Friday, April 27, 2012

Let me tell you a story...

A few nights ago I was tucking our oldest in bed. Giving him lots of kisses and snuggles as he requested. I don't remember how it came about, I think I may have called him a baby; he replied saying "I grew in your tummy like Nienie (his little sis)." He sat up in bed and pushed his index finger into my stomach and said "Right there!" I didn't expect his words to pain me like they did. Not really for how hard it is to explain the complications of adoption to a three year old, but more for the pain I never want him to feel. I quickly tried to suppress the pain and frankly a little bit of the shock of his statement, it caught me off guard. I said something like "Oh Zach, remember how you got to have two mommies, one where you grew in her tummy and loved you so much she looked for the best family for you, and one mommy that gets to see you every day, and is SOO happy you came to live with her." Ugh, it always sounds so weird, even to me, an adult who understands the complicated process. I tried to tell him how happy daddy and I were that we got to be his mommy and daddy now. I suck at telling him, searching for the best words, and hoping some of my own disappointment in the way a mother could be so wasteful with her precious gift doesn't come out in my tone. We always try to put the birth mom in the best light we can... that she loved him so much she wanted the best for him. It feels like a hard story to tell.

Today we were snuggled up in our bed, WAY too early this morning. David was awake but had his eyes closed, I was sitting up telling a very energetic boy to settle down. He started "Let me tell you a story..." He gets confused. You see, he makes that statement and then nothing follows. We finally figured out he wants US to tell HIM a story. I'm sure he will figure it out soon, I hope. Anyway, I obliged.

"Once upon a time there were a mommy and daddy who searched ALL OVER the State of Oregon looking for the perfect baby boy. They wanted a baby boy to love, so they looked all over. They looked in the mountains, in the city, in the country and by the rivers." A little voice interjected "And at the beep too" (the "beep" means his grandparents loft downtown in a nearby city). "And at the beep too" I echoed. "They looked high and low, far and near, everywhere they knew to look. They wanted a boy who liked to play outside, and in the mountains, and at the parks. A boy who liked garbage trucks and..." I got cut off so he could say ..."tractors and Kubota rides" and in sweet, sweet unison we both said "choo choo trains". He giggled, I laughed and fought tears and Davids eyes smiled. I honestly don't remember much of the next few sentences because that moment felt SO good, so sweet and so real.  I went on to tell him about the phone call that made us laugh and jump and cry because we were so happy our little boy had been found. Our perfect little boy. I told him about the first time we met him and he had a binky in his mouth, he then showed me how he liked to suck a binky. I told him about how he would climb up his little slide and then slide down, over and over and over and over and over... and then every once in a while he would go get a drink of milk. He interrupted again "I really like milk".  Then I told him while everyone wanted to hug and kiss him, Papa Brent just scooped him up and kissed him, and that he really liked it. "I really love Papa Brent" he said with sweet eyes. "I know. He really loves you." He started to look a little bored, so I said "And the very first morning you ever woke up in your new house, you peed on mommy and daddy's bed. Right here." He laughed, oh he laughed!

And then, the story didn't seem that hard to tell...


This was the first photo and the only photo David and I saw for 3 months until we found out we got to be Mommy and Daddy.

Thursday, April 19, 2012

stores and children

It happened. It finally happened. My wildest dream came true. Do you sense some sarcasm?

Before children, I had seen some things that made me say "I would never do X" or "Let my children do X" or "Act like X". You get the picture.

After a few years of having a few children, I have since made some concessions and allowed a little grace to parents that live a little... freer than myself.

Still there are things that I think NEVER! Just to give an example; I keep my iPhone handy at Safeway to capture things that make me laugh or shake my head.

A recent favorite was this experience; We use these carts...ALOT! There are four seat-belts. Need
I  say more? It clearly states not to sit children on top of the car. I thought it made sense and seemed silly even to mention it... I was clearly proved wrong...

This dates back to the early New Year, but still a favorite;
This was actually after I witnessed him standing ON a cake and nearly crushing it to pieces before his mother suggested just standing on the cooler. 

Today we were in Rite-Aid and I was shopping for a few cards for some up coming birthdays and celebrations. While waiting for me to pick out the cards with the perfect words, one of my children spotted a  grand selection of plastic dump trucks. After I finally just grabbed 7 cards for 2 occasions (figuring I could read them better at nap time in my own home) I told the begging child he could pick a pack of stickers or a coloring book. Feeling nice for even suggesting he could make a purchase the begging continued for the plastic toy retailing about $14.00 over its actual value. I said "No." and started to walk away. Then it happened. Blair Witch Project kind of screaming in isle 4, followed by a metal crash and a body hitting the white floor. In sheer horror I turned around to find something like this...

