The “Escape Room”

Have you ever just wanted to disappear for a bit so that no one could find you? I often find myself trying to “escape” for a few minutes of serenity. However, I’ve discovered this is next to impossible with a toddler. For instance, a trip to the bathroom by myself is rare these days.

The bathroom used to be a good place to escape and catch a few minutes of peace. Now, I usually have company. Fortunately, Baby Boy shuts the door behind us. The only problem is, there are sometimes he doesn’t want to open it when our time in the “escape room” has come to an end. It truly becomes a situation where I truly am desperate to escape from the “escape room.”

Maybe next time we go in I’ll teach Baby Boy how to clean. He already knows how to use the TV remote, so why not put a mop in his hands and put him to work. Perhaps, I then can escape to the bedroom while he is not looking. I certainly can find some peace in there. Oh wait, the cats are always in the bedroom!

Hello Again…

It has been quite some time since my last post. I just haven’t felt like writing for some reason. Perhaps, life has just been too hectic, or maybe I just have been a bit lazy. Sometimes, it is difficult to just stop and take stock of the things going on around you.

Life can seem fairly monotonous. Working from home, as I have been doing for over a year, has added to this feeling. Things seem to be slowy getting back to “normal.” I have returned to my office a few days a week. This has brought back some much needed structure to my life. Staying home everyday to work while I am in my pajamas didn’t seem to give me much of a purpose.

A lot has changed within the last year. Baby Boy is now walking and saying a few words, such as “dad.” Being a dad is such a wonderful experience. I have learned a lot about myself. In addition, I think I have learned the entire catalog of “Wiggles” songs. YouTube and Netflix come in handy when you are quarantined.

Amanda and I have been blessed with so much good. Despite, challenges related to health, 2020 was a very prosperous year. It is hard to believe that we are almost halfway through 2021. God has been good to us, even when we have not taken notice.

I look forward to seeing what the rest of the year holds. We will be taking a family vacation to Florida in June. I am excited to see Baby Boy play on the beach. I’m wondering what his reaction will be when he first sees the Gulf of Mexico. I’m sure we will build some sandcastles. Well, I’ll build and he will sit on them halfway through their construction.

Looking at life through the eyes of a little one has given me a new perspective. Everything is new and exciting. Nothing is left untouched. Everything has to be tasted, even cat food. Maybe life is not so monotonous after all. How can it be when every day is a new experience?

Goodbye 2020!

The end of last year brought hope. Amanda and I welcomed a three-day old baby boy into our home. Since this time he has become a part of us. In two days this bright, smiling child turns 1 year old. We will have a party with family. There will be cake, smiles, laughter, and maybe a few presents.

It has been strange raising a baby during a time when the world is filled with such uncertainty. This year has had many ups and downs. However, despite all of this, life has gone on and everyone has remained relatively healthy. There is much for which to be thankful.

Amanda and I have great friends and a loving family. We have a baby who brings us so much happiness on a daily basis. It has been our great pleasure to become his parents. We feel fortunate to have been blessed with the responsibility of raising him and providing for his needs.

God has protected us through times of trial. This year has truly been a struggle at times. The isolation brought on by the pandemic has often been too much to handle. However, life is still good. I will be happy to see 2020 come to a close. I’ll carry the things I have learned this year into the next. One might think that the future looks bleak, and in a lot of ways it does. However, there is a light at the end of the tunnel. I am curious to see what the future holds. As we approach 2021, let us all treat each other with more love and understanding. Everyone has a burden they are carrying. Let’s make time to listen to others.

I recently had a friend reach out to me to share some things that were going on in his life. He expressed to me that he needed others to “do life with.” This is something we all need. The English poet, John Donne, writing in the 17th century, wrote that “no man is an island.” Hopefully, 2021 is a year we can reconnect with each other. Good riddance 2020!

Our Wedding Day

Today, Amanda and I will have been married 8 years. I can seriously say she is still the one for me. She is the love of my life. We still enjoy being together and we love to laugh. Our wedding day was a little bit of a different story. If you have been following me here, especially over the last couple of weeks, you know I am prone to cuts, and scrapes, and skin break downs. These are all common for those with spina bifida, due to decreased sensation in various parts of the body.

