The silence hangs heavily in the air. We've just dropped him off for his weekly visit and neither one of us want to say what we're thinking, saying it makes things more real, and so far, I've done a great job of distancing myself from the real. Ignoring the fact that the real is coming quickly and there's nothing I can do about it except to wait. And pray. And wait.
"It gets harder every time..." he says tentatively after a while. I say something in agreement. Letting myself think for just a moment of what it would be like to say a final goodbye. My eyes fill with tears and I blink them away, along with the thoughts of goodbyes, and no longer waking up in the morning and greeting those coffee-colored eyes. Of no longer picking him up from his crib and having him lay his head on my shoulder, his sleepiness making him almost too sweet to bear. Of cool mornings on the patio. Of afternoon reading times. Of night time bath times with his "quack, quack, quack." I can't think of those. Of the possibility that so quickly, they could be gone.
That's how much longer I know for sure he gets to be with us. In two weeks we have his final hearing and the judge will decide who gets this sweet little boy. I hate it, fighting for him. Not that he's not worth fighting for, because of course he is, but I wish I didn't have to. I wish he was just ours. Simple as that. I've had my moments of pity on his mother. Wondering what it would be like to be her, having someone try to take my son away forever, and I do feel sorry for her. But in a way, I'm in that position too. He's as much my son as if I had birthed him myself. And now I have to worry about losing him to someone else forever.
And then I wonder, if I should even be fighting for him. If it's the right thing, and what is the right thing, and how does anyone ever know what the right thing is, at all, in these situations??? And that's when I remind myself, if we get to keep him, that one day I'm going to have to tell him everything about his first couple of years. Explaining how he came to live with us and why. Why we fought to keep him and what all that means. And when he looks at me, with questions in his eyes, I know I will have to live with the decisions I made for him and how I did what I thought best. That's what it's really about. Not the right or the wrong of being with us or being with his mother, because how could anyone say what is or isn't right in cases like this. But it's about what you can live with and the life and love he could be given with us. And in that matter, now and later on when he asks me, I will have no doubts.
And now, for recap, of what we've been through so far together:
The anticipation of getting him.
The Adjustment Period. Including our first Halloween together.
Falling in love. Including a picture from his first football game with us.
Our first Thanksgiving & Christmas with him.
Thinking about having to let him go.
Our first Easter.
Getting McCrae and watching him become a big brother.
And a ton of firsts for him that I can't mention just yet. But it's all been wonderful, and I just can't bear the thought of all of those firsts, also being lasts or even onlys. It would be heartbreaking. I hope that eventually I get to introduce him to you all, with pictures and videos, so you can see for yourself how incredibly cute and precious he is. But for now, we're still just waiting. And praying. And waiting.