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By 3:45 am I had lost it, removed myself – was barely holding it together and completely falling apart.

I really do need to correct my verbiage.  A few weeks ago our long term foster placement was returned to her birth home. #Joybaby was with us for 18-months.  Our grief is substantial. I should say, “Since she was returned.” I have a tendency to say, “Since we lost her…” My dad pointed out that sounds morbid.

To us it feels like a loss more than a return.  But I know he is right and I know that for our young sons, Sam and Charlie, who we adoringly refer to as the vandals, because they vandalize, the term return would sound less daunting.

Lost or removed – well, yeah, that is upsetting.

In the wake of the “return”, we have had a few other major life changes going on as well. Our eldest daughter eloped, cause she is freaking fantastic, our son became a Marine, our other son is moving to a new city and the rest of us… moved. We have been in Abilene for 25 years – we moved.  I still can’t believe we did it.  But as I began to compose this post the ramifications of the recent loss, er removal and move, were becoming blazingly obvious.

Sam, our five-year-old was, once again, slicked up next to me, sweating the night away, clinging to me as if it weren’t 97 degrees outside. As of late, I can’t even go to the bathroom without Sam losing his mind.

Terror laced screams bellow through the halls if I inadvertently move from one room to the next without reporting, in explicit detail to Sam that I am vacating the premises. This confession isn’t one I take lightly.  I don’t mean to sound wicked, but eventually, I will get to the point.  It isn’t easy to have Sam constantly under foot, under my pillow, watching me shower… and pee.  He holds onto my shirt or my belt loops. In extreme instances, my hair. He is altogether needy and insecure.

And I confess, I have lost my patience with him. Prior to opening my laptop to draft this, I peeled his sticky self off my person. Imagine a squid suctioned to the glass of an aquarium. Every time I removed a limb another one sucked back to the safety of my hot, weary body. I did my best to replace myself with a pillow, but I only made it half way down the hall before his shrill and horrific screams shattered what should be the silence of 4:10 am.

I know, reading this you feel an overwhelming pity for him. I do too. But if I am to be totally candid with you, you should know, I barked at him.  “GO TO BED!  I need to work! GO BACK TO BED!” And he sobbed and I sobbed… I am sobbing.  And I know he is asleep in the hall.  I can hear him sniffling.  It will be a long day, another long day.  In the midst of the move, we have been displaced because of Hurricane Harvey. I am not complaining, so many have lost so much.  I have a couple leaks, no internet, and an insecure 5-year-old. School is still out, stores have no bread, and life seems to be on hold. I feel every click of the clock and I can still hear Sam’s jagged breath in the hall.  Those breaths remind me that I truly do want to be a better mom.

Still, sometimes it is so very life sucking.

Samwise, who we adopted when he was just 10 days old has always been an utter delight. To say he is behaving out of character is an understatement.  Honestly, I am at a loss. And it isn’t as if we haven’t had kids struggle but this seems mores duanting, exceedingly over the top. This is Sam we are talking about.  I figure, in stages, in my rush to save the world I have destroyed his.  Certainly, this isn’t accurate.  But, in my current exhaustive condition, I run with this and have a pathetic pity party, complete with cheap wine over ice, peanut M&Ms, and Cheetos.

Briefly, this is the only explanation for why he is so sad. I have failed.

Somewhere in the morning ambiance – the sight of coffee, the smell of words, the chill of sunrise, the liveliness of fatigue, there is the welcomed confusion of grace.

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Grace for Sam.

Grace for me.

This is what I need.  I, in my folly and humanness, I have to muster this grace, but the grace afforded me flows freely.  It is altogether unfair, undeserved and inexcusable.  As I beg my psyche manifest this audacious emotion, a passion I will then force upon my precious boy, who urgently needs my security – my whole devotion and confirmation – I sense grace from outside my human frame. This grace, this that I inhale, that gives me life and ministers to me in my wretchedness, is something I cannot imitate.

This fresh wave of resolve to stop and tend to someone other than myself is the result of He who knows me… and Sam.  He grieves with us. He is most careful with us, especially now.  Particularly in the moment, with little sleep, in the wrong house, in a different bed, with a little girl “removed,” a new schedule and a very big  storm stalled in the distance.

Grace affords Sam safety, wrapped in a blanket as I hunt and peck the last of these words.

Grace waits patiently for me to let go – it’s not the worst day, granted it’s not the best but we are only starting.

Grace knows – and graces hopes and grows. It is abundant and priceless, scarce and precious. It is too much and not enough and today it is everything we need and all we have.  Falling into the arms of grace Sam and I enjoy another cup of coffee and make the most of these pop tarts and knowing nothing is lost and we are never to far “removed.”

May your floors be sticky and your calling ordained. Love, Jami

1 Corinthians 16:13 (NLT) “Be on guard. Stand firm in the faith. Be courageous. Be strong.”

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