Friday, August 16, 2013

Once upon a time

This is the story of my fairy tale. It was not the one I was raised to believe in, but it is real and it is true. And it is mine. It is a fairy tale, because it has a happy ending.

Once upon a time, there were three little boys. Three little superheroes, who did not even recognize this amazing fact about themselves. They had no idea that they were superheroes because they had been brave their whole life. In the same way that the sun can’t know how not to shine, because it is the sun- and that is what the sun does, these three little boys were brave. They did not know how not to be. Superheroes usually don’t.

After years of being brave, because there really was no other choice, they were rescued. I would love to report that everything was wonderful at this point, but this is a fairy tale, which means that there were bad guys and good guys…witches and dragons… and a knight in shining armor who taught them to ride bicycles and a princess who baked them the best cupcakes.  So the wee superheroes were rescued and after more challenges, they were finally safe. They were told that they did not have to be so brave. Because it was all they knew, letting it go seemed to be an impossible task. After all, one may learn how to become brave, but when have you ever heard of someone learning how not to be?

So after what seemed like an unending wait, with piles of paperwork and lots of pushing and epic battles for these boys we did not even know yet, we found out that we would be the lucky ones. We would be the family that would get not one, not two, but three boys…and superheroes, at that. We didn’t even check that box on the many forms we filled out.

In the early days, they showed us many other superpowers besides the amazing bravery. Not all superpowers are good… but who could blame them for showing us the worst? They knew that we were outnumbered and they had no reason to trust us. There was an extended battle over turf and ownership and laws of the kingdom.  Finally, slowly, they decided to give in. Give us a chance. Let us show them that these two new adults could be brave enough for everyone.

It became clear that we were getting somewhere the first time we took them to the park that they actually occasionally turned to look for us- to be sure they could still see us. I would catch one of them looking at me from the top of the playground equipment, and I would smile and wave. A slow, unsure smile would creep across his face as he disappeared into the turret. King of the castle, indeed.

Eventually, hugs were returned warmly, even bestowed on us, unannounced. There was laughter and joking and games. Random “I love yous” thrown at us when we least expected it. We caught every single one of them, turning them over in our hands with wonder and tending to them carefully before throwing them back.

They may always circle back around, more briefly each time, to making us prove that we love them. Prove that we will never leave them. Prove that we won’t let them go. And that’s just fine with us… because we have a few superpowers of our own.

So that is how our family came to be.  It wasn’t easy. And our family most likely looks much different from yours. It was not the fairy tale that I was raised to believe in. But it’s mine and I wouldn’t trade it for anything. This is what happily ever after looks like.

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