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To all the kids I don’t adopt

The process of adopting is full of intense and sudden emotions. On our journey to find the next child that will come into our family, there are countless children who need homes that won’t become mine. Some I may see on a website. Others I hear about locally. Still others I will never see a picture of or know their names, but they are still there. Waiting, like me.

This is hard. Devastating. Confusing. It could be a passing conversation with a friend or acquaintance about a child who needs a home. It may be a call from a case worker saying “maybe”, but there is no guarantee. The circumstances may not fit for one reason or another. And then there are times when you just need to slow it down a step to catch your breath, and then the door closes. Thoughtful inaction can lead to missed opportunity. Sometimes, the inaction may not be on my part. I may be waiting for someone else to do their job, to fulfill their role. And then a deadline is missed. An opportunity is lost. A child becomes someone else’s. There are also variables we have to consider as parents to our son. Adding a new family member is a life-altering process for everyone involved, and it requires a layer of sensitivity and care when other children are present. For these reasons and others, there are many children who cross my path (and thousands who don’t) that are not and will not be mine.

How do I make sense of this? How do I go “all-in” and deal with these continual disappointments? How can I keep envisioning possible children in our family only to be let down and skeptical of the whole process? I am sure people in my position have different ways of coping with this aspect of adoption. For me, it comes down to an anchor that I have to lean into if I am going to put myself through this.

I AM NOT IN CONTROL.

There is nothing groundbreaking about this notion, but it is comforting and relieving in the midst of so much uncertainty. I have to trust that life is not arbitrary and random. That if all of life really boiled down to luck or chance or even hard work, then I would be obsessed with doing everything just right and filled with fear and doubt and pressure to make the best move all the time. “If only I had called that case worker back an hour before” or “What if we missed our child because we went out of town and delayed our home study paperwork by a week?” That’s enough to make a person (me) crazy.

There are certainly things I can do and need to do in this process, so I focus on those things.  I make phone calls, send emails, research things online, seek wisdom and counsel from others, continue working on being a good parent to my son and a thoughtful wife to my husband.  I pray. I do what I can do, then I let go of the rest.

I have to remind myself constantly that there is something bigger at work than my own agendas and plans. Sometimes, I feel called to be diligent and relentless and, other times, I feel the need to slow down and trust. It’s hard to discern the difference, which is where community is paramount for me. I need those who know and love me to anchor me, too.  I need people to remind me that my child is out there; that I am not forgotten and neither is she. That I am not waiting alone.

And when I feel my Savior Complex kick in when I think about all of the children who need permanent families in this country, I hold on to my anchor once again. I AM NOT IN CONTROL.  I cannot right all the wrongs in this world, and adopting children is not the only way to seek out justice and show love.  Instead, I can be faithful to fulfill my own life purpose, which I strongly believe involves adopting more kids.  But not 20. Not 200.  Not 100,000.

In order to make peace with the children out there that don’t become mine, I have to hold on to this. I want a family. And for now, my husband and I have made peace with some parameters for what it needs to look like to bring more children into our family. We try to be open to what falls into those parameters, and we push the parameters a little here and there.  We continually check in with ourselves and each other to make sure the parameters are not too tight because of fear or too loose out of desperation.  We want to be thoughtful, hopeful and wise.

In the meantime, as I scroll through pictures on websites or hear stories of children needing homes, I will whisper each name in a breath prayer up to God, and I will honor their story even for just a moment. Because they are valuable and worthy of love. And eventually, it will be my child I whisper a breath prayer for… And the next chapter will begin.

 

I got no patience. and I hate waiting.

I am not a patient person.  In fact, I can be a bit impulsive and rash at times.  It’s a consequence of being passionate, I tell myself. (And that’s called justification.)  Jay Z summed up the sentiments of our culture in an inappropriate song from my teenage years: “I got no patience.  And I hate waitin.”

