Something I’ve learned, internalized, and tried to put into practice over this three week break that I’ve enjoyed is how I go about handling my people pleasing tendencies. The Lord used someone to help me see how my people pleasing ways really are selfish in their roots. I might come off with ‘noble intentions’, but selfishly, I tend to people please so that I don’t have to deal with the negative effects, i.e. I don’t have to deal with someone being mad at me, frustrated with me, disappointed in me, etc. In reality, people-pleasing stops me from sharing things truthfully and from being vulnerable. So, although the Lord has done a lot of work over the past few years to free me from always having to be in people’s good graces, there’s always more to go. I’ve seen how it is difficult to take a stand for Truth and His righteousness if I’m too concerned with what other people think.
All that being said, I’m going to blog about something that’s been a little bit difficult to process over the past five months (today is our five month anniversary!) and I just really got some clarity on last weekend while at church. When Josiah and I met in February, our first extended conversation was on the fact that he was more than likely going to be taking primary guardianship of his son (Kalyb, who turned 4 this past August) at some point in the summer for 1-2 years. The discussion was to see whether or not I was on board for this ‘2 for the price of 1’ situation he had going on – date him, marry him and get a bonus with Kalyb as well! For whatever reason, I had felt that the Lord had prepared me for this so the discussion was nothing to be concerned with on my part; the more the merrier! We spent the next six months of our dating experience planning and preparing for our life full-time with Kalyb – we found a place that was more family-friendly and had a 2nd bedroom for Kalyb, we had him enrolled in pre-school, we had his room decorated and prepared, family had purchased items for Kalyb and given us some of our toys and stuff from growing up, and we had a birthday party/welcome to CA party planned for when he arrived. We found out 4 days ahead of time that this was not going to happen. To say we were devastated is an understatement.
Throughout the first few months of our marriage, there was an undertone of sadness, but all the conversations had been had that could be had. We were sad, disappointed, heartbroken. It was a difficult situation to know how to really process with anyone. I was heartbroken over a step son I had never met (and who, at the time, could care less about conversing with me via the phone or Skype!) – like I’m talking I would cry when I saw little boys in the store, when I would walk by his open room, when I would see how devastated Josiah was. It was just terrible. And I felt so alone because it was such a unique situation – and let’s be honest, we all know how attached I get to people and I just adore all of you and we all know how emotional I can be, so I was a mess and haven’t even seen Kalyb in person yet.
Of course, it was easy to see how ‘logically’ this was ‘better’ for our marriage in the aspect that we would have time to get to know each other more intimately, to sort stuff out, to have our own time, etc. But emotionally it was tough. Just this past weekend, we heard a pastor talk about his difficult year. One of the things that had happened was that he and his wife had been planning on adopting a little girl and it had fallen through days before she was supposed to arrive – they had the clothes, the room, their hearts set on her arrival, etc. He finally spoke what I had felt. I really felt that I had been preparing for an ‘adoption’ and it fell through days before and we had all the reminders to spark the tears and the disappointment. Now I know our case is a little different – Josiah is the dad and has known and been involved with Kalyb since he was born. And I know that I became a ‘step-mom’ the day that I also became a wife and that I would be able to meet Kalyb at some point, but it was just different than we had spent months planning for. Thankfully, Kalyb is in a place where he is absolutely loved and cared for, so we don’t have to worry about his safety or well-being, however, it is not the home that we created for him so it has been difficult.
On December 27th, I FINALLY GOT TO MEET KALYB IN PERSON!!! Poor Josiah spent 18 hours traveling to St. Louis and back that day in order to fetch the little one! Kalyb was in San Diego with us for seven days before Josiah had to fly him back and let me tell you, we made the most of those 7 days! We filled them with the brim with family time, a late Christmas celebration, Legoland, Wild Animal Park, parades, movies, etc. It all was absolutely precious. Kalyb is adorable and smart and so funny! He brought so much laughter to our days with the things he would say – I wish I could remember every single thing he said! Just a few of the ones I remember are:
- During bath time he randomly said, ‘Hey guys’ and Josiah and I responded with ‘yes?’ – and he looked at us, kind of sighed, and said, ‘You’re the best!’ •
- At dinner, he would often state how ‘exquisite’ the food was (after hearing this on a cartoon, it was quickly adapted into his vocabulary)
I could go on and on about his colloquialisms, but we’ll stop there for now. I also wasn’t sure what to expect with him coming – behaviorally, emotionally, etc. He’s had a lot go on in his four years, so I wasn’t sure how this transition was going to be – but I had lined up all my ‘teacher tricks’ and was ready to go! However, no tricks were needed! He has the sweetest and most tender heart – he is so quick to apologize and so easily redirected. One afternoon, he accidentally bumped heads with Josiah (HARD) and it really hurt Josiah – Kalyb went up to his room (we weren’t sure if he was going to cry or just get time alone or what) and he came back down with his little Pillow Pet and handed it to Josiah saying, ‘here, Daddy, so it doesn’t hurt anymore’. Talk about melting my heart. Throughout the week, it was so humbling to see what a little sponge he was. Makes you aware of how you go about living your life, that’s for sure – anything you do or say is up to be repeated or replicated, so you better make sure it’s God-honoring! We had a blast talking to him about Jesus, saying our prayers with him, cooking with him, playing with him, having nerf gun wars, being goofy together, and just hanging out. It was a great seven days. I really am doubly blessed with my bonus Kalyb in my life 🙂
He’s back with his Memaw and family in Illinois now and the house here is a little quieter. I’ve only had five mini-meltdowns about his departure, and the Lord is faithful to comfort our hearts! I hope that the little one realizes just how many people around him that absolutely love him to pieces and he will be blessed by that! I know that this has been kind of a round-about blog, but I’ll leave you all with some prayer requests:
- That the Lord would continue to do a work in my heart and life as I desire to become the godly wife, daughter, sister, friend, step-mom, etc. that He desires!
- That Kalyb would continue to have a great time surrounded by people that love him while his mom is away (she is in the army)
- Pray for Maggie, Kalyb’s mom – after the heartache that I’ve been through, I just can’t imagine what she’s been through the past 8 months apart from her little one! Pray for His comfort and strength in her life!