In May 2012, I finished my master’s degree in school counseling. Then in late July of that year I accepted my first position as a guidance counselor. This was at a small, public high school about 40 minutes from my hometown of Sterling, Illinois. Briefly, after I took the job I began to move things in to my new office and then began to pick up the pieces the previous counselor had left behind.

For one, nearly none of the nearly 300 students had a set schedule of courses they’d be taking, despite the fact that school was a month from starting. This meant that I was given a crash course on how to use the computer program that the district used in scheduling its students into classes. This hasty “tutorial” was given by a counselor that had been there for nearly 20 years, but had retired a few years previously. She was a good teacher and she helped me and the guidance secretary to learn things quickly.

Previous to taking this job, I had divulged to the principal that I’d be getting married in a few weeks, and would be gone on my honeymoon up until all teachers and support staff were due back for in-service days. However, I told him I’d get as much scheduling done before leaving for my wedding.

This gave me about two weeks, including weekends to get student course schedules completed. Luckily, I did have the help of the retired counselor and the counseling office secretary. Despite this, the night before I was supposed to be in St. Louis, where the wedding was being held, we were only about 75% through the entire process. Therefore, I had to leave the rest of the scheduling in the hands of my colleagues.

I went home late that night feeling defeated, but not entirely worried. However, I did feel a bit feverish. This I just chalked up to being overworked, as I had put in some very long days that week. It never even dawned on me that it could be something else.

The next morning I rode down to St. Louis with one of my groomsmen. On the way I began to feel less and less like myself. Then it dawned on me, I had an infection in my knee. I had cut my knee earlier in the week. I don’t even remember how it happened now. I just knew that once we hit Peoria, Illinois that I needed to find an emergency room (ER). We stopped at a ready care facility at first, but once I explained what was going on the doctor there suggested I go to the hospital that was just down the street.

Arriving in the ER there, they assessed the situation, realized there was infection in my knee. They suggested cutting my knee open with a scalpel and draining all of the pus. Then they were going to admit me. I told them to go ahead and cut the knee open and clean it out, but that I would not be staying, as my wedding was the next day. So, they got my knee “fixed.” This means they sliced it open, drained it, left it open, bandaged it and sent me on my way with antibiotics and painkillers.

We did make it to St. Louis, but I missed my bachelor party. Which by that point was just as well, since my knee was throbbing. I got to my hotel, which was within walking distance of the church in which Amanda and I were to be married. I was finally able to crash, and that I did. As I recall, I spent much of that day in bed to try and conserve as much strength as necessary for the wedding rehearsal that night.

For the rehearsal, I remember walking the few blocks to the church, as I was curious to see how my knee was going to fair the next day. I was also on Vicodin, a painkiller that makes me both anxious and drowsy. It is a wonder I did just lay down under a tree and go to sleep. However, I did make it to the church. Throughout the rehearsal I felt a little confused, and my legs were a bit rubbery. However, I soldiered on and the rehearsal ended. From this point forward things are a bit hazy.

I know I somehow made it to the church next day a few hours before the wedding to get dressed and go over last minute plans. I remember feeling both excited and very anxious about the day. I was not having second thoughts at all. It was mostly just stage fright. Likewise, I was concerned about how well my knee was going to hold up. However, before I knew it the wedding had begun. In just a few short minutes I would be going out on stage and trying my hardest not to pass out in front of a few hundred people.

I do remember how beautiful Amanda looked as her dad walked her down the aisle to me. Without her smiling at me the entire time, I am not sure I would have been able to withstand the agony I was in for that period I was up on stage. It was a beautiful ceremony held in a perfect sanctuary. Sadly, I remember very little of it. To this day that bothers me. I wish my mind would have been more present. It is a day every couple should be able to remember together.

