I turned off the TV and made sure the coffee pot was not brewing. The boys were out of the house, having left earlier with my husband to head to daycare/preschool. The cat was in the basement. The entire house was silent. I hit the locator button on the phone base and started tiptoeing around the living room, head cocked to the side, listening for the responding beep beep beep. Not in the sofa cushions. Not in the toy box. Not in the media drawer. Maybe the phone isn't even in the living room. I wander out to the dining room, through the kitchen. The beeping grows faint. getting colder.... finally I find the phone stuffed into the play tent, hanging out with about 100 balls, 2 stuffed monkeys, and a shoe. My search made my day. It made me smile. I love my boys.
Which made me think of how very thankful I am to have them in my life. Which made me think, as I sometimes do, of what their young lives would have been like if they hadn't come home to us. Which made me think of that Matthew West song, One Less.
And it is true. There is one less orphan in this world. Actually, there are two less orphans. And I am realistic. I have a pretty good idea of what their lives would have been like had they grown up in their respective orphanages. I am fairly certain that my big four and a half year old might not have survived childhood, being unable to take in adequate nutrition without having his cleft palate repaired. Had he lived he most likely would not have been educated, and certainly would not have found love in a world of too few girls to begin with. My handsome, loving and oh so smart boy would never have known the potential locked inside his soul. He wouldn't be able to speak properly, if at all. He wouldn't be able to hear. He wouldn't know the joy he now gets out of his life every day. My tiny toddler would probably grow up fighting - fighting for toys, for food, for affection from caregivers. He would eventually have been moved to a larger orphanage with older children, stronger children. He might have gone to school, maybe. And eventually, at much too young an age, he would have been turned out into the streets, left to fend for himself. So yes, my boys are very lucky.
But this song makes me think of me, really. It makes me think of the mothers out there with empty arms. The fathers with so much love in the hearts. The couples with empty houses, with no toys all over the floor and no crib in the extra bedroom. No bath toys in the tub or cheerios in the cupboard. Those couples - their houses and cars are clean. Their time is their own. But their longing is real, and palpable. That is what this song makes me think about. Yes, there is one less orphan in this world. Two, actually. But there is also one less childless family. There is one less mother with empty arms. There is one less father with a wealth of football knowledge he is aching to share. When I trip over the matchbox cars in the living room, when I hold my tiny toddler tight against me as he fights to get loose and hit me, when I watch my boys splash water all over the bathroom floor and when I spend seem less hours tracking down shoes, coats, stuffed monkeys, and socks, I am thankful that I am one less.