Many aspects of today’s culture feed into this personality characteristic quite well.  My most common outlet is Amazon Prime.  Pretty much anything I want, I can get instantaneously streamed or shipped to me within 48 hours.  It takes so little forethought to order presents or to be entertained.

In a streaming culture with the world at our fingertips, waiting seems so passé.

I remember a time when trying to recall what movie a particular actor starred in or the definition of a word or a random sports statistic had to be analyzed and argued about instead of just googled.  I recall my family’s first encyclopedia on cd-rom.  It felt like magic.  So much information in one place accessible to me through my clunky desktop computer.

Most businesses have had to find their own ways of speeding up the wait in order to stay competitive.  Restaurants have apps for reserving tables and even pre-ordering your meal.  Theme parks have fast passes and online access to current wait times for rides and attractions. And despite all the increased efficiency in our society, when we are forced to wait for even a minute, we can fill that wait time with scrolling.  Check Facebook.  Check Instagram.  Check the latest scores. Text. Email. Tweet. Snapchat. (This one gets me. “Here is a picture of me waiting!”)

Waiting isn’t a time to talk or pontificate the meaning of life.  It’s a time to distract. To prevent boredom.  To minimize discomfort.

So what happens when all the technological and societal advances aren’t enough and waiting is unavoidable? In those moments, we have to decide how badly we want whatever we are forced to wait for.

That’s where I am.  Waiting.  When we decided to pursue adoption again, I had a feeling it wouldn’t be so quick or smooth this time around.  That was rare, and I know this now.  We had done our fair share of waiting prior to our son’s adoption.  We struggled through infertility and made an intentional decision to pursue adoption, which involved a lot of paperwork and conversations and classes and tons of little details.  It was not easy.  But looking back, it was not nearly as hard as it is for most.  I see that now, and I honor that.

This time around, our process looks a bit different.  We have a little boy to consider and that means more waiting and praying and exploring and information-gathering.  One of the reasons the adoption process is so intense is that it requires patience and discernment and intention, as well as courage and risk and even impulsivity.  It’s a wait, wait, wait….. GO! sort of process.  And sometimes it’s even a wait, wait, wait.. Go-no wait, maybe go?-no, go back to waiting process.

A question I keep asking myself during this ambiguous and confusing stage is “How am I waiting?”

Am I using this time well or am I biding time?  Am I scrolling and streaming instead of reflecting and praying?

I want to wait well.  Not just in our adoption journey, but in all areas of my life.  I want to be present, but also allow myself to have vision and imagination for the future.  I want to look inward and around instead of down or even straight ahead.  I want to share my waiting experiences with others and not pull away or avoid.  I want to feel uncomfortable instead of numbing myself with distractions and surface-level connection.  I want to lean into my fears and honor the uncertainty of life.  But I don’t want to do it alone.  And I don’t think I am supposed to.

I am not a patient person.  I will continue to use fast passes and call ahead to restaurants and get my tickets on Fandango because these conveniences make life less stressful and rushed for me.  But when I have to wait, I want to wait well.  And in my waiting, I want to be more attuned to those who are waiting, too.  I want to wait with people and invite people to wait with me.  After all, so much of the experience is the anticipation.  When I wait with others, the anticipation feels exciting and connected.  When I wait alone, I am much more likely to feel overwhelmed by the uncertainty and run away.  I can tell you this, I would never wait an hour in line for Space Mountain by myself.

Many things feel scary right now.  What would be most comfortable would be to forget the whole adoption thing and enjoy the comforts of my life as it is.  But that is my fear talking.  My flesh.  My physical body instead of my spirit.  So when things start feeling acutely out of my control, I have to ask myself:

How badly do I want this?

When I dig deep, the answer is loud and clear.  Enough to wait as long as I need to.

 

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A letter to my son’s first mother on Mother’s Day

My becoming a mother came at a high cost to someone else.  And on this Mother’s Day, I want to honor that sacrifice.

