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An elusive balance

October 15, 2013
Unicycle Sam

On our way

The family has just arrived home from a whirlwind trip to Delaware to visit and celebrate various birthdays with my side of the family.  We drove over 1,000 miles between Thursday night and this yesterday morning. Well, Shrek did the lion’s share there, and I book ended the trip. Driving that many miles amounted to saving that many dollars and then some in airfare. By driving through the night the boys were able to sleep allowing for minimal management and discomfort, not to mention the almost total absence of negotiations involved since they were asleep. Marcel slept for almost eleven hours strait, waking only once when we stopped for a break. Sammy watched the Empire State from the Tappan Zee and then fell back into his book for half an hour before crashing again.

Of course Shrek takes a big hit physically the next day, but bounces back with a little TLC. He kept telling me he was cranky. I was thinking to myself, “if this is your best cranky, we’re in good shape.”  Having a day to recover is something we always do after a trip, never taking “vacation” to the last possible day. Writing this post helps me to ground in my home self again.  Blogging always balances me somehow. It becomes a conduit for my own arrival in ways.

It has been lovely to notice, two years after we started dating how genuinely Shrek has become woven into the fabric of the larger family. He takes on the cooking of a dinner, or the interception of the pass at the family football game with ease, and something akin to grace even! What I witnessed more than anything on this trip, was how much he saw me within the larger family portrait. By “seeing” I mean seeing all of me within the family dynamic, and really knowing how to support, joke with, listen to and be with me and not to hover on the margins looking in.

Of course this is also about my showing him and them how integral to our happiness he is- with the easy hug here, or the cozy up on next to him at the bench while we are all at the beach. Marcel tossed the “my daddy” phrase out there as easy as he kicked his cousin’s football across the field over and over again. A ten hour car trip completed with ease is clearly another indication that we have deepened in our seeing ourselves as a family unit, and not as two adults and two kids making the best of it. There is an ocean of difference there. We have paddled some seriously rough waters to get here. Both of us taking our little dinghy in circles over and over again insisting our paddle was going the right way… On land for the moment anyway, we are digging the view from year two.

Speaking of accomplishments, I have a new piece published in Adoptive Families Magazine this month.  I’m very pleased with the piece, an opinion piece titled; “Certificate of Live Birth and Parentage”  where I weigh in on the question of what a birth certificate really should say. The link just went live last night, so feel free to be the first to chime in, and get the conversation going. I very much appreciated my exchange with the editor about this piece, and felt like the magazine is working hard to represent a broader range of voices in the triad. There are moments when my experience as both an adoptive and biological parent offer me a lens that seem to complement each other, and this is definitely one of them.

Like Sammy on his unicycle above balance is by no means a given, but an elusive goal that requires practice, practice, and more practice. In my relationship, parenting, transracial mind evolving, and part time working for starters I am feeling as if getting a few solid rotations moving forward before the wheel goes flying out from under me, is indeed an accomplishment. I’ll see if I can get Sam to volunteer a few lines on mastering the unicycle in less than two weeks to inspire all of us to keep on keeping on. In the meantime, hold on to something, or someone steady as you launch, and have a great week.

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9 Comments leave one →
  1. October 15, 2013 12:19 pm

    Catherine,

    i love this piece. You are a brilliant writer and an amazing Mom. Shrek is lucky to have all of you in his life as you are lucky to have him. you inspire me to keep writing. Thanks for that. I hope when I return we can see more of each other than a fleeting glance.

    • October 16, 2013 7:22 pm

      I’ll take it all Marsha! But truth is, I am just doing my best, and he is helping me figure out what that is…

  2. October 17, 2013 1:54 am

    Love the article! Can’t wait to feel my reaction when I get to see that document with my name on it…

    • October 18, 2013 12:37 pm

      Thank you. I want to read more of your thoughts on it if you are inclined?

      • October 19, 2013 3:55 am

        I’ll take that as a compliment! My thoughts as a mama or a writer? I’m really hoping to be able to write my own post about this milestone soon.

  3. October 18, 2013 11:19 pm

    It is so wonderful to see you coming together as a family. I am so happy for you and congrats on your published pieces. There are more great things to come. I can’t wait for your new book. You are working on it, right?! :)

  4. Stephanie Corley permalink
    October 21, 2013 3:52 pm

    Thank you so very much for the article in Adoptive Families this month!! You totally spoke my heart on the subject! So refreshing to find someone else who really “gets it”. I cried as I read the article, them cried again as I read it to my husband. Will be sending a copy of the article to our daughter’s BirthMom for sure!

    • October 24, 2013 1:39 am

      What an amazingly kind comment to leave here. Thank you for coming and sharing that here. I would love to hear what the birthmom thinks too.

  5. October 24, 2013 2:29 am

    It is really a lovely family. I am sure it is not easy for you, but for Shrek, it is absolutely a blessing to have you in his life. And we are so happy to see them enjoy the trip. Best wish for all in your family!

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