It seems strange that it's been half a year since I've seen the kid who was practically my brother last year. It's funny how much I miss him, but he was very much like a brother the way he teased and hugged and annoyed and spent so much time at our house. But it feels like a long time since I've seen him. And then I realize what a long time it's been since my real little brother has been much of a little kid. He's eleven now, he seems so old. He has mastered the art of the grave smile, and as his sense of humor refines his witty one-liners become more frequent. I wonder if Christian's changed in the same way since we've seen him. I wonder if he and Caleb will still get along now that they're both older, reunited after maturing so much in their time apart.
I think of Caleb and Christian chasing pigeons at Starbucks after the funeral in Arlington. I remember Christian running up and down the stairs on the lighthouse ferry while Caleb watched skeptically. I can easily picture them playing Pokemon, sitting nearly silently next to each other on the couch. The fragile silence as Caleb's feelings are hurt and Christian senses keenly that something is amiss. The twin declaration as the boys assure me that my grilled cheese is the best, despite my failure at everything else. Caleb and Christian, two polar opposites, and two little boys I saw way too much of, whom I regarded with boundless affection.
One a brother to me in blood, the other a brother to me in circumstances. How I love them both.
I'm scared, because the simple truth is kids who go through situations like Christian has gone though, is going through, are not "okay." The odds are against him. To be shuffled from house to house to house, to lose a parent, to fear the other, and to lack any certainty in anything . . . I blanch at the thought of that happening to Caleb, and quickly sober at the realization that this is the reality of what Christian faces. How can he survive it intact? His situation is a reminder that there are awful things in this world. (And it is my fault.)
This is what it means to trust, to let go of the sick feeling in my stomach and to stop biting my nails over what will become of him, because He is in God's hands. I know God loves him more than I do, more than his grandparents do, more than his father did. And I do not naively assume that all will be well for this little boy, but I am certain that the evil that has dictated his situation will not win in the long run.
He's here, he's in my house, he's laughing and poking me and giggling and showing me disturbing Youtube videos on his FlipCam, and he's taller but just as skinny and the collar to his polo is frayed but still popped. It's weird to miss someone when they're in the same room as you, but I do, I miss him already, even though he just got here. I'm thankful, so thankful that he's here.