Yesterday, Quinn turned 23.
As I sit here writing this, my mind reels at the amount of time that has passed and how much he has grown up, and, somehow, I can't help feeling a little cheated.
I missed sitting next to his bassinet in the NICU unit due to the respiratory failure he suffered as a newborn.
I missed his first smile, his first steps, his first word.
I missed kissing away his first boo-boo, praying away his first nightmare, and calming his first fear.
I missed his first day of school, his first swim lesson, his first best friend.
I met him when he was only five. Having been placed in over ten foster homes already, he was a new placement in the group home where my sister volunteered. But she was not content with just visiting Quinn at the group home, she brought him home with her. And I promptly fell in love.
For the next four years, Quinn visited us regularly. During that time, my sister married and moved away, so I kept up the visits. When I couldn't go, my mom went. We adored him.
Finally, when he was nine, after jumping through many hoops, they allowed me to officially bring him home as a foster child. It would be two more years before I could finally adopt him.
But those years of foster care and group home care had left terrible scars upon his heart.
How do you learn to trust when the most important people in your life have not kept their promises?
How do you form attachments when the people in your life keep changing?
How do you fit into a family when you've never had one?
And so the battles began...
For the next seven years we stumbled along the path of healing, experiencing every emotion possible in the process - white hot rage, sorrow, joy, failure, success, peace, frustration, hope, love.
Sometimes I would lie in bed at night and, as the tears spilled down my cheeks, count the years left until he turned 18. Would we make it? Would we survive? I didn't know. I could only hope and pray. And pray. And pray. And pray...
Raising Quinn was hard.
It was frustrating.
It was good.
It was beautiful.
Today, I look back and am amazed at how fast it all went. Those frustrations? Those moments of discouragement? Those hard spots? Gone.
Quinn's all grown up now and lives far away. I miss him. Oh, how I miss him. I miss that little boy who used to cuddle with me when no one was looking. I miss his little hand in mine. I miss our good-night hugs. I miss reading stories to him. I miss the time I missed with him. And I simply hate it that I only got him for half of his childhood. But in my heart I know, that given the chance, I would do it all over again.
Sometimes time passes much too quickly. Sometimes time doesn't seem to go fast enough. Sometimes I wish time would stand still and let me linger in the moment for just a
Happy Birthday, Quinn!