Welcome to my less than perfect life!

Embracing the imperfections that make my life practically perfect in every way.

Saturday, December 28, 2013

Ain't Too Proud To Beg

We are only 10 days from baby girl's due date.  With that in mind, I am posting a link to our fundraising account for the adoption.  If you are able, we'd love any donations to our fund.  If not, consider sharing our link on some form of social media.  And if you can't or don't want to do either of these things, keep coming back - I promise not to ask for any more money!!

http://link.email.dynect.net/link.php?H=fRSspyRTfXPA1bNH7n3imfNhY%2BFqBjEB2MPk23vf3X6mrFEAMGhBnlit3mD1tg5fOFJB2DRHWf/fAXItnaxjSh35envyHOMPuEb0ebpDB14%3D&G=21&R=http://www.gofundme.com/4vvpq4&I=%3c20131109052305.570E39F90040%40mail6-01-pao%3e&X=MHw3NzY2NjI6VEVNUElEXzU2Ow%3D%3D

Monday, December 23, 2013

This Christmas

I drive through the city streets and search for the house numbers, seeking my way to the our biggest blessing this year.  I take in the boarded up windows, broken down cars and barred windows in the neighborhood.  I find the numbers I seek and climb out of my car, opening the chain link gate that guards the front yard.

I take in these surroundings without judgement, but not without pain.  As I stand on the crumbling porch waiting for the mother our child to answer the door, my heart pinches with the familiar pain of wishing I could do more, BE more for her.

She answers the door with a big smile.  The duplex is old, yes, but it is warm.  There are ceiling tiles missing, yes, but there is a Christmas tree set up in the corner and there are wrapped gifts waiting for her two year old to enjoy.  I have come bearing some of the few things I am allowed to give at this point - hugs and food.   Orange juice per her request (she had texted me that she's been craving it) and home made candy for the holiday.

She is busy with lunch preparations because she has to get going to her job as the restaurant.  We make small talk.  I ask her if she gets time off when she delivers (we are only about two weeks from her due date).  She tells me that she doesn't want any time off, laughs that she told her manager she might give birth on the counter.  I tell her how tiny her belly still looks - she's tall and lanky - and she pulls up her shirt to show me how she is growing.  As always, I chicken out and can't ask her if I can feel the baby, though I am sure she would say yes.  I give them some love and, before I know it, I am back out on that lonely street, driving away.

I surprise myself by crying.  I don't know how our relationship will look once the baby is born - this baby who is still hers, who we hope will be ours (hers plus ours).  I find myself wishing that I were wealthy and that once the adoption is final, we could give her more than our love but money too.  I wish we could send her to beauty school like she says she wants,  I wish we could help her move to a nicer, safer neighborhood.  I wish so much, but I know that we will never, ever be able to pay back the gift she is giving us.  I know that our love, our hearts laid bare, are the only things we have to offer.

I wish I could know the thing that I can't: that that will be enough.






Sunday, December 22, 2013

Say What?

Time again to look at the cute stuff my kids says lately:

1. I picked her up at school the other day and she told me that one of her friends was going to be gone for a few days.  "He's going with his family on the a-cation."  So cute.

2. The Nugget was talking to her dad the other day and she became frustrated about something.  She said, "what the heck?" But then immediately caught herself and switched to, "what the hell?"  That's our girl!

3. If she sees a dress or outfit that she thinks is cool, she will say, "that's so fashion!"

4. I was talking to her the other day about what she might like to do when she grows up.  She said, "Mom, I think I want to work with you when I grow up."  My heart grew three sizes.

5.  She was in tears after a day out to celebrate Christmas with close friends because she didn't want to leave.  At the height of her angst she declared, "this is ruining my life forever!"

6. She misunderstands the word 'teasing'.  Because of this, when she is joking with us she says, "I'm just cheesing you!"

It's just a glimpse; an unevenly numbered list that I will look back on years from now and smile over as I recall my lovely 4 year old girl.

Monday, November 11, 2013

On Love

Last week on Tuesday, I went to work.  The day was normal, some parts good, some parts harder.  It might have been rainy or sunny, warm or cold.  A regular day.  Until...

We got, as they say in the adoption world, THE CALL.  A mother read our profile and wanted to meet us the next day.  I frantically scribbled down details about the birth mother, her situation, where we would meet.  I texted The Mister and told him we had a meeting the next day.  I went back to work.

Just like that, after 10 months of silence, we had a meeting.  As it turns out, she cancelled that first meeting.  It didn't worry me; I could only image being in her shoes and trying to work up the courage for this meeting.  Hell, it was hard for US to work up the courage.  But we rescheduled for just a couple of days later.

And then, there she was.  The woman who will change our lives forever.  She came to the table with a plate spilling over with burdens.  She smiled sweetly and shared openly and captured our hearts.  The hearts they tell you to guard because of that "what if" that lingers behind every adoption match.  The hearts that have no idea how to jump in and hold back all at once.

