Wednesday, October 9, 2013

After the Honeymoon

Eight weeks since our oldest moved in. I'll be honest, the honeymoon is over.
But don't you worry...

I remember my own honeymoon, the way we spent those early days trying to figure each other out, pretending everything made sense when it didn't, treading lightly, mistaking a strange, tripped-upon anxiety as bliss.

It was fun and all, but it wasn't real.

This, right here, is when things get real.

I cannot begin to encapsulate what's happening here. I wish I could.
All I know is, it's the worst kind of hard and the best kind of easy.

We've had arguments, slamming doors, curse words, dead eyes.
We've had hugs for no reason, his warm cheek pressed against our own.
We've had apologies, hurt feelings (his and mine - Dad appears to be immune), misunderstandings, grumblings spent and kept.

And in between it all, we eat Chinese take-out and bad grilled cheese sandwiches. We fold laundry. Braid hair. He goes to work. Now and then, we dance a little.

We're learning our son right now, learning the roads we've never had reason to travel.

And all we keep finding is more reason to love him.

So when he talks to me in the evenings, before heading down to his cave, I find myself looking at him like he's Calvin. He's my little dude, growing up before my eyes, and I want to freeze-frame him. I want to cheer him on and call him nonsense nicknames.

I know that every minute of service to our child, every act of love, every opportunity to offer grace, every difficult truth requires that I bend low. This isn't my natural or preferred stature, but here I see no other way.

Some nights, I hide out in my bedroom. I tell myself I wasn't cut from this cloth. I'm not getting what I need right now.

Some days, I fight the urge to pick up every last cigarette butt from the drive and carry them inside, a paper-and-ash monument of my martyrdom, subtlety be danged.

Some days, judgment and selfishness win.

Some days, I tell myself I'm well within my right.

I catch myself wanting to change him into us. I want to make him feel the ways he's wrong. I want to speed up his growth. I want to make him middle class, quieter, less opinionated, less picky, a believer from the womb.

But I hear God yakking in my ear and I am Robert. I'm loved with unflinching fierceness, chosen for keeps, not in spite of my brokenness, but because of it. His grace is sufficient for my stupidity and my drama.

Robert is getting a first-row seat to the imperfections of his mom and dad. He's finding out quickly that they don't know so much after all, and sometimes, they're just wrong. Sometimes they're jerks.

So every single day, every dark night, we make concessions. I wash grapes for his lunch because I think he needs fruit and he texts me "thank u mom" with extra emoticons. He tells us we're awesome "in every way" and we return the favor while we all bask in the "if only" and smile because it's at least partly true.

I'm the kid with the fish and the loaves - It can't possibly be enough, Jesus, but take it anyway.
I'm the woman in the crowd, receiving everything she needs, unaware that what just happened was a miracle.

I pray different kinds of prayers now, more desperate, more specific.

I dream about and dread the day he's on his own.
(He does the same.)

This is family, the kind formed from dust into a see-it, hug-it thing of beauty.
We're a mom, a dad, a fascinating girl and three zany boys. And so much more.

We're a wonder, that's what I know. We're the luckiest people in town.


  1. Robert is so very lucky to have you and your husband, human failings and all :) You can provide what he needs most - someone who is THERE, perfection not required. Thanks for sharing.

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  3. dang.
    i so did not want to cry this morning.
    but i'm so glad you shared your whole heart and that i get to glimpse inside it and pray for you while i wipe my sappy eyes.
    loving on you from my corner of the world.
    thank you for letting us carry you to jesus.

  4. gosh. ditto what everyone has said. you have a way of putting into words what every. one. of. us. is going through. with ourselves. with our families. especially with our teens. especially with ourselves.

    praying for you and yours. and that you can continue to write it all in a way that keeps on changing the world.

    xoxoxo ellie

  5. I love so much that you are loving him like Jesus would. Thank you so much. I am glad God gave you this heart for orphans. I know that some day you will look back on these non honeymoon days and laugh at the outrageousness of it all.

    I know it for sure.

    Much love, Becky

    1. Outrageous is SUCH a perfect word for this! Ha! Thank you for this. It will have me smiling all day. :)

  6. My eyes always end up a little leaky when I come here.

    So thankful for your heart and the way you share it! Glad Robert has you guys...and glad you guys have Robert.

  7. Thank you for your honesty. This is the real, nitty gritty, messy business of love and family and differences. I so appreciate you telling it like it is.

  8. It always amazes me how you figure out a gentle yet honest way to write about things close to your heart & the hearts of those you love & still get the point across to all of us.
    Who was it said you had nothing more to say? ;) Gifted I say. :)

  9. You are so BRAVE! I can't even begin to fathom doing what you are doing - it's hard enough to go through this age/stage with one from the beginning......COURAGEOUS and BRAVE! I watched a movie the other night that made me think of Robert. I'll pass it your way and see what you think <3

  10. i have learned so much from these posts about robert.
    please keep sharing your heart and your feelings.
    they are life-changing.

