I think we left off when the boy was praying for Jesus to bring him a baby sister, exactly like He had done for his cousins, L and K. That boy of ours was overwhelmed with love for his new cousin, Little H, and he simply decided to ask Jesus for his very own sister.
Every night, since he has been old enough to do it, the boy has prayed out loud, while I sit on the edge of his bed. And every night over Thanksgiving weekend last year, he prayed that a sister would arrive for him.
It was the first week of December last year, and I was driving the boy to school. I drive the boy to school every day, because (as Hubs likes to put it) I am a helicopter mama who hovers too much and doesn’t trust school buses as decent transportation. It’s not that. I actually LOVE to drive the boy to school and pick him up, every day, day after day, because THAT is when the boy talks to me the most. If something serious is on his mind, he’s going to share it with me in the Suburban, while we’re driving. On the way home each afternoon, he unloads everything about his day to me. When we pull into our driveway and he jumps out, the moment is lost. He’s off to a pile of Legos, or to homework, or to his friends’ houses, or to soccer or piano or dodgeball or golf or video games, and he has forgotten EVERYTHING that happened at school.
So one morning, during that first week of December last year, as I was navigating a really steep hill that we drove down every day, and hoping that I could get the Suburban stopped successfully at the stop sign at the bottom, without sliding on the ice clean through the intersection, the boy announced from the backseat, “Hey, Mom? After you listened to my prayers last night, I prayed all by myself without you.”
I have to admit, I was only half listening, because BAD ICE! And a string of cars were in front of me, and WHY DID I CHOOSE THE MAJOR HILL FOR OUR TREK ACROSS TOWN WHEN I KNEW THERE WAS SO MUCH ICE ON THE ROADS?! I remember the little Honda in front of me was sliding everywhere, as it tried to stop and not rear-end the truck in front of it. I was hoping that I wouldn’t be wearing a Honda on my Suburban’s grill that morning, too.
So I said, “Well, that’s nice.”
When a child hears you say, “Well, that’s nice,” he immediately knows that you aren’t paying a lick of attention to him.
Guilty, as charged.
The boy said, “Mom? Did you hear me? I said that I prayed all by myself, after you went to bed last night. I asked Jesus to bring me a baby sister, and He said YES.”
That caught my attention.
The Honda was successful in its stop; I was successful in MY stop. We both survived the stop sign at the bottom of the hill, and we were on our way. I remember glancing over my shoulder at the boy, and I said, “Oh, honey. I’ve told you several times now that we’re not getting a baby sister.”
And the boy said, “Well, Jesus told me YES last night. He said that I AM getting a baby!”
I asked the boy, “What are you talking about?”
He replied by saying, “I said that Jesus spoke to my heart last night, Mom. I HEARD HIM. I heard Him, plain as day. I asked Him for a baby sister, and He said YES, and I HEARD HIM SAY IT IN MY HEART. It was a loud voice, but it was just in my heart.”
And that is when my heart almost split in half from the enormous ache of how badly the boy was MISTAKEN.
I told him, “Honey, Jesus doesn’t really talk like that; we don’t hear Jesus like that, and Jesus DID NOT tell you that we’re getting a baby.”
(No wonder Jesus loves to talk to children so much!)
(Could it be because adults have a more difficult time believing?)
(I do believe; Lord, help my unbelief.)
The boy burst into tears, and he said, “Why don’t you believe me? I asked Him for a baby, and He said YES! I’m tired of being an only child; no one ever asked me if I wanted to be an only child, and I DON’T WANT TO BE ONE ANY MORE! I want a sister, and Jesus told me last night that I’m getting one!”
I told him again, as gently as I could, “Honey, Jesus did not tell you YES. We are not getting a baby.”
The boy cried so hard, he started to hyperventilate. I’m not kidding. He sobbed and sobbed and SOBBED. He cried so hard, snot came out of his nose, and he couldn’t catch his breath. We had to pull over, because I was crying so hard by then, I couldn’t even see to drive. I had the boy crawl into the front seat with me, and I hugged him, and I remember saying, “Mom and Dad have always wanted more kids, but I don’t think we’re getting a baby.”
Through his sobs, the boy kept nodding, and he said, “Yes, we ARE, Mom. We really are.”
So I said, “Well. If a baby drops out of the sky for us, Mom and Dad will take her, because we’ve always wanted more children.”
