This post was originally published here on October 14, 2009:
“He’s such a lucky boy.”
Baby and I have been stopped by a well meaning town resident who I vaguely know. He’s not the first to say this to us.
“We think we’re the lucky ones,” I say. This is not the first time I’ve answered this way.
For now, I can hate that phrase– He’s such a lucky boy- but it doesn’t yet do any damage to baby’s psyche. One day, though, it will.
The truth is that I don’t see baby’s life as lucky. Being born in a country that is so disproportionately poor and resource-starved to parents who were so poor and resource-starved themselves that they could not raise him (we know a little more about baby’s story than I am implying in the previous sentence but out of respect for baby being the keeper of his story, we are holding that private until we are able to share it with him, and he is able to decide if he’d like to share it and with whom) actually feels to me like anything but luck.
Baby’s life, to me, though, shows me what faith is– faith in something greater than ourselves and faith in other people. Think of a mother who has given birth to this beautiful boy who she, of course, loves with all her heart. Think of the challenge you must be facing in your life to make the decision she makes. Think of the wisdom she has to know that love, sometimes, means not physically holding on– a wisdom I, the girl who holds on too long, could never have. Think of the faith she has to know that the right family will be waiting for him. No, sir, how our baby’s life has evolved is not borne of luck. It came alive when a woman that I admire to my core made a decision based on faith, based on a knowing deep within her, based on a stark assessment of her life and the injustice of this world, based on what might look like hopelessness to some but what I believe is really hopefulness. I don’t know how to dramatically reconcile the poverty of this world; it is what I most wish I were able to do. It wasn’t luck that brought us together. I know that for sure. And though I can’t yet articulate all of it in the way that I wish: I know that baby coming into our lives, our coming into baby’s life is part of something bigger than all three of us.
The other day, I was typing at my computer while BF was with baby, and I turned towards the chirping that was going on behind me. On the floor about ten feet away was our baby boy, concentrating hard on a soft car that he was given by one of my dearest friends for his birthday. The moment, it’s smallness and hugeness all in one, stole my breath, and there I was suddenly weeping. He does this to me, this boy. He breaks my heart, opens it up, and warms it all at the same time. Even as I type these words, remembering the scene, the unremarkableness of the moment wrapped in the remarkableness of our union, I am weeping again. There are times when the only prayer that I can say, the only words that I can muster are ”please, let me do enough.” Not my best, because I am terrified that I will somehow justify less than enough. And this baby boy, his biological parents, they have put so much faith in us, they have given us their trust, they have blessed our lives with this beautiful, beautiful boy. When I was weeping the other day, BF came to me and asked me if I was okay. The feeling inside of me was so big, I couldn’t give it words, I can’t really right now. I just shook my head at him, nodded towards the baby, and, thus, choked him up, too.
Remember that feeling you had the very first time you fell in love? It was so enormous that it almost didn’t fit inside of you. It felt like you would burst at any moment, and that if this love, somehow, didn’t make it, you would die because there would be nothing else worth doing as much as loving this person. I remember thinking sometime in my twenties that love like that, that ferocity, that intensity, that joy laced with fear, doesn’t come back after first love. That the physical, visceral sensation of that only happens once. Weeping out of the blue as my child gummed on his car that day, I realized it comes back. As luck would have it, it comes back with a ferocity that swallows you.