  11. Thank you for continuing to be open an honest about adoption. It is "the hardest and easiest love" that's for sure. And thank you for reminding me that grace and love can sometimes be a messy, hard business for us but never for our Creator. Another beautiful post.

  12. thank you for your honesty. your way with words is a are real and honest without being hurtful. i love that. i think of you often as i parent my own son...and think, "if she can do that...i can do this..." you spur me on with your life and love. thank you!

  13. I so get it as I now have young adults myself it is truly a new world than when they were lils.It's a roller coaster ride most of the time and you must not take everything they say to heart. They so still need so much love and direction.Many Blessings !

  14. The part about wanting to make him like you -- I get it. And I so get the part about remembering that we are just to love. Not to change. Just to love.
    May those prayers of specific wishes and hopes be granted. And may God's favor pour upon your family for these wonderful folks you've chosen to love.

  15. Good gracious. All I can do is sit here and have my eyes well up with tears. And so I offer up another prayer for the Martin family - all six of you.

  16. Thank you so much for sharing all your feelings in such a gentle and generous way; it helps me with my own situation of having three teenage stepsons. Talk about outrageous! Can't wait to read more.

  17. AMO seu blog e sua história de vida. Temos algo em comum, também tenho dois filhos adotados, eles são minhas paixões, o motivo de eu viver. Lindas flores, lindas fotografias. Parabéns. Se quiser me conhecer será uma honra.
    Beijo querida!

  18. We're all pharisees.
    We're judge people or we judge the people who judge people.

    We're all glorious ruins.

  19. In a sense, he IS your Calvin. He never had that in between phase of love and showing by example. He is so lucky to have you and your husband to show him what love, and structure are, and to be there unconditionally so that he has such hope for the future.

  20. I think, as a parent, that wonderful and uneasy feeling of not being perfect, of things not being just right, that's where all of the good stuff comes from. You all are so very blessed and blessing.

  21. We're all bound together by the threads of our humanity, not perfect, but striving to be the best we can be, and praying it is enough. My prayer, when my daughter was growing up, was always, "God, please fill in the gaps."

  22. "Wanting to change him into us", yes Girl, that is the rub. Accepting and still loving even though he isn't you and Cory, that is Jesus' way and you just keep doing that for him and the rest of your family. God bless you all.

  23. Interesting how you chose that photo - beautiful flowers and a large crack in the cement. What may look so beautiful at first glance always has faults and cracks if you look at it more closely. Just like us. Life is never "perfect". You are so lucky to have each other and such a beautiful family - cracks and all!

  24. I was a "Robert" once. Only, I was a girl. A wonderful family with 3 young children took a broken, abandoned, hurt 17 year old into their hearts and home. That was 30+ years ago. We still talk regularly. The parents were 8 or 9 years older than me, but they parented me. Loved me and taught me well. I treasure the memories of the 18 months that I was the oldest child. And, I also cringe as I remember the tough moments. Some of my angry, hurt behaviors. Yet the Love of Jesus connected us then and He wove our hearts tightly.
    You know? I believe a family photo with your eldest would be so healing! I remember when I was included in the family photo for our church book. Touched me more than anything they could have done. Just a thought.
    Thanks for sharing your heart and family with R and with "us", your followers. Hugs, Jo

    1. Thanks SO much for sharing part of your story. So redemptive. I love it!
      And yes, a family photo is definitely on the list! As soon as he's allowed to leave the house. ;)

  25. "I catch myself wanting to change him into us" - I think we've all been there in some way or other. I have and yet, God, in his wonderous grace, always ends up changing me instead... I love your honesty and I love your love, for Robert, for your family, but mostly your love for God.

  26. I recently heard this amazing analogy: In order to emerge as beautiful butterflies, we need to go thru a time of growth & change in a dark, uncomfortable but safe chrysalis. It is in God's perfect timing the butterfly comes emerges into the light ready to fly. If someone or something tries to break open the c

  27. Oops! Here's the rest... If someone or something tries to rush the process and break open the chrysalis, the butterfly is crippled for life! This can apply to life in Soooooo many ways. Right now, it is helping me to be patient in God's timing on bringing about growth & change in myself & hubby. We are working on a family picture collage wall and I'm having everyone select a picture of a butterfly they like as a reminder to us all!

  28. "chosen for keeps"...this made my eyes simple, yet so moving.

  29. one of my favorites ever Shannan.

  30. I will be thankful to you to sharing part of your life story. I love to read it and tear comes in my eyes. i am also separate from 2 years a long gap and i know the importance of family in life. But she never understand my feelings and love for him. When she was going with me 2 years before for Spain trip then everything is fine there and that was our life beautiful moments. We spend lot of time together near beaches and in Rental villas Tordera. But now we accept the truth of separation, but still i trust to god we meet again and live happily till the end of life.

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