I remember playing pirates with my friend Joy, capturing my sister Leah, and cutting off her hair.
I remember playing doctor, trying to operate on Leah's eye, and stabbing her with scissors.
I also remember playing detective, telling Leah she was lying about the case, and throwing her down the stairs - only to visit the ER with her bloody head.
Poor Leah. I love her so.
I remember telling my Grandma Finley I didn't want a doll for Christmas; I wanted a G.I. Joe.
So grateful God gave me boys, and then the girls started coming.
When you put a four-year-old girl and a four-year-old boy together, add a kitchen and baskets of play food, I suppose it's only natural we would begin playing house, and Little Sis (as all women do) would attempt to control her man's every move...
First you say this, and then you take the baby and give it bananas, and then you say...
I'm leaving, and I'm not coming back.
Enter Momma Catie...
Baby, what did you say?
I said it's time for the Daddy to say, I'm leaving, and I'm not coming back. So now it's just me and Baby in our new house.
Baby, have you ever heard Daddy Jamie say that?
No. But that's just what Daddies do sometimes.
Baby, do you know there's a daddy who never leaves, even if real daddies do?
Is it God?
Yes, Baby, it is. He came all the way down to this world from heaven because He always wants to be your Daddy in here (as I pointed to her heart). He will never leave.
One hour later...
The game of house is still in full form, yet now, it's just Mommy and Baby, and they took the piano car and moved to a new town in the other bedroom.
I stand in the doorway, and "Mommy" has lined up her baby on the bed. She's sitting on her knees looking at Baby.
"Baby, Mommy's sick. So, I'm going away, just for a tiny little bit. I'll see you on Saturday. You sleep at Miss Catie's house."
Be still my soul.
My first jolt to reality it to say no child should ever say that. My first instinct is to quietly cry because it is so incredibly heart-breaking any child's "house playing" afternoon would end up in the pretend world of DHR.
For the first real time, Little Sis clearly described her life. It wasn't a fantasy world. It was the hard truth, and she understood.
For the first really real time, Little Sis identified the role of Mommy. Because she came into care so early, she really thought any functioning woman could "fill" that name.
But in our pretend world of DHR, she knew who Baby's Mommy was, and it wasn't Miss Catie.
It was a Mommy who promised Baby she to work to get better because she would be back.
That's not just progress; that's a child being able to put her family back together in her mind, and understand what has been lost, and what we are hoping to gain.
There are days - no weeks - when I have felt we weren't getting anywhere, and that I wasn't really growing here either with Little Sis.
Then, she looks up from Baby and says, "Miss Catie, I'm playing DHR and my baby is going to live with you while I get better. Will you play with me?"
Be still my soul.
"A Father to the fatherless, a defender of widows, is God in His holy dwelling." - Psalm 68:5
All Because of Jesus,