Wednesday, May 27, 2015

The Shirt

The shirt made a brief debut in December 2008. Size 3T, "Awesome Big Brother." I found it at a little second-hand shop the same day I found out we were expecting. These days, everyone tends to think early on about how they'll announce such joyful news - I was going to have Josh wear it and post the picture. And invite the world to rejoice with us.

But just 4 weeks later I was packing that shirt away, deep in the throes of silent grief. I remember thinking that I should just trash it - what were the chances it would still fit him if and when we ever got that chance to announce? 

Months went by, then years. 

I forgot about the shirt.

Just a few weeks ago I was going through our 3T box and pulling out clothes for my ginormous 16 month old and there it was. 

Size 3T, "Awesome Big Brother."  

Just days after we found out that he would, indeed, be one. And soon.

It's funny how life works. You find out news, you plan something out. You dream, you hope, you mourn. You roll with what life brings next or scream about it's unfairness. You rail at God some days, you forget to care others. You pray and then stop and then pray again.

And then suddenly you are this family of five. And this shirt that was meant to announce joy to the world 7 years ago, this shirt that you so painfully packed away, gets new life. New, unexpected life.

Isn't that the way things happen sometimes? One dream dies and we even forget about the little ancillary details that might have surrounded it. Meanwhile, God is working in the background. Things are happening that we can't see and wouldn't understand in their uncompleted form anyway. They are too big for our human mind. Life moves forward and we never see the ways that dreams might come back around in a renewed form until they are thrust before us.

And let me be clear here: I am not saying that God likes that my two younger boys have lost their first familues or that years ago when I bought this shirt God was working then to make it so my kids would go through that pain of loss and possible eventual struggles with identity that can come with adoption. In my opinion, it is never his plan that families would not stay together- but situations happen and adoption exists for a reason. These boys are not the lucky ones  - we are the ones privileged to have them be a part of our family, to enrich our lives, to be our sons even as they deal eventually with their own losses and questions.What I AM saying is that we dreamed of being parents to more than one child. We mourned and waited and struggled and almost gave up. But in just 20 months, we now have two more children and feel overwhelmed with fullness and joy. (And, obviously, sleep deprivation ;-)

My sweet oldest boy never wore that shirt. But man has he lived up to it's wording. And just a year and a half after becoming that awesome big brother that he so longed to be, he gets to do it again and watch his little brother become one, too. 

My oldest actually leapt up from the table and did a happy dance when he found out the news and asks constantly to hold him and feed him and cuddle him. My middle boy has no idea who this little person is who has invaded his life, his space, his parents' attention.
Sweet boy in his drooly shirt- give him a break, he's working on 4 molars!

But he's wearing that shirt. That shirt that represented a lost dream, a deep sadness, an unfulfilled announcement. 

That shirt is living proof that God is faithful. 

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