 And so, for us, we will err on the side of love.  We know how to love.  We want to love this woman and her child and our child as well.  And if it turns out that we spend this love on someone who keeps her baby, well, then it will still have been love well spent.  We know how to hurt, we know how to heal.  We can do that later if we need to.  For now, we love.

A baby girl, due January 7th, is in that worried mama's belly right now.  With lots of love and lots of luck, we will bring her home early next year and she, and her birth mother, will help make our family complete.  What's not to love about that?

Sunday, November 3, 2013

The Runaway Mommy

Once there was a mommy who wanted to have a comfortable night's sleep.  So she trained her child to sleep in her own bed - from birth - and went to sleep in her own big, comfy bed.
"If you go to sleep in your own bed," said her daughter, "I will climb in with you in the middle of the night, for you are my warm, snuggly mother."

"If you climb in with me," said the mother, "I push you toward the center of the bed so we will both have room to sleep."
"If you push me toward the center, I will become a yo-yo and bounce immediately back to crowd you to the edge of the bed," said the child.

"If you become a yo-yo," said the mother, "I will push and shove until I have at least a few inches clearance on the side of the bed."
"If you push and shove, I will employ the cat and the dog to come entangle themselves with us and bind your feet so that you cannot move any further," said the child.

"If you employ the pets," said the mother, "I will carry you back to your own bed and return to my own after you are snuggled in."
"If you return to your own bed," said the daughter, "I will become a boomerang and fly back to your side and cause you to twist your back into a pretzel shape to accommodate me."

"If you become a boomerang," said the mother, "I will slip off the side of the bed and go to the couch and sleep alone."
"If you go to the couch and sleep alone," said the daughter, " I will wake up and follow you an hour later and curl up by your feet on the couch."

"If you follow me to the couch," said the mother, "I will carry you back up to bed and I will give up sleep and decide to get up early and read in the quiet."
"If you decide to get up early and read in the silence," said the daughter, "then I will wake up and demand breakfast and a cartoon and a story and all of the attention in the world."

"Shuck," said the mommy, "I might as well just stay in bed twisted into an uncomfortable pretzel shape and try not to rock the boat.
And so she did.

Tuesday, September 17, 2013

Walking, riding, wishing

Tonight was lovely, cool and sunny.  The Mister, The Nugget and I went to the neighborhood park, she on her bike, pedaling away, him walking the dog and me watching, breathing it all in, marveling at how it all goes by so fast.

At the park, The Nugget wanted to swing really high.  It's her new thing; she's just coming out of a timid stage, ready to feel again the thrill of flying high, of riding the hip jumping horses on the carousel, of taking deep, thirsty gulps of life.  Laughing, I tell her maybe she can touch the plane flying overhead because she is swinging so high.  My heart catches in my throat when she proves to me that her bravery really knows no bounds and she lets go with one hand to reach for the plane.  "You can touch the plane with your toes!"  I call.

On the way home, my mother's mind was hurried.  We are racing bed time and I am thinking of all of the tasks that still need to complete to be ready for the day ahead, for work and school and home showings.  My daughter is in no hurry, though.  She stops to pick up rocks, one for her collection and one for her science class, while I remind her to hustle up.  She marvels at big, crunchy sycamore leaves as I urge her to pedal faster.

She stops for fluffy dandelions, wishes to be made.  She blows all of the seeds from the first one.  "What did you wish for?" I ask.
"My slushy maker, " comes her easy reply.  "Mom, Dad, do you want to make a wish?"  We thank her, but, mindful of the time, decline.  A block later, she stops for another tall stalk.  I feel myself pushing her forward with my mind.  We can see our house from here.  Still, I watch as she blows the seeds from one more dandelion.
Again, I ask, "What did you wish for?"
"I wished for our baby to come down from heaven.  I really want her to be here."

Be still, oh hurried mother's heart.  Be quiet, rushing mother's mind.  Listen to this little girl, who knows that 15 minutes late to bed is so worth the exploration, the wishes, the time.


Saturday, August 3, 2013

Shhh...It's Saturday.

On a day trip to Columbus, IN we ordered and obscenely large sundae to share.

Friday, August 2, 2013

Mixed Bag

Today has been a parenting challenge.  The Nugget is evidently going through one of those nightmarish growth spurts where she is not coping well with, well, anything.  Which means none of us is coping well with anything because, dear heavens, we all must pay for her suffering.  I can't complain most of the time about my child - she does not generally challenge authority, she is not a big tantrum thrower, she doesn't hit people.  She loves school, reading, and hugs.  But when it's bad, and it has been today, it's oh so bad.  Some highs and lows from today:

Low:  Nugget awakens at 6:00AM and cannot be convinced to fall back to sleep.

High: Nugget allows me to go back to sleep on the couch while she watches PBS.

