Two days ago, Fitz called me with some horrific news. An old student of his... just 18 years old, took his life. This was a beautiful boy, and that is truly an understatement. He was smart, athletic, popular, but so much more than that... kind, and polite, and a role-model for the younger students at Fitz's school. Most people will never know the demons he was battling, and the many, many kids who were affected by this are utterly devastated. I know Fitz and I have had quite a few 'what could we have done' conversations. We both loved this kid, but did we ever truly reach out? I know we are past the why's and what if's, but it's hard to push those thoughts from your head.
Tomorrow morning we leave for Pipo's Make a Wish trip, and suddenly this trip has taken on a whole new meaning. We have never taken a trip like this, and I am not sure we ever would have. We are headed down to Key West, and Pipo is going fishing... his big wish. The kids are beyond excited, and have been counting the days. Fitz and I are both at a point where this break is much, much needed. But at the moment, I am not thinking vacation. I am thinking of pulling close. The last two days I have been looking at each of my 7 kids hard. Wondering if they know how fiercely we love them, how there is nothing that could happen in their lives that would make us turn away from them.
It's interesting to have an older adoptive child, when you have several biological children. With Pipo, teaching him love and trust was such a conscious thing... something we worked on constantly, and still do. In the beginning, he questioned that love daily. He still does occasionally, but for the most part, I am pretty confident that we have shown him he is ours heart and soul. Even at the worst of times, even when he lashed out and fought, we pulled him close and told him he is our son, we love him, we will hold on to him no matter what.
You raise your kids doing all the little things for them day in and day out, and assume they know. You think they know that making a lunch, rushing to catch their soccer game, picking up that last item at the store they need for the project tomorrow... you think they know that this is love. That your world revolves around them, and there is nothing you wouldn't do to make them happy or take away any pain they have. But do they really know?
Tomorrow we leave for 6 days of pure family time. I want to pull all seven kids close, and make sure they know. I want to be their safety net, I want them to know we are always here to fall back on, we will always be here to pick them up.
We will try, we will do our best, but there is a piece of me that thinks about this beautiful boy gone from our lives, and I wonder... can we ever know? I don't think we can, but we can pull close, hold on, and hope that it is enough.