When I was little, the closest thing I had to a security object was a furry platypus I named “Googles.” (This was before Google the website, you guys.) Every day, my SWAT team dad would have Googles experiencing some sort of torture when I got home from school – hanging from a string in my closet. Closed in the laundry room double doors. Smashed into the piano bench seat. I’ve shared this, through laughter, with people, and rather than laughing with me, they looked very disturbed. I guess you had to be there.
When my firstborn, Ever, was one and a half, she bonded with “Boop” – a then-pink, now matted grayish-mauve stuffed lamb. Dewy took to a little fluffy dog she named, “Dee,” but the family calls Dee, “Dewy’s Boop.”
You see, because of Boop’s amazingness, Boop is no longer just a name, but has become a species. I have several friends who have casually mentioned to me that their child needed to go get his or her “boop.” It’s really catching on. Trust me.
So, we bought some boop options for Joy before we went to China to go get her. A Chinese doll. A fluffy dog. A bunny.
Come to find out, Joy hates dolls. It’s a deep hatred. As soon as she is presented any type of soft, fluffy and/or doll-shaped thing, she immediately swats it away from her person. “Get that Boop out of my face.”
Instead, she has formed a bond with a miniature pink frisbee she got from the prize box at our dentist and a small blue pitcher.
Meet Fris-boop and Boop-itcher – the objects that give Joy security. These objects never leave her hands. Ever.
Today marks one month since we brought our Joy home from Tianjin. Six weeks ago, she couldn’t crawl, walk, or communicate in any way. No pointing, no copying us, no sounds, no nothing.
Today, she’s walking all over the house. She’s up and down the stairs. She signs for “ice cream” after every meal. When she drops something, she signs to ask for “help.” Goodness gracious. And with this hearing aid strapped to a headband that Vanderbilt sent us home with, she can hear! If you call her Ya Zhu, she won’t look up, but she lights up like a little star when she hears us say, “Joy!” I lost count of how many ASL signs she knows and uses after thirty. Guys, she’s the sweetest.
But she doesn’t feel secure.
She doesn’t yet realize what it means to be a daughter. What it means to have a home. What it means to be family. She still panics about food. She toy hoards. She clings to her boops because she’s still confused. She still fears we will go away. I know it by what her face does when I get out of the car and take the 4-second walk to her side to get her out. I see her relax with relief when she realizes that I’m going to pick her up and hold her yet again.
She’s happy. She’s growing. She’s thriving. But, she’s still insecure.
And it hurts my heart to see. And yet I know so many people, myself included, who cling to blue pitchers and pink frisbees for security, because we don’t fully understand what it means to be a son or daughter. To have a home. To be in God’s forever family.
It feels silly that I still battle insecurity, but I do. I so often find myself wiping mascara off my face again, re-explaining to my big one, again, that Mommy’s identity is in what Jesus did for her, not what she accomplished today.
It’s such a gift to have lived with Jesus long enough to know what it means to be His kid. To be able to run into His arms. To know that He’s always coming to get me out of my carseat. 🙂 To know that I don’t need a third snack or a Boop-itcher or a Fris-boop because I have all I need in Him.
Our family is nuts right now. We laugh a lot. We cry a lot. There is a lot of dancing and diapers and tickling. The days are long and sweet and messy. And I know the tears and the messes aren’t for nothing. The tears and the messes are lessons to my daughters and review lessons to me – that our security can’t be found in money or relationships or frisbees. We are God’s kids, so we can laugh with empty hands.