The Letter

Brent awakes to me tossing and turning. “What’s wrong?” he asks groggily. “I thought that body pillow is supposed to help you get comfortable so you can sleep.”

I roll toward him unsteadily. I haven’t gotten use to the way gravity shifts my pregnant belly around – even in bed. “I’m sorry,” I murmur. “It’s not about getting comfortable. It’s just that I can’t stop thinking about the letter we got today.”

Brent wakes up a little more, and pulls me toward him. We lay there silently for a moment, listening to Anthony’s light snooze on the baby monitor. “I know,” he breathes into my hair. “I’ve been thinking about it too.”

“Well, you sure have a fine way of showing it,” I tease, giving him a light poke. Even in the dark I can feel the warmth of Brent’s grin, as his arms tighten around me. “Well, staying awake all night thinking about it won’t do any good either,” he soothes.

“I know, but I can’t help it,” I sigh, wriggling myself free in order to get a better view of Brent’s shadowed face in the dark. “Anthony has a little brother or sister on the way.”


“You’re just now figuring that out?” Brent quips as he pats my belly. “That’s not what I’m talking about and you know it,” I grin, snuggling back down into the quilt. “Mmmm…” is my man’s reply.

Silence resumes between us and soon I feel Brent’s arms relax and go slack. Warm, long puffs from his breath tickling my neck indicate he’s fallen back asleep.

I roll over and face the bedside table where the letter is lying. Even in the night, I can faintly see the familiar slanted curvilinear handwriting from Anthony’s birthmother.

As I had promised A that Anthony would not be lost to her, we now keep up with each other through letters and pictures, as well as videos we’d send out to her through the mediation of our adoption agency. (In the adoption world, this is known as a semi-open adoption.) While we would like to make it fully open with visits, we know that in God’s timing that will happen. For right now, this is what is workable for both of our families’ sakes.

As it is, in my latest letter to her I write of the shock in learning that we’re expecting a baby, but doctors are telling us there are complications. I wanted to share this news with her earlier, but needed to wait until we had confirmed test results back.

Oh what a hard letter that was to write! Besides writing about mixed feelings of elation and fear, I worry about Anthony potentially spending a lot of time in a hospital waiting room instead of getting to be at home with loved ones in comfortable surroundings. Too, I had to be honest and tell her how embarrassed I felt about the fact that our world should be revolving around Anthony right now and here we were in this predicament.

What joy to receive her letter back today! Her response back to us was so sweet and reassuring. I cried tears of relief in reading it. She reaffirmed her decision in choosing us to be Anthony’s parents, and she reminded us that with God everything will be OK, no matter what happens.

Then she then shares that she too is expecting and she’s not sure what this means for her and her family right now, but will we pray for her?

I put down the letter in shock...



...and cry again.

Though our room is mainly enveloped in darkness now, a little moonlight filters through the blinds, fingering its way through our bedroom, and resting on the bedside table. Through heavy eyelids I can see a corner of the letter curled into the air, like a little paper hand waving, “I’m here!”

I know you’re here, and I know you’ll still be here in the morning, I reason groggily.

Anthony’s going to be a big brother. He’s just a baby himself...but he’s gonna...be....a...big...broth.....errr...zzzzzzzz.

And next thing I know, I’m awake to Anthony chattering away on the baby monitor and the sun playfully dancing across my face.

**************

Clutching the letter the next day, I re-read and re-read and re-read. An idea has popped in my head and I can’t let it go. But it’s too crazy – its nuts. Brent’ll never go for it, I rationalize.

So I put the letter down.

And then pick it back up again.

Maybe....just maybe we CAN offer to do this. But what will Brent think? What will others think? What will SHE think?? I’m too crazy to even think. What AM I thinking??

Down the letter goes.

Just within Anthony’s reach. He picks up the letter and starts crunching it in his chubby little hands. His dark brown eyes fill with elation as he waves the letter in the air like a flag, shrieking in delight at the crinkly sound it makes.

“Hey!” I gasp. “Give that back to Mommy. Mommy needs the letter.”

Anthony does not think this is a good idea. He furrows his eyebrows together and his chatter turns to a pouted-garble. The letter crumples in his hands as He clenches his little fists tighter.

“C’mon, baby. Give Mommy back the letter. Mommy needs to show it to Daddy again. OK?”

At the mention of Brent, Anthony raises both arms and squeals his delight. Such a daddy’s boy! The pages of the letter float down around him like large confetti while he kicks lil’ pudgy legs wildly, scattering pieces of letter everywhere.

"Some colicky baby you turned out to be,” I laugh at Anthony as I gather up the pages. Anthony gurgles and raises one eyebrow quizzically as he searches the room for his daddy. He drops to all fours and crawls over where I’m bent over and starts the pouty-garble again.

He’ll be home soon, I promise,” I reply.