High: We enjoy a lovely breakfast partially including delicious homemade zucchini bread.

Low:  Nugget becomes frustrated with The Mister because he is wearing her pretend doctor stethoscope to her picnic and rips it from his ears.  I ask her to apologize which she apparently equates to being doused in sizzling acid and a nuclear tantrum the size of which has not been seen since the end of her second year (and I had naively thought might be gone for good) erupts for the next half an hour.  Many things are thrown.  Much screaming ensues.  Tears, oh the tears.

High: Nugget does eventually apologize and we are able to continue our pretend picnic in harmony.

High: Nugget and I make several sun catchers and a bracelet together.

High: Nugget and I visit Starbucks where she enjoys a vanilla milk and a lemon cake pop and I enjoy a Frappucino.  Fine, and a salted carmel cake pop.

Low:  Later, at the lovely farmer's market, Nugget throws down a toothpick in rage because she is not allowed to eat a second sample of cheese.  She decides to make this a standoff and refused to pick up the toothpick.

High: We visited a lovely farmer's market and the cheese stand was actually the last place we were stopping before leaving, so it was easy to storm on out.

High: We decided to go to our favorite Mexican restaurant for dinner.

Low: As we are leaving, Nugget leaps over a pile of toys and rams right into my head.  When I ask her to please watch where she is going next time, she again throws herself into a rage and starts to pick up a nearby object to throw.  At this point,  I finally lose my cool and yell in my VERY. LOUD. VOICE.  I may or may not threaten her life.  The dog goes into hiding from all the yelling.  Again, epic tantrum ensues.

High: Epic tantrum was much shorter and we are able to have a family conversation about anger, how to cope and how we still love each other no matter what (even if she had been screaming just moments before that she, in fact, did NOT love us anymore).  We make it to the restaurant and enjoy a nice dinner.

High: Even as I type this, it is The Mister's night to put The Nugget to bed, so I am sitting in blissful quiet and have no current desires to strangle anyone.

Looking back over it, the highs certainly outweigh the lows, but they were some pretty rough lows.  I hope we are in for a better day tomorrow.  Other parents, please tell me you sometimes use your VERY. LOUD. VOICE.  I never feel good about myself when it happens, but it sure happens once in a while.

Saturday, July 20, 2013

Friday, July 19, 2013

Attention new parents: give up on these things now

I remember being a new mom - all doe eyed and in love with my absolutely perfect little one.  Seeing bigger kids and thinking how my kid will never do that.  My house will never look like that.  I was so adorable.  In memory of that innocent woman who had no real idea what she was in for, a few bits of advice on things not to sweat over that I would have given her - that she wouldn't have believed or taken - back then.

1.  The lovely crayon box.  You will get a million crayons.  Your child will write too hard and break some.  She or he will step on others.  The box will be torn in a power struggle during a play date.  Just get a bucket or a bag now and dump the crayons all in there and never think of them again unless they need replenishing.

2.  Tantrums.  Your kids will have them.  For a while, it's one of the only ways they know to express their frustrations.  It will incite yours.  Remain calm through it; this, too, shall pass.  I have a clear memory of myself locked in my bedroom and reading a magazine when The Nugget was age 2 while she raged outside of my door because it was the only way to get a little separation from her.  I got to come out some time before she turned 3.

3. Having an uninterrupted conversation.  It will almost certainly never happen again.  The children, of course, will constantly interrupt.  The part you don't know is that you will now frequently interrupt your own conversations because you have to blurt things out while you think of AND remember them.  Lack of sleep, nagging children and frequent distractions will leave your conversation skills a husk of its former self.

4.  Nose picking.  It's going to happen.  And, no, not just by your husband.  Your child will pick her or his nose.  If you are lucky, you won't see it.  She or he will likely, at some point, try and taste it.  If you are really lucky, you won't see that part.  If you are really, really lucky, none of this will happen in an embarrassing public place.  Never stop reminding them how disgusting this is, but just know that it's going to happen.

5. Beautiful doll hair.  You will buy lovely, new shiny dolls and not a day later they will lie naked with their hair in a snarling nest of terror above their heads.  You may be tempted to try and comb it out (I've seen great recipes on Pinterest for doll hair detangler);  don't bother.  It is absolutely not worth the effort.  It will be a rat's nest in another day no matter how you try.

6. Sidewalk chalk.  I don't know what's going on with that stuff (at least the cheaper versions), but it will never, ever fit back into the container it came in.  Never.  Again, get some bigger container and dump it in there.

7.  Uninterrupted sleep.  You think you know this, but the truth is, it really never stops.  At first, you obviously know that a helpless infant cannot cope on its own and you feed it and change it and rock it.  After they sleep through that first night, you CANNOT BELIEVE how good a full night's sleep feels.  I remember saying to The Mister, "Is this how I always used to feel?  This is amazing!"  What you don't yet realize is that your sleep will now be interrupted for life.  When they are little, bad dreams, coughs and colds, missing you.  When they are older, your bad dreams, your coughs and colds, missing them.

