Day 50: ‘Tis the Season for Exhausting Joy

It has been 50 days since Ian came into my life. It has been 50 days filled with incredible life-changing moments, and the journey is exhausting. But, it is not exhausting because Ian is a difficult child or the transition is not going well. In fact, Ian is the most remarkable little boy I have ever met, and he is transitioning beautifully into his new life. It is not exhausting because I am not sleeping. Actually, I crash early every night and sleep like a baby getting at least 7-8 hours. The exhaustion comes from the most unexpected place- from all the JOY. Yes, JOY! I had no idea JOY could be so difficult.

You see… I have learned that with life’s moments of joy comes heartbreak at exactly the same time. Lately, my heart and head are constantly split in two. Here are some of the ordinary moments filled with joy and heartbreak that have occurred in just the past two months:


Ian at his first doctor’s appointment. Photo Credit: Mom

1a. Ian went to the doctor’s for his first physical and he was a trooper. Every nurse eagerly came in to meet him.

I was so proud of my new son that I thought I was going to cry.

1b. Ian went to the doctor for his first physical, and I had to write NA or Don’t Know on three pages of the medical history form.

I was so empty that I thought I might make up answers in the future.

2a. Ian went to the grocery store for the first time in his life. He was in awe of all the food. He hugged and kissed me when I let him pick out a mechanical Batman toothbrush.

I was so excited for the small things in life that I bought two gallons of ice cream to celebrate.

2b. Ian went to the grocery store for the first time in his life. In aisle 10 he stopped me because our cart was full and he wondered how we would pay for all our food. I bent down looked him in the eyes and assured him that he would always have enough food to eat in our home.

I was so grateful for the small things in life that I turned up the radio and cried as I drove home from the grocery store with him sitting in the back seat holding his Batman toothbrush.

3a. Ian went on his first flight and gazed out the window wondering if the plane could park on the clouds.

I was in such awe of seeing him soaking in the vastness of the world below that I thanked the Heavens above.

3b. Ian went on his first flight, and it was to leave behind everything he knew for the first seven years of his life.

I was in such shock over his incredible loss that I couldn’t cry.

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Ian with his two coins from the Tooth Fairy. Photo Credit: Mom

4a. Ian lost his second tooth and carefully inspected the little bloody indentation in his gums. Then, he left the tooth under his pillow, and the tooth fairy visited him leaving two coins behind.

I was so squeamish that I just let Seth and the tooth fairy to deal with it.

4b. Ian lost his second tooth, and his sister helped him write a letter to the tooth fairy. They explained that he had lost a tooth in China, but the tooth fairy never came.

I was so happy to see his smiling face in the morning that I captured it in a photo with him showing off his two shiny coins from the tooth fairy.

In the past 50 days, Ian has experienced more “firsts” than most people do in a lifetime. During this entire time, Ian has exhibited incredible resilience and courage. However, it is his JOY for life that truly amazes me. It is his JOY that gives me the energy and strength to cherish every moment of this totally exhausting journey. 

Hope you feel the exhausting JOY of the season find JOY in the ordinary moments!