Honeysuckles for Sam

Honeysuckles for Sam/ Mama C and the Boys 2011

Walking back from the town beach
at Grampy and Grammy’s house
I saw them, innocently waiting
to be plucked from the background
of my sweeter childhood memories,

and folded into theirs.
Watch this. I whispered, to lure them neatly in;
Pull the end part slowly from the blossom
and there at the end a drop of

Honey! Screamed Marcel, as Sam’s disbelief

dropped away.  Seventy or so years ago
my father may have stopped at that same hedge
to sweeten the walk home to his Grammy’s
house two hills and one turn away.

Just like I love to pick Queen Anne’s Lace
because I love to picture my young mother doing the same
on a summer walk along a country road in Maine-
I need to balance the history I know how and want to hand down
with the history I don’t.*

Biking back from the beach the following day,
with Sam on the rented BMX, and me on Grammy’s modern version of the Schwinn
I ask Sam if he had heard the word slavery before?
I was relieved to hear that he had no idea.

Well imagine being taken from your family,
and forced to live far far away, work all day, suffer, for no pay.
This ugly story sort of starts that way..

When brown skinned people in this country were enslaved
by creamy white skinned people against their will.

He asked me why, and who it really was, and if they were enslaved still.
No, I said, but even when horrible things do come to an end,
the effects don’t just go away.

It was a meager start, but it was all I was semi prepared to say.

Sam’s bike was on the ground,
his arms reaching out and into a neighbor’s hedge.
I love honey he said.
I can’t believe you have known about this all this time,
and just now told me about it.


*A special thank you to Hot Shot for being mad and proud earlier this summer, and letting me know I had work to do (with my family)! My conversation with Sam above was brought to the surface by a series of events. The final impetus being this post at Foreigner in Buckeye Nation.  If you have begun to have conversations like the ones discussed here, and have resources you rely on, or questions that your family is tackling and want to share, please do so here.

** Personal history and the adoptee/donor conceived child is another layer to this piece that I am also trying to begin to navigate at our house. This idea of the “history I don’t know” how to pass down also comes from questions that surfaced staying at the “family homestead” for a week, and talking about our great, great grandparents juxtaposed to our heading out to the West Coast in a few weeks to meet Sam’s biological mother, and grandparents and all of their history we hope to begin to uncover then too.

Welcome to three new subscribers this week to the blog! Both coasts are newly represented in the ever growing group of Mama C readers who have signed up to have these posts delivered directly into their (e)mail box. Thank you–it feeds the muse!

Naming and claiming and prepping us all (Reunion update)

Six and half years ago/ Mama C and the Boys

I include the picture above to remind me, and Sam one day if he reads this blog, just how much he will have changed since his first mom last saw him. In the posts leading up to our visit, I’ll continue to include pictures of the first time we met. He was a few weeks old here.


We were looking at a slideshow of the hotel that we are going to be staying in next month when we visit Sam’s birth family when the following conversation happened:

Me: Maybe Tea and the kids would like to come swimming?

Sam: Do they swim as well as I do?

Me: I don’t know. We’ll find out. You’re an amazing swimmer. Continue reading “Naming and claiming and prepping us all (Reunion update)”

Smile practice, links of love, and the Fresh Air Fund still needs YOU

Before going in to the studio/ Mama C and the Boys
Who knows he looks good?/Mama C and the Boys

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”

I’m White, you’re not. Where do I start? Race/Ethincity Place Pt I: follow up

Roy and Uncle as Easy as a Sunday morning/ Mama C and the

From reading the responses on our first vignette here on the topic it is clear that-if you are asking yourself how do I start a conversation with a stranger/aquaintance/freind of a friend  of color and not come across as a complete dork/stalker/or uptight White person you are not alone. (Or non White person, but I’m not imagining that is who I am speaking to here.) Continue reading “I’m White, you’re not. Where do I start? Race/Ethincity Place Pt I: follow up”

Brotherhood at camp (and a special request to my readers)

M&M 6/302011/ Copyright K. Mngqibisa http://www.littlelight.smugmug.com

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.

Continue reading “Brotherhood at camp (and a special request to my readers)”

We’re rockin’ it alright

The fam-damily/ Mama C and the Boys

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”

Celebrating Mothers (Plural) Day

Mama's Day Portrait x2/Mama C and the Boys

Sam’s drawing above is a remarkable likeness! Best line from the other part of the project: My mom is beautiful because: she is herself. Biggest uh-oh line from the project: My mom loves: klening (cleaning)*. Line that tells me we’re alright: I love my mom because: she kudels( cuddles) with me. Continue reading “Celebrating Mothers (Plural) Day”

One (tooth and reason we love being in an open adoption)

My first lost tooth/ Mama C and the Boys

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?

Grand S(l)am: bragging rights are not biological

Beachball with Sam/ Mama C and the Boys

He has a gift.

He can hit.

Hand eye coordination doesn’t begin to explain it, either. He aligns the speed of the ball, and the contact with the bat, with every muscle in his arms, legs, and eyes in harmonic syncopation. This has been going on for years, and with his first coach pitch game only two weeks away, I am getting ready.

Ready for the joy he radiates when he hits.

Ready for the heads looking up and over as the ball soars beyond the scope of expectation. Continue reading “Grand S(l)am: bragging rights are not biological”