January 19, 2011. Five years ago this week and exactly one month from the day I graduated from Clemson, I overfilled two suitcases with much more than I needed and traveled to live in a foster care home for Native American children in Lame Deer, Montana. Being the invincible twenty-two year old that I was, I felt more than prepared for the winter storms and motherhood that awaited me.
This weekend, for the first time, I reread my blog that I wrote while living in Montana. While I felt ridiculous becoming emotional at my own written words, I was taken back to a precious, exhausting time that I will forever cherish. Reading between the lines of my thoughts, I was elated with happiness yet also noticeably exhausted. Being a mom was hard. Through all the mentions of fevers, timeouts, vomit, and naps, I also wrote about gratitude, perspective, and His overwhelming presence.
Now, five years forward, my heart yearns for the simplicity of that charming yellow house. While our paths were once so incredibly intertwined, we now are only memories in each other's lives. My baby boy is now nine years old yet to me he will always be in his onesie pajamas flapping his arms like a bird for me to fly over the baby gate we had installed to keep his little sister from crawling up the stairs. I can feel his warm little hand in mine as we ran from the dragadiles (dragon meets crocodile of a creature that only lives deep in the snow of Lame Deer.) I deeply yearn for my heart lying on his bottom bunk while I rubbed his belly to fall asleep sharing his Spongebob blanket.
I never felt so exhausted as I did then both physically and emotionally. Looking back, I was eager to go. I wanted to be twenty-two again. Yet, I was so in love with where I was. I miss that home. Those moments in time. Rarely does a day pass when I don't think of my sweet boy in our yellow house. My, has my world changed since then. For the longest time, I battled guilt. Guilt for leaving. Guilt for the times when I wasn't fully present. Guilt for the nights I spent longing to be back in Clemson for my second semester of senior year. Guilt for putting my own future ahead of his.
While I keep up from a distance and conclude that he is well, so much of who I am is for that little boy. He's in every student I teach. Every time I smother Henry with my love, some goes to him. I see him in each overly energized little boy bouncing down the city sidewalks. Whenever I feel drained to my utmost core, he is what pushes me onward. While we may never be together as we were in those first three months of 2015, he made me who I am. He inspires me to want to be a mom again. To selflessly love others before myself. To be the very best version of who I am, for him.