The Boy with an Unbreakable Smile
We were sitting on a kid sized table — me awkwardly spilling out of the kid sized chair with my lanky frame — when he was ushered into the room with a social worker.
“This is N,” she said to us.
He looked at us — no clue of who we were or what was happening.
Then he smiled at us.
He had been in that group home for three weeks, and not only did that smile endure, it shined.
(It wouldn’t be until 2.5 years later when we’d learned the details of his history — which makes his smile even more incredible).
From waiting 2 hours at the pharmacy for his medication; to the 40 minute drive home; to his first bath at our home — that smile never faded.
There are two things that I’ll probably never forget about the first few weeks together. The first being that smile.
The second was the first family visitation. He hadn’t seen his biological mom for three weeks. And when the visit was over, he had no idea why he couldn’t go with her. The sheer terror and confusion on his face with the crying and screaming — we were all traumatized. The three of us cried for most of the 40 minute drive home. He eventually wore himself out. But as soon as we hit our driveway, there was that smile again.
If anything, he’s resilient. Almost 3 years later, and as of today, at the age of 6, that smile is still bright and heart warming. Even if he’s getting less and less cute as he grows older and gets bigger.
Before the idea of adoption ever entered our thoughts, I was trying to tell him that JoJo and RayRay (what he used to call us) will love you, always.
Eventually, he’d start saying “Always” after I would say to him, “N, RayRay and Jojo love you.”
Now it’s “Mom and dad love you — always and forever.”
Every so often, he’ll just say, “Mommy. Daddy. Forever” seemingly out of nowhere.
And now, he’s 6. And 55lbs.
So, happy birthday, kiddo.
Thanks for exponentially increasing the number of white hairs that are forming on our heads.
Thanks for wiping us out at the end of the day because of your non-stop motor.
Thanks for finding new ways for us to be embarrassed and mortified.
Thanks for growing so fast, we have to keep buying you new clothes.
Thanks for the all the headaches and the face palm moments that come on an average one per hour.
Thanks for your spirit, your curiosity, and for the undeniable joy that radiates from your entire being.
Thanks for your sense of humor and laughter.
May you continue to be this resilient; this joyful; this lively; this loving; and may that smile continue to shine brighter as you grow older — despite (and in spite) of the ways we may screw up.
But never forget. You are deeply loved.
Mom and Dad love you, always and forever.