It was a hot June night the last time we walked out of the Magic Kingdom in Orlando in the summer of 2014. As usual, I was trying to procrastinate to avoid leaving the park
I mentioned the date to Mark as we continued packing and we were both so thankful for where the Lord has brought us in a mere 365 days. It's crazy to consider how different our lives are. Several times throughout the drive on Friday night I cried, just looking back in the van and seeing five sweet faces all together for this trip, a trip six of us have dreamed about for three years. I was so mindful of all those still in the wait as months turn to years, birthdays come and go, holidays come around AGAIN, and seasons change with no new movement. It's unbelievably painful and hard and frustrating. But, as we drove, I was recollecting all the passages that I relied on in those days of wait and how GOOD GRIEF they all proved to be nothing but TRUTH I could bet my life on. Verses like Proverbs 13:12, "Hope deferred makes the heart sick, but a longing fulfilled is a tree of life," and Colossians 1:11, "being strengthened with all power, according to His glorious might, for all endurance and patience with joy." In His time, He restores, He brings hope, He redeems, He mends. For those in the long, dark tunnel of waiting where you feel like you see no light behind you or before you, keep going. The One who called you is faithful. He will do it (1 Thess 5:24).
So, off we went to Disney with only a few
The next morning we were up and attem early to head out to the Magic Kingdom. If you follow me on Instagram, you know I posted a picture of Tyson on the tram in the parking lot. He thought the tram was fun... I knew then, we were in for a fun few days. As we navigated the tram and the Ferryboat
The week went by slowly... in all the right ways. The kind of slow that you want on vacation is the kind of slow we had. Yet, it also went by quickly. Highlights were Tyson meeting Buzz and Woody, Corbin seeing Ariel (again), Regan hugging Mulan (her favorite), Hudson talking with Kylo Ren, and Brycen seeing the First Order... whatever all that means. Here's the deal, when it comes to Star Wars, I AM CLUELESS. I don't know who is who and how they are all related and blah, blah, blah, but my husband and kids all love it, so Momma goes along for the ride. Our favorite thing Tyson said (around day 3) was, "Daddy, I am tired of my legs." Mark replied, fighting back a laugh, "Buddy, I know. My legs are tired, too."
As the week went on, I could tell Tyson was tired, but he kept trucking and walking and waiting like a champ. Perhaps one of my best memories of the week was on Thursday when Tyson curled up on my lap and said, "Mom, when are we going home? I love our home." It was his way of saying, "I AM DONE." But, something in me was so moved to hear those words, "I love our home." It was beautiful confirmation that he knows he belongs, he is comfortable at home, and it offers him a sense of stability. I answered his question and held him for a long time. I told him over and over again how happy we were that he was home with us and that I know he missed being in Knoxville, but anytime we are all together, it can feel like home. He shook his "yes," laid his head over on me and rested. Home.
Our time together was so fun and sweet. We were able to have our first full week of just being together and it was quite the dream for this Momma. Tyson experienced his first sunscreen, swimming pool, hot tub, SPLASH MOUNTAIN, monorail, ferryboat, turkey leg (he had fries, but finished off Corbin's turkey leg), magic band (his mind was blown), FIREWORKS... oh my, the fireworks. I am tearing up thinking about it. At first he just stared, but when big, bright fireworks would burst behind Cinderella's castle, he would get bright-eyed, mouth gaping open, even putting his hand over his mouth a time or two. As I held him, I watched him more than the fireworks. Yes, I cried. Firsts are just so much fun.
A few days before we left, Tyson had said my name a million times one day. I am grateful, but you Momma's out there know sometimes (really, it's a rarity) you just want to go 5 whole minutes without hearing, "Momma." Please hear me out, I am so happy to hear it, but on the one millionth time in an hour....well, you get the idea. But about the time I felt myself getting frustrated I remembered all the days of waiting and longing to hear him say my name. And then I sat and thought about if there were days at the orphanage that he wondered what it would be like to have a Mommy and how it would feel to say her name. The frustration quickly subsided and I was thankful all over again that now he knows what it is like to have a mommy, what she looks like, and how it feels to say her name. I mentioned that thought to Mark that night, confessing that about the time I was going to pull my hair out, Holy Spirit stopped me and let me see a new perspective . But, I never said anything to Tyson about it. Just today as he and I were doing school, he was procrastinating on handwriting (ahem) and staring out the window. I gently said, "Ty, stay on task. Finish what you start without me reminding you, please. Stay on task." As if he didn't even hear me he said, "Mommy, when I was in Ethiopia," my ears perked up..."I thinked about having a mom." I looked at him, trying not to burst into tears and I said, "You did, buddy? Well, I thought about you. Is having a mommy what you wanted? Is it what you thought it would be like?" He didn't shift his focus and he said, "It's better." Without another prompting, he looked down at his handwriting page and went back to work. I got up and went to my room to cry. When I came back in, I hugged him and told him (again) how much I love being his mom. In that moment I knew the happiest place on earth isn't Disney (but, man, it's close). It's right here... there really is no place like home.