I believe that we are mothered by many in this lifetime. One of my many mamas is this lake. I have been coming there since I was around seven if my memory serves me. I just spent my first 24 hours alone there in 7 years. I would swim out to that float, and meditate. This is the very place I made my decision to begin the adoption process. It is where I filled out the first series of applications seven years ago. On a whim last week I wrote to the owner and asked if the cabin was open from noon to noon the next day. She wrote back; “It’s yours. No charge. Enjoy.” Continue reading “How making a hard decision became/becomes the mother in me.”
First of all, the Mama C collective has been so amazingly supportive and loving with your emails, and comments. In addition we have had sweet support in our personal circle that has all been just right. Thank you and thank you.
I feel compelled, because this became a very public journey through my posts, and fundraising, to complete the story publicly too. Although that is not as easy, it feels tremendously important for several reasons.
- So many of you have let me know how deeply connected you feel to this story, this family. I know what that is like, to become attached, and feel personally invested in a person, or situation online. These moments become a mirror in some important way to something in my own life. I need to see that story through, I need a finish. That is not always possible, but in this case there is a continuation, and many ah-has.
- The journey my family set out on and the one we did not take, and the one we did, may offer some experiences that could help you or someone you know in a similar or related situation.
- For better or worse, this blog is my third arm, my second brain, my external processor. I need to put it out there, for it to ripen fully.
This may take a few posts. Marcel just woke up. Pause part 1. We are going to a pitching and hitting clinic this morning–a culminating event by the local farm team. Someone is eating breakfast with his baseball bat… Continue reading “On Un-doing a trip to meet the birthmom/ first mom (Part I)”
I just want to say thank you to the single mamas who have been reaching out to me so much recently. My single mother badge of honor is one I don’t take out often enough and polish up and wear here.
As my donations continue to come in, with sweet consistency and love, it always floors me when one of those little paypal notices has the name of one my known, or soon to be known single mamas attached to it. Because face it–money is tight everywhere–and even if you have it now–it takes time to donate–and to do so–it to be putting it in my children’s mouths (and rental cars and hotel beds) and not yours. We are a generous lot.
A great reminder about that came in this email I received last night, after I sent a thank you to a woman, who we will all “J” who had made a contribution yesterday. In it she reminded me, that this was not the first time we had connected;
I don’t know if you remember me, but we connected a couple of years ago on a SMC Adoption Yahoo group. I was in the thinking/wishing stage of adoption then, and you reached out to me and were so kind, encouraging, and inspirational. You sent me some books, and a diaper bag with a fleece baby blanket inside. It was such a gesture of faith, that someone believed I would become a mom, even when I was having a hard time believing it myself. I subscribed to your blog then, and have been enjoying it since.—So, fast forward to August, 2011….my daughter is about to turn 8 months old, I brought her home this past December. I still can’t believe it sometimes. I read your blog for so many reasons, and connect with so much of what you write about. Recently you posted a picture of Sam when he was newborn, and I realized that he was wrapped in that same fleece baby blanket that I wrapped my daughter in. It hit me then, that you give so much, and I wanted to give something back. The donation is small, but it comes from the heart.
So so very much is up for my family this week, this month.
Because he is my son, and I really want and need to protect him, I am only going to share that this is much harder than I expected. But what the hell did I expect?
Adoptive+parenting ain’t for sissies.
Suffice it to say that it is hard.
Suffice it to say that when research says that an infant’s emotional life is far richer and deeper than we previously understood, I believe them.
Because this six year old is full of big feelings, and those feelings began over six years ago in a hospital room. Over six years ago when her Mama love, her laugh, her smell, and her beautiful singing voice were all that he knew.
Then thirty-six hours later–and all that was her was gone.
Replaced by my new mama awkward and is-this-the-way-a-baby-works-loving. By my unknown smell, then timid laugh, and wildly out of tune sing song voice singing none of the songs he’d been hearing for the last however many months since those precious ears were hearing her. And with each hour he missed her more, as I became more and more the Mama me–but was still, of course–me.
And he cried a lot when he realized he wasn’t getting the first Mama back.
And now I’m asking him to go back to that moment in time, but this time with open arms, a smile on his face, a good looking line up, and a button down shirt?
I’m asking him to manage all of that wordless grief, and turn it in to anticipation and ease and excitement?
Last night he let me know, in other wordless ways that that was not what he had in mind. It ended with a lot of hugs, and sobbing and shaking. The twenty minutes in between are for only the three of us to talk about.
