Serving it up Sunday style

With a smile that can break through steel...

The week that was. Three members of the same nutball family begin school in some fashion. It went pretty well, really. There was that little mishap, as it was called with Sam and a bus ride. Where he was put on a bus, even though he was supposed to stay at school. Well there was this list, and that list, and it was an understandable mistake since he will be taking the bus in the morning… You know me. I freaked. Then I asked others for ideas on who to approach, and with what tone. Then I wrote and called and was heard, to a degree.  The issue is not my upset, as Sam was fine, and thought nothing of it. The issue is what is in place so it doesn’t happen again. That is not always the message people hear. The next day he rode the bus in earnest, in the morning, and reported later that he already knew the bus driver. Uh huh.

His favorite things about school; strawberry milk, going outside and playing on the playground at least three times a day, and his teacher’s beautiful smile.

By the second day she tells me that he is so smart that sometimes he has trouble listening. Translation: Sam gets bored and Sam gets active. She says she has asked him to take on a leadership role for Monday. This is a great strategy. Meanwhile I am looking at fidget toys for the room.

Soccer started. Sam is a head taller, and one of maybe four “Under Sixes” that has a skill set way beyond the other fifty or so dribblers on the field. I am not asking him to go to Brazil to train for the next world cup. But, I was hopeful they could at least praise acknowledge his given talents, and pull aside perhaps a smaller group for some individual attention. Response: Wait until next year lady, and chill out.

Last night I hear screams from Sam’s room. Maaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaama. I ran around the corner, and arrived expecting to see him in full up right nightmare mode. Instead he is resting quietly.

You OK Sam?

Uh huh. I just wanted to say hi.

Marcel? Well aside from bending steel with those pearlies he is completely unraveling every afternoon when he gets home.  I am used to this routine. I did let his relatively new teachers know that all of those glowing reports I am getting from school do not mean that it is as easy as it looks. He has nothing left when he gets home. They  were really supportive, and offered me some good ideas and things to consider.

Mom? Exhausted. Feel like I have been hit by a cement truck this week. Up until eleven most nights working on school work–plans–schedules-feedback on getting to know you activities the kids are doing for me. Processing. And queries for the workshop are amping up, while registrations have stalled. I am not exercising like I SWORE to myself I would figure out somehow every day, so I could be a better mama-me. I locked my keys in the car for the second time in my life last night. And the first time was about twenty years ago. Response: Universe is raising the overload yellow flag.

And folks, I am listening.

End of Summer Ah-ha’s & Gratitude

Successes include:

Sammy can swim. As in the crawl. As in across the pool–from one wall to another-something he couldn’t do in June. It is a new skill, and one that we’ll keep practicing all year. But one that makes all of us so happy.

Mommy can cuddle. Had the realization many times over this summer that in a blink the “Mommy can you cuddle?” requests will be replaced with; “Mom can I take the car to…” so I stopped everything and cuddled on call.  Not easy for me, when I am in my doing something really important groove. Really important like writing a blog post, or folding the laundry?

This is of course a piece of a larger summer success of spending much more time with the boys this summer–by design–and although I lost some much needed personal time–we deepened as a family. Sam and I had a Mommy-Sammy day to ourselves almost every week.  This involved something he wanted to do, and something I wanted to do. We had some rough patches–but I have to say–we are humming along at the moment. We had the kind of shift that I think came with so much time together we had to make some big changes in order to make it all work. OK, I had to make the changes.  As ah-has go my biggest in terms of parenting were:

Sam is a boy. Let him be a boy. Let him chop chop-light saber-farty noise in his arm pit-splash water in your face-screech and slide and tackle you. Stop trying to make him into a mini me. It won’t work.

Yelling never accomplishes anything.

Every time I praise, hug, kiss, or smile at Marcel, go out of my way to make sure Sam gets the same attention. (Thanks to Marcel’s new teacher N for this one!) Talk about noticeable results almost instantly. Example; I walk in the door and Marcel comes running to me with a hug. Sam is with babysitter playing. I say; “Sam, come over here–I need a Sam hug to balance me out.” Sam drops everything and offers a giant hug. it is not his style to run over. It is his style to hug when invited.

Marcel can talk and talk and talk. Like me, he has the gift of the gab. Like me he is a processor. He loves books, and takes them everywhere, has them in his hand all the time. He can keep up with his brother’s physical life when he wants to–but as much emphasis needs to be put on his love of the non physical. The move to his new school continues to be a giant success, and he is feeling very seen there for all of his skills.

We can all be thankful. Took this tip from a post on a something somewhere: In the evening  go around  the table and ask everyone to report on one thing they are thankful for.  We go around, say ours, and I stick it on this huge wall board painted thing that only a picture one day will do justice to- on scraps of clear removable sticky paper–the stuff window decals are made of when we are done. The goal: Fill up the board. A few highlights:

Sam is thankful for: Uncles’s Michael Jackson moves, his friends at his preschool, being born, and having two moms.

Marcel is thankful for: cows, chickens, tomatoes (which he hates by the way), his teacher from his old school who comes to babysit.

Mommy is thankful for: water to play in, cooperation, ease, and ice cream.

Both boys are asleep in my bed. Earl’s rains woke us all. Thankful for Earl’s rain minus his winds.

20,000 reasons boiled into one

One of the out takes from the original Mama C blog photo shoot over 30,000 hits ago!

For some reason that number, 20,000 feels so meaningful.

20,000 blog hits to this new Mama C home in a handful of months.

Of course a “hit” jut means you read one post, and might of “hit” another, and then one more.

Maybe you skimmed.

Maybe it was just the pictures.

(Maybe you were looking for something else?)