My husband and I adopted our son when he was 4 years old. We had the opportunity to meet his biological mother once, which I am grateful for. When I think back to that day, I can remember the pain in her voice. The sadness in her eyes. The mixture of shame and anxiety and regret and fatigue that were evident in her body language and her distant glances. But I also remember her intentionality and the way she carried herself with grace and humility. I saw her son’s/our son’s face in her deep blue eyes. I knew in that moment she would always be a part of me.

As I celebrate my third Mother’s Day, my heart is drawn back to her. I have so many things I want to say to her now, almost three years later. So I wrote her a letter.

Dear J,

There are so many things I want to say…

First of all, our son is amazing. He is a fun and gregarious boy who makes others feel comfortable and valued. He is full of insight and awareness.   He has a beautiful imagination and sense of adventure coupled with a thoughtful care and respect for the world. He draws people in with his ability to connect and his sweet spirit. He is a special boy.

You are not forgotten. I think about you often, and our son does, too. I see it in his eyes. A far off look of wonder and concern. A creased brow. A wide-eyed expression of excitement followed by a pause. A feeling he can’t quite name. A deep connection to his past that will never leave him.

He remembers and so do we.

You are not alone. You carry us in your heart just as we carry you. You are an integral part of my story, and because of that, we will always be connected. Our son keeps you with him in his big smile and his cute nose and his memories. You are always with us.

You are mentioned. I do not pretend you don’t exist or quiet our son from speaking your name. I honor your presence by asking him what he remembers and leaving room for him to speak freely about you whenever he wants or needs to. Every time we meet someone with your first name, he jolts his head up and smiles at me with a knowing glance. He calls you his first mom, and I do, too.

You are still a mother. You gave me the gift of motherhood, and now that I have experienced it, I know I can’t ever go back. I will always be a mother, and so will you. Although he isn’t calling for you in the middle of the night or asking you to tie his shoes, you know the feeling of love for your child. You made choices to protect and support him. You intimately know the pain and guilt of wanting the best for your child and not knowing how to give it to him.

You are still a mother, and you always will be.

I want you to know that you are a precious and valuable human being. I don’t know what you believe about God, but here’s what I believe. He created you. He knows you. He loves you. Your love and sacrifice is a reflection of God’s love and sacrifice, and he hasn’t given up on you. I pray that you know how precious and valuable you are, to me and to God.

Most importantly, know that our son is loved.  As a mother, the most meaningful thing someone can do for me is to love my child. To treat my son with dignity and to honor his journey. To notice him and to value him, not for what he does, but for who he is. To put his needs above her own and to give sacrificially to him. And that’s what I promise you.

I want you to know that our son is loved. And so are you. 

Thank you for making me a mother and for entrusting me with the most profound job of my life.  Our son is growing so fast.  In the blink of an eye, he went from a preschooler with training wheels to a kid riding roller blades.  He is doing well.  We hope you are, too.

Take care,

Karin

100_2247        josh skating

Mother’s Day is not easy for many people.  My son’s first mother is just one example of that.  Remember that this weekend. Look around at church or at brunch or the grocery store and show love and compassion to those with far-off looks.  I hope someone does that for my son’s first mother today.

Lord, be with the grieving, with the barren, with the lonely, with the distant, with the orphans, with the broken-hearted… Today and always.

adoption blog 1

Consider this my sonogram

There is big news in the Fields Household! Our family of three is growing, and we couldn’t be more excited about it! I don’t have a belly shot or a sonogram picture to mark this milestone. I am not fighting back nausea and fatigue as I write this, grateful to be moving from the first trimester to the second. There is no big gender reveal party to attend where our friends and family stand by as we cut through the cake to find our destiny in the filling. We didn’t get Josh a cute shirt that says “Big Brother” yet, although I am sure I won’t be able to resist down the road. We haven’t started decorating the room because there are too many unknowns at this point. There is much we don’t know. But there is one thing we do know.

