We met you this weekend. Your talent show was a whole TWO HOURS long and, in a cruel twist of fate, you were the very last act so we spent the whole show alternately crying and telling each other facts, like “Did you know that baby koala bears eat their mom’s poop?” so that we wouldn’t cry so much. When you finally came out on stage, it was like the whole room dropped away and all I could see was you. I’m pretty sure that half of the audience was watching you and the other half, parents and kids included, were watching the crazy crying lady who was cheering for you at the back of the audience.
After you finished, we went to talk to your foster mom and case worker and your foster mom looked at my swollen eyes and said, “What’s wrong with you? Why you crying?” Then your teacher came over (she had seen our photo book) and said you were an awesome kid and I started crying again. Then you came out and I started crying again. I knelt down and said, “Can I hug you?” You shook your head like you were saying yes to a peanut butter and jelly sandwich and then I hugged you with your arms at your side, because I’m sure I scared the heck out of you. In all fairness, though, I did warn you.
After that, we spent a really fun weekend together.
A few weeks ago, a designer friend shared a poster that she had designed. I downloaded it for free because I like the message. Yes, I know it is from Parks and Recreation but that doesn’t mean it can’t be true, right? It says:
I love you and I like you.
Son, we haven’t told you this to your face yet, but we will love you forever and ever no matter what you do. Even if you, as you threatened to several times this weekend, put your feet in our mouths. Love is a choice and we are choosing to love you, regardless of what happens from this point forward.
But, guess what?
We like you too. Here are some things that made us know that we LIKE you this weekend:
– Right after we met you, the first thing you did was show us your “guns” and tell us that you like to work out. The second thing you did was say, “I’m going to lick that lamp!” because you’re excited about the salt lamp in your bedroom.
– You wore fake hipster glasses the whole weekend.
– You’ve obviously studied the pictures that we sent of your room. The jury is in. The ninja lunchbox is cool. You are too old for the Spiderman backpack. And you hate Arthur (the stuffed animal) and were worried that we were going to make you sleep with him.
– At the water park, Alex said, “Do you need some water?” and you said emphatically, “I need a girlfriend!” and surprised him.
– The way you say, “Yeah” like kids from the 1950s said, “Aw, shucks!”
– How you made us make 10 word search puzzles for you so that you wouldn’t get bored in the car. You were so speedy at solving them.
– We turned our backs for one second and you had literally put $9 of frozen yogurt in your cup and then you felt sick in the car. (You’re such a kid!)
– You scraped your chin on the bottom of the pool because you did so many back flips
– You really wanted a $4 pretzel at Schlitterbahn and then you hated it (you’re such a kid!)
– How you learned to float on your back this weekend and by Sunday afternoon, you were able to do it in the river while looking to see if we were watching
– You saved that butterfly from the river and we dried it out and it walked away
– How you were scared to get in the river at first, but by the end of the day, you were swimming and floating like a pro.
– You loved to play Go Fish
– How you said, “Can I try the mustachios?” and we weren’t sure if you had discovered the mustaches or the pistachios (it was the pistachios)
It’s so hard to get to know your spirit from secondhand accounts so we weren’t sure what to expect. But you are sweet and funny and charming and smart and brave and creative.
So, I’m going to frame this poster and hang it in your room. You might not LOVE it because it’s not directly related to Michael Jackson but we’ll keep it in there somewhere because I desperately want you to know how true it is.
Oh, son, we love you and we like you. See you next week.
Beth (which is what you’re calling me right now)