I’ve been working on so many different things this month…slicing, commenting, new things surrounding my new job at the church I love and last but not least planning my for my class that starts the first week of April. I have wanted to work on some old slices and drafts….but I am finding that harder than working on new slices. But one of my favorite old slices from the first year I joined the challenge has always been my favorite. I was intending to revisit, rework this slice, but something wells up inside and says,” no”.
Where does this come from? I believe in full scale revison.
Then I remember that one of my favorite books was never edited at all. After Robert Newton Peck wrote The Day No Pigs Would Die, it was typed from his yellow legal pads and brought to Knopf. At 11 that night Peck was awakened by the editor’s call, “No one will ever dare to try to change a word.” And no one did. So I will not edit my work on this story. I want you, who haven’t read our third child’s gotcha story to read it just the way I wrote my best first draft. She was our best ‘third draft’ and this story continues to unfold in our lives.
This was unusual for Dave…after a Sunday message at church he turned to me and said,
“I don’t know what, but I think God is going to be asking us to do something big- that’s gonna change our lives.”
I do remember thinking that this is definitely out of character for my guy that makes sure that he is well researched before making any big decision at all. He checks the money, he checks the mood, he consults his mother, he wants me to ask my father… yep, God must really be talking loudly today for him to even be telling me this.
The next week, he came home on Tuesday and told me that he found you sitting at a table in the Media Center at school. You had wanted to stop and let him know that you wouldn’t be able to play for him this season because they were placing you in another foster placement out of our school district. Dave knew instantly that no…she would be definitely living at our house instead.
We got you and set you up in Jeff’s old bedroom upstairs. Dave told you that he would paint the room whatever way you wanted. You chose ‘Pepto’ pink with stripes down one side of the wall. I didn’t like hot pink. Dave just smiled and painted away. Your clothes were moved in. I noticed you were a ‘keeper’ like me…a trunk of cheap stuffed animals and all the dresses and dried flowers from important events. You said, not to worry, that you wouldn’t get in our hair. You said you’d be off to college soon and that you were an ferociously independent type of girl.
You hung your pictures back from Jr. High…friends and more friends of every nationality, every creed.
Dave wanted to be your dad, he even looked like you. You called him ‘Papa’. You called me ‘Nanc’.
You gave your story to us that told of the day when you thought you were going on a fun mini-trip to a hotel. You remember that you had your ‘swimmies’ on your arms when you were pulled away from your mother. You thought you were meeting a new friend in a giant building called ‘court’. You’ve been waiting all this time to be back with your mommy. It’s been years of waiting and now you are in another placement- my family…and that dream still continues to pulse inside of you.
Don’t worry sweet Kelly, “You can call me Nanc. I know you have a mom.” I want that dream to stay alive- for her…but I’m fearful of all things big and little… realizing early that years in a group home and then in placements that hadn’t worked out had to have taken a toll. One day I asked you if you had any pictures of your little girl self. You said , “not a one…but you said you looked just the same only smaller.” I tried to imagine, but didn’t want to imagine, a little curly-headed girl with swimmies reaching out to a mom that was walking away.
I think we’ve come to the place eight years later that you are my girl and I am your Nanc , and I’m very happy about that. Now you have a different dreams that includes a vast array of friends and older folks that have fed into your life for many years…you hope and yearn for the day when you will be a mom, who will hold on tight and never let go….never let go…never let go.
PS because I like them….I am proud of my girl…tell your story…tell it to the world- a story of strength, of perseverance, loyalty and love.
PSS because I just can’t resist…our girl continues to thrive, working in the front office of one of the biggest school districts in the country. She is our go- getter girl, our joy! Kelly has friends in so many different places and they all matter to her. But there is something these days that matters even more than her friends, that us…she is ours and we are hers forever…