8.  Feeling like the grown up.  As far as I can tell, it's never really going to happen.  At least, not in the sudden, sweeping way I dreamed of when I was younger.  Oh, sure, practice makes perfect.  You've dealt with a fever of 105.4 in the middle of the night and have now mastered that bad boy.  But every new situation will leave you feeling a bit out of place, like you can't believe somebody is looking to you to solve whatever their issue is.  You will want, at some point, to look at your children and say, "You realize that I have no idea what I am doing and am just making this up as I go along, right?"

9.  Lists that go all the way to 10.  Because your concentration will, well, something.

Saturday, July 13, 2013

Silent Saturday

Remember this?  Yeah, me either, but a gentle reader recently suggested that I bring them back.  As always, I promise absolutely nothing in the way of consistency, but here's one now!

The Nugget's first catch!

Sunday, July 7, 2013

Just Like Tom Petty Says...

The waiting is the hardest part.

*sigh*

I wish I could say that I wasn't agonizing every day over where my next child is, but that would be a lie.  Most days I can repress it pretty well, push it down below the joy of this time in which I am home with my family so much that I can't even believe my good fortune.  Cleaning, cooking meals, trips to the pool and the library and the zoo and the museum - these all feel so free and easy when I don't have to balance them with full time work.  Part time work, which is what I've been doing, feels like such a breeze.

There are days, though, when I am driven to my knees with the desire to hold my baby.  Times when I can do nothing but watch the gap between children growing wider while knowing there is nothing I can do to stop it.  Moments when The Mister and I both look at each other and ask ourselves, "What's wrong with us?  Why doesn't someone choose us?"

Of course the adoption agency was honest with us and gave full disclosure that placement could take as long as a couple of years.  They also gave us their average placement times, which were 0-6 months.  I heard it all, but I was sure that we would be one of the lucky couples who fell into that average time.  As we enter our fifth month of waiting, I wonder how much longer I have in me.

Early on, we counted statistics like they were candy.  We get monthly check-in's stating how many couples the agency has versus how many birth mothers.  We know how many birth mothers are reading our profile.  We know general due dates of potential birth mothers.  These things all seemed like hope prior to this month.  Now, they feel like evidence of our failure.  Like proof that a birth mother will pick nearly anyone but us to raise her child.  When we oriented with our agency, there were many other couples in our class.  All but two of them have their babies in their arms.  We are one of the two.

It feels ungrateful to express doubt, to complain, to whine.  Friends dance delicately around the subject, wanting to check in but wanting to guard my tender heart as well.  I am always honest with them when I say, matter-of-factly, that there's nothing we can do but wait.  I don't cry or wail.  I joke occasionally, but I don't let the negative feelings take over, leak onto the very people who are helping us bring this child into our family.

So here it is:  I guess what I'm saying is that this is harder than I thought it would be.  And that I still see the light at the end of the tunnel; I just wish I could tell how long that tunnel was.

Saturday, June 8, 2013

Twelve Years

Today I celebrate 12 years of being married to my amazing husband.  So, here are 12 reasons I love him more now than I did on our wedding day:

1.  He has learned to never, ever comment on a new hair cut until I have expressed my own feelings about it.  This may seem nuts (because it is), but I tend to change hair styles frequently and I am not always happy with how things turn out.  Early on, The Mister used to tell me how great my hair looked the moment I returned from the salon.  After several years of tears, anger and generally poor reactions, he learned to leave it alone.  Thank you, dear.

2.  On my dark days, he reminds me that he married all of me, not just the fun and happy parts.

3.  He appreciates the need for us to have both shared and separate interests.  I don't plan to attend any NASCAR races anytime soon, but I'm thrilled that he wants to go.  He doesn't want to scour Target on a weekly basis, but he doesn't mind a bit that I do.

4.  He deals with all things electronic and then gives me the "for dummies" version.

5.  He always compliments my cooking no matter how simple, bland or even badly it turns out.

6.  He has amazing patience in teaching new skills to both myself and my daughter.  Our general reaction to learning things that frustrate us goes something like this: trying, trying, trying - MUST SMASH!  He talks us off the ledge.

7.  He has so much more character than I ever could have imagined in those early days.  Through the hardest of times, I have never questioned that he would ever leave my side and, instead, we have grown together through the challenges of life.

8.  He cleans the dog poo out of the yard.

9.  He lets me decorate the house however I want.

10.  The Mister is demonstrative in his love and affection toward our family and always supplies many hugs, kisses and "I love yous."

