There’s nothing like the sleepy, happy quiet that descends after all hell has broken loose, and things are restored. The crying stops, tempers calm down. You can hear small gusts of wind outside, the kids are asleep, and the last purple blue light makes everything through the window magical and gorgeous.

Yes, we survived the first real test of our new family. I knew we would. I thought we would. I really really thought we would. But it wouldn’t be a low point if you didn’t wonder just a little.

In the calm after the storm I can see the part my arrogance played. Everyone told us about the challenges that come after the first settling in, but I wanted to believe we’d be different—such a great family the kids would skip over the painful part. It’s ridiculous of course, because their pain has nothing to do with us, and skipping it would be the worst thing in the world for them. They’ve got to grieve what they’ve lost, and test their new surroundings to see if we’re trustworthy. And we have to adjust to two new beings in our life, 24 hours a day.

This is my dream come true, and the scariest thing that’s ever happened to me.

In fact we’ve all been remarkably resilient. The cat forgave our daughter right away. I think kitty figures the girls have to stick together in this family. Our daughter seems more settled, reassured somehow that we could all be in a fit and settle things out again. I stayed out of my “poor me I’m responsible for everything and everyone” routine, managing to remember that I’m being clobbered over the head with exactly what I’ve hoped for over many, many years. This is my dream come true, and thus it’s just about the scariest thing that’s ever happened to me. And the best.

I would like to say we’re through the worst of it, the hardest part. But of course that’s idiocy and hope floating in rootbeer. But we did go through a really low point, and bounce back. I think we all feel a breath of relief for that.