Bittersweet blessings

We recently learned that Little Z (pending all of the paperwork shuffling and such) will be joining us as a permanent member of the family.  On the one hand, we are all overjoyed to have him stay with us as long as the Lord will allow as a member of the family.  His soon-to-be brothers, sisters and Mother and Father couldn’t be happier to be able to enjoy every moment of his blossoming life.  It is such a joyful and mesmerizing experience to watch little ones grow.  Every day is a new discovery for them and a new discovery for us.  They are learning about this marvelous world God created, and we are learning about the amazing little person that they reveal with each passing experience.  From that perspective it would seem we couldn’t be happier.  Indeed, if that was all that was in play, that is precisely where we would be.

Unfortunately, there is more to it than that.  For each child that joins our family and blesses us with a new ingredient in the grand recipe, there is a mother and father that are missing out.  They are missing out on all of the little “firsts” and discoveries that this child they brought into the world will experience:  The first haircut, the first smile, the first rollover, the first tooth, the first bike ride, etc.  They are also missing out on all of the smiles of adoration and giggles that these precious little ones give out with such glee.  It is true, they are also missing out on the challenges of helping the child find his or her way and deal with all of the complications that those bring (and those can be mind warping and heart wrenching sometimes).  However, there is deep reward in that as well. 

To add to the bitterness of the situation, usually a child joins our family in this manner because the mother and father could not, or would not overcome some unhealthy situation that would have been even more unhealthy for the child.  This could be anything from drug and/or alcohol addiction to mental and/or emotional disorders.  The trouble is that most people end up in that condition because they are having difficulty coping with something in their life currently, or in their life past.  Unfortunately, whatever it was that drove them there has been compounded with the interest that they are not able to raise their own child(ren).  Now the possibility of escaping the bindings that hold them, just became slimmer.

It is because of this perspective that is always before us that we enjoy the Bittersweet Blessings of these little people that bring such joy to our family.  We count every moment a blessing because we remember well, that “but for the Grace of God, there go I.”  Blessings are always good for us, but so is fried liver.  They always make us better people, but they don’t necessarily always taste great going down.

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