Lauren Casper »

the day God sent me flowers

I was tired, hurried, frustrated, and ready to just go home. John was pushing Mareto in the cart just as fast as he could to leave the store before the melt down got worse. We were frantically trying to open up a gluten free cereal bar  in an effort to stem the tears. Arsema was strapped to my chest in the ergo carrier watching it all through wide eyes. Sweat beads were forming on my forehead, caused in part by my embarrassment, but mostly from the heat and amount of energy I was exerting by running through Trader Joe’s with an 18 pound baby strapped to my chest and a two year old crying behind me.

I sure didn’t feel like I was going to be in the running for any mom of the year awards. I felt like a hot mess. In fact, I was sincerely hoping that no one was looking at us too closely… that somehow we were invisible to the people bustling around us. It was chaotic, exhausting, and an unfortunately all too common experience for us.

Our family doesn’t exactly blend in with the wall paper. Not only are we two (very) white parents with a very brown son and a light brown daughter… but he has noticeable developmental delays and different behaviors (caused by autism) and she has physical differences with her missing and webbed digits. In other words, when we all go out together we get noticed. Usually I don’t mind, often I love it. My children are beautiful and so is our story.

Sometimes though, on days when we are very far from having it together, I do mind. Those days I just want to blend in with the crowd and hide far away from the curious stares. Some days I get tired of it all and just want to be a family. Not the adoptive family. Not the family with special needs children. Not the unique family… just a family. This was one of those days.

I was close to tears myself as John and Mareto went to put the cart away. I rushed through the doors to get to the car as quickly as possible when a voice behind me slowed my steps.

“Ma’am!!” She called out. I slowed, not sure if it was me she wanted.

“Ma’am!”  I stopped and turned to find a young woman rushing toward me. A bright smile covered her face and I immediately noticed her beautiful black curls. Recognizing her shirt, I realized that she worked there and assumed I must have dropped something. I looked at her, waiting.

I just wanted you to have this bouquet…” and I looked down to see the flowers in her hands. She quickly continued to explain…

“I was adopted by a white family and it has been a wonderful thing. We need more families like yours.” I stared at her, stunned.

As she handed me the flowers I managed to choke out a thank you and try to express that this meant the world to me. She patted my shoulder, told me my family was beautiful, and walked back into the store.

My steps were much slower as I finally headed to the car with my arms full of flowers and my eyes overflowing with tears. On a day when I felt like we were the worst example of family… a day when I hoped no one noticed us… One did.  He saw the struggle, the fear, the frustration, the panic, the defeat, and the tears.  He decided that this was the moment I just need a bouquet of flowers and a word of encouragement… and He knew just who to send.

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