Today's goodbye was a little different than our goodbye to Pterodactyl, as we with Pterodactyl we were together as a family. This time B and Dinosaur said goodbye before they went to work and school, and Rhinoceros said goodbye as we left the doctor's office. We did pray together for him this morning, so I think we'll just make that our constant in all our goodbyes: pray about the transition specifically and separate from usual bedtime or mealtime prayers. So far, Rhinoceros has asked where Beetle is more than he asked about Pterodactyl. Right when we got home, I was tempted to attack our giant mess of a house, but instead I sat and painted with watercolors with Rhinoceros, and this afternoon we have another activity that will help me focus some extra attention on him.
My favorite podcast did an excellent episode on saying goodbye, and one thing that has stuck with me is that many friends and family get that you're sad and want to comfort you, but talking about how you're doing isn't always comforting. I also find that I would much rather talk about what I loved about that child and what I learned. If I don't, I start to feel like they don't exist anymore, or that they are something I need to cry about and then get over. I was and still am blessed by Pterodactyl and Beetle. I am a better person for having been their mom. I'll write out why, even though this post is getting long. I can't keep it to myself today.
What I Learned from Beetle
- Babies with NAS (Neonatal Abstinence Syndrome) need extra care, extra note-taking, and extra time. But I didn't find it to be an entirely sad experience, as there is hope that he will come through all of this, and as I've learned through recent research, he may show few signs later on that he had a rough start.
- Being a foster parent of a baby in the NICU is a special and humbling experience. Something about all the wires and beeps and our daily short period of time together made me experience this new little guy differently than any of my other babies.
- Biological parents of foster kids can be appreciative and easy to work with. I had heard a few stories in which this was the case, but living it was a deep way of learning it. I really, really wish them the best.
- My biological sons get this pure joy from our foster babies that I couldn't have expected. They adapt easily and are resilient.
- Curling was the most common live Olympic sport at 4 am in my time zone. Also, Jimmy Fallon is a fun talk show host. (Those were my main sources of late-night viewing.)
- I am still selfish and wish I was sleeping at 3 am instead of giving Beetle the cuddles he needs. I am still short-tempered and snap at my older kids (and husband) much more easily when a baby is crying loudly. I need a lot more Jesus.
- Big bug eyes. This guy had wide, wide eyes that made you smile whenever he was alert.
- Old man hair. Babies bald on top with that little fuzz of hair around the ears and below just crack me up.
- His fascination with our voices. He loved when we talked to him, and my older boys loved lying down next to him on a blanket and chatting with him.
- Quiet snuggling moments. Okay, maybe not so particular to Beetle as pretty much all babies will curl up and sleep on you, but I just love the little weight of a newborn.
- His nicknames. I can't share them because they're from his real name, but for some reason, Beetle had the longest and funniest list of nicknames of any baby I've had.
This post happened to line up with a Counting Blessings link-up at Our Good Life. So, I joined in; hop over and join in, too!