Mother’s May: Celebrating First Moms, Many Moms.

from the archives: Tired Sam(3 weeks old) and tired mom (mine) /Mama C and the boys

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?

Planting this transracial garden (Last day to enter TAC giveaway)

Sam's growing peas story board from school/ Mama C and the Boys

One of many reasons that I love Sam’s kindergarten teacher? Her appreciation of color. I don’t just mean the lack of white space in a drawing and the relationship of that to “quality work”. I mean that almost every photocopied activity she offers allows with ease for a child with dark skin and/or curly hair to color the image to look like them.Sam derives so much pleasure from making EVERYONE look like him.

A friend of mine recently asked her classes of over seventy plus 7th graders to draw a draft picture of themselves doing a random thing they loved. They were asked to put in as much detail as possible. Crayons and markers of every color and hue were provided. Out of seventy students, two choose to color in their skin brown. Over thirty children would have identified as Black or Mixed or Biracial in her class.

She followed this up with a discussion that included explicit instruction to color in their skin to reflect how they saw themselves, modeling how a few students had done so. She praised these few examples. The students were then asked to redo their images for the final draft (they were practicing their figure drawing skills for some project posters coming up the next week). The second time around the results shifted dramatically. The hallways were covered with images of brown skinned children in the final posters weeks later. This happened after students were GIVEN PERMISSION to do so.

Sam is learning from age six that his skin color is the desirable outcome for success in a school project. He is being given explicit praise for placing himself in the world. His teacher was incredibly “with it” from the beginning. But, I still initiated conversations having to do with issues of race, and picture books, adoption, and how important it was that he be allowed to express his own story from day 1. The coloring piece–was all her. I have been so impressed with her attention and intention all year.

Next the family is planting the pea plants mentioned above in container garden this morning along with several other seedling, herb, and perennial plantings. This followed by two soccer games (Marcel is going to try once more), and a baseball practice. What’s on your first Sunday in May agenda? Or second, or third?

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REMINDER: Today is the last day to enter to win one of two free subscriptions for you or a friend to The Adoption Constellation magazine.

Brown, yellow and divinity for dinner.

Mama C and the Boys 2011

Open thread at dinner:

Marcel: My soccer games. I don’t really like it. I’m only going to try it one more time.

Me: Why?

Marcel: Because there are too many people.

Me: On the filed, or watching?

Marcel: Watching. I just want it to be me and all the the soccer players. I don’t like other people that I don’t know so close to me.

(pause)

Sam: I don’t know.

Marcel: What do you want to talk about Sam?

Sam: Um. That um. Sometimes my brother says I did things that I didn’t do.

Me: What about the fact that Kindergarten is almost over?

Sam: I’m a little freaked that I’m going into 1sr grade.

Me: How is that different?

Sam: I’ve never been.

Me: What is one great thing about being a Brown skinned person? Something you get to do, or be that I don’t know?

Sam: I have more girlfriends then you have boyfriends.

Me: What is it about being Brown that is special?

Sam: Only I can do a flip in a pool.

Me: Anything else I should know?

Sam: Only that White people are better than Brown.

Me: (Insert a couple of minutes dispelling that here) Do you feel that way in school?

Sam: All the time.

Marcel: I am creamy. Sometimes I feel like I am yellow.

Me: Yellow? Why?

Marcel: I’m just kidding.

Sam: Brown is Pele’s color, and he is the best.

Marcel: Sometimes I am like a god.

Me: Huh. What does that mean?

Marcel. No! I am in God.

Me: What does that mean?

Marcel: I don’t know.

___

When was the last time you asked your kids if they could tell the world anything what would it be? If I didn’t force the issues, I’d probably learn a lot more. (It’s hard for me to just listen.) I have the laptop open as the boys talk, and catch it verbatim. They understand that this is for “Mama C”. That may influence their input. I always read these posts over to the boys for their “OK” prior to publishing.

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”

Mixed Nuts: Lunacy reigns

two square in the basement/ Mama C and the Boys

This is the basement.

This is the two square court (masking tape on carpet).

This is a game I can not only play, but can smoke Sam in.

This is what we renamed the winner square: Queen’s square.

This is what Marcel says when he gets one in: This lunatic can play. Uh huh. Uh huh.

This is Sam’s reaction to my victory dance; That is so annoying of you.

This is the Mama C machine feeling the benefits of creating more time to play.

Sammy Saturday: Flash interview with #1 son

Sam when you look at this picture, can you tell me what you see.

Grass, field, goals, and kids.

Where are you going?

I am going to Florida.

Why Florida?

Because Florida has Disney World.

What are you best at in the world?

Basketball.

What would you like to be best at in the world?

Gymnastics. Continue reading “Sammy Saturday: Flash interview with #1 son”

Adam Pertman, Adoption Nation, book giveaway

I received an invitation to review Adam Pertman’s updated Adoption Nation last month. They wanted a transracial adoptive single mother’s point of view added to the mix. In exchange for my promise to participate in the blog tour of the book (a new concept for me-where have I been?) on a given date (today) I received my own copy, and two to give away.

The amount of work that went into this book, is rather mind blowing to me.  I am sure you can scour the net for countless reviews lauding it’s comprehensive scope and broad historical focus.  I felt a rather ominous pressure while reading the book as “reviewer” and not just as consumer. (My previous reviews here of books have always been after the fact of books I read and was charmed by. Now I realize that is just a sales pitch, not a review!) I wanted to make sure that I was reading the book through the lens that my audience have come to expect of me (even if I am not sure what exactly that means).  I wrote down moments in the book that caused me pause for one reason or another, and asked Mr. Pertman to address them directly.

Continue reading “Adam Pertman, Adoption Nation, book giveaway”

Sammy Saturday: Final shot of the season

Sammy Swish!/Mama C and the Boys

Here is the letter Sam just wrote to his kindergarten and P.E. teacher, who both came to watch his final game. Sammy invited them on his own. It meant the world to him, and all of the kids on the court that their teachers were there:

Dear Mr. L, and Mrs. M,

How did you like the game? It was pretty good. I liked it because I did one hundred baskets. Getting to see you on the bleachers made me laugh. Thank you for coming to watch my game!!!!

love,
SAM

Sunday in the balance

Sam findinghis balance / Mama C and the Boys

I’ve been called driven before.

Last week several people who love me large have been coming out of the woodwork to drive this message in; “you are doing too much.”

I am listening.

How do you determine what is and what isn’t too much?

This post about Five Common Regrets of the Dieing is a thought provoker on the subject. Well on the subject of listening to your heart’s path. It was called to my attention from this fellow transracial adoptive parent advocate Ann Becker-Schutte.

So how about a little poll, to see what kind of company I’m keeping here.