August 27, 2007

Day and Night

During the day, Puppy is a hurricane of energy and movement. Always exploring, always moving, always multi-tasking. I have grown accustomed to the fact that walking in a straight path with Puppy means him constantly sweeping out before me, stopping several times to check objects of interest, then finally running back to my side. It is like having a personal advance team for the ten feet in front of me.

I am a homebody, content to stay in a chair for hours doing nothing more strenuous than turning the pages of a book. My vision of parenting included lots of snuggling and lap time. But since the moment he discovered he could control his own limbs, Puppy has wanted none of that. He will sit in a lap to read, or sometimes to eat. But he prefers a quick kiss to an extended cuddle, wanting to return to unrestrained movement as quickly as he can. Daytime with Puppy is about encouraging him, containing him, and letting him take me along for the wild ride. He enlivens my days like no one ever has.

It is only at night that he is still. Many evenings I sneak into his room as he sleeps to drink in the sight of him on my own time. I become again the new mother, staring at a child and marveling that he is hers. Watching his chest rise and fall in the dim light, taking in the smallness of the arms and legs sprawled across the bed, swooning at the curve of the lashes resting on his cheeks. In the daylight I am excited by his new skills, his growth. At night I want time to slow down, to leave him my baby a little longer. I stop moving myself, hoping to seal the sight of him in my memory.

At night, thoughts bubble to the surface that I have no room for during the day. Puppy's genes carry potential illnesses that, to be honest, frighten me. His brief life history already includes elements that have left others struggling to form a coherent identity. As I do my best to keep up with him in the daylight, all that information rests far back in my mind. But as he sleeps in the dark, so tiny and perfect, those things push their way to the front. They loom, threatening to rob my boy of the joy for life that so defines him right now.

I think that is why, night after night, I find myself intoning the same prayer, one born not of theological reflection but of the desperation of my heart.

"Lord, make him whole. Make him whole. Make him whole."


Mandy said...

Oh Hon you can't keep thinking about it. It will drive you crazy. My daughter has things that may or may not effect her when she grows up but if I worried about that every night I wouldn't enjoy her for who she is now.

Give it to God like you have started to do and let him take care of it.

Anonymous said...

I can empathize, at least in part. Not genetic, but inflicted, in our case. With my eldest, we're staring Fetal Alcohol Syndrome in the face. Every day is a question mark.

My prayers are with you, friend.


Anonymous said...

This is powerfully written. Thank you for sharing it.

Anonymous said...

Yes, Exactly.

Anonymous said...

Quite a powerful post, indeed. Thanks...

Anonymous said...

Oh my. What a sweet, honest, poignant post.

Anonymous said...

Very well written, very personal, and still something many parents experience. Thank you for sharing it.

Samantha Franklin said...

Enjoyed reading about your precious toddler. I have a two year old and could definately relate.

I'm still praying that same prayer ~ God make me whole. I guess it takes a lifetime.

No offense here, but with the way you can "adopt" puppies and children ~ using the same word for both ~ why do you call your son Puppy? I know it is probably an endearing term for you. I call my son, Bubby, a weird way I started saying "baby", but being an adoptee, it is alittle weird hearing you call your son Puppy.
Just being honest.

Adult adoptees aren't even given the right to have their own records of birth. We do feel like products of a supply/demand system sometimes, even though we love our families so much. It involves loss as we all know.

Heather said...

It does take a lifetime, doesn't it?

Thank you for your honest, tactful comment on the nickname I use for my son. I started using the nickname to give myself some semblance of anonymity. His actual name is biblical and the Hebrew spelling of it is the same as the Hebrew word for "dog." I was just finishing my Hebrew courses when he was born, and found it amusing that this rather popular boy's name was so similar to "dog." Not the meaning most people are going for when they choose names! So when I was thinking of a nickname to use here, it came to mind. I don't use it at all in real life, just here on the blog.

All that as explanation, not excuse. You're right that I didn't think of it as anything more than a term of affection, even though things like "adopt a street" programs make me cringe. I am truly sorry it made you uncomfortable. Had I had the foresight to see it from that point of view, I probably would not have used it. I am doing my best as I raise him to counter the historic treatment of adoptees as afterthoughts in their own adoptions, to acknowledge and honor the losses he experiences. This is his adoption, after all. Adopted adults like you who are able and willing to point out my blind spots are invaluable.

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