Post by: Jami Amerine
It was an ugly cry; nostrils flaring; with an occasional snort/hiccup/whimper/wail.
On my white blouse, there were traces of snot and black tears.
I knew full well, this meant mascara was streaming down my cheeks and that I looked – dreadful.
This made sense because this how I felt, dreadful. And vain as I am, I didn’t care that I looked a wreck. Pieces of my heart were going to being left in this “men’s” dorm. My sons would now live here, in halls that smelled like feet and corn nuts. Here on the second floor of a dormitory I had blazed past 1,001 times during my studies at Abilene Christian University, I was about to leave not one son, but two.
The “man-babies,” John and Luke tried to pity me, bless them. But truth be told, their demeanors could not hide the thrill. A new episode, a world they have not known, outside the confines of our rules and our ideals. To the man-babies the halls did not reek of burnt pop-tarts and jock itch spray, to them it smelled of freedom. The future was labeled clearly over the doors of Mabee Hall, rooms 208 and 255.
Luke pat/hugged me and kissed our foster daughter that sat casually on my hip. She was oblivious, but I couldn’t help notice that the hug was accompanied by a gentle escort out the door. “I’ll call you mom, and thanks.”
The door shut and a sob escaped me.
And my blurry eyes were relieved to see him as he ambled toward me. At nearly 6’4” my baby boy was as unacquainted as acquainted. John lifted his cleft chin in my direction with a casual “hey, I am around the other side.” The corners of his mouth quivered as he tried to be cool and not appear too giddy. In a swift movement he lifted his foster sister from my arms and in lanky, cowboy booted strides escorted us to his new room.
Just like Luke, my hug goodbye was laced with a gentle shove out the door. John had to run back to his car and then meet friends, so he was a little more abrupt. I stood surrounded by student workers hauling mini fridges, parents no better off than I, and the buzz of adventure vibrating in the stale air.
I thought out loud, “I didn’t get a picture of them in their rooms!” I looked toward the exit and yelped, “John! I wanted…” and caught the last glimpse of John’s back before he swiftly turned onto the staircase.
And that picture is burned in my mind.
I keep looking at it. I can’t stop replaying it.
Soaked with tears and the heavy weight of the end of a cherished chapter, I made it to my car. I buckled the baby in her car seat and waited for my husband. In the distance I could see Justin and our two youngest sons heading toward me. We would leave here and go home to our new normal. We’d done this before when our oldest daughter moved into the dorm, on the same campus two years before. But this was different. Maggie is my friend, with John and Luke, I know the man-babies wouldn’t be around or text or call like Maggie does. I know… nothing will ever be the same.
I turned up the radio to blaring toddler tunes so the littles would not be alarmed by my sobs. I made grilled cheese for the boys; I choked down a salad, and bedded everyone down for a nap. I kicked off my shoes, grabbed a box of Kleenex and climbed into my bed.
I know you think I wanted to stay there; to hang out a little longer at that dorm and make sure they had everything they needed. Alas, it was time to go. And here, now, in cool sheets with a red nose and swollen eyes I let loose in the place I longed to be. Alone with my God, I cried and prayed. My phone buzzed, I needn’t look to see, words of encouragement, messages of “been there… it will be okay, they’ll be fine…” Had I responded I would have said, “Please leave me alone, I just want to stay here a little longer.”
I didn’t want encouragement. I didn’t want to pull it together or stop the waves of heartache. I wanted to weep and reminisce. I wanted to lie there, imagining my head in the lap of my Comforter – my only Hope. As sad as I was, and as much hurt as I felt, I was right where l wanted to be.
Our society doesn’t grieve well. We pick up and trudge on to the next thing. We hate to hurt. We despise the low places and we do our best cover the agony with sensory indulgences… an ice cream cone, wine, or new stilettos.
Can I Just Stay Here a Little While?
Will you let me own this hurt?
Here I lie crumpled at the foot of the cross. In this place of my brokenness, there is a view that I can only see through the eyes of my suffering. Let me stay. Not to wallow in self-pity, but to weep in the arms of my Father. Just for a while let me hurt. Just for a little longer let me embrace the great Healer. He knows me, He remembers what I remember. I know the man-babies have to go, I am not so dull. But just let me stay here a little longer and visit with the only One who can see the snapshots stored in my heart and head. Here in the quiet, surrounded by decrepit tissues and a tear soaked pillow case I need only to grieve without excuse. No condemnation, no pity, no “pull yourself together.”
Can I Just Stay Here a Little While?
Please, for here with my God is my favorite place to be.
“Blessed are those who mourn, for they shall be comforted.” Matthew 5:4
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Jami Amerine is a wife, and mother to anywhere from 6-8 children. Jami and her husband Justin are active foster parents and advocates for foster care and adoption. Jami’s Sacred Ground Sticky Floors is fun, inspirational, and filled with utter lunacy with a dash of hope. Jami holds a degree in Family and Consumer Sciences (yes Home Ec.) and can cook you just about anything, but don’t ask her to sew. She also holds a Masters Degree in Education, Counseling, and Human Development. Her blog includes topics on marriage, children, babies, toddlers, learning disabilities, tweens, teens, college kids, adoption, foster care, Jesus, homeschooling, unschooling, dieting, not dieting, dieting again, chronic illness, stupid people, food allergies, and all things real life. You can find her blog at Sacred Ground Sticky Floors, follow her onFacebook or Twitter.