There are so many other memories Amanda and I have made since then. It is reassuring to know that there is someone who loves me unconditionally. We are really two peas in a pod. I love Amanda dearly and I am thankful she is my wife. She is a strong woman that is not afraid to get down in the trenches with me. She has cared for me when I have been ill, and continues to do so. I feel fortunate to be married to someone who is so giving and so patient. Here’s to 40 or 50 more years of making memories. There is no one else I’d rather being doing it with.

100!

When I started writing this blog back in January of 2019, I wasn’t sure where it would lead. At first my goal was to focus on issues related to my disability. However, my life really isn’t defined by having spina bifida. Therefore, this blog has expanded to be a place where I can share my thoughts on current events, give insights on what living life with a disability is like, and just share humorus observations of the world around me. I hope you have enjoyed following me on this journey.

This particular post will be the 100th post that I have written. I thought in keeping with that, I’d create a list of 100 lessons that I have learned, observations that I’ve made, or opinions that I have formed. Every day there are new lessons to be learned and new experiences to be had. These are just a few of the things I have picked up along the way. Let me know if I have missed anything. Here is my list in no particular order.

  • 100. Never take a hansom cab ride in New York City.
  • 99. Never be afraid to try something new (except for that hansom cab ride in New York City).
  • 98. Holding a grudge against anyone is pointless.
  • 97. God will indeed give you more than you can handle at times.
  • 96. Don’t ever give up. Things will get better. It might just take time.
  • 95. Life is unfair.
  • 94. Anxiety can make you feel like you need to do everything all at once. You actually don’t need to do this. Just slow down and take things one step at a time.
  • 93. The smell of the air just before it rains is one of the best scents.
  • 92. The smell of a baby’s head just after they have had a bath is THE best scent there is.
  • 91. The love that a dog has for its master is one of the purest forms of love there is.
  • 90. Losing someone that you love is one of the most painful things you can ever experience.
  • 89. Working hard to achieve a goal is one of the greatest feelings that you will have.
  • 88. Sitting outside in the winter in a place where there is very little, if any, light pollution and looking up at the stars on a clear night is something everyone should try at least once.
  • 87. Going on a road trip with someone you love is a lot of fun.
  • 86. Dorothy was right, “there is no place like home.“
  • 85. Take time to pray every day.
  • 84. Dirt tastes like dirt (yes, I have tried dirt before).
  • 83. Beets taste like dirt.
  • 82. Walnuts taste like dirt.
  • 81. The taste of soap is not pleasant. (Yes, I have had my mouth washed out with soap. It was at church no less).
  • 80. Cilantro tastes like soap.
  • 79. Eating a bag of peanuts on a warm, summer day at baseball game is one if the most relaxing experiences there is.
  • 78. Take time to listen to the stories that your grandparents tell. I am fortunate that I did. I will treasure these memories for as long as I live.
  • 77. Learn about the things that have happened in the past. You can learn a lot from history.
  • 76. You can never read enough books.
  • 75. Learning to adapt to change is difficult, but it is well worth the effort.
  • 74. Being a homeowner is both a blessing and a curse.
  • 73. It pays to do things correctly the first time.
  • 72. I’d rather have more time to do the things that I want to do in life than to make more money. Time is far more valuable than money.
  • 71. There are still very kind people in the world. Many of them live in the U.K.
  • 70. Listen to your parents. They know more than you do.
  • 69. Do at least one thing you enjoy doing every day.
  • 68. Never pray for patience. God just might answer your prayers in ways you don’t expect.
  • 67. When working with others it is often best to let them speak first. You just might gain some new perspective.
  • 66. Donuts are little bites of heaven.
  • 65. Mashed potatoes are the best food ever!
  • 64. Chick-fil-A is overrated.
  • 63. Fountain Coke at McDonald’s is the best.
  • 62. Hot McDonald’s french fries are the best.
  • 61. The Blues Brothers is one of the best films ever made.
  • 60. Somedays you just have to listen to the Beatles.
  • 59. You will never get everyone to like you.
  • 58. Pancakes made at home are better than you can get in any restaurant.
