Life with a boy


Eight months.

That’s how long I’ve been the momma to a five-year-old boy, and ya know…I thought for sure I’d have everything figured out by now.


Recently, I’ve been mulling over some of the things about this new role I play and this new person I live with that I completely did not expect.

For example, I didn’t expect it to be so easy for me to play boy games.  Hot Wheels.  Tag. Throwing things.  Building towers and knocking them back down.  He came in the summer, and even though I’m not usually one to sign up to jog/run for any other reason than self-preservation, I had no problem racing him to the store through rows of cars in the parking lot, or chasing behind him as he went zipping along on his scooter.  And legos?  Oh, those beautiful legos.  I could play with them longer than he could, I’m sure.

I also didn’t expect it to be so easy to hold a grudge against my child.  I mean, really.  These moods I get into can last for hours.  Want to know my theory?  When you and another adult have a fight, ideally you figure it out and apologize and make up.  Or if not, you at least acknowledge the fact that something is off.  With a child, your home could be five seconds from erupting into World War Three when your boy takes his little three minute time-out (which, let’s be honest, is usually more for you than for him).  The timer beeps and he gallops out of his bedroom with a big grin saying, “Do you want to play with me?”  And you are so not ready.  This whole moving-on-quickly thing…it’s definitely not for the weak at heart.

And then there’s the sound effects.  “Drumming”.  Tapping.  Singing nonsensical words and phrases over and over and over and over.  Singing sensical words and phrases over and over and over and over.  The constant noise pollution that can escape the mouth of a five-year-old boy in the early morning hours will never cease to astound and baffle me.  Never.

When you sign up for foster care, you pray and hope and resolve yourself to become every bit of “momma” that this kid needs from the very first day he steps into your house.  What you don’t expect is for that resolve to work retrospectively, and for you to hold regrets and even resentments over the moments you missed being momma before he stepped foot in your house. When my boy wakes up in the middle of the night crying from a bad dream, and I sing and rock and comfort him back to sleep, I wander back to my own bed and cry over the nights I missed through his first five years.  The times someone else rocked him back to sleep, or the times maybe no one did.  The times he needed me and I didn’t even know it.

Despite all these surprises, all the unknowable facets, here is what I’m coming to grips with: When mystery comes knocking, you can be pretty sure that God is on the other side of it, turning His knobs or tapping His buttons or flicking His paintbrush to make you and your life into what He always had in mind.

Sometimes I can’t believe it.  The joy that cracks my face when I see music in my son.  The mind-crushing annoyance I feel about having to say, “Put on your boots and coat,” seventy thousand times every morning.  The sweetness of how often this boy kisses my hand.  These are the brush strokes in my day-to-day.  I am astonished and so very grateful for the {nearly} total natural feelings with which I transitioned into this…fixing meals and giving baths, helping with homework and choosing consequences, falling in love and tucking into bed as easily as if motherhood were the pair of jeans I wore yesterday, folded up in my drawer and ready for me to step into for another day.



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