This is the Good Stuff

Life moves pretty fast. If you don’t stop and look around once in a while, you might miss it. ~ Ferris Bueller

Last night was my younger son’s “Spring Sing” performance, an end of the year concert and fundraiser that his preschool puts on. It’s very cute – the kids practice all year to go up and sing their little songs. One song had something to do with hippopotamuses (hippopotami?) and Jesus. Another was “This little light of mine.”

It was not fine musicianship, but it was an awesome display of childhood joy at its finest.

I am not going to talk about adoption or our process to become a family very much on this blog. I identify as just a mom, not an adoptive mom – it is something that plays into how our family does things but for the most part we are just a regular family, and I am just a regular mom.

A regular, sarcastic mom. And I will admit that it is hard for me to check my sarcasm (my constant companion, it sometimes seems) at the door. Sarcasm is so easy. It’s so easy to laugh away feelings that can leave me feeling so exposed and raw. We came so close having none of this.

However, when I saw my son file in with his class, standing at the back because he’s one of the tallest, getting a little rambunctious with his friends, and looking around the audience until he saw us – his family – and then breaking into his trademark “huge grin with dimple” it brought tears to my eyes.

I am new to this territory. I have never been a sentimental person, and always one to approach events such as these with tongue planted firmly in cheek. So much easier to make the joke and keep up my defense of not taking things too seriously.

But every once in a while, even I am gobsmacked by just how insanely lucky we are to be doing even these mundane things.

Because we so very nearly missed all of it. THEY so very nearly missed all of it.

You guys – we have come so far, I cannot even tell you. So far since we met that little sickly 15 month baby that was barely on the growth chart, in a baby home on Sakhalin Island, Russia. So far since we met his big brother in another orphanage in the middle of nowhere. So far since we despaired of ever bringing them home. So far since we traveled halfway around the world to finally, after nearly two years of struggle and delays, bring them home and start the hard work of becoming a family.

So far since our early days as a family, when it seemed as though “normal” was an impossible goal.

You could read my old blog, but it would only hint at what we went through. Trial by fire, I guess.

But here we are. They are ours and we are theirs and we are doing this thing. This incredible, amazing thing. This everyday, boring, ridiculous thing.

Every once in a while, God reminds you that these things too, are a miracle.

Happy Easter!

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Whew! Easter is hard. But the eggs have been dyed and hunted, spring outfits worn, and church attended. All that is left is dinner, and I haven’t done anything about that. I’ll have to go to the grocery store and hope for some inspiration. Perhaps a divine light will shine down from the meat aisle to give me some guidance.

I’ll probably end up going with lamb though. I thought about ham but I don’t like the religious significance of it at Easter time. The reason it’s a tradition to eat it at religious holidays is because historically it was a way for Christians to separate themselves from Jews. It bothers me to focus on that at Easter. But lamb is a nice symbol of springtime, plus a reference to the Lamb of God.

I realize this is probably overthinking things a bit. One meat is as good as another, right?

That’s what I do on Easter though – I overthink things. Unlike Christmas, this is the holiday in the Christian religion that is about faith. The historical fact of Jesus’ birth and life is not in dispute, but his death and resurrection, and the idea that in him we will have everlasting life is the part that requires faith. So, for me it usually brings some reflection. I sometimes wish I had that sort of faith that never questions, but I do. I question. I believe, because I CHOOSE to believe. And yet, I question.

Don’t get me wrong, I like Easter, but I struggle with it. I struggle with the way it moves around the calendar so it’s hard to get organized. I struggle because of the questions. And I struggle because I don’t get why it is such a Hallmark holiday. The idea that kids are getting gifts on Easter blows my mind because for me, it was never about that. It was just eggs and candy – and church if I was at my grandmothers house. I’ve never really thought of it as a gift giving holiday.

So we went with the traditions – eggs, candy and church, plus some Legos in the Easter basket. Unfortunately, a certain 7 year old boy decided to complain that the Easter Bunny didn’t bring the right Legos, rather than being grateful for having received Legos in the first place. So, I decided it was time to enlighten him as to the true nature of the bunny. He’s 7, after all, and has already figured out about Santa Claus (who never visited in Russia and so it never made sense to really try to instill a belief in something he already knew not to be true).

And I reminded him that when one is receiving gifts, it is better to say thank you than to complain about the gifts one has received. That is, if one wants to continue receiving gifts. Even Moms Easter bunnies like to hear a little gratitude once in a while.

With our priorities realigned, we had a better outcome with today’s church attendance than the last time we went. We made it all the way to the sermon before the wiggles took over and the boys asked to go to the nursery. Which I thought was pretty good for 5 and 7 year old boys.

Even before Easter we were getting a lot of questions about God, and Jesus and what all that is about, and since as a questioner I obviously don’t have all the answers, I guess it is time to get serious about finding a church home for our family. And while we have liked the churches we have tried, none of them yet have felt like home.

Many of the families we know go to the same big church in town, but we have resisted going there, partly because of not wanting to follow the crowd. Also because it’s a longer drive. I mean, we would have to drive 10 minutes to get there, vs. 5 minutes to go to the other churches we tried.

You may laugh, but we are seriously not morning people, especially not Sunday morning people, and so that extra 5 minutes makes a huge difference between whether we will show up or not.

However, there is something to be said for a church where you already know a lot of people and so it probably is where we are going to end up. We liked the church we tried today, but we just didn’t know anyone so it didn’t feel quite right. Plus, they do Sunday school after the church service which means you have to hang around for a long time. That’s not gonna work. If we’re gonna do this, we need to be efficient about it.

Plus, the kids have said they want to go where their friends go, and honestly I feel the same way.

After church we went out for donuts, and later today the boys are going out for some batting practice, and I am going to go walk and run at the track. That will be my first outdoor run since my surgery so I am looking forward to that.

From our family to yours, Happy Easter!.