told He was coming and he had simply been chosen. We know feelings like that.

Joseph knew Jesus wouldn't be his always. He knew his Son - yet not his Son - wouldn't have his nose or his eyes or his trade. He had been called to love and let go. To sacrificially give up his whole life - his reputation, his residence, his legacy, the rights of the father of a firstborn son. No doubt his family and friends questioned his decision to wed Mary. He became a refugee hunted by a power-crazed king to keep Jesus safe. This was not the life he had dreamed of. And yet, it was the greatest dream of all. His Heavenly Father had entrusted to him, a fallen, limited human being, the privilege of fathering His Son. Changing diapers, kissing boo-boos, trimming nails, tasting tears.

One day, that Son would take on a different kind of pain, a different kind of nail, a different kind of tears.

I don't know if you'll be ours forever. Most likely, you won't. Just like baby D and our other baby M before you, we will love you fiercely and grieve deeply when you leave us. But you, dear M, are worth it. You are my son - and yet not my son. You won't ever have my eyes or my nose. Loving you comes with a cost, and I won't deny that it's hard. This is not what mamas dream of.

But I will love you. And I will love your mama - your other mama. I will pray for redemption even if it means we say goodbye. And why?

Because my Jesus was once a different kind of foster baby. He came into the brokenness. He took on a pain much deeper, grief more wrenching.

He loved you that much. He loved me that much. He loved your mama that much.
We love because he first loved us.
1 John 4:19
It is a privilege to love you, no matter the cost.

With love,
One of your mamas.