Russ and the little boys drove me to the dock yesterday, where I walked on the ferry with the crowd of pedestrians, together with cyclists in shiny, bright outfits and their expensive bikes. Russ had loaned me his nice day pack, so I felt just a bit spiffy myself. Earlier in the afternoon I had packed it with my laptop and all that I needed for an overnight stay at Kathleen’s. It was odd, and rather nice, to be alone on the ferry, reading my book, and watching the distance between Whidbey Island and Mukilteo grow smaller. It’s a short trip, only 15 minutes or so, and when I walked off the boat, Kathleen was waiting for me.
Noah, Samuel, and Isaiah are joining us on Whidbey Island, and they were en route to Seattle with Dimples. I wanted to be at Kathleen’s before they arrived in order to greet her after our time apart. It was a quick transition as the boys dropped Isaiah and Dimples off, and then headed to the ferry. Isaiah took off right away with friends who were going to hear Bob Goff speak – sadly, they didn’t realize that he was not speaking in person, but had recorded it earlier in the week. Bummer. Given that Isaiah didn’t get back until nearly midnight, I think they still had fun, despite the lack of an autograph in Isaiah’s copy of Bob Goff’s book, Love Does.
I had no idea how Dimples was going to receive me after this break. I worried that it would be strange, or she would be distant, or angry. Thankfully, she was surprisingly normal – not overly warm, but she received my hug, came to me for things she needed, and did what I asked throughout the rest of the day with no issues. This was a huge relief to me and I enjoyed being with her. Of course, it was fun because we went out to dinner at Red Robin (where she ate a huge meal), then we went shopping (with not much success) for her school shoes. Kathleen bought her lots of yummy treats at Target, including her favorite hot sauce and nifty packets of pre-made rice mixes. We wrapped up the evening watching the Olympics.
This morning the house is sleeping, and sadly, I’m not. However, it’s good to reflect on this respite experience. It is very odd and emotional for me, and yet, it is going beautifully; God has provided for Dimples and our family abundantly. He has given us people who love Dimples and are willing to serve our family by embracing her during this time. When I say that we need a team for Dimples, I am completely serious.
This afternoon, Kathleen and Dimples will drop Isaiah and me at the ferry dock, then later tonight, Dimples will go to our friend, Neely’s, where she is going to spend most of the remaining respite time. Neely and her family are taking Dimples on a big camping trip – and she might even learn how to surf.
The idealist in me whispers that this is failure. What kind of mother needs respite for her child? Who goes on a family vacation without her entire family? Apparently, I am this mother, and by the grace of God, He is directing our steps along this unfamiliar and bumpy road of parenting children from “hard places.” It is unlike anything we’ve done before; I’m struggling to surrender my ideals to my reality, and embrace this time of respite with gratitude.