Archive for December, 2012

December 31, 2012

2012 Word of the Year: Humbling

I wish I could say that 2012 was the beautiful, joyous, year in which we adopted our children and simply relished happy permanence for the months that followed.  I wish I could say that this was the best year of my life. It’s true, I got my miracle.  But the rest of the year was hard.  The emotional roller coaster of life has been daunting.

In January TPR was granted and it felt nothing like I had expected. I was sad.  I watched my son struggle and my heart broke for a mother who just lost her children.  I was humbled.

In February the children saw their mom for what may have been the last time in their lives.  She gave us the most thoughtful gifts and letters and summoned a strength I had never before seen.  I was humbled to be in the presence of her pain and grace.   Shortly after, as one beautiful soul left this world, another joined it.

The loss I experienced the next few months and the ways in which it made me think of bio mom was really fucking hard.  And humbling.

In April we adopted our children.  It was a fantastic, albeit imperfect, day.  I was humbled to receive such a gift.  Did I deserve it?  Would I live up to the description of me in that glowing homestudy? Who was that person, anyway?

Over the summer, I got the opportunity to expand my writing platform.  I was nervous and flattered.   I got to know Blossom and her family.  I was overwhelmed with love and support by all of those who helped us celebrate our adoption.  Also, I looked addiction straight in the eyes and found myself helpless.  Powerless against its grasp.  I watched it take over someone so dear to me in a fit of fury and anger I have never before seen.  Meanwhile, I was elbow-deep in all sorts of tantrums and new behaviors.  I lost my temper.  I yelled.  I got further and further away from who I wanted to be as a parent.  Hopeless, helpless, humbled.

My marriage, that I once described as warm and easy, was hard.  I came to understand the types of things that might bring someone to consider divorce.  I came to know the ways in which nothing is steady when your marriage is rocky.  Stress, children, life all took its toll on the one thing I never thought would budge.  That was frightening, and humbling.

This fall I completed a 5k.  I didn’t do well.  Children and elderly passed me.  I started crying *during* the race, though to this day I’m not sure if it was because I was mortified by what a slow runner I am, or if I was overcome with gratefulness for the family at the end of the finish line that I knew would be so proud of me regardless of the time.    What an incredibly humbling day.

Towards the end of the year finances got tight and we had to make some hard decisions.  My poor Sprout got hurt during a particularly nasty tantrum that shook me to my core.  Shortly thereafter, my state experienced a horrific tragedy reminding me again what little say I have in keeping my kids out of harm’s way.  The pain those families must be feeling – the pain of ALL the families involved.  Humbling.

So the reason I’ve been absent for these past few months is that I’ve been on my knees.

Humility is a gift that teaches compassion, offers understanding, and rids judgement.  I’ve welcomed it, and recognized my need for it, but I’m wondering how much more I can take.  I hope in 2013 I begin to walk again…when I do, it will be with a new understanding of who I am.

 

December 28, 2012

Top Posts of 2012!

Well, considering the near complete silence for the past few months (more on that later), 2012 probably wasn’t my best blogging year.  Regardless, my faithful readers have continued to check in and follow our family story and it means so much to me.  This blog started out as one of many lesbian TTC stories, morphed into a foster care and adoption journey, and 2013 will be me finding a new voice.  What will my role be now?  It is yet to be seen, but I have the deepest appreciation for all of you who are right there with me, waiting to find out.

And now a look back…the top 5 (okay, 6) posts of 2012:

1. Surprise

It was the second time I had written a post with that title, but this time a much different ending.

2. The Answer to a 2+ Year Long Question

Gosh, what a night that was.  Hardly feels like it was nearly a year ago!

3. A Crazy Morning

The morning we realized we had made a mistake and found out it was too late.  The regret still haunts me.

4. A tie between Through the Years and I Think its Going to be a While

Finally, finally, finally, you get to see their beautiful faces.

5. A Carnival Adoption Party

But, of course!