Rolled in the fetal position screaming sounds I would imagine coming from hell itself, I saw my child. The red bike that had previously been occupied by a small body had been abandoned, wheels still slowly moving as it crashed on the floor.  "This isn't happening, this isn't happening" my heart was saying but by the looks of everyone around us, it WAS happening.

I'm happy to report that I stayed calm. Real calm. I tried to hide the embarrassed smirk  on my face, but I couldn't stop laughing, I figured it was better than crying. I paid for the seven cards and walked outside where the screaming continued.

My biggest regret? I wasn't quick enough to get my iPhone out and snap a picture of what was actually  happening to ME. I'm just hoping I don't get a second chance.

***The same child featured in todays story happened to walk by the computer while I was writing and saw the figure sketch of the scene in isle 4. He said "That picture is icky mommy." Yes son, yes it is!***

Sunday, April 15, 2012

Three months in

Oh the fragility of the human existence. Why is it that growth feels as death? Before the beauty of a bloom is seen, months of cold, dark earth surrounds the plant as it struggles to reach the surface where it needs to be encouraged by not only the warmth of the sun but also the hard rains of Spring to show its beauty. And the moments right before a baby takes in her very first breath on this earth, sheer pain and deep struggle the mother bares as she brings life to the newborn.

Though every intention of our second adoption has been pure and hopeful, the reality of my limits have been painful. My heart longs to love as a saint. As Mother Theresa gave her life in such a remarkable, and yet such a painfully humble way, I so desire to be able to give of myself. I'm sure you can imagine my disappointment when day after day I  fell (fall) embarrassingly short.  "What?! I'm not a saint?!" Jokingly and tearfully I'd think. "God, Oh God" I whisper, "please help me love, help me be calm." Stress, tears, more stress, exhaustion and frustration would seem to answer my prayers. Then finally this week, I broke. While noodles flew across the dining room and the screaming had reached a new level, I sat on the floor and cried. I guess I had held it together just enough to prolong this moment for three months. Not to say that every day has been bad, we have had some really good days. We had just commented about a general feeling of having a grasp on life again, as well as a having a short lull in the screaming.  Just in the very recent week, it felt as though we were going backwards, loosing positive and hard worked for ground. Progress felt as though it had stopped and small pieces were being ripped from my hands. Nothing real specific or even horrific. But to have the overwhelming feeling come back with screaming in tow, hurt, hard.

I don't really know what I am trying to say exactly. I know it isn't earth shattering to find that you really aren't that wonderful of a person. That sometimes all my love and energies run dry. It hurts when the sacrifices being made seem to be falling short. And when everything you have isn't enough. Tears keep pouring out and I didn't think I'd make it through lunch, let alone the rest of the day. My human strength was not enough and my pure intentions did nothing to help me off the floor. After finishing the day, I found myself crying on my mom's kitchen floor the next morning, only to be followed by more crying in my friends living room that afternoon. Each crying session was less painful, and thankfully the last two were near people other than toddlers and babies. So here is my early stages of something that will help with the blooming and birthing process...

It is in that painful moment that you realize I am mere bones and flesh. Yet, though I am only human, I am also a child of the Divine. And this relationship with the Divine pours love and  grace back through me. Somehow I am both broken and mended. Broken enough to know it is not I who contains pure love but mended enough to give love to those in my life.

Also, no matter how hard we work at it, life is still life. Wild and unpredictable. And no amount of hard work or goodwill can master it's turns and hills. No, life cannot and will not be mastered. Yet, this little person, this weak, tired person holds the key to seeing the beauty at each turn and the views from both the top and the bottom of each hill. Some places aren't so beautiful and fun to visit, and thats okay, but each stop and start are valuable to the journey and it's story.

It's okay to want things to be "normal" or manageable again. But being realistic is really important. Being reminded that it has only been three months. And looking back, I can see how far we have come.

Here's to...

Fitting 3 kids in a two kid stroller

Spending Sundays outside together as a family

Being REALLY tired

Flying with two adults and three kids

Making up new stroller capacities 

Pulling the kids in bed with us because we really DO need an just.five.more.minutes.

Sad grumpy tired kids

To happy laughing giggling kids

a full bakfiets

a toy problem, along with a messy house

watching happy faces

wearing babies in the front and back
less crying

more happy faces

more baby wearing

more hiking

sad attempts at family photos

trying everything under the sun to soothe a big baby

sleeping babies in the stroller 

more baby wearing

early, early morning runs

More Sundays outside
Even more bad family pictures

A happy first birthday 
Seeing More laughing

And to a very long ago "first night home".