However that ticker climbed, it got there, and one by one, my words have touched some, and brought many back.

This blog is an extended member of our family, a conduit to something larger than me, a life line, and a source of deep relaxation for me. It is a mystery, and a known entity. It is a part of my identity now, as are my readers, known and unknown.

I’ve been under the weather for almost three weeks with some mystery thing that the docs are stumped by. No need to bore you with details, but suffice it to say, that although reassured that every test known to the medical establishment says I’m fine on paper, my kids will tell you, that Mom isn’t herself. An energy and stomach and head thing. A-I wish I could play soccer with you–but I’m confined to this bench for the moment thing. A source of concern for the kids, even as I try my best to tuck it away, and pretend. Who can pretend to not be nauseated? But, it comes and goes, and we capitalize on the upswings. Mysteries are hard in a world of on demand everything. Mysteries are also deeply valuable.

Maybe the universe is just asking me to slow down, and appreciate that 20,000 comes from a whole lot of ones put together. I’ve been saying no to a lot of things, and saying yes to precious few. I’ve been sitting down and watching the goofy dvd with the kids, instead of rearranging the world while they watch. I’ve been sitting with this body, and asking her what she needs me to understand.

The other reason I’ve been quiet here is that I’m getting all my very important ducks  lined up for the unveiling of the amazing two day transracial parenting, and adoption issues in school workshop I am bringing to Portland, Maine from Portland Oregon via Adoption Mosaic in October. Crazy amounts of details that I didn’t think about when we hatched this plan have needed tending to. Apparently one doesn’t just host a workshop. You have to find a place, and design flyers, ads, and press releases, and get all the right language, and create a registration process, and identify advertising spaces, and meet deadlines, and communicate with all sorts of people about all sorts of things.

It will be for two days, (October 22nd and 23rd, 2010) and it is going to rock the local transracial adoption community’s socks off.  It is the workshop I have always wanted someone to offer in Maine. So now someone is, and that someone is Adoption Mosaic and me.  Mama C readers will get the very first opportunity to sign up, and space is limited, so start planning your Maine getaway now! All will be revealed mighty soon.

It is dark and quiet in my apartment, except for the radio of the car parked right next to my window. The fan is whirring gently. I got off the phone with my dear friend Lauren who just moved half way across the country, and is scrubbing the floors of her new apartment in Columbus, Ohio. I could here the echo that comes from an empty room. I could hear the fear and the excitement in her voice. I am so proud of her, of them. And so envious of the gumption it took to do it. The rest of her family will arrive there next week. She is where I thought I might be this August, in an ethnically and racially more diverse place.  I chose to stay here, and continue to create within the amazing community we have here, and that is growing visibly all the time. Still maybe that is part of my mysterious illness, grieving what I’ve lost, and what I haven’t yet found. I loved hearing her voice, and I missed her more than before.

In the 20,000 I know many of you have found something you were looking for, which boils it all down to the one person on this little lap top, sipping her tea, feeling hidden away and very seen all at once. To the family that fuels her, pulls her apart, breaks her open, and saturates her with light and love and the Mama in the C and the Boys.

Everything Drawer-May

I started a few conversations in the last few months that I’d like to update you on, as well as offer you a few new bits and bobs:

First Mom reconnect! In my post Unanswered I wrote about our reaching out to Sam’s first mom Tea at Mother’s Day,  and not hearing back. He had left her a voice mail message, the first time he had ever done so.  It was the first time he had heard her voice since he was about eight months old.  Not hearing back from her brought up all these doubts for me (was it too much for her to hear his voice? Was she feeling overwhelmed?)  and who knows what kind of loss it triggered for him (Had I set him up for something he wasn’t ready for? Did I frame it well enough before and after?). About a week ago, my third text message to her was answered with a very definitive; “Everything’s cool. Tell Sam I loved hearing his voice, and he can call anytime. Tell him I love him.” When I relayed this to him, he didn’t miss a beat; Tell her I love her too.” Continue reading “Everything Drawer-May”

Addressed by a Dress

When I put it over my shoulders I could feel the NO

reaching up out of me as my arms swam through the air

the soft silk landed sweet purple pink swish and there

is this woman with her short brown hair in the mirror

looking stunned at her body fitting and feminine feeling

the forty-two years pass in one simple second.

a

So?  Can you stretch yourself into that woman? The one who allows herself

to be pretty and powerful in this  perfect little dress? My friend asks laying on the bed

surrounded by other dresses she brought from the open closet of an examined self.

a

I smoothed out the memories of my Don’t you mess with me me  in the creases

releasing that fifteen year old banished me in the mirror

to join us here.  I’m coming to the wedding too, she said.

a

Plunking herself on the bed.  I stood up tall and felt the exquisite softness

of a spaghetti strap holding the two of us tenuously together here

in the sweet soft silky pink and purple that we will wear.

Everything Drawer

I wouldn’t want any of these per se. But I love repetition.

Visually, I love things, usually industrial sized things in repetition.

Maybe a little country house one day, and the yellow, white or ice blue one in the corner with a vase of hand picked wildflowers.

Meantime; my everything drawer looks like this;

a) Momscongress is in two weeks. I have received an agenda, and the event looks jam packed with speakers, town halls, and opportunities for all these U.S. moms to come together, gather thoughts, consider and hopefully reflect. More on that as it gets closer. Right now I am just trying to gather a Washington, D.C. spring outfit together from what I’ve got, and what the Goodwill has if I don’t. I am less and less able to set foot in a clothing/department store and pay all sorts of money for things made my children is sub par working conditions, here and abroad. How many other folks out there are thrift store shoppers? Continue reading “Everything Drawer”