And then the boy told me, “Then get ready for one to drop out of the sky, Mom, because I know that Jesus told me YES last night.”
And then we dried our tears. We used our stash of Starbucks napkins from the glove box to wipe tears and snot off both of our faces, and I drove the rest of the way to school and dropped the boy off. And then I called Hubs, and I told him what the boy had said. Hubs said, “He’s got to understand that we’re not getting a baby right now.”
I had to stop at Hubs’ parents’ office then, and when I walked in, I told Hubs’ mother about our trip to school. She got tears in her eyes, too, and asked me what I was going to do.
I had no idea what I was going to do.
Because Jesus had not changed MY heart or HUBS’ heart in anyway. We talked later that night, and we both knew, beyond a shadow of a doubt, that we were NOT to go to an adoption agency. As much as the boy claimed to have heard Jesus speak to his heart, Hubs and I were convinced that He was telling us NO on seeking out an adoption agency.
So we settled in to December of 2011. Every single day, as soon as he’d jump into the Suburban after school, the boy would ask, “Did you and Dad go fill out paperwork to adopt a baby today?”
And every day, I would tell him that we hadn’t.
And every day, he would tell me, “Well, Jesus told us we’re getting a baby, so you have to do your part, Mom! You and Dad have got to go fill out paperwork! I know we’re getting a baby.”
This went on EVERY DAY, people.
It eventually got to the point where the boy would jump into the Suburban and ask, “Did you and Dad…”
And I would interrupt him and say, “No. We didn’t.”
“We’re not getting a baby.”
Five days before Christmas last year, when I went into our bathroom to take my contacts out and brush my teeth to get ready for bed, I found an envelope on our bathroom sink. It was a letter from the boy. He had written it earlier that day, and he’d put it into an envelope. His goal was to have us find it AFTER HE WAS ASLEEP, so that we wouldn’t have to talk about it right then.
I have searched our house since then for that letter, and I cannot find it. I save EVERYTHING that the boy writes to me — every. thing. I love his handwriting… I love his little boy thoughts… and everything that he writes to me, I have kept…
And somehow, THIS letter… THIS PRECIOUS LETTER… has been lost. I can only guess that it was thrown out with a newspaper or something on accident.
The gist of the letter was simple. I’ll never forget it. The boy had written, “Dear Mom and Dad, Please take back every single present that you have already bought me for Christmas, and please tell me that we’re getting our baby on Christmas morning. I want to wake up on Christmas morning and know the baby is coming.”
[EDITED TO ADD: I found that letter! Just a couple of months ago, I was going through a giant stack of stuff that needed to be filed, and BOOM! Right there, mixed in with explanation of benefits pages from our insurance company was that first letter the boy wrote to us. We are extremely organized at our house! Anyway, I nearly wept with excitement over having that letter BACK!]
I sobbed. I showed the letter to Hubs. As parents, we had no examples before us on how to handle THIS. I prayed that we’d know how to talk to the boy… and that if we were really meant to have a baby, that God would bring us one, because I certainly felt like we were not supposed to pursue one on our own.
The next morning, I told the boy at breakfast, “Daddy and I found your letter. Honey, Christmas is in five days. Even if we filled out the paperwork to adopt a baby today and got the ball rolling, there’s no way that we can have a baby in five days.” I explained to him how Sister (his aunt) and her husband had waited nearly TWO YEARS after applying to adopt to get Little H. I told him it just wasn’t possible to have a baby in five days.
And then I told him, “So we won’t take any of your presents back.”
The VERY NEXT NIGHT, the boy left a second letter for Hubs and me to find on our bathroom sink. This letter I DO still have. It said, “Dear Mom and Dad, You don’t have to actually HAVE the baby on Christmas morning. Please just TELL ME on Christmas morning that we’re GETTING a baby. And I will help raise her, because how hard could that be?”
I laughed out loud at that last line, and then I stuck that little handwritten letter in the drawer of my bedside table, with every other little note the boy has written to me in the past several years.
And, because Hubs and I are excellent parents who always know how to handle things, we FLAT-OUT IGNORED that letter. Neither one of us even mentioned it to the boy.
The last few days before Christmas flew by, because when you’re an adult, that’s what happens. There’s simply too much to do before the big day arrives, and last year was no exception. I was busy with last-minute gifts and wrapping and Christmas parties and everything else.