And the counselor we’re breaking in tomorrow.
I reached out for help last night, after I got him and Marcel to sleep in my arms.
That help came in many forms.
When my adult, transracial, adopted male friend who has lived an open adoption all his life-asked if I felt like I could ask the birth mother to send some reassurance in some form that she was looking forward to seeing him too--I felt the waves parting in my heart.
I asked seconds later in a text if she could leave him such a message–because all my reassurances that she was excited too-weren’t cutting it. She wrote right back:
“I’ll send him a video message to your email after work tonight.”
I thanked her, and then asked if she would please include how much she was looking forward to meeting Marcel too…
When I think of him being tossed upside down and back and forth-on the roller coaster upside down thing over and over again this afternoon, with a huge smile on his face–it suddenly all makes sense. For an instant the outside world, was even more out of whack than the inside one.
Man my kid is brave. And I don’t even know the half of it.
What the Picture People captured was almost as good-but you’ll have to wait until I have the patience for the scanner to see that. Continue reading “Smile practice, links of love, and the Fresh Air Fund still needs YOU”
What an incredible few days on the blog. Over 900 hits, seven new subscribers, and so many NEW folks joining in on the conversation–which is brave and so appreciated. Three people have started discussions with me about guest posts for the coming months, and suggestions for future “vignettes” have been emailed, tweeted, and one person even called! Keeping my eye out for a carrier pigeon.
On the humorous front:
Sam was writing a thank you card to his PE (gym) teacher, and concentrating very hard on his words;
Dear Mr. L, Thanks for teaching me PE. Love Sam
When he read it out loud-upon successful completion-his brother says; Sam why did he need to teach you how to pee? You already knew how to do that!
On the way to Sam’s closing ceremony (read: trophy hand out in less that five minutes. Which will be the shortest awards ceremony we will ever get to attend) Marcel hollers to the car next to us; “Oh YEAH we are rockin’ it now!” If we had a car radio, that might be understandable. He was just feeling the moment… Continue reading “We’re rockin’ it alright”
This year we’re sending a card that Sam picked out,
and one of his drawings from school.
A photograph of him and his brother and a big smile.
It’s no longer a heavy heavy for me. Or him.
(When it stopped being about me, and what if I say the wrong thing, or not enough of something, or too much of another thing.)
It’s simply something we do with joy and ease in May: we send Tea a Mother’s Day card.
She is his first mother.
She will always be his first mother.
She will always be the person who Sam likes to thank for;
“carrying me in your tummy and having me, and loving me all that time,”
and “everyday still”.
She is the one who made me a mom too.
Who chose to believe in my own ability to do so, even when my own body couldn’t or didn’t.
I get less and less hung up on holidays of any sort.
This one has so many opportunities for me to make so many people genuinely happy that I can’t not.
I send my loving Mama a thing (this year a Snapfish notebook with her
favorite grandkids on it) that is useful and fun.
I pick a different super Mama’s in our lives each year to make a donation in their name to Unicef to help other Mamas be their best too.
And I love planning how to get other people to help my sons honor me with a thing, but that is worthy of another post soon.
I scan for coupons and deals so I can slip in a “Well look at this? Look what the Mother’s Day fairy sent me thing”. This year a beach chair that has straps for my back so I can carry all of their beach things too that will keep them happy while I sit on my old butt on my new chair. Did I mention the new suit that will fit when I have about five less pounds on all my things? The mother’s fairy was generous in a way.
I put up a new window bird feeder to help the new birdie mamas feed their babies. I even got it to stick.
For a list of socially conscious to all out frivolous gifts for all the moms on your list-I like this post on the topic from Rage Against the Minivan. Feel free to add links to your lists below.
How are you honoring your first mom? Their first mom? Other moms in your life this year?
The post-a-day photo challenge this week is the word: One. I think this meets the bill.
He lost it at lunch. He was eating strawberries with his old friend Finn. Prior to the berry he was terrified that it was going to hurt, or bleed a lot. Finn tried to reassure, having recently lost his second tooth, that it wouldn’t hurt. The joy on his face, is 5 parts relief, and 5 parts “I’m a big boy now!” I immediately sent Tea (his first mom) a text, with this picture. She said; “OMG he is a snaggle!” Sharing a moment like that with the other person in the world who cherishes the milestones as much as you do, is one more reason being in an open adoption is amazing.
What do you think of when you hear the word one? What milestone, or moment have you shared with a first parent that felt that good?