  • 57. NASCAR is not a sport.
  • 56. Everyone should make a trip to the ocean at least once.
  • 55. Everyone should travel overseas. You will gain a new perspective on life.
  • 54. There is nothing like a good night’s sleep.
  • 53. Spending time in the mountains is one of the most peaceful things you can do.
  • 52. Disney World is overrated.
  • 51. Bacon tastes best when crispy.
  • 50. Cats can indeed be needy (I live with two who are very needy).
  • 49. Sunny days are the best kind of days.
  • 48. Never have your eyes dilated on a sunny day.
  • 47. You can’t properly eat Oreo cookies without a glass of milk.
  • 46. Getting an unexpected package in the mail is better than gifts on Christmas Day.
  • 45. No one has ever sang the National Anthem better than Whitney Houston.
  • 44. No one’s instrumental version of the National Anthem has been better than Jimi Hendrix’s rendition from the Woodstock Festival in 1969.
  • 43. September is the best month when it comes to weather, at least here in Illinois.
  • 42. Rollercoasters are not fun!
  • 41. There is no ceremony quite as somber as the “changing of the guard” at Arlington National Cemetery in Virginia.
  • 40. Ken Burns knows how to make a documentary film better than anyone else. If baseball doesn’t start soon I might have to dive into his 23-hour epic on the sport.
  • 39. Don’t ever try smoking.
  • 38. Tell the people you love how you feel while you still can.
  • 37. Sometimes you just need to eat a big, greasy, cheeseburger.
  • 36. It is never too cold to eat ice cream.
  • 35. Read to your kids when they are young.
  • 34. Walter Payton is the best football player I ever saw play the game.
  • 33. Hot dogs should never be eaten with ketchup.
  • 32. Thanksgiving is the best holiday.
  • 31. Christmas becomes less fun the older you get. However, I suspect this changes once you start having your own children.
  • 30. One of the best sounds you can hear is a baby’s laugh.
  • 29. Many of the best things in life are free.
  • 28. Treat others the way you would like to be treated.
  • 27. A soft answer often turns away wrath.
  • 26. Sometimes it best just to remain silent.
  • 25. Autumn is the best season.
  • 24. Always apologize when you are wrong.
  • 23. Michael Jordan was the best basketball player I have ever seen play the game.
  • 22. Don’t argue about politics on social media.
  • 21. Forgive others when they wrong you.
  • 20. Don’t pour gasoline on a fire.
  • 19. Voting for the lesser of the two evils still brings you evil.
  • 18. Finish your work first then you can enjoy your play all the more.
  • 17. You often get what you give.
  • 16. Cynicism isn’t always a bad thing.
  • 15. Always finish what you start.
  • 14. Let your yes be yes and let your no be no.
  • 13. Family is important.
  • 12. Steak is best when cooked medium. Anything else and you cook the flavor out of it.
  • 11. Help others when and where you can.
  • 10. As long as you are alive there is always hope.
  • 09. Nothing quenches your thirst better than water.
  • 08. Admit your mistakes and learn from them.
  • 07. Always tell the truth.
  • 06. Don’t expect others to respect you if you don’t show respect yourself.
  • 05. Every thing should be done in moderation.
  • 04. Always say “please” and “thank you.”
  • 03. You get what you pay for.
  • 02. Fear can be a good motivator.
  • 01. The love of a good woman is a very special thing.

Men of Integrity

I was fortunate to have grown up surrounded by men of integrity. My own father was a man who was honest and treated others with respect. He had faults, but I believe he acted with integrity in his dealings with other people. In addition, my father was someone who tried to make things right when he felt he had wronged another person. I believe the values that my dad had were passed down to him from his father, as my grandfather was also a man of integrity.

My grandfather, Oris Bradshaw, was born on August 23, 1908 in a small town called Whitehall, which is in Greene County, Illinois. The Bradshaws were some of the earliest settlers to this county, according to research I have done into my family genealogy. From historical accounts that I have read, the Bradshaws were known as virtuous people.

For instance, in a document that was published in 1879 by Donnelly, Gasette, and Lloyd my great-great grandfather, Perry Bradshaw, was described as “a member of the Christian Church, and is endeavoring to live a life that is in harmony with the principles he professes” (1879 History of Greene County Illinois). These traits were passed down to Perry’s son Shannon (my great-grandfather), who then passed them on to my grandfather Oris.

