It’s one quick call and question from CPS and four seconds to answer.
“We have a little baby and an even littler baby. Will you take them?”
“Yes. YES!” We say with a vehemence only those new to the system have. Those who are seasoned surely know what this means, can feel the tiredness in the bones of endless 2:00 a.m. feedings for a scared, tiny stranger who wont be comforted by good intentions and can see straight through my attempts to guess at what a mother should already know. Surely we should have passed.
This is intense.
They need love, yes. We have that to give! But they need to learn how to sleep without a bottle in their mouth. They need medication. They need to eat solids. They need to be fed with patience and love when time is scarce and patience is fabricated. The premie needs to feel a heartbeat and the bigger boy needs to have my undivided attention.
They need to make progress and then visit their mom. They need the space to start all over again after this happens, or maybe they are fine and I am the one who starts all over again.
They need to be respected for all their transgressions and regressions, but I’m running on coffee and no sleep and I lack the superpowers of Superwoman, so I lose it and I cry. I want to curl up under a blanket and pretend I didn’t say yes, but someone is crying and someone needs changing and three other little angels need their mom to reassure them everything is ok, and no one can wait.
There is beauty in the chaos. We are just surviving, breathing the last fumes of a crazy idea, but the premie is up to almost 11 pounds and the 11 month old is finally lying on my shoulder when I sing to him at night. My oldest lives to feed the baby. My youngest is learning to share. My middlest is mastering the art of distracting a toddler. I think we are all on a slow train to somewhere. I just honestly have no idea where that train is going.
And so I’ll keep feeding and changing and singing and riding to who knows where because…well, wouldn’t you?