PAGE # 74
3:00 am

Lily was hungry.  She cried out and I rolled over.  I pushed against Tom's arm. 

"Please, honey, please," I begged.  

But Tom would not budge.  Just before bed, he had taken my hands in his and encouraged me to participate more in Lily's care:

"I need you to help with Lily.  You've been avoiding her since we found out about Bobby signing the registry."

Tom was right.

"I'm sorry, I'm so sorry," I said.  "I thought I could do this, I really did, but I can't!  I just can't!  It's too painful.  We can say we're foster parents, but are we?  We might be adopting Lily, and every time I hold her, I fall more in love with her.  But we might be giving her back to Kendra too and so I just can't get too close."

"And if that happens, then we're getting what we prayed for in the first place,"  Tom reminded me.  "This baby girl will get to grow up with her real mom and her big brothers."

"I know!  Of course, I know that!  I'm just trying to protect myself."

Tom sighed.

"Look, Jen, we are not in this to protect ourselves.  We need to give Lily all our love right now whether she is going to be adopted by us or go back to Kendra.  She deserves at least that much."

"I don't know if I can do that.  It's getting too painful."

"It's not about us.  We can't worry about our own feelings right now.  And anyway, she's a baby.  I love babies.  I love all babies," Tom said.  "It doesn't matter if a baby's not mine or not going to be mine.  I can love this baby no matter what.  But I need your help!  You need to help!  We signed up for this together and we need to see this through."

I started to cry.

"Tom, I can't.  I just can't bear to hold her anymore."

"You barely even looked at her all day!"

"I know.  I'm sorry.  I'm so sorry."

Tom had been understanding but firm with me:

"I love you and I know it's hard but you can do this.  You are waking up for the next feeding.  Take Lily to sit by the Christmas tree when you feed her.  She loves to look at the Christmas lights in the middle of the night."

And so, when Lily's cries started to gain more volume, I pushed myself out of bed.  I carried Lily into the family room and turned on the Christmas lights.  I snuggled her close, and saw that Tom was right:  Lily was mesmerized by the tree.  I studied her face as she gazed at the decorations.  I started to cry again, but I forced myself to keep looking.  I watched Lily fall back asleep and kissed her nose.  I sat like that for awhile, not sure who I was anymore.  Mother?  Babysitter?  Mother?  Foster parent?

What would Bobby the biological father think?

I imagined that from his point of view, I would appear to be a kidnapper.

I felt sick.  I carried Lily back to our bedroom, placed her in the bassinet as  quickly as I could without waking her, and hurried back to bed.  I couldn't wait to sleep, to forget, to find some kind of respite in my slumber.

To Be Continued...

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