Haley Kate recently started throwing her arms around my neck, burrowing into me, and saying, "Ahh... my own Mom." Sometimes she says it possessively and sometimes she says it with the "ahh" voice that comes from feeling at home and cozy.
Today it was while I was trying to talk to her seriously. She reached out, grabbed the sides of my face and said, "You my own Mom" and kissed me in the affectionate way toddlers do, when they come at you and you aren't sure if they're going to kiss your lips or bloody your nose.
The other kids remind her, "She's MY own Mom, too." Haley looks at them like she's considering, but not certain she's willing to share.
This week marks one year of being Haley Kate's "own Mom". I will never accurately articulate the privilege it is. It sobers me, challenges me, humbles me, and her little feisty face continually reminds me of God's extravagant, undeserved gifts.
Haley is opinionated and fun-loving in the free spirited way that causes her to throw back her head when she laughs. She has no problem keeping up with her older siblings and if everyone else is sharing about their day at the dinner table, she often pounds her fists on the table and insists, "I'm talkin'! I'm talkin' FIRST!" Ahem...clearly she's a Taylor in every sense.
She's a daddy's girl. She's the type of Daddy's girl that waits for him to come home at the end of the driveway, singing songs she makes up about "Daddy come home" at top volume. She's the smart Daddy's girl who quickly cries, "I want Daddy!" when she knows she's in trouble.
From the moment I heard about Haley as a foster child with an unknown future, she completely had my heart. I never held back. Yet, this year of having her for keeps has given my heart rest I didn't know it needed. When those big hazel eyes meet mine, "You're my own Mom", I grin. "Yes! Forever! Forever I get to be your Mom."
“By you I have been upheld since birth; you are He who took me out of my mother’s womb. My praise shall be continually of you.” Psalm 71:6.
Just throwing myself out there a bit...