Wednesday, September 4, 2013

Robert at Home

Robert has been with us now for almost 3 weeks.
How is that possible??

I've finally wrapped my head around it enough to talk about it a little. In the beginning it was just too early. Things were too crazy and too different. I didn't trust myself to know how I really felt about it all, much less share my feelings in a way that made sense.

Let me cut to the chase: We're gonna go ahead and keep this one, just like we decided with the three that came before him.

Parenting a 19-year old father-of-two is insanely different than parenting our Littles, and at first, I wasn't confident in my ability to do the work. It was chaotic and everything around here felt out of whack. There were moments where I was sure we had made an irreversible mistake - a really big one.

But the honest truth is, I had days where I felt that way with my youngers and even days I've felt like that in my marriage. Love is hard work. It wasn't supposed to be simple.

So we decide over and over again, every single day, to make the hard choice.

In just under three weeks we have had arguments and misunderstandings. We've spent at least part of each day knee-deep in discussions that used to feel safely packed up on a high shelf - we knew they were there, but we didn't need the step-stool yet.

So now we navigate life with 3 small and innocent children, and 1 who stands taller than both of us. He's not so innocent. :)

We make him want to pull his hair out and then he returns the favor. Once in a while we raise our voices. But he listens to us, never breaking eye contact. He asks us in his own way to please be patient with him - all of this is brand new to him. He hasn't seen a life like this before. He's not used to rules and structure and we've come to the agreement that we have different definitions of the word "appropriate".

He sings Taylor Swift slightly off-key from the computer while I cook dinner in the evenings. He works on perfecting his front flips in the back yard. He hugs all of us, every single day and the Littles are in love. He says he's sorry when he makes a mistake and he accepts our apologies when it's our turn to grovel.  He's teaching me about humility and having a teachable spirit. He's showing Cory and I the beauty of letting go of the small things. His resolve is hard-won and his spirit appears to be almost uncrackable.

He's also really chatty, okay? We'll leave it at that. But prayers for strength and stamina would be appreciated for two introverted parents who rely on hours of quiet in the evenings. 

We're amazed by our fortune.

We're also amazed by you guys, who have prayed for him and encouraged him from afar. You have sent him money for clothes and bought him a bed. You've made him feel loved, and what we were somehow slow to understand is this: He will gladly take genuine love from wherever it is offered. He'll grab it with both hands, like a child who has lived without it for far too long.

Robert's on home detention, which means he can never leave the house. Never. Like, ever. (In the words of his beloved TS.) He's frantically searching for a job and we would all benefit from him getting out of the house a bit. God has the perfect job ready for him and we're eager for him to get started.

In the meantime, he's adjusting to no cable TV, no cell phone, and few visitors. He's busy reading and talking on the phone and acting like a clown. His boys come for a couple days every week - he's been thrust into the role of single parent to active 1-year old twin boys and he's handling it like the champ that he is.

He's cold turkey on cigarettes right now and we're all sharing 1 computer with no WiFi. It's basically a giant recipe for disaster, but so far, we're making it.

Just keep praying for our boy, and pray for us, too. Pray that we keep finding ways to make this work, because it feels really important and we don't ever want our inherent brattiness to get in the way of obedience. This opportunity is a gift.

We go to bed extra keyed-up and more spent than ever, but we also go to bed smiling, because God has given us the funniest, craziest, smartest, sweetest, raddest kids on the planet.