jaws of life

when in doubt, my sweet son harper tends to err on the side of being terrified of things. last night, after tucking him in... he called for me repeatedly to come in and make the "woof" go away. there was (obviously) not an actual wolf in his room. when i mentioned that there was no wolf he replied "yes there is! he's pretend and he's right there!"

this is not the first run-in with imagined predators in harper's room. one night a while back, after tucking harper in with his blanket and little stuffed shark, i closed the door and stood outside his room to see how the scene would unfold. here is what i heard outside his door:

upon the click of the door, harper instantly began saying "oh nooo, mama... oh nooo." he sounded desperate and heartbroken that i would ever leave him alone to nap. as if that wasn't enough for me to feel awful, the scene escalated. his "oh nooo's" quickly turned to "no! no! NO! NOOOOO!!" he was screaming as if he was literally being eaten alive by something with very sharp teeth. i thought that something had actually gotten in his room and he was actually in danger... his screams were so real, and so urgent!

then i opened the door.

sitting on his bed, harper had streams of tears pouring down his face. his eyes were shut as tight as he could squeeze them, and his chubby hands were wrapped around his little stuffed shark, which he was holding up to his throat, mid-shark-attack. he had opened the mouth of his shark, pushed it up against his throat and let 'er rip.

when i went in, it took him a few yells of his name before he realized that i had even come in. he was, obviously, quite busy being eaten alive and didn't hear me come in. i calmed him down, banished the shark to the playroom and forbade him from using his imagination during naptime ever again.

whenever i give my mother an inaccurate account of my childhood, she always says "if that's how you remember it, it might as well have been that way." i think of that sometimes with my own kids. i think of what they will report back to me someday about their lives, about me as a mom, and about how they felt growing up. what will be my failures in their mind? what will be my shortcomings? the injustices they endured in this house? who knows... but, their fears, their experiences (real or imagined) can be pretty traumatic.

i am keenly aware of my faults and shortcomings as a mother, trust me on that one. but, in spite of a million weaknesses, i know of one strength i have for sure: i will fight for my kids. come hell or high water, i will take them back from whatever it is that has them by the throat, and i will fight for them.

the other night, my sweet friend sam gave me a bit of encouragement about this whole adoption process. she said, "if you were adopting internationally, would you feel just as guilty about doing a fundraiser? if you thought of it as raising a ransom for your child, would you still have such a hard time asking people to buy a t-shirt?" she also said to me, "when this is all said and done, and your child looks at you and says 'mama, was i worth it?' what will you say?"

ugh. friends like her are so obnoxious with all their conviction and rightness. but, the girl's got a point. i don't care what it takes, i will fight for my kids. even the one i don't have yet. so, while it may take me a year or even two... i am going to grab the shark and tear it away from the throat of this kid. whether that shark be expenses, or self-doubt, or fear... in the name of jesus, i am going to tear that shark a new one.