It is on this Father’s Day that I look to these men who lived lives of integrity. Amanda and I are raising a child through foster care. It is a privilege to be given the chance to shape this young life that has been entrusted to us. Although, my own father passed away while I was a boy, my grandfather was there to help guide me through my formative years. He is a man that I greatly admired and respected, as I believe he was the true definition of a husband and a father. Likewise, he was a great example of how a man should conduct himself. I hope I can instill the same values in Baby Boy that my grandfather did in me.

My grandfather was married twice. His first wife died when my Uncle Richard and my Aunt Shirley were both still children. He then met and married my grandmother, who gave birth to my father and to my Aunt Diane. Around the time of his first wife’s death, my grandfather was employed by Walgreen’s in Memphis, Tennessee. He had a very good position in the company. However, he gave this up, I believe, to move to Rock Falls, Illinois so that he could help his aging parents.

My grandfather then had a few different jobs once he moved to Rock Falls. For instance, he drove a delivery truck for the Coca-Cola Company, and he also worked at one of the local high schools as a custodian. He gave up a promising career with a major corporation, humbled himself, and did what was right for his family. He was one of the greatest men I have ever known.

I think my grandfather’s work ethic was passed on to my father, as he was a wonderful provider for my family and I. He was never afraid to work overtime to help the family make ends meet. In addition, my dad was a very skilled welder. He took on side jobs for people in his home workshop, often times charging people far below what the work was worth.

I know I have many shortcomings as a man. However, I was provided with great male role models as I was growing and maturing. I still have some today as well. Both of my brothers are great fathers. Likewise, my father-in-law is a man who shows his love for his family in so many ways.

In conclusion, I just want to say that those who have come before me have left a lasting legacy. I feel very blessed. Happy Father’s Day to all you who are fathers. Take care of your families. Leave a legacy for them of which they can be proud.

My grandpa and me.

Mercy

I’ve been writing this blog for over a year. When I first began I had a single vision in mind. I wanted to share with you my experiences of living life as a disabled person. Likewise, I wanted to share the positives that I see. Finally, I wanted to make it a place where I could show how absurd life can be. However, as I have gotten deeper into writing, I have begun to widen my focus.

For instance, I often share my experiences as a foster parent. Likewise, I have written about my family. Finally, I have shared with you my hobbies and interests. One topic that I have shied away from is politics. The reason for this is that I believe political issues often divide us. I never want to cause division. I would much rather bring people together. However something has been on my heart and mind the last several days.

It is an issue that is political, however, it goes far deeper than that. The thing that has been troubling me is the murder of George Floyd. This is not meant to be a political debate. Please read to the end of this post and then if you’d like to comment, I’d appreciate hearing what you have to say.

First, I believe we as humans are born with a sinful nature. However, I believe that God has also instilled in each of us the power to love. He also gave each of us free will. We are free to love, but we are also free to hate. Whichever one of these we choose is often ingrained in us at an early age. We can be taught to love our neighbor, or we can be taught to hate them. Along with this, I believe we all have the power to change what we think and do. Finally, our actions have consequences. If you act out of hate, you will perhaps just breed more hate.

I believe hate leads to destruction. I don’t truly know the heart of the police officer who murdered George Floyd. However, that police officer’s actions were certainly not coming from a place of love. To me it appears they were rooted in arrogance.

He pinned a defenseless man to the ground until that man could no longer breathe. This was despite pleas for mercy not only from George Floyd himself, but from a crowd of onlookers as well. Undertand this, I do not believe all police officers are bad. In fact, I have much respect for those who put themselves in harm’s way for others. However, there are police officers who use excessive force, simply because they can. This is something that must stop.

