God's Child, Our Joy

An adoptive family's journey in faith and life

Four Funerals and a Wedding

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Last year, Steph’s first Mother’s Day turned our poorly. I tried to go all out and give her all the things a mother should have: delicious cake, dinner at her favorite restaurant and a picture worthy of frame of Mom and Eva. However the stomach flu had other ideas. Dinner and cake were miserable for her, and (although I can’t notice) every time she looks at that picture of her and Eva, she can only see her illness.

This year, even though it is her first Mother’s Day with Eli, things were going to be low key. With Eli being so young, we really don’t have time to make grand plans. With Eva’s surgery just the week before, I was making up for lost work time by putting in a couple extras of work at home each night as well. There just wasn’t time to make it an event.

Just how disastrous would Mother’s Day have been if we expected more of it?

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Spring had finally arrived in Ohio, and we had new neighbors. Robins had built a nest in one of our tree in the backyard. We only knew this because when we would let Quinton out back to potty, the parents would swoop at him trying to distract him away from the nest.

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I came home for lunch, and Quinton was let out back. Steph was watching him, and then ran out. She came back in with him, “I need you.” Quinton had caught one of the birds. We washed him down, cleaning out the feathers from his mouth. We couldn’t risk him bringing in any of the bird inside. Mother’s first gift of the week was a dead bird and the opportunity to take the dog out on the leash every time until the young birds figure out how to fly.

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The weekend after Mother’s Day Steph would be flying to Portland for a wedding. The plan was for her to bring Eli with her on the plane, but now the thought of that was starting to freak her out. How would he handle the flights? How will I handle the flights? Can I really be a single parent across three time zones for four days?

As those worries started to build up, another big event was popping up in her inbox. Next year’s schedules were being created at work, and they needed input from her. It was getting close to decision time for next year. Would she stay at home, or would she go back to work?

We had decided that it makes more sense to stay at home, but she could never commit to it completely. Not that she didn’t agree, but that it is hard to close a chapter of your life that you may never get back. Sure, she probably will go back to work in a few years, but probably not at the same place. Not with the same co-workers she had grown to love. Not with the same students who were excited to start planning next year’s show.

Her principal called to discuss the schedule one evening. Eventually the conversation got to a point where she had to admit the truth. That it makes more sense to stay at home next year. Once the conversation is over, she looks at me and says “I think I just quit my job.”

Mother’s Day gift number two. One deceased job, with a giant side order of guilt and regret.

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Wednesday night we start to pack up for the night and head upstairs when Steph notices something wrong. The air is all wrong. I never notice, but she has a keen sense when it comes to air. She has me hold my hand about a couple of inches above the vent. Nothing. There is not enough push to feel the air that close to the vent. Something was wrong in AC Ville, even though it had just been inspected two weeks prior. I’m optimistic, but Steph knows better. In this home that we bought because it was going to be “low-maintenance”, we’ve replaced the sump pump, the garbage disposal, the dishwasher, the washer and dryer, the siding and insulation on one side of the house, and fixed the subpar irrigation system. She knew that builder’s grade had bitten us again.

(Silly me) I call the same company that inspected it to tell us what’s wrong with it. A leak in the coil which they do not fix, only replace at a high cost. At this point, it means a new system to replace our AC that just died. Our lovely home has decided to get Steph for Mother’s Day a date with three prospective HVAC sellers, a week of fan blown hair, and a less money to have to worry about.

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Sunday morning is Mother’s Day, and we decide to sleep in a bit. It’s not like this one little decision will change outcome of today, right?

We usually attend 8:30 church, but since we slept in 10:30 was the goal. She starts to get ready while I watch Eva, but I only do that. I forget to pack the bag, take the dog out, etc. So instead of a nice leisurely morning, we are now forced to scramble because we slept a little too long and I’m forgetful. She is upset that we won’t be early enough to find good seating, so I try to compensate by speeding ever so much.

We jump on the highway and I’m taking the curve fast. There is tension in the air as she’s upset with me for not being as helpful as I can be, and I’m upset that she’s upset. Two birds dart out from the weeds and dive out in front of the car. The first bird lifts in time to get over the vehicle, but the second…

Now I’m just stunned. What have we done to bring such chaos on ourselves, and how long before we can expect a full avian revolution on our doorstep? I let my foot off the gas a bit, and try to reassess life at that moment. Perhaps this will not the moment to worry about who’s mad at who and if there was enough time to get everything done anyway and just slow down. Steph is not amused by my moment of zenness and reaches over to flip on the wipers. While I’m zoned in my moment, she has been staring at the feathered remains sitting in the middle of the windshield in front of her, the fourth Mother’s Day gift.

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Church goes smoothly, as she gets to talk to other congregants whom she doesn’t get to see at 8:30. She is ready to eat though. By she, it can be either Eva or Steph. We head out to eat at Steph’s choice of restaurant.

Many of you have already figuratively slapped me across my face. “You idiot! 11:45 on Mother’s Day! You’d have an easier time finding a Monet at a garage sale then finding a restaurant with less than a 45 minute wait on Mother’s Day!”

Cue Eva starting to melt down because she is hungry (lunch is 11:30!) and the restaurant saying it was 45 minutes (12:30) before we could get in. Cue turn around to go home, hungry Eli, angry Eva, depressed Steph and worthless Scott. Cue hot dog and bottle for the kids and Panera for Mother’s Day.
At least we could get some bagels for morning (unless of course it happens to be Mother’s Day and the bagels and pastries have been wiped out by 1:00).

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Okay, we’ve got this. We’ll make sure to be at the restaurant by 5:00, beating the Dayton rush. (Daytoneers, in our estimation, like to eat between 6-7) Eva is starting to get hungry. We arrive to a 50 minute wait. Ugh.

This Mother’s Day was supposed to be different. Either better or with less disappointment. Maybe next year.

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