It’s funny how things happen. Some things happen very slowly. Others happen quickly. Sometimes it’s a combination of both. For a long time I thought my family was complete with a husband and 3 dogs. I guess I was wrong.
I stood at the door and strained to see the little face that would become my newest house guest for the holidays. It was December 23. The snow from a few days earlier lay heavy on the ground. As I watched, a small figure shroud in a black jacket and hood emerged from the van. A tall woman with dark hair said hello to me as I shielded myself from the cold. I anxiously said hello as she introduced the little guy with the Happy Meal box in his hands. His pale blue eyes sparkled with an uneasy happiness. He stomped through the snow in his black sneakers. He very quickly came into the house, along with the woman, and made himself right at home.
Less than a week earlier, I learned that he was in need of a home. I’m not sure exactly why I went to my friends house that Thursday night. I really didn’t want to go. I was tired. I was not very happy. But I went. I had told her that I would join them and so I felt like I needed to go. The hour drive was worth it. As I sat there and listened to her tell me about this little boy who was in need of a home for Christmas, I couldn’t help myself. I just needed to speak up and offer my home to him. I called home and asked my husband what he thought about having a 6 yr old boy come and stay at our house for Christmas to which his response was “What are you talking about?” When I said it again, his answer was simple, “Sure.” So our name was passed on to the right people and the very next day, bright and early in the morning, my phone rang. It was social services. That afternoon I had an interview that ended with, “I see no reason this would be denied.”
The next few days were spent planning and preparing. We spent an entire day turning an office into a bedroom for our soon to be house guest. We quickly got a bed from a friend, and the next day picked up a mattress and box spring. I shared the joy of shopping for all the bedding with a good friend. The room was complete: bed set up with blue and brown sheets, tan blanket and blue bed spread. A pillow with a skateboarder emblazoned on it in shades of blue and tan sat angled just right. The big brown leather chair sat waiting. Dresser drawers were emptied of years of storage and ready to take on the clothes of a little boy. Now, we just needed the boy.
He squinted at the sun as he looked at me and smiled from the snow bank. The tall woman introduced him to me, “This is Teddy.” He said a cheerful “Hi!” I invited them in and Teddy made himself comfortable. He first wanted to know about the barking dogs. After that, he was curious about the whole house. Finally, he said, “I think I’m going to like it here.” With that, the tall woman and I finished our business and she went on her way. Teddy was now part of our family. For how long, we don’t know. But while he is here, I am Mom and he is son.