And then Christmas Eve Day arrived.
December 24, 2011. The boy wasn’t feeling well, so he was slumped on our sofa with a giant, fuzzy blanket. Hubs and I were a little concerned that he was going to be gravely ill for Christmas Eve and Christmas Day. His stomach hurt… his cheeks were flushed… and he was WILLINGLY sprawled out on the sofa, doing nothing.
Hubs and I were in the kitchen, making rum cakes. According to Hubs, nothing says HAVE YOURSELF A MERRY LITTLE CHRISTMAS, better than Captain Morgan shoved into a cake. I was stirring butter and sugar and rum together in a pan on the stove; Hubs was cracking eggs and tossing in oil and looking like a professional pastry chef at the mixer.
And right there, in the middle of the rum-cake-making, our phone rang at 9:00 AM. It was my darling friend, Peggy. I had JUST talked to Peggy twenty minutes earlier on the phone, because I still needed to get her gift to her, and I was trying to arrange a delivery time with her for that day. I was surprised when she called back, twenty minutes later, because I knew she had her family all gathered around the table for Christmas Eve breakfast. I answered the phone and said, “What did you forget, Blanche?”
(Peggy and I call ourselves Blanche. Have you seen the movie, New In Town? We did. And we both laughed so hard at the secretary, Blanche, we could barely breathe. We had been calling one another Blanche since the very day we saw the show.)
Peggy said, “Blanche, are you somewhere where you could talk privately for a moment?”
Okay, THAT threw me huge. My adrenaline surged… my hands started to shake… because Peggy was using her SERIOUS voice, and goodness! Why did I have to be alone to talk to her? I remember asking her, “Peggy, is everyone okay?” Because honestly? I thought she was going to deliver some devastating news to me.
I went to our master bathroom and sat on the edge of our tub.
Peggy, who was working as a legal secretary then for our friends, Deb and Tony, who are both attorneys and one of the cutest married couples in town, said, “Deb just called me. She wanted me to call you first. Blanche, she’s had a phone call from a little pregnant gal who needs to place a baby with a good family.”
And THAT, people, is the sentence that has forever changed our lives.
I had the goosebumps… I was shaking uncontrollably… I couldn’t speak.
Peggy, you see, knew nothing about the boy’s story. Although Peggy and I speak constantly and yammer on like two hens in a coop all the time, our December last year was so busy, we simply hadn’t been together for a month, and I hadn’t taken the time to call her to tell her about the boy’s story.
Hubs knew that the boy had been praying for a baby. I knew that the boy had been praying for a baby. Hubs’ mama knew that the boy had been praying for a baby. My mama knew that the boy had been praying for a baby.
NO. ONE. ELSE. KNEW.
We hadn’t shared that with ANYONE ELSE.
Peggy kept saying, “Blanche? Blanche, are you there? Are you okay?”
And still I couldn’t talk.
I was shaking so hard, I couldn’t even hold the phone up to my ear.
And right there, over the phone, while I was sitting on the edge of my tub, I told Peggy about what the boy had done… about how the boy was convinced that Jesus had told him we were getting a baby.
Peggy burst into tears and said, “Deb wants you to call her right away. She’s already at the farm for Christmas. She told me to have you call her cell number RIGHT NOW. She’s waiting for your call…”
I hung up from Peggy. I walked on Jell-O legs back to our kitchen. Hubs said, “Well, the rum sauce about burned, because you left it on the burner over here!”
I tried to motion to Hubs that I needed to talk to him, quietly. The boy saw me, from his position under the blanket on the sofa. He yelled, “What’s going on? Are you okay, Mom?”
I wasn’t ready to share the news with the boy. I was afraid of his hopes raising too high, and him having his heart broken.
I grabbed my cell phone and started texting Hubs. My hands were shaking so, SO badly, I couldn’t even text. I kept messing up… kept backspacing… kept retyping. I sent Hubs the text… told him to go read it on his phone.
It simply said, “That was Peggy. Deb has a pregnant client who wants to place a baby for adoption. Deb wants us to call her about it…”
Hubs read his message on his phone. And I will never forget how he stepped backwards… how he had to readjust his position, as he took the text message in. And then he looked up at me, and he simply whispered, “Is that so?”