Your story is longer than your brothers' because there are missing parts to it. We may never be able to fill in all the gaps. We are trusting God to fill with His fullness all the hurts, all the gaps. Learning to trust in God's way to restoration has taken time and patience, forgiveness and grace, humility and love.
We were given permission by Florida to return home with you. We got home on Mother's Day Weekend. I left as a mother of one but returned as the mother of two. Two boys under three. Seven and a half months apart by age. Entered our lives three years apart. I like to see people try to do the mental math of our family.
The years close after were upheaval and whirlwind as we tried to figure one another out. I didn't know what comforted you, and you didn't want to be comforted. I didn't know what pleased you, and you didn't want to please or be pleased. There were many hard days of tears on two pillows. We have truly gone through the valley of sorrow over past regrets and brokenness, over mistakes and misunderstandings. God has gently brought us through the longsuffering work of restoration and caused a family to be knit together. Beauty has come from ashes and oil of gladness from mourning.
Another picture of you stands out in my mind: we were at a burger place with a playground. You were running around with Chess and the other children. Your boundless energy feeding non stop motion. I called your name when it was time to leave. You stopped and looked around. Looked around at every mom, every woman, and looked right through me. I was not the one you were looking for that day. That day was hard.
Fast forward to now: throughout the day, several times a day, even and especially on the days I tease that I will change my name from "Mom", you call out, "Hey, Mom!" And most of the time, you do not really want anything from me. You just want to know where I am because I am now the one for whom you are looking. This day is grace.
So dear sweet son of mine, a decade plus two, happy birthday to you. Happy birthday to you, my whirlwind of change, of restoration, of joy unbridled. You are God's brushstroke of grace in the picture of our family He has sovereignly chosen to paint.
I love you.