One sign of warmer weather: the indoor cat is out.
On a day in November, just shy of her first birthday, our foster baby’s great aunt came to our house to take baby home. It was quick, but not painless.
Our hearts were broken, just like we knew they would be. But they are steadily mending, like we knew they would, too. Baby’s aunt has called to tell us she is doing well, and she even sent some pictures. This does our hearts tremendous good. But…it is still difficult to think about loving a child again who isn’t legally mine, because my heart doesn’t know the difference. A friend expressed it well, when she said her heart needed a switch.
As I have processed the why’s of engaging the broken foster care system, I have come up with the following:
We live in a broken world, of which the foster care system is a part. God calls us to be his restorative agents of the broken things. We are not equipped to do this emotionally, physically or mentally. But He equips us. He loves us and these kids. Our hope is in Him, not the system. When we pray over these precious children we are stewards of for a short (or sometimes longer) time, we believe our Father hears us, and is already working in their lives. Furthermore, we are unable to love the moms and dads of these kids on our own. But God gives us love and compassion for them, too. I am amazed to see God changing my heart as I pray for our baby’s biological parents – that I feel grief for them, and hope God restores their lives, too.
As we all know, when we think we are sacrificing and helping someone else, God is usually helping us more than we could imagine. When baby departed, she left expanded hearts in all our family members (and church members, too). My kids, who didn’t necessarily love babies, loved her. And we are all better for it.
Even though we don’t consider ourselves racist, we have had to admit we don’t understand what it is like to be a minority. When my husband walked into a gym with a lovely brown baby to watch our daughter’s volleyball games, he felt the heavy weight of stares. And it made him even more protective and loving towards that baby to know she would grow up feeling those stares sometimes, too.
Finally, baby’s caseworker wrote me about baby’s adjustment to her new home:
I am so glad that baby had the care that you and your family gave to her…..a big part of the reason that she has adjusted as well as she apparently has is because your family gave her a very stable, loving, nurturing nine and a half months of care. She was, and remains, a very well adjusted little girl which has enabled her to make a smooth transition to where she is now.
When we left your house with baby, the aunt was feeling horrible because she saw how hard it was for baby to leave your family. She said “you know this is a little bit right but it’s also a little bit wrong.” And I don’t think she could have said anything more true.
Someday I may publish her picture, so you can see the little person who changed our lives. But for now, be certain she is not a faceless statistic. She is known and loved.
I am not a foodie. I am not a gourmet cook. I am just an average person. I usually find something I like at a restaurant, and get it over and over again. Like the Tortellini Bianco at Vincenzo’s for 15 years. That’s me.
However, for some occasions I break out of the mold, and try something new. For my mom’s birthday, we tried Sebastian’s Table. We liked it. Then I took my daughter when she was visiting. We liked it more. Then I met an old friend there. We loved it.
Can I recommend this to everyone? No, because I think food preferences are subjective. But if you want to try something new, please go now.
Sebastian’s Table serves Spanish tapas, which are just smaller plates of food. You share 2 – 3 plates with a friend, and go on a Tuesday night for $2 sangrias. I love these sangrias so much I would go there just to drink one. But there’s more.
I have NEVER eaten a brussels sprout. Until now. And I would eat them every time I go. The scallops? Divine. I love scallops, and it is difficult to get them just right. They did. The ham and cheese croquettes were in a creamy tomato sauce that made my daughter lick the plate, and my friend glance furtively around to determine if she could also lick her plate. The risotto and the macaroni and cheese were fine, but I will try something else on the menu next time. There are so many dishes that sound delicious. In fact, my friend and I kept stopping the waitress when she was taking food to other tables. “WHAT IS THAT?”
The ginger cake? So many flavors I was forced to chew slowly, to savor every bite. Sadly, this cake wasn’t on the menu the last time I went. Please, bring it back. For the love of all that’s good and right.
The service was very attentive and prompt, except for once. I like the wonderful old building the restaurant is housed in, and the price is right. Highly recommended.
Notes: I took these pictures when the restaurant was almost ready to close after the lunch hour, which is why it is mostly empty. It certainly wasn’t because the food wasn’t tasty. I was so enamored with my food, I barely managed the scallop picture with my phone. In the last picture, I acknowledge Ashley is blurry. But her expression while she laps up the creamy tomato sauce is priceless.
The Sheldon Museum of Art has grown on me throughout the years. When I attended the University of Nebraska, it was a building I passed almost everyday. When my children were little, it was a location for field trips, and rather stressful as I was constantly on the lookout for little hands getting TOO CLOSE to the paintings.
Now I make an annual pilgrimage (at least), and my enjoyment has grown exponentially as my love of photography has increased. The architecture alone is enough of a reason to visit. Some of the art engages me, and obviously photography exhibits are the best. But many of the exhibits are…rather strange. The surreal exhibit reminded Ashley and I of Alice in Wonderland: creepy. But the room set up to make your own surreal exhibit was the highlight of the afternoon.
On a warm day you can enjoy the sculptures outside the museum, too.
The gift shop is wonderful, and I enjoy it as much as the museum. Local artists sell their wares – so much variety and creativity. I made it out with only one pair of earrings, but liked so much more. And the last thing? One of the janitors is the nicest man you’ll ever meet.
When Regular Life starts again Monday, I will look back on this part of Christmas break and sigh. I like the big gatherings, the gift exchanges, the rich meals, and the different group activities. But it was the moments like the ones above that caused me to pause, take a deep breath, and soak it all in.