I am always amused by the over-the-top sensationalism of local media. This weekend I sensed a weird joy in the local reporters as they prepped Houston for "Flood-Mageddon"...or "March Floodness"...or any other lame name they could come up with to describe the impending weather conditions for Houston. A wave of thunderstorms were predicted to sweep through the Houston area leaving us wishing we had been wise enough to build Noah's ark.
The storms did come through, but they were not nearly as bad as the weatherman had predicted. There were, however, 2 kids affected by the weather. At about 3:00 a.m. a loud crash of thunder rattled the windows in my bedroom and awakened two cute kids who were fast asleep in my bed: Adam and Elli (it's a long story, but Leslie had to put the kids down for sleep by herself last night and I came home to find them cutely snuggled up in my bed).
Adam has never been a fan of loud noises so immediately put his hands over his ears and just stared at the windows as lightning flashed and thunder crashed. I put my left arm over his chest to help him feel secure. Elli sat up and had fear written all over her face. She looked at me and said, "Daddy, it's scary" and reached out for me. I put my right arm behind her and pulled her close. This is no small moment. Trust and security are big things for an adopted child and this was another evidence of her growing trust in me.
She buried her head in my chest and closed her eyes and held onto me tightly. I reassured her, "Daddy's here. It's going to be okay. Daddy's here."
Then I had a moment. As I comforted two of my kids, my mind went to a place to which it has gone many times. Ever since Adam breathed his first breath almost 5 years ago I have been with him. There has never been a day of his life when "Daddy wasn't there." Elli's story is very different. When we finally got her in September of last year she had lived 1,358 days without "Daddy's here."
My mind has gone to this place many times. When Elli falls and scrapes her knee and I hold her and bandage the wound, I wonder who did this before me...or if anyone did. When Elli cries because she is upset and I hold her and tell her, "It's going to be okay," I wonder whose arms were holding her...if any. When Elli wanted to swing "high in the sky," who was there to push the swing for her? When Elli's smile lights up the room I often wonder, "Who stopped to enjoy this beautiful girl?" When she laughs, whose heart used to be filled with joy...or did anyone even notice?
Last night as the thunder rolled on and Elli held on tightly I wondered, "What did you do in the orphanage when a storm passed through? Who held you?" And a giant lump formed in my throat as I wondered, "What if the answer is 'no one'? What if no one came into the room to hold my little girl while she was scared?" The thought just tears me up.
So last night as I held her close, kissed her head and reassured her and Adam, I prayed and thanked God that He chose me to be their daddy. And I whispered to my sweet Elli, "I'm so thankful you are here with me."
I don't know who bandaged her wounds, comforted her when she cried, pushed the swing for her, basked in the warmth of her smile or held her during a scary storm for the first 1,358 days of her life. But I do know this: for the rest of my days, daddy will be here.