II. Hold On

We have made a decision on a group home. We are looking at a placement date two weeks out. Jeff and I have been learning a whole lot about the ins and outs of residential placement. I’m equal parts amazed and overwhelmed.

The thought of Jack living in another place with other people tramples every mothering instinct I have. He’s my red-headed squishy boy. In my mind, he’s still the tank of a toddler that I schlepped everywhere for soooo many years because a) he couldn’t walk for quite a long time, and then b) he would run off if I ever set him down.

He’s all freckles and curls and husky voice. He is my second son. How will I ever cope without him?

And yet, we aren’t coping with all of us under the same roof.

At church today I kept thinking, this is so not the life I envisioned for my family.

No one plans for this. No one wants it. No one holds their newborn babe in their arms and dreams about placing him in a group home when he is a preteen. It’s nobody’s ideal.

And yet, it’s what God is telling us to do because it is what Jack needs.

My friend Shirley told me that when the timing for something difficult is right, all guilt dissipates and there is clarity and an ability to move forward. Guilt comes from the father of all lies, and not from God. I’m so happy she told me this, because it is exactly the translucence I needed. Surprisingly, with all the emotions I’m cycling through on a daily basis, guilt isn’t one of them.

Weariness, depression, anxiety, and sadness—-yes. Totes yes. But guilt isn’t a factor.

My friend Sarah P. is well-acquainted with grief. She told me that thankfully, grief comes in waves, so it’s not always the same level of pain all the time. This is a perfect description (thanks, Sarah P.) and it gives me hope.

Yet underlying these waves of difficulty, there is an underlying peace through this strange journey (there’s that word we all love). I am amazed at how every step is falling into place. We began the process alone, but there is a great cast of characters around us helping, helping, helping. At every point of decision-making, it seems that God puts another helpful person right in front of me.

In Relief Society today, my friend Lisa slid next to me onto the piano bench as I played the prelude. “I know,” she said, giving me a knowing, loving look. She’s one of the first to know, and she did just exactly what I needed her to do. She told me it sounded like such a hard thing. It IS such a hard thing. She gave me a hug and her support without judgement and this is why I love her.

About a week ago, I had another of my really vivid dreams, right before waking up. I dream plenty of random, forgettable dreams, but this was one of my clearly symbolic dreams, etched with clear, descriptive detail. These are my instructive and meaningful dreams.

I was in an old neighborhood lined with mature trees. I was standing at the edge of the street, looking onto what I knew to be our home lot, though it didn’t look like where we currently live. I didn’t notice a house, but there was an enormous swimming pool. In the shallow end of the pool, sat a giant wooden sailboat. It was huge, with big canvas sails set, though there was no breeze. I saw that it was moored at a little dock in the pool.

What was this giant boat? It baffled me. It’s so big, I thought. It’s huge and yet completely familiar and super unwieldy and I don’t know what to do with it. I had this sense of being bothered that this big, beautiful boat was stuck in this little swimming pool when it had so much latent potential for something better.

In my dream, I then got into the water and began swimming in the deep end of the pool. The water was glorious. I swam down to the bottom of the pool, which was very deep. I looked up at the cloudy, pearly sky above the clear water, then I pushed off and kicked to the surface, which was much farther up than I expected. My lungs were burning. I needed air. “Keep going,” I thought. “Almost there.”

Just as the dream ended, I broke the surface of the water.

I told Jeff about my dream. I knew it was telling me something, but my befuddled mind couldn’t figure out what.

He decoded it instantly. “The boat is Jack,” he said. This instantly made sense.

“And the message of the dream is ‘hold on.'”

So that’s what I’m doing.

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