There is a picture that hangs in the hallway at the top of my staircase. I walk past it dozens of times a day. More often than not, I breeze past it without a glance, in a rush to put away the towels or grab the coffee mug I forgot or knock on a door to tell the kids to wash their hands because lunch is ready downstairs.
Every once in a while, though, my eyes find it. The picture of a bright white star with a small banner underneath that reads: Hope.
I didn’t buy it. I didn’t go in search of hope. As it happens, my mom and I have very similar taste in furniture and home decor and as a result, we have a tendency to buy and trade with each other. Simply put, I didn’t have anything to hang in that spot when Mike and I moved in, and my mom’s “hope” picture looked nice there.
Sometimes, when my eyes land on it, they do so in a sarcastic way. Like, “Oh yes, let’s just HOPE I can somehow plow through all this laundry today.” Or I glance at it as I’m on my way upstairs to attempt to mitigate a tantrum and I see it and think, “Sure am HOPING this fit ends soon.”
There have been other times more recently, though, when I have walked right past it, gotten halfway down the hallway and turned back to look at it.
Hope … hope … What do I hope for?
We have a court date. It’s still a few weeks away, but it might be a big one. It might be THE one. The one where we’re suddenly packing up our four-year-old foster son after 10 months with him and scrambling to do all the last-minute things you somehow can’t imagine you might actually have to do.
Or, of course, it might be yet another court date. Another extension. More time. More time for someone to take the final steps they need to take or even just the next step in a long line of steps. More time for us to intertwine our lives with a little boy who very likely will not grow up in our home.
Hope… What should I hope for?
I could hope for him to stay with us forever. But no, I can’t. It is a selfish hope, one that feels too weighted down with the failure of others. It’s a hope too deeply rooted in his own loss and the loss of his biological family for it to be something I could ever fully wish for.
I could hope for him to be returned to his parents or other relatives, but so much about that worries me right now.
I can hope for the best for his future. Or for the least-traumatic transition possible for him and for Ryan. That feels like a cop-out, though. Like I’m taking the obvious way out.
Maybe the problem is that I am scared to hope for the wrong thing but more scared to live without any hope at all.
For now, I think I’ll hope that at the end of this, whatever the outcome, we will look back and say that at the very least, it was worth it.