WE ARE ADOPTING AGAIN!

We don’t know who our next child is yet, but we believe that our child is already in the world. This is both exciting and overwhelming to think about. As a parent, I know that there is nothing I wouldn’t do for my kid. I want to be there for this child, but I can’t yet. I want to remind this child that he or she is loved and valued and worthy, but my words cannot yet be heard. I want to hug and kiss and care for this child, but it is not yet time.

So in the meantime, I pray. I pray that God would protect this child that He has predestined for us. I pray that this child would feel comfort and peace and strength beyond comprehension. I pray that God would hurry. And I pray that I would have patience. I pray for my son Josh. I pray that he wouldn’t doubt how much we love and want him as we pursue another child. I pray that he would see and believe that adoption is not and has never been a second choice for us. I pray that he would grow in his security of who he is and his role in our family. I pray that he would pray, too.

It’s complicated. Even our announcement isn’t simple, and I hesitated for a while because I didn’t know what to say. But I decided it’s too important not to announce. We are preparing. That’s what the gestational period is for, and we are pregnant, in a manner of speaking. We made it through the “first trimester” of thinking and daydreaming and feeling a bit queasy. We have moved into the “second trimester”, and things are getting real. Our paperwork is almost finished and we have begun the process of connecting. We are talking to our family and friends, making contact with agencies and other adoption entities, and we are beginning to make room.

The third trimester looks a bit different for adoptive families. I want to nest-to prepare a room, have parties, begin to make plans for work and school schedules, and talk more openly with others about our new child. But there are too many unknowns. I can do a little, but until we get matched with a child, I can’t really paint a wall picture with our child’s initials on it or register at Target. It’s hard to make plans for this summer because it is very possible that by then we will be a family of 4 instead of 3. It could take months or we could get a call next week notifying us of a child who needs a home. There is a lot of uncertainty. But there is also hope and anticipation and energy.

When I see a sonogram picture on Facebook announcing the pregnancy of someone I care about, I feel excited. I also feel included. I feel invited to celebrate this miracle and to begin loving that child.  It symbolizes the transition from an intimate secret known by a select few to a public proclamation of intention and expectation. It says to me that, even though they know things can still happen and there is no guarantee, they are believing that it will happen and wanting others to celebrate with them; to experience it with them.

So this is my sonogram picture. This is my announcement. And this is my invitation for you to celebrate with us.

I started this blog because I believed I had a story to share. It’s a story of love and helplessness and pain and redemption. It’s a story of adoption. And the story continues.

adoption blog 1                      adoption blog 2

 

dave and karin dancing

I am not cut out for a Long Distance Relationship*

I am not cut out for a long-distance relationship.  I have never really done it.  I have watched many friends go through seasons of extended separation from significant others, and I have always considered these people to be of a stronger constitution than the average person. (namely, me.)  I have so much respect for the commitment and sacrifice that is needed to maintain a relationship (not to mention a family, a house, a life) long-distance.  It’s just never been my journey.

My husband is away for a few days at a work thing.  He has moved in to a new phase in his career that has resulted in more travel.  And by more, I mean “any at all” because he never really had to travel before.

One main reason why it feels so profound to me when my husband is out of town is that we are truly partners.  I have mentioned often that Dave would make a better single parent than I would for many reasons. (As evidenced by the list below.)  But I can survive when he is out of town.  I know what to do and I can manage the family responsibilities on my own for a few days.  I just don’t want to.  I would prefer for him to be here.  I like him.  And his absence is palpable.

Here are some reasons why I miss my husband when he is out of town:

1) There’s no one to finish the last handful of the popcorn in the bag.  I love popcorn so much.  I eat it every night with grated Parmesan on top, just like my Poppy taught me.  But I have convinced myself that I am displaying some degree of self-control by leaving one handful in the bag.  My husband bats clean-up, making me feel better about myself because he technically finished it.

