But it isn't easy.
As we decorated the Christmas tree last weekend, Dude had to run up to me EVERY. SINGLE. TIME. he hung an ornament.
"Mommy! I do it. I hang it up. Mommy! I do it."
Catch that "mommy" in there?!
I'm not Mamma L*** at all anymore. In fact, Dolly has corrected me when I call myself Mamma L***. She will take me by the face and say, "You MY mommy!"
This morning, while riding to church, Dude piped up from the back seat, "Mommy. You pretty." Of course he went on to add that he likes our truck and that our truck is pretty too. But that constant "Mommy" is killing me.
It's wrong for me to secretly hope that their grandma drops the ball and doesn't follow through or cooperate with the additional background checks that need to be done. It's wrong for me to secretly want the judge to say that grandma isn't capable of raising these children to adulthood. I know this.
We are going to enjoy Christmas. I'm not going to dwell on the court hearing that seems closer than it is. I've purchased presents. In fact, my entire family has purchased presents. We're not going overboard but these kids are going to experience as much Christmas magic as I can muster.
Since my bigger cherubs seriously need nothing (and literally want very little) for Christmas, we have decided to have an "experience" instead of opening presents with them. Of course Santa is going to visit. But the presents under the tree will just be for Pumpkin, Dolly and Dude. For the big kids, our family gift is a trip to Sea World.
I have jumped through about a million hoops.
First, I had to secure respite care for Pumpkin. She does not enjoy crowds. She does not participate in family events like this. And since bringing her would cost more, involve us driving two vehicles (we don't own an 8 passenger) and would entail pushing a stroller and lots of extra hassle...Pumpkin is staying behind.
Thankfully my friend Daphne (the world's most awesome next-door neighbor) is taking her.
Then I had to secure permission from the lawyer/judge for Dolly and Dude to be able to go. Despite the fact it's not supposed to be a hassle when kids travel within the state of Texas for less than 72 hours -- rules are different where we live. (Even though the simple rules are clearly stated on the State DFPS website and it's what I was told during training.) Our judge won't let kids leave the county or cross a checkpoint without written legal permission.
Thankfully no one denied my cherubs a trip to Sea World! (Honestly -- who would do that?!)
Mr. Amazing grinned this morning when Dude called me Mommy as we were walking to the truck. (I don't remember what Dude said but it was absolutely adorable.) I looked back at Mr. Amazing and asked him to not make a big deal out of things like that. It's too painful. I want to be Dude's forever mommy. I want him to have a mommy that loves him as much as I do. But it's not going to happen and I have to not melt every time I hear him talk to me that way. I have to remind Dude that he has a grandma that loves him very much.
I wish this grandma could be more of a presence in the kids' lives. It would make it so much easier. I don't know why she isn't. I'm not sure if it's because of the language barrier. Distance. Or general lack of desire. In my brain, this grandma should be calling the kids (it's allowed). Sending them letters. And trying to start a relationship.
But she's not.
And I have to be OK with that.
In the meantime I AM going to enjoy Christmas! Dagnabit!! These kids have been enthralled with all things Christmas. They love the decorations. They positively light up when they double check that, yes indeed, Santa is going to bring THEM presents. And Sea World...they can hardly wait!!
Dolly will look at me and say, "Mommy! Mommy! Mommy! I get to see the whales!"
"Yes Dolly. You will get to see the whales"
"Mommy! I get to see whales with my eyes!!" (this from the little girl that didn't speak English and couldn't string together more than three words - even in Spanish - five months ago)
It's going to be a magical Christmas!!!