Yesterday evening, my husband and I dropped Olivia off with my parents while we ran "to town" for an errand. She was there less than three hours, but it was a little past her bedtime when we arrived to pick her up. Mom said she'd been playing happily all evening. She'd had dinner and a bath and was playing in the toy pile with Grandma when we arrived. And as soon as she saw us come through the door, she squealed, dropped her toy, and ran as fast as she could over to hug my legs. I have never seen her so ecstatically happy.
It occurred to me that although she loves and feels comfortable with all of her grandparents and most of her aunts and uncles, she doesn't feel the kind of truly-at-ease comfort that she feels with us. This is a reasonable thought. I imagine that most kids feel the same way. And with Olivia, this feeling seems to be heightened after her Daddy's recent two-week absence. She's just happier when she knows where we are.
It got me thinking about all those kids out there (her birth-siblings included) who don't experience that kind of stability. Even with the anxiety of wondering where Mommy and Daddy were all evening, Olivia must have anticipated our return because we always come back for her. She feel asleep almost as soon as she was strapped into the carseat, as if she knew she could relax now because she was with Mommy and Daddy and on the way home to her own bed. She felt secure.
Not all kids are that lucky. I can't imagine how hard it would be not to know where you are sleeping tonight, or who will be taking care of you tomorrow. And it's obvious that kids understand stability (or lack thereof) at a very young age.
I will say a prayer today for Olivia's birth-siblings and all other kids out there who need a stable home. May God give them the peace and stability they so desperately need.