2) I have to make my own coffee in the morning.  I actually enjoy making coffee, but since we have been married, Dave has been setting the coffee timer for about 4:30 am every day.  I am not sure if he means to set it for that time.  But I have come to look forward to pouring my first cup of coffee and having to heat it in the microwave for 30 seconds.

Dave teaching Josh to dust-bust 2 years ago.

Dave teaching Josh to dust-bust 2 years ago.

3) I used to laugh while watching my husband sweep the wood floors every night (yes, he sweeps the floors EVERY NIGHT), but I get it now.  I have taken for granted the freedom to walk around barefoot and not get a small crumb stuck in between my toes.  As my husband likes to say, “How in the world can so much sand get in to one boy’s shoes?!” (I may ask Josh to sweep tomorrow.  He has a bit of his dad’s compulsion to clean if directed effectively.)

4) Ironically, I watched football by myself.  After thousands of times requesting a channel change to “anything but more football”, I couldn’t help myself.  I watched the second half of the national championship game alone.  I think it made me feel closer to him.  Or maybe the indoctrination is finally complete. (After all, I did play Fantasy Football this year.)

5) Our son wanted to wrestle me before bedtime.  Let’s get something straight.  I snuggle.

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6) The laundry gets backed up. My husband’s deep love for/obsession with laundry has always been one of his most attractive qualities.  I remember an older friend of mine telling me early in our marriage never to complain about his compulsion to do laundry.  I certainly don’t.  I think I can hold off until he gets home…

7) I miss my friend.  The relational extravert in me misses one of my favorite things about being married- coming home to my best pal every day.

8) Watching The Bachelor without him just isn’t as much fun.  Don’t misunderstand me, I still enjoyed it. But I wished he were sitting next to me, making funny comments and analyzing people with me. (Seriously though, what was the deal with that Ashley girl? Is she on opiates?) Another one of my favorite things about my husband: He boldly admits to watching The Bachelor of his own volition and never acts like he just sits through it begrudgingly because I want to watch it.

9) I stay up way too late because, when left to my own devices, I have little self-control and I get a rush from staying up later than normal and doing whatever I want.  I know, I’m a grown-up.  I can do what I want pretty much any time.  But my rebellious nature loves the thrill of being awake when the world sleeps.  Then I regret it in the morning when my son crawls on top of me and Dave isn’t here to get the day started while I maintain my “Morning Zombie Karin” persona for about 20 minutes.

dave and karin dancing10) I’ve grown accustomed to his face.  Like an old habit or ritual or security blanket.  He’s woven into my fabric now, and it’s just not the same without him. I am not the same without him.

I tend to cringe at the expression “Absence makes the heart grow fonder”.  For some reason, it feels like a game to me.  I picture a teenage girl advising her friend to “just not text him back for a while… Then he will realize how much you mean to him.” (I have a perpetual 16-year-old girl who resides in my head.) But I guess there is some truth to the old adage.  Separation doesn’t make me love my husband more, but it does help me appreciate him in a deeper way.  Missing him feels good and bad at the same time.  I think I like it that way. I hope it always feels like that.

*Alternative title for this blog post: Why my husband is a rock star and I should probably tell him that more often.

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Is this a moment I will remember? Christmas time reflections from the highway

December 25, 2014
I am in the passenger seat of our car basking in the aftermath of a lovely, relaxing Christmas morning with my husband and son. After a whirlwind holiday last year of cramming in and maximizing time, we made a necessary decision to simplify this year- to slow down and actually enjoy Christmas as our own family unit. To sleep in our own beds and wake up by our own Christmas tree.