11.  He cries at movies.

12.  He makes me feel safe and secure in our marriage every day.

Saturday, March 23, 2013

Four

My baby girl turned four today.  It still blows me away.  I know it's a total cliche to wonder over how time flies when you have little ones, but it does and I do.  Still, there is no slowing it down, and so to my big, beautiful four year old girl I say this:

You are such an absolute delight.  Such a very independent girl who loves to do what she can for herself but still happy to let us know when she needs a little reassurance from mom and dad in the form of cuddles.  You do not like it when we use a cross tone with you, though you have been experimenting some with expressing your anger lately.  A couple of times you have told me, "I don't love you!"  I know you are just struggling to find your way and always reassure you that I will always love you.  More often you will spontaneously proclaim your love for me or daddy.

You say so many funny things that leave your daddy and I exchanging bemused glances.  A new one lately has been: "I'm freaking out."  You usually say this when you are being a little funny.  You are an excellent speaker and have been starting on reading.  You can sound out words and even recognize some sight words.  You love learning and creating.  Pre school is one of your favorite things to do and you go 3 days a week from 9am - noon.

You are so social now and love playing with all of our family and friends and their kids.  You are also much more confident in making friends at places like the library and play areas.  You love to play with the IPad, My Little Ponies, Leap Pad, anything arts and crafts and princesses.  You got a scooter today and it took many agonizing minutes to go up and down our block but you didn't give up at all.  You often need encouragement but are willing to practice until you master skills.

You are a delight, pure and simple.  We are so lucky to share our lives with you and see the world unfold through your beautiful, vibrant eyes.


Tuesday, March 19, 2013

Before the Funeral

Almost twenty years have passed since I got the call.  If I close my eyes, I can still feel the grating of the ringing phone jolting me awake as I slept alone in my dorm room.  It was my aunt, my mother's sister.  I can't recall the specifics of the conversation, only that at some point my aunt interrupted me saying, "You can't what?"

What was she talking about?  Only then did I become aware that I had been chanting the words, "I can't, I can't, I can't."  It came out unconsciously, but the sentiment encompassed exactly what I needed to convey.  I can't cope with this news.  I can't understand what is happening.  I can't lose my mother.  I can't.

Days and calls and car rides went by in a blur.  Those times are just flashes for me, my memory allowing me a glimpse here and there but not a full review of the time.  Perhaps this is the protective nature of my memory; more likely the result of the shock.

As with all deaths, especially those involving a younger person (my mother was 44), there were lots of family dynamics to negotiate.  Divorced parents, step parents, aunts, uncles, cousins, grandparents.  I followed in a daze, staying where the adults told me.  I stayed near my aunt's side and held all others at arm's length.

My step father was the furthest.  We had never had a good relationship, and now my feelings for him bubbled with rage and hatred.  Why did he get to live while she was gone?  Why was my access to all that she ever was now to be run through him?

On the day of the viewing (a word I have always hated, a word that makes it sounds like you're going to see a lovely movie), I made it into the front door of the funeral home and immediately found a small anteroom where I sat alternately crying quietly and staring off into space.  I can't say how much time went by.  I heard the tears and cries from the next room.  I heard my grandmother's screams as she tried to say goodbye to her oldest child.  Still, I sat in that room.  I made no attempt to rise.  I was not ready to see her body.

Eventually, my absence registered with grieving family members.  Who it was that came to find me initially I cannot recall.  What I do remember is that my aunt, my most trusted confidant so far, and her husband eventually got me to stand.  I started to walk with them and then knew, knew that it wasn't time yet.  But they thought otherwise, taking me by my arms and pulling me, pushing me, dragging me across the lobby toward the room where my mother's body lay.  I began to struggle, to cry, but their grip tightened.  And then, suddenly, he was there.  My step father.  Taking my arm himself,  insisting that I didn't have to go if I didn't want to.  Opening the front door of the funeral home and taking me outside for a walk.  Giving me the moment I so desperately needed to gather up my courage.  When we returned, I was finally able to face the goodbye ahead of me.

Twenty years later, I see that time through a lens fogged by time and experience.  The 39 year old me is a kinder, gentler and much more forgiving version of that 19 year old girl.  But I see her and I know what she didn't know at that time: her step father had just planted the seed of kindness that would surprise her beyond belief by flourishing into a rich, vital relationship in her life.

He is not, never was, a perfect man.  Theirs was not a perfect relationship.  But in those moments, I was first able to realize that he had genuine love for me, for our family.  While other family members spent time trying, successfully, to take my mother's things for themselves from his home, he guarded things, saved them for me.  Gave me her engagement ring and clothing and cedar chest.  Hauled around large items through years and moves until I was ready to settle down and collect them for myself.  Helped me buy a car and pay for my wedding and buy a tank of gas each time I saw him.

