One year ago today (April 2), two little girls were dropped off at our house. They were a little bedraggled, but sweet and quiet, holding their arms out right away, needing love.
Those first few days were crazy. Appointments, new clothes and toys, getting used to girls — GIRLS!! — in the house. Our boys did well with the adjustment and even helped out. We didn’t know how long they would be here, only that their parents couldn’t take care of them and they needed a place to stay.
So they stayed. Hard to believe it’s been a year already. Their parents still can’t take care of them, or at least haven’t done what’s required to get them back. They’re making a little progress, but at this point, it’s about 50-50 whether they’ll get it together or whether the girls will need somewhere to stay for the rest of their lives.
We’re ready for that — at least as ready as we can be. We want them here. At some level, we love them. You can’t have two little humans be a part of every moment for 365 days without getting attached to them. But yeah, we’re holding back. We have to. Otherwise, if they leave, well …
If they leave now, we’ll be fine. We have three incredible boys to focus on. Yes, we’ll be sad, but it will be more of a sadness for them, for what they’ll be going back to, for what they’ll miss out on. Not that we’re all that and a bag of chips, but we’ve gotten glimpses of the world they come from. It’s not a pretty place.
If they stay, yes, it will continue to be a madhouse around here. But the good kind of madhouse, the kind that God gives new grace every morning for, the kind that sucks you in until you realize that you actually like your own special brand of madness.
We’ve learned how to live with five kids. You have to do things a little differently sometimes. And you have to have help. The times we’ve been ready to throw in the towel, encouragement has always come — meals, gift cards, babysitting. You can’t do this kind of thing alone.
I know a lot more about girls now. They’re not as active as boys, but they can hold their own. They don’t eat as much. They cry (A LOT) more. They’re moody. They’re motherly. They’re pretty darn cute.
I can wash girls’ hair and even blow dry it, as long as no styling is required. Actually fixing hair? Hopeless. Still not sure about the difference in tights and leggings, even though my wife has told me about 500 times. Still get paralyzed looking at all the clothing options. Still not sure if that is a shirt or a dress, so what in the world goes with it? And which shoes are they supposed to wear again?
I love how happy they get when you give them a smile. Love how much they’ve grown, how they say, “That’s MY Mommy!” Love their simple joy. Love that they don’t know (yet) how much their parents screwed up. Love listening to them sing. Love that they can know love. Love that they have a ball playing with the boys. Love that the boys take care of them.
One year down … not sure how many to go. Those days, though, they’re numbered in a place far deeper than I can tread. He knows, and that’s enough.