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Now it is early afternoon, and as we get on the highway to visit family and keep the holiday going, I find myself with more time… Time to reflect, pray and remember. So many wonderful memories are filling my mind. My childhood Christmases when my siblings and I would open up a game to play while we waited for my dad to wake up. STOCKINGS! I have always loved that part. Spending the afternoon playing with my toys and trying on my clothes. I remember being a teenager and driving with my brother and sister to my grandparents’ house on Christmas afternoon. It was a time to talk and reflect and listen to music.  A ritual we had while making that drive was to play Everything But the Girl’s song “25th December”. There’s a line in it that keeps running through my head today…

“Oh I never, no I never ever realized”

Memories are so mysterious. We look back and romanticize and glamorize and immortalize. But when we are there, we don’t tend to realize. It’s funny what stands out in my mind now from my childhood. It’s not the big moments I thought it would be. It’s so many snapshots. Random experiences with people I love. A joke that turns into an inside joke that turns into a family story. It’s a look that sums up a relationship with perfect clarity. A smell that triggers a stage of life; not one particular moment, but the culmination of experiences that becomes a single memory.
So is it useless to try to remember? If we take enough pictures or videos, will we ever be able to fully recreate the moment? Or does trying to remember actually take us out of the moment?

December 28, 2014
Here I am again, reflecting and typing in the passenger seat of our car on our way back home. After our lovely Christmas morning opening presents and starting new traditions in our home, we spent the rest of Christmas day making memories and connecting with loved ones. Now, a few days later, I am already beginning to look back and sort through events and interactions and moments to see what stands out. I remember the moment when Dave discovered that the robot dog we got Josh for Christmas was set to Spanish mode instead of English. I remember Josh opening up his pogo stick from my sister and seeing the genuine excitement in his eyes.  I remember playing Calico Critters with my niece Aimee and laughing uncontrollably when her tiny toy rabbit’s ear broke off. I have those memories, but I also have a feeling. When I think about Christmas Day 2014, I hope I remember it as sweet, connected and special. I pray that I remember the warmth I experienced throughout the day and the depth and genuineness I felt from loved ones. When I look at pictures from that day, my wish is that they will not only spark memories of events, but also the feeling I felt that day and continue to feel now as I look back.

We don’t really know what will hold in our minds when we recall certain events and experiences. Since we don’t know what will stick, we have even more of a responsibility to be present- not to let moments pass us by, and also not to put too much focus on remembering any single moment that we aren’t actually “in it”. When we sit back and watch, let’s also lean forward and engage. When we grab for our cameras to capture a moment, let’s also pause and look at it with our own eyes first. Let’s laugh and cry together so that our memories can be connected to our relationships. Because from my experience, the memories that stick the most are the ones I share with others.

Let’s be present this new year. Let’s be engaged in life and relationships so that our collective experiences will produce shared memories and deepen our connections to others. But let’s also remember that, as hard as we try to be present, there will always be times when we will think, “I never, no I never ever realized”. After all, there are some experiences that cannot be fully realized without the passage of time. And there are gifts in those moments, too. But my prayer is that I will continue to learn to be more fully present and realize the beauty and pain and complexity of life all around me. Because even when it hurts, I would rather be present in my life than absent. I would rather remember than forget.

Especially the precious moments, like these.

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gramps hands

My Octobers: How pain and uncertainty can lead to connection and growth

When I used to think of October, the first thoughts that would come to mind were pumpkins, spiced everything, football, and the beginning of fall.  I love fall.  As a child, it was just what I longed for after the start of the school year.  It meant that the holidays were coming and there was a lot to look forward to.