I know how to get Anthony happy again. I pick him up off the floor – swinging him high into the air. Anthony belly laughs, flinging his arms and legs out wide like a flying squirrel. Suddenly I feel my weight shift quickly with the gravitational change causing instant vertigo. We landed with a plop on the couch.

“Ooh. Sorry baby. Mommy’s not use to her new body making her dizzy like that.” Anthony just laughs. He likes this game with mommy. He bounces up and down in my arms begging me to stand up and do it all over again. I laugh, but I don’t think I’m ready to feel light headed like that again just yet.

I look over at the coffee table where the letter is now sitting with four deeply crumpled corners sticking up in the air. They all wave at me.

I look back at my gurgling son.

And the idea grows...

*************************
“Of course we should do this!” Brent responds excitedly. “Why would you think I’d feel any differently about this?”

"Well,” I stammer as I shift around in my seat, “we don’t really know what’s in store for us in the future...” My words trail off as my eyes look down at Anthony leaning against my slightly swollen abdomen. I look back up to see Brent’s gray-green eyes filled with compassion and resolve set in his face.

“Holly, it’s going to be OK, you’ll see. Let’s pray about it and ask God how we should go about this and then leave it in His hands.”

For the umpteenth time I wish I had his faith; so direct and simple and FIRM.

Brent starts to grab my hands to pray, but finds Anthony chewing on a couple of my fingers. “Teething again, huh?” he grins. “You think he’ll pop one out before Thanksgiving?”

We look down at Anthony happily gumming away. “It’s hard to say, ‘cause it feels like he’s gonna do it right now!” I wince with a yelp, pulling my hand away. Brent laughs as he pulls Anthony off my lap and encircles him with one arm, while grabbing my hand with the other. We bow our heads and pray for God to give us direction and clarity.

When we get done, we see that Anthony has grabbed the letter off the coffee table and is now gumming the corner of one page, while crinkling the paper with his other dimpled hand.

“Looks like he needs more fiber in his diet,” Brent winks.

*****************************

A few prayers and a few weeks later, two response letters are completed.

One letter is just a general follow up letter sharing Anthony’s latest antics and pictures of his “fish lips” faces that he makes when he chews on his cheeks. He sucks the sides of his cheeks in and chews on them, giving his lips the appearance of “fish lips” that older children and adults try to do in mimicking how a fish looks. It’s hysterical.

Too, I thank Anthony’s birthmother for her love, support and understanding. It helps give me such much peace in some very uncertain days! I let her know that we are praying for her too and realize that even in an uncertain future, God is holding us all.

After much going over, it is now ready to be mailed.

But the second letter...


...

The second letter stays open. I’ve poured over it, edited it, thrown it away, dug it back out of the trash, re-wrote the whole thing again and then had Brent read it and proof read it. He knew my nervousness and how this letter can either make or break our fledgling relationship with A. We do not want to give her any wrong ideas or put ideas in her head that she might not have been thinking about before. We just want to be there for her.


Will she get the wrong idea?


Will she think we’re crazy?


Will she be OK?


Will she still love us?

Over and over again, these thoughts and more tumbled through my head. I almost chunked the re-written letter again. But felt my spirit just yell STOP!

Overwhelmed, I put my head down. I can’t write our hearts any better than this, my heart whimpered. Oh please God, breathe Your life into it. If this is not of You, then make it known, somehow.

Immediately, I was flooded with this sense of peace. The last time I felt this deeply serene was before we knew we were expecting again. It was so unusual to feel this calmness in my spirit that I just soaked it every minute of it. For a while, I didn’t move – just closed my eyes basked in the warmth of feeling completely at peace.

When I opened my eyes, I quickly stuffed the letter in its envelope. Then I got a larger envelope and another sheet of paper. I wrote instructions to the receiver of this letter to make sure that Brent’s and my wishes were carried out, concerning the smaller letter to A. Stuffing both the sealed smaller letter and instruction letter in the larger envelope, I fixed the stamp, sealed it, kissed it, prayed over it, grabbed Anthony and tucked him into his car seat and drove to the post office before I could feel any tinge of fears returning to eat away at the new pervasive calm.

Only...



...the calm doesn’t leave.

I feel the same sense of peace that my husband has had this entire time. I am no longer fearful about the letter or the idea being taken the wrong way. Brent’s right. It really IS going to be OK.

Thank you, God for Your peace. I love this serenit... “OWW!!” I holler as Anthony bites down on my finger again. Startling the poor baby who doesn’t understand why I yelled so loud, he starts to cry.

And the serenity is gone, I mutter under my breath as I hold my howling son.

But not the peace.

It remains.

Psalm 29:11

The LORD gives strength to his people; the LORD blesses his people with peace.

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Feel free to comment, and God bless you! ~ Holly

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