There are family and friends who will never understand why I remain close with him, but for me, it all comes down to that moment before the funeral.  There I was, needing to be saved, and there he was, ready to save me.  Just like a father would.  It was then that our relationship really began.  My brother had always called him "Pop, a term I had rejected because I refused to give him that much respect.  The child that I was could only see his flaws and would grant him no mercy from them.  The woman I became is honored to have him in her life, grateful for all he has ever given, honored to call this broken, imperfect man her Pop.  And so lucky that he was there for me, before, and after, the funeral.

Monday, March 18, 2013

On your mark, get set, wait.

We became active with our adoption agency a little over a week ago.  I didn't post about it because it is a strange and exciting thing, something of a non-event.  On one hand, it signifies that we ate that elephant and finished the mountains of tasks necessary to get this point.  On the other, it marks the beginning of a strange and ill defined waiting period.

I'll be the first to admit that I have very little patience for waiting.  Even during my regular pregnancies I nearly drove myself mad with the desire for the baby to hurry up and get here already!  This is another animal entirely.  Not knowing how long the wait will be - a baby could come tomorrow or 10 months from now - is a bit anxiety producing.  Each time the phone rings I can feel the panic/excitement/thrill building inside of me that this could be THE CALL.  Family and friends have already been warned that I will be clicking over, running for the phone or otherwise using what I might consider to be rude behavior under normal circumstances in order to get to the phone.

Of course we are living life.  We are doing our usual things.  But soon, hopefully very soon, those things will include our next child.  Until then, we're waiting!

Tuesday, March 5, 2013

Dear Birth Mother

How can I wrap up all of my hopes and dreams, all of my worries and fears, all of the roads that have led our family to yours, in a single note?  The short answer is, I can't.  I can't do it any more than you can readily know that you are making the right choice in our family by reading the little bit of information on the pages you're provided by the agency.

I can try to tell you that there is more than just a baby in this adoption for us.  There is an opportunity that I didn't know existed before we began this process.  Each day I think of you, wondering what your struggles are, wondering if you are okay.  I hold your heart, this woman I don't yet know, close to my own.  I send up my prayers for your well-being, for your health, for your peace.  And know this: I do these things not only because I think I will get the child that you carry, but because you deserve it.

I can share with you that I know, as a mother, that the decision you are making is not your first choice.  I know that if things were different, another time, more support, more money - whatever the gap,that if that gap were closed, this baby would stay by your side.  The truth is, if I knew how to help you close that gap, I would do it, even if that meant no more children for our family.  Because you deserve it.

Since I dont know what happens prior to us joining together to give this child the best life we know how to give, let me assure you this: we love you and we love this child.  We don't know you yet, but we know your hearts are drawing ever closer to ours each day.  We make a space, each day a bit larger, for the little one you carry in your womb.  There is so much room in our hearts for this child, so much love that overflows and will wash over you both.  We will honor you, we will honor our promises to you, we will honor our child.

My mother's heart cannot wait to hold this new little heart next to it, to cup it gently in my hands like a delicate baby bird, to watch it grow stronger until one day we are all ready to open our hands and watch the beautiful flight.  Until then, though you don't yet know it, we are here for you, for both of you, even now.

Monday, February 25, 2013

Counting My Blessings

I've had a few difficult days recently.  I think I've spent a lot of time since the miscarriage keeping myself very busy - Christmas, adoption, overall catch up - and now that I have a moment to think, well, it seems like I've noticed a lot of sadness that I haven't dealt with yet.  In one way I'm relieved because I need to deal with it, but in another way, it's just...sad.

So I decided to take a moment to notice some of the ways I've been blessed lately.

I've been preparing the nursery this past week or so.  The agency suggests that if you feel the need to nest you should do it now as it helps lessen the potential pain of a fall through if you decorate for a specific child.  I feel the need to nest so that's what I've been doing.  The blessings are many, but the one that overwhelmed me the other day was just how incredibly generous our friends have been to us.    We didn't keep much after The Nugget grew out of babyhood, largely because we didn't plan on more kids initially due to difficult pregnancies.  Even so, my as yet unborn child has an entire dresser full of clothing to last through age one.  And our current daughter will be clothed until the end of time with all of the unbelievable hand me downs.  Feeling all of the love and generosity that our friends have put into those gifts is amazing.  For those of you who read this: thank you.

I went to the grocery today.  Walking around, I passed an older woman several times before she stopped me.  "I've got cat food and you've got dog food!" She laughed.  My introverted self laughed with her but kept moving.  The nest aisle over it was clear that she was determined to talk.  After a short chat she pulled out a coupon for the dog food I was buying and then gave it to me.  It was a small thing, but sometimes those are just the things we need to restore our faith in humanity and lift our spirits.

We are heading to visit family for the weekend soon.  It feels good to go and I think it will be healing to just spend time with people we love.

Love.  I am surrounded by it.  I love and am loved, in big and small ways every day.  For this and so much more, I am so very, very grateful


Friday, February 15, 2013

Our Crowded Bed

As I lay between my very wiggly daughter and very loudly snoring husband this morning, wondering if I would ever get back to sleep, I reached my hand out to rub The Mister's back and perhaps stir him enough to stop his snores.  Feeling the short distance between us, a smile crept across my face in the dark.

