Friends, I've been burning to write... And yes, I know it's been almost 3 months since my last post. God has been pouring so much into us these days, and so much life has been lived. So much so, that it dawns on me that we're basically at that point where one day we will look back at these days and recognize them as a "turning of another page"... the end of this chapter and the beginning of the next. We'll start with a story, as told by Katie... Hopefully you find it sweet and heart-warming. It is certainly a testament to God's goodness. But to do it the appropriate justice, we're moving this blog to a new venue. Just click on the link. Katie and I will be merging our lives-- and our blogs-- into one...
Please join us HERE... http://web.me.com/kateandty/Kate%26Ty/Blog/Blog.html
----UPDATE---- 10/31/09- 12:15 am CDT
In the days that have followed the posting of this entry, the response at the new blog site has been so encouraging. However, a couple of anonymous readers decided to leave this blog "rest" with a bit of a parting shot in the comments section. The sad part is, I know their sentiments are not unique to themselves... I let it "breathe" a bit, prayed about it, and decided it needed to be addressed with "the truth spoken in love". Here is what they wrote, and my response... (Too long to be posted as a "comment"... so I'm adding it here as an update...)
I appreciate the thought, my anonymous friends, and cannot imagine how hard it must be for you, mothers of little ones, to fathom, vicariously through Leslie's journey, the thought of "outliving" your precious little kids.
I'm going to bypass the inaccurate assertion that somebody is trying to "replace" Leslie, because you obviously haven't read my previous thoughts on TJ's and my (and Katie's) understanding of what a "new mommy" entails. I encourage you to dig deeper into my archive here, to read up on Katie's blog, and follow our new blogs into this "next chapter" for a better understanding of how God is weaving together our little family. But to summarize, nobody CAN or is in any way TRYING to "replace" Leslie. Moving on...
Yes, TJ's first mommy-- his birth mommy-- will always be Leslie. She is in Heaven, and TJ can NOT wait to be with there with her some day. We talk of her often, and we pray at night and thank God for her...
...and we thank God for giving us Katie, who has selflessly and bravely dared to love a child to whom she did not give birth... as her OWN. Can you fathom such a love? It is God-breathed and miraculous to be sure!
Yes, Leslie is "always" going to be TJ's mommy-- the woman who brought him into the world and raised him wonderfully until her dying day. But she is no longer HERE. While I'm certain (although somewhat blindly) that she indeed still loves her only child... I'm also certain that her love takes on a much different form in the heavenly realm. She is no longer here to love and hold and speak to TJ. Leslie understands better than any of us today that life goes on-- for her, in the eternal sense, and for TJ and me and Katie and each of you in the earthly sense... Separated for a time, but not forever, for those who share this eternal hope.
I only bring these truths up for you two-- and others who share your sentiment-- to consider as you share your judgment and misled observations with the masses. Dig deeper. What is it you are clinging to, hoping that your son should no longer know the nurturing and loving touch of a mother, should you move on from this place? What of adopting parents out there-- be it a spouse of a widow (like Katie) or couples who are unable to birth children and choose to take on a child as their own, to offer the "orphan" the love of parents and a family that they would not otherwise know but by the grace and provision of a benevolent God?
My encouragement to you ladies is this: You have spent some time relating with Leslie, apparently, imagining yourself looking down on your kids from a far-off place, watching as they call another woman "mommy". Try just for a minute, instead, to relate with your KIDS... What if you were gone forever from this place, completely incapable of kissing an ouchie when the little ones fell? Or reading them a book at night? Or being there for their first day of Kindergarten, or graduation day, their wedding, the birth of your grandchildren... Would you prefer them dwell in the great void of the absence of you alone? Or would it be better-- for your precious, beloved children-- to have a "new mommy" there to love them through those moments, in your absence? Especially one like Katie, who knew you and honors you and your legacy? How you respond is a testament to the true love you have for your children.
And the last thing I challenge you with is this: Put yourself in Katie's shoes. She reads these blogs. And I know for a fact many other husbands and wives of widows (and widows themselves) read these blogs. Parents with adopted children read these blogs. Can you for a minute fathom loving those precious little kids of yours... had ANOTHER woman given birth to them? The way you do? With the ferocious passion you possess for your little ones? The life Katie has chosen to live is a tremendous cross she will forever bear-- one that DAILY I pray will bring her at least HALF as much joy and happiness as it has cost her in sacrificial love. She loves TJ as her OWN-- kissing the ouchies and disciplining and reading and hugging and putting up with all the crap toddlers put a mommy through-- in SPITE of the fact that she KNOWS that some of the world says that she is NOT TJ's "real" mother. She chooses every morning to wake up in the face of that opposition and love him EVEN MORE for it.
So, is it "really sad" that TJ will only grow up with our stories and his fragments of memories of Leslie? Absolutely! But not as sad as it would be if that was the ONLY idea of a mother that he ever knew at all. I thank God for Leslie. And since He saw it best to take her home when He did... I am even MORE in awe of His love, grace, redemption, and provision in Katie.
Thank you again for your thoughtful reflections, and I hope you understand my heart in sharing my response.