Our time in Battle Ground, Washington has been filled with settling in, pouring ourselves into a new office with new challenges and so much room for growth. Our other focus has been licensing for foster care. There have been many hours of training and interviewing and paperwork and preparing for the ever intimidating home inspection. This process has been just as involved and long as we expected, and now that we are so near the end, estimated only about a week or two away from being licensed foster parents the anxiety and sleepless nights are nestling deep into my muscles and my bones, deep into my chest. In a week or two or whatever indeterminate amount of time we will meet a little soul (or two) who has faced so much trauma in their short lives, the latest of which being buckled into a carseat and taken home by strangers for who knows how long. The people who have loved them will have so much fear and anger, and even though we only want to care and love and provide safety for their sweetheart through a scary time, we will be the focus of their rage. We are, after all, the ones who strapped their baby in a carseat and drove away. The best way to create a healthy environment for the child will be to have a good relationship with the people who care for them in their lives. The anxiety of overcoming the initial feelings and hurt seems insurmountable.
Will we care for a boy or a girl? Will they be a baby or a toddler or a small child? Will they bring their sibling with them? What are they living through right at this moment as I type this? What is happening to them to bring them to our home in the first place? Are they hungry? Are they scared? Are they happy? Are they lonely? Are they hurt? Are they unaware? Oh, please God, please be with them. Please carry them through, please cover them with a blanket of comfort and protection and shield them from the horrible things happening in this world. ... but I know this prayer is in vain, because I know without these unimaginable things they would not be ripped from their world and placed in our home. So please, God, please give them strength; and please, God, please don't leave their side. Even, and especially, as they come into our arms.
Moving. We're amazing at it. Expert moving tip from expert movers: don't do it.
My friend, Naraah, and I tried counting the times Jas and I have moved in the last nine years of marriage... After some time and calculation and deliberation, the answer we came up with was "a lot".
Pulling into Battle Ground, just ahead of Jason in the Penske, a part of my heart felt like it got the hiccups and my mouth spread into a grin.
I found it! We found it! It found us.
My soul has felt like it's been searching for home ever since we left Southern California to begin our year of rotations before graduation. And from the minute of pulling into town... here it is. Surrounded by mountains and farms and houses and grass and hills and rivers and cows and rain and lakes and barnes and trees.
My lungs pulled in a deep breath of fresh, Douglas Fir air, then exhaled in exhausted relief. We found it.
Home for however long we get to be home here... home all the same.
(items listed in no particular order)
✓ Visit some of Jason's favorite people and see the scary places he lived for two years, where he was right before I met him back in the way back... 2007 (but they redid the outside of all these buildings so I just had to trust him on how shady it all was)
Get "Texas' best burger" at Alamo Springs Cafe/see the millions of bats fly out of the cave (this intrigues me in the most cringey, body shuttering way)
✓ Find at least three mysterious Kerrville Where's Waldos
Get to the bottom of the mysterious Where's Waldo graffiti gang conspiracy
One more rodeo ?
✓ Touch a baby deer
✓ SAVE A BABY DEER (this is a very recent addition... for obvious reasons)
Share a goodbye meal with our new found family we stumbled upon after we moved out here (now our Bob and our Bradfords are stuck with us for life! and they never saw it coming)
✓ Kayak and play in the Guadalupe River as much as we want
✓ Swim swim swim
We have until August 27th. Wish us luck.
Our time is winding down, so we're making our Must Do Before We Leave list.
Our time is winding down, we're starting to check things off.
July through August is hot in Texas. This is not new information. But July through August are also kind of my favorite... This is when all the sweet baby deer with their red coats and white speckles pop up like daisies and run and play with each other, always staying nearby their mamas. Apart from the spring time with all of the wildflowers, this is my favorite time of year here. It's so hot. It's hornets. It's brown grass. It's beautiful. It's kayaking down the river. It's diving in. It's bursting with new, red–coated–speckled, life.
I had just dropped Jason at work and was on my way home. I turned up the big hill to our house and saw one of our neighborhood deer in the middle of the road. This is nothing very new. But as I drove closer this doe didn't scurry away. She was immovable, frozen, focused on something to the side of the road. She didn't even notice the car. I looked in the direction of her intent gaze and there was her baby, stuck in the fence.
I jumped out of my car. She jumped away from me and a bit down the road, but not far.
I gingerly walked closer to the foal, she and her mama made deer warning calls. The sweet deer baby jumped harder and higher and stronger than I knew she could, in pure panic. I saw where the fur had been rubbed raw on her sides, where she was bleeding and injured.
I didn't know how to do this alone. I didn't know who to call.
Suddenly I heard the slap slap slap of flip–flops running down the hill. My nice neighbor man (who I'd never met until this morning—when we became innocent animal saving heroes together) heard the deer calling, saw my car stopped in the road. We worked together to lift and pull the speckled baby back out. She straightened out her beautiful front legs as long and still as she could for us. As soon as her hooves passed the poles, she bounded out of my neighbor's arms and she and her mama vanished into the trees.
Someone was clapping and cheering up the hill. I turned to see a neighbor lady peering down at the emergency situation over her tall, flowering, cactus peddle bushes and cheering for the victory.
I'm too exhausted from our marathon down mission memory lane trip (we just got back from visiting Houston this morning, where Jas served for two years) and running on roughly two hours of sleep last night, to draw any conclusions or meaningful morals from this experience.
I've just got this:
It was surprising how obvious and audible and visceral the concern that mama doe had for her sweet baby.
It also wasn't surprising at all.
It was surprising how quickly I could care about nothing other than relieving this sweet, speckled deer baby from her plight. The urgency. The magnitude of how much this mattered.
It also wasn't surprising at all.
And hero looks good on me.