There is plenty of room for one more.

Tuesday, February 12, 2013

Australia

We attended a day long class for our adoption last week, the first step in completing our home study.  It was a day full of lots of information and lots of emotion, tears, laughter, joy and fear.  We met adoptive parents and a birth mother, all of whom had so much to share.  The Executive Director of our agency shared a lovely poem with us.  I thought I would share it with you all:
..........
Adoption is a Long Journey
Different Trips to the Same Place

By Diane Annitage

Deciding to have a baby is like planning a trip to Australia.  You've heard it's a wonderful place, you've read many guidebooks and feel certain you're ready to go.  Everyone you know has traveled there by plane.  They say it can be a turbulent flight with occasional rough landings, but you can look forward to being pampered on the trip.

So you go to the airport and ask the ticket agent for a ticket to Australia.  All around you, excited people are boarding planes for Australia.  It seems there is not seat for you; you'll have to wait for the next flight.  Impatient, but anticipating a wonderful trip, you wait  -and wait - and wait.  Flights to Australia come and go.  People say silly things like, "Relax, you'll get on a flight soon."  Other people actually get on a plane and then cancel their trip, to which you cry, "It's not fair!"

After a long time the ticket agent tells you, "I'm sorry, we're not going to be able to get you on a plane to Australia.  Perhaps you should think about going by boat."

"By boat!" you say.  "Going by boat will take a very long time and it costs a great deal of money.  I really had my heart set on going by plane."  So you go home and think about not going to Australia at all.  You wonder if Australia will be as beautiful if you approach it by sea rather than air.  But you have long dreamed of this wonderful place, and finally you decide to travel by boat.

It is a long trip, many months over rough seas.  No one pampers you.  You wonder if you will ever see Australia.  Meanwhile, your friends have flown back and forth to Australia two or three more times, marveling about each trip.

Then, one glorious day, the boat docks in Australia.  It is more exquisite than you ever imagined, and the beauty is magnified by your long days at sea.  You have made many wonderful friends during your voyage, and you find yourself comparing stories with others who also traveled by sea rather than by air.

People continue to fly to Australia as often as they like, but you are able to travel only once, perhaps twice,  Some say things like, "Oh, be glad you didn't fly.  My flight was horrible; traveling by sea is so easy."

You will always wonder what it would have been like to fly to Australia.  Still, you know God blessed you with a special appreciation of Australia, and the beauty of Australia is not in the way you get there, but in the place itself.
..........

We've been to Australia by plane.  We absolutely cannot wait to see it again, by boat.

Wednesday, January 30, 2013

Musical Beds

Last night was a typical night in the LTP house:

7:30pm: The Nugget goes to bed first.  The Mister lays with her a few minutes until she nods off.

9:20pm: I go to bed a couple of hours later (on this night narrowly escaping the fate of falling asleep on the couch).  The small dog, Frolic, comes to bed with me, but is restless and heads back downstairs.  The cats are very excited and lots of meowing and purring and petting ensue before we can settle down to sleep.

11:20pm: The Nugget exits her room with a slam of the door and climbs into bed with mom.

11:40pm: The Mister comes to bed.  Frolic stands around on the floor whining until a veritable written invitation is given for her to join us on the bed because she is insane and neurotic and impossible.  The giant dog, Dandy, flops down on the floor with a thud.

12:20am: Dandy is panting loudly and pacing the room as a small storm is passing through because he is insane and neurotic and impossible.  I get up and head downstairs with him to find his Xanax and sequester him from the rest of the family so we aren't all awake.  I then lie down to sleep on the couch.  Frolic follows and lies on the floor and, eventually, Dandy lies down as well.

1:30am: The Nugget awakens me by crawling over my legs to try and join me in sleeping on the couch.  Realizing this is impossible, I corral the whole crew back up to the bedroom.  Frolic, mercifully, stays on the floor this time.

2:45am: I awaken for a bathroom break.

4:00am: I awaken and try to re-shuffle The Nugget, the blankets and the pillows as I am barely clinging to the edge of the bed.

5:30am: The Mister rises to get ready for work.

6:00am: The Mister returns to say goodbye.

6:55am:  The Nugget awakens and declares that she is ready to start the day.

7:30am: I need a nap.

Tuesday, January 22, 2013

What's Mine is...Yours

In the early years of our marriage, when it was just he and I, The Mister and I would sometimes have hor's devours night.  This consisted of buying several frozen snacks and baking them in rounds in the oven while we enjoyed a favorite movie or program on television.  I would bake things in shifts so that we had warm treats throughout the evening.