A man was murdered in cold blood because he was falsely accused of passing off a counterfeit $20 bill to a local shop owner. A life was lost over a misunderstanding. A life was lost because mercy was not extended to someone who was powerless. This goes much deeper than politics. It also goes much deeper than race. This is an issue of the heart. The Jewish prophet Jeremiah wrote, “The heart is deceitful above all things , and desperately wicked: who can know it?” (Jeremiah 17:9 King James Version). I believe the heart of the police officer responsible for the murder of George Floyd is perhaps much like that described in the book of Jeremiah. Why else would he have not shown mercy to a man who was clearly in distress?

Those who have taken to the streets in non-violent protest, I am with you. My heart goes out to the anguish and rage you are feeling. Yet more injustice has been done to you. It has been there for hundreds of years and there seems to be no end in sight.

In a speech given to a crowd at Stanford University on April 14, 1967, Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. spoke about “the other America.” Unfortunately, This is a place that exists today. It is one in which many black Americans, and other minorities are still living. It is a place where poverty, violence, and hunger reign. It is a place that could be fixed if the human heart was not so wicked.

Those of us who have the power to help often sit on the sidelines thinking that the “other America” is someone else’s problem to confront. This is wrong, we all have the power to make life better for those who are unable to see their way out of poverty and despair. If we are to love our neighbors as ourselves as Jesus has commanded us to do, then we can no longer sit on the sidelines. It is time for action.

In Dr. King’s speech refenced above, he also noted, “the riot is the language of the unheard.” Yes, people are out in the streets rioting because they feel they are being ignored by a justice system that has historically marginalized them. Dr. King further went on to say that “riots are socially destructive and self-defeating.” I believe this to be very true. What is to be gained by burning down your neighbor’s business? I empathize with the frustration and anger that drives the riots. However, creating more death and destruction is senseless.

I hesitated to post this because I do not want to create any more division. However, I express myself best through the written word. For me to remain silent, I feel, just perpetuates more indifference. When so many are hurting, we need to be showing each other love and mercy. I wish I knew how to solve the problems we are facing today. I do know one thing, we need to be checking our hearts. If we are not doing things out of love, then we are doing them wrong.

Paint Your Pets and Other Love Stories

Yesterday I met the love of my life. Well, it only seems like yesterday. However, it was actually 10 years ago yesterday. Amanda and I met for the first time on February 13, 2010. She was, and still is, a St. Louis girl. We were introduced through my cousin Brad, who was Amanda’s pastor at the time.

Our relationship began through late-night chats on Facebook, and then progressed to nightly phone calls that would last for several hours at a time. About a month after phone calls, texts, and Facebook messages we decided to meet face-to-face.

I decided I would travel to St. Louis from my home in Sterling, Illinois. It is approximately a 4-hour drive, so I had a long time to think about what our first meeting would be like. Would Amanda run and hide when she saw me for the first time? Would I be so nervous I would be unable to speak? These are some of the things that were racing through my mind as the miles began to melt away.

After a few hours I arrived at my cousin Brad’s house. This is where Amanda and I would meet for the first time. After settling in Amanda arrived at the door. Fortunately, she did not run away when she saw me. However, she thought about it as she heard me creak my way across the floor. I’ll never find work as a ninja, as my crutches squeak too much as I walk.

I think it helped that Amanda and I had spoken on the phone quite a bit before meeting for the first time, as it helped to make face-to-face conversation flow more effortlessly. Amanda and I had an easy time getting to know each other as we had lunch. We then went to the art museum, stopped for a cupcake at The Cup, a little shop that makes the best cupcakes ever! We then ended the night with The King’s Speech, a movie that we have since adopted as “our movie.” The next day we spent some time at the zoo. Simply put, it was a perfect weekend.

Amanda and I spent the next several months getting to know each other. I then asked her to marry me. Fortunately, she said yes, and we tied the knot on August 11, 2012. About a week later I started a new job in Northen Illinois and Amanda returned to St. Louis. For the first few months of our marriage Amanda and I only saw each other on the weekends. This was a very difficult situation, However, it only lasted until October when Amanda moved north to join me. In December 2012, we purchased our house and have added two cats to our lives since.

Amanda and I enjoyed being with each other that very first day, and we still enjoy being together. Today is Valentine’s Day, but we did not exchange gifts. However, we were together. That has been enough and will always be enough for each of us.

