It's that time of the year. Time for the hustle of end of the year parties, field trips and getting those last reading logs in. I love this time of year. I love when the school year is about to end, as I know that in a few weeks, our mornings won't be quite so hectic. I love knowing that there are only a few more days that I have to sign that dang behavior chart every afternoon (can I hear an "amen"?). I am ready for that more than anything I think.
This week I got the newsletter from Ellie's teacher that explained their graduation procedures. I'm sure it will be a great night with lots of laughter and more than a few tears. But there's one part I dread, and it's not likely the part that you're thinking. When I say this, most people assume that I am dreading another year passing and Ellie growing up just a little bit more. That's not it. I'm good with that part.
What I dread is the video they put together.
Let me explain. Our newsletter asked us to send in a baby and toddler picture of our child to share in the end-of-the-year video. We don't have either one of those. Ellie came to us at almost 3, so there are no baby pictures at all. We can send in pictures (and we will) of when she first came home, but it's not the same. Ellie read the newsletter, and she asked "Momma, what are we going to send? Do you have to send a picture of me when I was still in Ethiopia?". No, baby, we don't. I explained that we will send what we can, but that we do not have to send the pics of her in the orphanage (She does NOT like those pictures).
I understand the premise behind asking for this. I really do. Please don't hear this as an insult to Ellie's teacher. She is wonderful! I guess it's just these times of the year when it is more evident that our story is different. And while different is often very good, it is still different.
And different is hard.
I am hurting for my girl who will watch every other classmate of hers have their baby pictures blown up for all to see in that sanctuary on graduation night. I'm hurting for the story behind the lack of pictures of my girl. I'm hurting for her first mom who has those images and nothing more.
We will celebrate the year with gusto. We will celebrate finishing kindergarten with lots of laughter and joy. We will celebrate going into the first grade able to read like crazy (thanks, Mrs Laura!!). But there will be a bittersweet aspect to our celebration, for me at least, as we watch a video played out that shows the holes in Ellie's story. I wish I could give her that. My mother's heart wants to fill those gaps with stories of what a great baby she was, if she was collicky or not, whether she slept through the night or was awake to eat every two hours. I have scores of stories about Bryan as a baby and toddler. They are some of my favorite memories and some of the funniest stories we tell over and over. But for Ellie, I have none of those. I want to fill those gaps, but I can't.
I cannot give to her what I was not there for. And as a momma, not being there is so hard to get over. And so I pray that God- who has been with her since He formed her in Tigist's womb- fills those gaps with His joy, His peace, His story.
Thanks be to God...