 

 

December 28, 2012

Spreading Happiness – XP

The following was written in response to the recent tragedy in my home state.  My contribution to the call to turn fear and devastation into kindness and hope.   Original here.

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When people complain that the holidays are getting to be too much about the gifts, I wonder, “What’s wrong with that?”  A season of giving, appreciating, and recognizing the special people in our lives? I don’t know about you, but that is something I’d love to do more of – not less! I’ve written before about how much I enjoy gift-giving and the ways I’m trying to instill that love in my children.  Well, this year is no exception. In fact, this year it feels more important than ever.

This past Sunday evening I sat my 6-year-old son down and told him about the tragedy in a school much like his, in a town much like ours.  A hard message to give and receive but I decided to be the one to tell him because I wanted to make sure it came with an important message: even in the face of devastation and fear, we are not powerless.  Even when terrible things happen, we can do something about it.

We decided to start by spreading a little hope, in the form of holiday cheer.

One of our favorite things to do this time of year is to drive around and look at Christmas lights.  My youngest calls them “Santa lights” and gets especially squeely at the “fwosty no-mans”! Well, it occurred to me that it takes a lot of time and effort to put lights up (which is why ours is the scrooge house on the block without so much as a window candle in sight), and it could be fun to let our neighbors know how much we enjoy their work.

We grabbed a couple booklets of coffee certificates at Dunkin Donuts, attached a note to each and off we went.

We are going to drive around and put pieces of paper in people’s mailboxes? Yeah, sure mom.

Okay, so they were skeptical at first.  Which is why it worked to my advantage that there was someone outside of the first house.  The neighbor was thrilled to see the kids faces light up at his decorations, to be appreciated, and hey, a free coffee’s not bad either! I had ’em hooked.

Coolest Fwosty No-man ever!

We had a blast delivering our notes of appreciation and spreading smiles during a time when tears were far more prevalent.  A new family tradition was born!

And the surprise hit of the evening was my wife.  Her support of my wacky ideas can come, at times, begrudgingly.  Not this time!

Two hours later we had 1 kid passed out cold, another whining about needing to go to the bathroom, a van nearly out of gas, and this one was all, “Come on honey, just one more house!”

Not that I could blame her, it felt so good to act. Love wins.

 

December 6, 2012

When Kids Get Hurt – XP

Who I actually am as a mom often differs from the mom I thought I would be. 

There are the little things like not anticipating being the crunchy cloth diapering or  “no tv” mom.  Before I had children of my own I was all, “babies cry sometimes, so what?”. I had no idea I would be *that* mom who would jump at the tiniest squawk.  And patience? Considering all the PIA kids I’ve dealt with, surely my own would never break me.  HA HA HA. 

Another realization came to me this week when we had to make our first ER trip.  I had no idea how hard it would be to see my child hurt. 

You see, I’ve never been much of a hoverer.  I let my kids run and play while kissing bumps and bruises as they come.  It may have happened that my baby was scaling the rock wall at the playscape at the tender age of 13 months. I’ve long sang the praises of children’s resiliency.  They bounce, right?

Well, yes, until they don’t.  My 6-year-old fell and hit his chin hard on our wood floor.  I was right there, and will never forget the sound.  I wouldn’t know until later the extent of the injury, but I knew immediately that a kiss and the Sponge Bob ice pack wasn’t fixing this one.  And you know what I did? I lost my damn mind.

Thanks to my wife, the wonderful team at CCMC, and the doctors who will continue to monitor his healing, I’m sure he will be fine.  Actually, he stopped crying about an hour after the accident and hasn’t shed a tear since.  I can’t say the same for me. 

I had no idea how hard it would be to see my child hurt. 

The realization that I can’t always protect them or keep them safe has rocked me to my core.  Of course I always knew  that, but it was the first time I actually felt  it.  The miles between those two things is, well, devastating. 

I know what you are thinking…accidents happen, this will just be one of many boo boos, and we have an entire lifetime to go of hurts that I won’t be able to shield them from.  It’s true. And it sucks. I wouldn’t have anticipated it before, but I’m not going to be so good at this part.