This morning we took a painting class together. We each painted a portrait of our cats, Dot and Cat. I chose Dot, and Amanda painted Cat. You can see the results below. I think I’ll hold on to my day job, as an artist I will never be.

Learning to live with another person was an adjustment for the both of us. I like organization. Amanda enjoys spreading her things throughout the house. This isn’t always easy for me. However, my stubborness is not something she always enjoys about me either. However, I can still say that Amanda is easy to be with. We laugh and we cry together. However, we are always together.

Being one has helped us adapt to our newest challenge, foster care. Since December 29th, we have been the proud foster parents of a sweet baby boy. He has transformed our lives. Sleep is hard to come by these days, but love is always there, even amongst the frustration of poopy diapers and midnight feedings.

We are now three, plus two cats. Love is never in short supply in our house. We are together and that is enough for all of us. Material things are good to have, and we have been blessed with far more than we deserve. However, time is the most important thing. Time is what allows us to create memories. Ten years of memories has made me a rich man. I am rich because I have a woman who loves me despite my faults.

Hopes

Baby Boy is a month old today. He is growing and becoming more aware of his surroundings every day. He is still ours and it is fun to see him grow out of clothes that fit him just a few weeks ago. Clothes he was once “swimming in” fit him just perfectly now. He is such a long, little boy. He uses those long legs to his advantage during a diaper change.

It is still difficult to imagine that one day he may be taken from us. This realization becomes harder to accept with each passing day. Amanda and I are his parents. We feed him, we clothe him, and we love him like he is our own.

Baby Boy and I have some good weekend “chats” as he lays on my chest in the morning. Of course, I am the one doing all of the talking. He just coos, grunts, and puckers his lips as he listens. I hope we can continue these “chats” for quite some time, as they help me relieve stresses of the week. Baby Boy is a good listener.

In those quiet moments of the morning he and I sometimes listen to music. He will be a Beatles fan some day, he just doesn’t know it yet. I think I’ll wait to introduce him to other favorites of mine later. Listening to Jimi Hendrix in the morning may not be as calming as the acoustic renderings of John, Paul, George, and Ringo.

Hopefully, Baby Boy is still here once baseball begins. There would be nothing better than introducing him to a game that I love. While I am not holding out much hope for the Cubs this coming season, it is always a joy to see Wrigley Field on the television. It would be a thrill to be able to take him to his first game there. The sights, sounds, and smells would have us both enthralled.

Amanda and I still have no idea how long Baby Boy will be with us. It could be a few days, a month, a year, or even longer. In the month that he has been, he has already left his fingerprints on our hearts. Our hope is that he is ours for a long time to come, but we know that may not be the case. In the meantime, he is ours to love, to teach, and to guide. God give us the strength to do all of those things.

Baby Boy

It is just past 2:00 a.m. as I write this. My thoughts cannot help but turn to how infuriating life can be at times. It is simply unfair. I just got done feeding Baby Boy. That is what I will call our foster child, as I will never divulge his name on this blog.

I am angry with this precious child’s biological parents. They are missing out on seeing him develop and grow. Amanda and I have had Baby Boy for nearly two weeks. In that time he has become more aware of his surroundings, he has begun to show pieces of his personality, and he has brought us happiness.

As I look into this baby’s beautiful eyes it infuriates me that there are people who seem to have no struggle at all bearing children. Amanda and I are unable to have a baby of our own. So, why is it so easy for people who seemingly couldn’t care less about the children they bring into this world? It is unfair! It is painful to know that baby boy may go back to parents who lack the ability to provide the things that he needs. We want to be those people in his life.

In the time we have had this child, we have grown to love him as if he was our flesh and blood. He is a sweet baby who has given us a desire to learn all that we can to be the best parents for him, even if it is just for a short time.

It is so difficult to wish for Baby Boy to be reunited with his parents. We don’t know them, but it is heartbreaking to think that this child whom we love will be given back to parents who may not give him the same love and support he needs to grow into a healthy adult. Life is unfair, especially for this little boy who needs two parents to raise him in a loving, caring environment.

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