Every time I slow down enough to soak you in and steadily watch you, my heart stops and breaks in the middle of the moment.
Being your mama is a privilege. I have the joy of teaching you new tricks, helping you develop more skills, and witness you growing more into who you are every single day... all the while experiencing this whirlwind of brokenness.
A whirlwind mixture of anguish and delight, of misery and happiness, of grief and joy, intertwined into a continual state of living. Sometimes life is going so fast that I don't notice the complexities of my heart and your life, but sometimes I sit and it all overwhelms me. Overwhelms me to tears. Not sobs or wails, but the gentle kind that wets my eyes and sits in the lower parts of my lids.
I don't experience this ongoing heart-break enmeshed with immense joy with your brother. Sometimes the vast difference between my individual love for the two of you catches me off guard, makes me question if I'm fit to be both of yours - the responsibility of mother by birth and mother by adoption is big. Sometimes I am thrown off by how different my fierce mama-heart is for both of you. But never in a million years is my love more or less for either of you. Just entirely different.
But your brother? He knows his many people who share his genes and he can identify medical history. He shares our physical features and won't constantly be asked, "Where is he from? What is he? Is he your real son?"
For you, my firstborn, I break in a million tiny places. I break and I melt and I feel joy and privilege and pain all at once.
You're only 13 months old. I often wonder if I will always experience this breaking-sort-of-love for you. I think I will. That's okay. It reminds me of Him and the way He breaks for us.
When you were first learning to walk, I immediately sent the video to your birth mom. I squealed and screeched glee when you took those first true toddle-steps, while fissures simultaneously made their way into my heart knowing your birth mom was missing these moments. That she wasn't present to witness her son's first steps.
You say, "mom" and "momma" a lot. They are your most used terms, as you run towards me, a face full of teeth and a grin so big it could heal hurting hearts. Your little voice saying "momma" melts my heart in ways no one else ever will.
And as you run towards me, wobbly and brave, my heart swoons and shatters.
I know that I am your mama. There is no doubt in my mind. But there will [most likely] come a day when you question why your first mama is not the one raising you; why did I become your mama? People will ask you where your "real momma" is. You will wonder and you will ask and we will always talk and be open and honest. We will always honor the one who chose you over herself. I ache for you to know that it is entirely okay for you to feel however you feel about me, about her, about us...it's complicated and there is no wrong way to feel.
Your brown skin, your curly hair, your luscious lips and your brown almond eyes. Features we don't share, but features that are undeniably beautiful. The blackness you have and live in is something I will never experience firsthand. With your blackness and biracial-ness comes histories and stereotypes and a complex world that I am constantly trying to understand. Systems that were undeniably designed in their roots to weigh you down and hold you back. The reality that you will grow up living a brown/black experience and that your dad nor I can be the cornerstone for you...it hurts in a selfish way.
It hurts out of a desire to be the ones to give you everything you need and more...but the reality is that we cannot. We are white. You are brown. But we can ensure you have amazing people in your life, people that share the blackness you live in, that share your brown skin, that share your love for Him and so many things that are immensely important. We can offer you friendships and communities that understand your experiences in ways we cannot. Though my heart tears in tender places, knowing that you will experience stereotyping [and more] because of the color of your skin, I am confident that we will raise you to be proud of your skin and your heritage. That your brown skin is beautiful. That though you are not fully white or fully black, you are fully and entirely human and fully and entirely loved. You fit perfectly in our family because you are our family.
A child born to another woman calls me [will call me] mommy. The magnitude of that tragedy and the depth of that privilege is not lost on me.
Adoption has been so good to us, sweet son. Adoption has brought us you.
But when I allow myself to slow down and acknowledge the realities you will face, the questions you will undoubtedly need answers to, the answers I will not have but will fight to find, the loss you will wade through, the pain you will come to grips with... torment ruptures inside of this mama of yours and I have no where else to turn but to Him. I wouldn't trade any part of this story, because this story is what makes you you. It ruptures amidst the coexistent joy that begs to be known.
My sweet boy, I am so thankful I get to be yours. Uncovering your big personality brings so much joy. You continue to teach me grace, you lead me to listen to others, you have moved my heart in ways no one else will. You have moved me closer to His heart in ways I didn't know were necessary or possible.
As my heart SWOONS and SHATTERS watching you, it is my undeniable joy to be yours.