Every year as Mother’s Day approaches I think ONLY of Liv’s mama. The Mama across the globe that made me a Mama. The one who carried my wee one inside of her before the tragic loss that led to her becoming mine.
And this year, I have a new one. A new mama to think of. To wonder and dream about.
What would I say if I could sit across from them over a cup of coffee? What words would I use if I could hold their faces and try to explain the depths of all of my feelings towards them.
Oh how I wish they knew their babies. How I wish they could feel for them what I do.
Mother’s Day is a weird one for me. So full of gratitude and welling with pride over the gift that is my daughter. And this year, so full of expectation as a daughter is coming closer to me by the day. But also heavy. Heavy because I celebrate my motherhood under the reality of the loss and separation of the originals, the ones designed to carry my daughters. Loss for one brought life to me. It’s a ground that’s not easily navigated.
MOM OF THE YEAR AWARD SUBMISSION
(pick me, pick me please…I have earned it)
I hereby nominate myself, Cassie Hammett, to receive this prestigious award. Hold your applause please as I present to you my qualifications to carry the weight of this title.
When I first became a mama, in the middle of Africa, away from all the world and all the convenience of parenting, this mama was dealing with a baby who had the smelliest, most deadly-awful-worst-thing-you’ve-ever-smelt-in-your-entire-life poops. So, naturally, I drug her outside on a towel, with a shirt tied around my face and changed her on the ground, because dear God how could we live with that smell in our room. We could not survive it. No warm fuzzy moments were had in that process. Liv stared up at me as I gagged and looked away, masked. How terrifying. Sorry about it.
“She has an un-repaired cleft lip and palate of the 3rd degree…” our caseworker told me as I sat in the packed out DMV (worst place on earth, replacing my ID yet again…I should have a frequent flyer punch card or something). She was describing what then was referred to as “the file” she was going to send us. She asked if I wanted to see “the file” and I said YES, of course.
I sat stunned. I was about to have “the file” in my inbox. The long awaited possible “file”.
And I was at the blasted DMV, without Brent, so there would be no opening it until I was done. I heard the “ding” of the email notification and my blood pressure went through the roof. I was going to have to WAIT to view “the file” until the DMV fiasco was done and I would then have to drive across town so I could view it with the hubby.
On it’s way right now, sailing over the seas and the thousands of miles between us and our Queen-E is a care package, a gift, packed full of things JUST FOR HER.
We included photos of us, her mama, her papa and her big sis Liv. We filled a book up with fun pictures of us as a family, her new house, her new dog…all of the things that are waiting for her on the other side of this long and drawn out process.
But I must admit to you that this gift, it was a hard one for me to send. No matter what I added or how I arranged it in the box, it just felt cheap. It fell severely short in my heart. I couldn’t place why this care package was making me an actual crazy person. I put it off for 2 weeks…staring at the pile of things I had gathered but not getting enough nerve up to put it together and send it.
But why? I couldn’t put a finger on the reason for my stalling.
“Instagram makes us compare other’s outsides with our insides.” -Kate Merrick
Dang. It hit me hard, square between the eyes, as I ran through my neighborhood casually listening to a podcast.
I knew in that moment that I was being asked to do something. Something that the Lord had been stirring in me for months. It was time to be done with social media.
I knew in an instant why. It’s just not good for ME. Not everyone….just ME.
Dearest most lovely Esther,
I have finally seen your face.
The face that has forever wrecked my life and shaped me and taught me more about the heart of my Father. The most lovely face, every single inch of it created in the image of God.
I know you now. I know your story, the heartbreaking moments that have led to you becoming mine.
I’ve seen you, watched you play, heard you speak through amazing videos that landed in my inbox, a gift from the heavens.
The open air truck backed into the orphanage. To say I was unprepared is an understatement.
It had been 5 years since my eyes had seen an orphanage…the last one held my own baby, my Liv, sights that can not be un-seen, heaviness that has been hard to shake. I had walked the grounds of her make-shift home, her humble beginnings, shaky legged and overwhelmed.
I did not make the connection of the significance until my feet hit the dusty ground in that Haitian orphanage.
The babies came around the corner and I felt the blood leave my face…I felt the familiar crushing weight of heart break, of loss, of feeling unable to do enough.
And these babies, they were hungry, I mean really hungry. Skin and bones they danced and sang and giggled and hung around my neck. All the while I was drowning in my own heart…frantically searching for the surface to come up for air.
The clock struck midnight… and it was January 1. The dawn of a New Year. A chance to start clean, a day filled with expectancy and lists of things hoped for in the year to come.
But most of all…. when midnight came…YES DAY. The greatest day in the Hammett family. The day that Liv gets to decide what we do. Anything she dreams up or asks, within the law and the tight limits of our bank account, gets a YES! We can’t say no.
And my little nugget…she gets it now y’all. She ain’t dumb.
I’ve been thinking of you all day today. Weird to say about a person I’ve never seen, but feel I deeply know.
Oh how I am longing to see your face for the first time. I know that seeing your face is going to turn my world upside down…your face will launch an all out war to get you home…seeing your face will set change in motion, not just for your life, but for ours – your waiting-on-the-edge-of-our-seat-family.
We are so ready to bring you in…into the chaos that is our normal… into the silly games of hide and seek, the late night laugh sessions on your mama and papa’s bed, in on the conversations about Jesus, in on the early morning buzz to get your sister to school…we’re ready to have you all up in it.
This waiting on you thing is for the birds, if I’m being honest. We have crossed all the t’s and dotted all of the i’s and we crossed the finish line of being “done” and “waiting” and now it’s catching up to me just how hard that is going to be.
But, I promise that while we wait we will seek our Father.
You guys, Liv Nima is a straight hustler. She’s got that thing…that spark that it takes to pull something off.
And she’s four years old.
She wanted to sell lemonade to raise money for her sister, Esther. How cool right? She got the idea from the neighbors down the street who assaulted us with lemonade pitches every time we went on a walk. The first time she saw them she was intrigued and had a million questions about why they were doing it and how it all worked. She was taking mental notes, hatching her plan for her own lemonade monopoly.