One fateful night, I handed The Mister my plate so that I could go answer the oven timer and pull out our next round of snacks.  After doing so, I returned to the living room to find The Mister holding my empty plate.  Thus was born one of our long-standing inside jokes in which I looked at him, stunned, and uttered: " You ATE my dinner?"  I will never forget his sheepish response:  "I thought you were giving it to me..."

Since that time, The Mister has been cautious to double check any time he is handed a meal or partial meal of mine to ensure we don't have a repeat of that event.  And we never have.  Until...

Just the other night I was lying on the couch.  I had nodded off, which in our house is a code which gives The Mister the go-ahead to play violent video games.  So he was playing said games when I awakened.  As I stirred, The Mister paused his game and crossed the room to where I was on the couch.  He then proceeded to pick up what was left of my Diet Coke and drink the rest.

I looked at him.  Calmly, I said: "It didn't occur to you that I might want the rest of my drink?"

He was genuinely shocked.  "I'm so sorry, honey!  I thought it was mine.  I had no idea!"

I couldn't help but laugh.  He did have a partial drink sitting by his chair.  "So help me understand," I said, "you didn't realize that it was my drink even though it was sitting across the room from you right next to me in a cup that was clearly labeled 'mom'.  Is that what you're saying?"

I'm beginning to think he realizes more than he lets on.

Wednesday, January 16, 2013

How Do You Eat an Elephant?

One bite at a time.  Of course, anyone who actually knows me knows that I would never so much as harm a hair on the head of an elephant, let alone eat one, but it's a metaphor.  In this case, a metaphor for completing the mountain of paperwork and tasks associated with adoption.

Yes, we have decided to proceed with adopting our next child.  After all of our pregnancy struggles, we just don't feel it is an option to try that route again.  Honestly, the only thing that has stopped us from adopting in the past has been the financial aspect; it is not a highly affordable undertaking.  But here we are in this phase of life where we are just taking all kinds of leaps of faith, and trusting that we can come up with the money is one of them.

Having addressed that hurdle(ish), we are left to address taking the steps to activate ourselves with our adoption agency.  I was so excited waiting for the packet to come so I could get started that I obsessively checked the mail for days.  When the packet came, I dug in and reviewed every page.  And promptly became completely overwhelmed.  State and federal background checks complete with fingerprinting.  Physical exams.  Copies of every important document that ever existed. Meetings.  Classes. A lengthy written history of the last several generations of our family - no small task in itself since we both have divorce, remarriage and all of the branches that go along with those family trees.

On the bright side, somebody - hello, there - decided recently to take a leap of faith and quit her job.  While that may seem like a real negative on the financial side (okay, it IS), it offers quite the windfall in terms of time.  I'm not necessarily a believer in fate or destiny, but I will say that the universe has provided quite nicely for this eventuality.  So I currently have time to plug away at our paperwork, one bite at a time.

We have our first meeting to initiate our home study tomorrow.  Wish us luck.

Saturday, January 12, 2013

A Rose By Any Other Name

Might punch you in the proverbial eye for calling her by any other name.

The Nugget has been very focused on pretend play lately.  At any given point, she can be found running around our house with her "hooves" pawing at the air while she tries to earn her cutie marks as a My Little Pony.  That is unless she is letting down her hair and descending a tower as Rapunzel.  Or maybe she'll be preparing to go ice skating with Frosty because she is his best friend, Karen.  Best of all, she recently decided to be "Olive" from the Rudolph movie.  I kept trying to figure out who she thought the character Olive was until a friend pointed out that she had no doubt been listening to the Rudolph song and deduced that the line "all of the other reindeer used to laugh and call him names" was referring to one particular reindeer by name, "Allof".  Which explains why she kept correcting me about how I was pronouncing the name.

Anyway, I think it's great that The Nugget has an active imagination.  The problem is that we can't always keep up with what imaginary world she is living in.  While that may not seem like a problem, it leads to A LOT of frustration for all parties in the house.  Heaven help the person who calls the child by the pony name Fluttershy when she has moved on to playing princess Tiana.  I have tried to approach her by using generic terms like sweetie or kiddo, but I get sharply corrected then too.  "I'm not sweetheart, I'm Karen!"

This may not seem like a big deal, but this happens in our house about 37 times per day.  That is a whole lot of correcting coming from our little angel - I mean Karen.  She's Karen.  Except when she's not.  At swim lessons the other day she kept adamantly correcting her instructor to call her Karen each time she addressed her by her actual name.  I just looked at the instructor and shrugged.

We've had (repeatedly) the discussion that it is not very nice to constantly be correcting people.  She and I have very similar personalities, so while she loses patience with me for not knowing the correct name, I lose patience with her for losing patience with me.  This led to the following recent exchange:

Me: "Stop correcting me all of the time."

The Nugget: "I'm correcting you, I'm correcting you!"

Me:  *sigh*

I would appreciate it if none of you would let her know that I referred to her as The Nugget while writing this.  I just can't face the consequences.