Even though the week started with sunshine and smiles and quickly turned to rain showers and tears, we've still managed to make it to Friday with milestones made, doctor visits completed and another week logged into our family calendar. As I sit here and listen to the monitor of my husband talking softly to his daughter as he soothes her to sleep, I find myself weary of what lies ahead as the night grows deeper into blackness.
What will the darkness hold for us tonight? Will we find ourselves amazed at 5am when we sit straight up in bed each asking the other if they got up in the night or will we be telling the other that "it's your turn this time, I was up a 1/2 hour ago". Our nights have not been perfect to say the least. Yes, we did have five beautiful nights of uninterrupted sleep but that was five out of 22 nights, the rest have been nothing but painful. Very painful. From that first night in China. Painful. A pain that, we as our daughters parents, have no idea how to fathom because we have experienced little compared to what her whole life has been like for her. Until now.
It has been very clear to us from the beginning that when darkness falls and the routine for bed is winding down, a memory is ignited in our crickets mind that takes her away from us. She leaves and goes somewhere we have never been. A place that haunts her until morning arrives and she awakes either in our arms or slowly opens her eyes to discover that she is in the same beautiful room she was in when darkness fell. The morning is what gets me through the night. The smile in her eyes. The curve of her lips as she sees my face. The look on her beautiful round face as she realizes that I'm still there. I haven't left. She's still safe. That's the look that pushes me through the long dark nights with little or no sleep. That's the look that reminds me that my lack of a pillow or a warm blanket is the least of my worries when it all I want. It's all I crave.
The pain for us is overwhelming at times. Our sweet daughter wants nothing to do with us at night but yet wont let us leave her. While she may recoil from us in fear of what may happen, we continue to hold tight and whisper, "you're okay" or "mommy or daddy is right here, I'm not going anywhere". To brush her cheek with a kiss puts her so far over the edge it brings me to tears and a pain in my heart so profound stabs me to my core. I have to remind myself, it's not me who she is reminded of in these dark hours. Did her mother kiss her cheek before she left her at the gate of the orphanage? I ask myself that every time. It is a mothers nature to kiss her child's cheek as a comforting sign of love and when it is rejected it's painful. Will I ever be able to give my daughter comfort in my gentle kiss or will it forever remind her of that last moment with the woman who comforted her first? I don't know. But I find myself doing it still because it's what a mother does. That kiss whispers I love you into the skin. It warms a sadness inside. I will continue to do it through my pain.
Our pasts are written in ink and our futures in pencil. We can not erase the past but we can fix the future. I will never be able to erase the pain of that last kiss her mother left her with but I can continue to comfort this beautiful child of God in the darkest of night. I can find strength deep down inside and struggle in my own exhaustion to give her space to heal within my arms. Her grieving is made more difficult by the blackness outside at night but the light within her shines brightly and for that I am thankful. I have forever to sleep, I can wait for my time to come.