After an intensely emotional day a few weeks ago, my sweet husband agreed to take me out to dinner and away from my misery. He is a brave man, but didn’t know what he was getting himself into.
The day had been spent cleaning the now vacant rooms where my step-sons previously occupied. They moved into their own house together and that was a great thing! But a week after moving, the youngest made some bad choices and is serving the consequences of his actions.
I was cleansing my soul a bit while scrubbing the bathroom that had been graced with icky boy crud everywhere. I was moving what little furniture that was left in the bedroom and uncovering the unsightly stains on the carpet. I was digging up the past and I was trying to make sense of it all. It may have been the fumes from the Clorox, or the light headedness from the heavy lifting, but soon tears flooded my eyes and I sat in the corner of that empty room releasing years of pain and struggle. I was desperately seeking catharsis and I wrote “If they Only Knew” that afternoon.
Thinking I had gotten it all out, I happily accepted the hubs’ invitation to dinner and welcomed an evening out. I was sipping my drink and looking over the menu when I noticed our server’s cute grey boots. As every woman should, I made sure to compliment her and we chatted briefly about where she got them and how hard it is to find the perfect boots. She smiled and took our order, and as we waited for our dinner, something crazy happened.
All of that work I did to clean up things earlier in the day surfaced a stain so deep within me that no amount of cleanser could diminish it. It had been there for so long. I couldn’t ignore it any longer and it came out in an awkward question.
“Now that the boys are gone and we have plenty of room, what would you think about adopting?”
And just like that, it was out there. I am rarely courageous enough to share that constant yearning, so this was a big step for me. I have long given up on my ability to have my own children, but adopting a foster child has always been on my mind and in my heart. We began the process once a few years back, but situations arose that caused me to question the timing so we stopped and never started again.
Was now the right timing, I wondered? Or are we simply too old to care for a little one now? Based on my husband’s reaction, I could tell that I had caught him off guard and unprepared. While I think about it nearly every day, he does not. He has two sons that are now grown adults and he does not want to start over again.
We come from different places and perspectives on this topic and that challenging conversation ruined my appetite, and brought up feelings of despair and finality for me. Letting go of a lifelong dream is not an easy thing to do when you have been clinging tightly to it for so many years. That night ended with tears and sadness and the inevitable grieving for what I never had that I had been indefinitely postponing. I wondered if he had even heard a word I said. There was so much chatter, so much emotion, and it felt like my pain had fallen on deaf ears.
We’ve had several conversations since that night and have landed in a better place with it all, although I have to admit that a part of me still wishes for a miracle someday. We are blessed by so much and I am thankful that we could have that conflict of our differing opinions and still see each other with love and understanding.
Over a month later on Christmas morning while unwrapping gifts, I opened one from my husband. Inside a beautifully wrapped box was a lovely pair of grey boots. I asked him how he knew I wanted those and his reply surprised me.
“Remember that night when we were out and our server was wearing those boots you liked?”
Holy crap, I thought! Why, yes I do remember that night! Out of all the craziness that took place that evening, when I felt like he didn’t hear anything I said, tucked inside this boot bearing box was another precious gift. Proof that he had heard me amidst all the chatter. He was listening all along.