The #1 conversation starter in the past two weeks has been, "how's it feel to be thrown in the deep end?" And I can understand why people would assume that's the way it would feel. When we first got the call and were told that "there is a thirteen year-old girl who needs a home tonight," I was undoubtedly daunted. But then she arrived and now people either don't believe me or don't know how to respond when I say, "not that bad," and by "not that bad," I mean "this feels like the shallow end, not the deep end."
London sleeps through the night. We don't even have to make her go to bed. She heads to bed as soon as she can't keep her eyes open -- or when we bore her with a third Daily Show in a row. Even better, if we ignore her, she'll sleep right in. If and when she wakes up before us, she pulls out a book or quietly opens Netflix.
Which is in stark contrast to what our friends went through when their little ones came home from the hospital -- which is really what makes it feel like got the easy end of the deal. She dresses herself. She's potty-trained. She has a full vocabulary and knows how to express her ideas and her needs. Any problem we have can be addressed with a rational conversation. We can have legitimately deep and meaningful conversations. We're going to dance class. We can share and enjoy the same TV shows, movies, music, and books. And, maybe most importantly of all, she makes a mean pitcher of sweet tea.
There is a trade-off, of course. We still don't know what it's like to hear our little one's first word. We haven't been able to film her first steps. We weren't able to ease into or mentally prepare for interest in the opposite sex (or, more accurately, the opposite sex's interest). Every day, I can't help but worry -- even just a little bit -- about all the boys peacocking around at her school. She's come home three times already talking about fights.
And there's still the not-knowing. Parental rights for London have not been terminated. We don't actually know if they will be. We'll find out in a couple of months. I have faith they will be, as London's mother has a history of . . . well, being a customer of Walter White. But there's no security yet. No matter what we do or what plans we make, there's still a certain sense that our foundation is fairly thin ice.
But, and this is the part where people stop believing me again, it honestly doesn't feel like the deep end. We're in the pool, to be sure. But it only feels like we're waist-deep in the water that could potentially drown us. It's not that there's not danger or things to worry about -- people have drowned in less and if we have to remind her one more time to put sunscreen on . . . -- but it's fine. More than fine, it's fun.