For the past few years, October has been my most eventful and intense month of the year.  Three Octobers ago, my husband and I picked up our son Joshua for the final time and spent almost half the month in South Carolina waiting for paperwork to go through.  I remember feeling both intense joy and perpetual helplessness.  We adjusted to our “new normal” by enrolling Josh in preschool, introducing him to family and friends, and celebrating our first Halloween together.  We also attended my grandfather’s 102nd birthday.  I remember being in a constant state of awareness and disbelief.  It was one of the best months of my life, and one of the most exhausting.

josh and gramps meeting     100_2286

Two Octobers ago, my “not so new” family reunited in the mountains with some of our closest friends.  We experienced nature and rest and fun together.  Upon returning home,  two other dear friends were undergoing  an immense trial of having their baby, Ari, rushed to the NICU where she teetered between life and death for weeks.  Walking through such intense pain and heartache with friends created a  heightened emotional state that our entire community lived in throughout the month. I don’t think I have ever prayed harder in my life.  Everything seemed fragile. Alongside this intensity, my family was also experiencing our first round of “repeats”: Josh’s second year of preschool, my grandfather’s 103rd birthday, and the beginning of our second holiday season.

Ari 2          gramps and josh   josh superman

This year, as October approached, I had much to be thankful for and look forward to.  Sweet Ari was thriving and doing great as we were all getting ready to celebrate her 1st birthday, for which we had fervently prayed.  I was busy preparing for the wedding of my cousin Molly who has been like a little sister to me throughout my life.  And in the midst of all the excitement, I expected one more thing to remain consistent- we would celebrate my grandfather’s birthday at the end of October like we always have.

Then I got the call from my brother that changed things.  My grandfather was in the hospital again, and this time, there was talk of “the end”. I spent the rest of the month of October going back and forth from Orlando to Gainesville visiting him in the hospital, then in his home with hospice care, and making his funeral arrangements with my family. When his 104th birthday finally came the day after his funeral, I felt depleted.  This October, with all of its extreme highs and lows,  took everything out of me.  By God’s grace, I mustered up enough energy from my reserve tank on the very last day of the month to enjoy a great Halloween with my family.

10563080_10105517083152951_3044614371198159223_n    gramps hands    halloween 2014

The last three years, my Octobers have been roller coasters of emotions.  I have agonized and waited. I have anticipated and celebrated. I have prayed desperately for life and I have made peace with death. I have spent time with my dearest loved ones and I have been reminded of the pain of separation and loss.  And I have walked away from each October feeling utterly exhausted, yet more connected and grateful.  In the midst of all the uncertainty and change, each October I am drawn more intimately to God and knitted more closely together with others.

Although I can look back on my Octobers with tremendous gratitude and fondness, I can’t help but also feel relieved to see November come.  While my Octobers have been filled with change and uncertainty, my Novembers seem to bring a familiar comfort.  The start of the holiday season is accompanied by traditions and history and collective experiences that feel warm and inviting.  The change in weather (even in Florida) seems to bring a change in energy that I welcome. I look forward to November.

But I do not dread October.  I have learned more about myself these past 3 Octobers than any other season in my life. I can push through the pain and heartbreak for the intimacy and depth of relationships.  And because of my Octobers, I have a clearer picture of redemption and faith.  When I find myself questioning if God really has a plan for me as we wait eagerly for more children, I can reflect on the October when my longing to be a parent was met with the sweetest face I have ever seen.  When I doubt that God answers prayer, I can scroll through Instagram and see a picture of precious Ari playing and laughing, and I remember how desperately so many people prayed for her.  When I find myself fearing pain and death, I can remember my grandfather’s dream about the never-ending road and the legacy of his life that lives on in his family.

And when I feel alone, I can think back on my Octobers and picture the moments of true connection I have experienced- watching my family and my husband’s family embrace our son in South Carolina; staying up late responding to group texts from my community of friends as we waited for updates on Ari; dancing to the Brady Bunch with all my extended family at my cousin’s wedding and reminiscing about our childhood.  Standing around my grandfather’s bed after he died with my brother and sister feeling fully known and understood and loved.

We can’t perpetually exist in a heightened emotional state without some pretty significant consequences, but there are seasons in life where we have to.  And in those seasons, I feel more deeply and acutely aware of my surroundings, my relationships, and my need for God and others.  Those seasons are my Octobers.  And I wouldn’t trade them for anything.