Reflections on Day 2

Day 2 of “social distancing” ended with Mama enjoying a glass of wine. I might talk a big game, but I rarely open a bottle of wine and even more rarely enjoy a glass by myself. Today? It felt right. Not because I was stressed but exactly because I wasn’t. It was a laid back day today. We all slept in, I made a nice Saturday breakfast, Sweet Husband took his virtual meeting and finished up the requisite paperwork, and the mancubs played. It was a good day. A day that earned being topped off with a glass of wine.

Today was my second day, Sweet Husband’s 4th, and the mancubs’ … well, I seem to have lost count.  They had an extended Spring Break and will start remote learning the middle of next week.  They’re ready. As many books as we have in this house, as many games, toys, and movies … they’re ready to see their teachers and their friends, even if only in the virtual classroom.

I know I’m confused on what day it is – and I’ve only been home full-time for 2 days – I think they also miss the routine of their school day. They might not admit it, but I’m pretty sure they do. So, I’ve been keeping up with all of their teachers’ emails and have been updating a list of virtual classroom codes I’m keeping on the refrigerator. And every time I post a new classroom code, that child runs upstairs to log in to their classroom to see if there’s anything for them to work on. Between Sweet Husband and me working from home and the mancubs needing time to work on their school assignments, technology is going to get a major workout here at the Casa over the next few (or several) weeks.

My work laptop decided to make noises yesterday. Ugly noises. Noises that said, “Girl, if you know what’s best, you’ll back everything up N-O-W!” So I did. And we went out to the local electronics store early this afternoon and bought a laptop I’ll use until I can return to my brick-and-mortar campus and hopefully be moved up to the top of the list for a new piece of technology.

I was shocked to see a line queued outside the store until Sweet Husband pointed out the line was actually moving. Store staff was letting customers in one at a time explaining each customer would be escorted by a sales associate to the area of the store we needed to visit. Our fellow customers, for the most part, were cool with standing at a good distance from others in line while we waited our turn to be escorted inside. It was an experience. That’s about all I can say … it was an experience. As an introvert, the expanded personal space is incredibly refreshing and comfortable.

One of the advantages of social distancing / voluntary quarantine / whatever the latest term is is educators are becoming creative in how they’re developing their virtual classrooms. They say innovation is born out of necessity, right? I must say I agree.  For example, a colleague and I had been talking in the weeks leading up to Spring Break that we really need to meet with another colleague to learn how to use Zoom.  Truthfully, neither of us even knew what that meant, but we knew we needed to make the time at some unidentified point in the near or distant future to learn how to Zoom.

Guess who learned how to Zoom this past week and can schedule meetings like a rock star now?  This girl!

That’s right, so much so that I’ve got a Zoom session set for later this weekend so my family can gather around their technology and we can all sit a spell and shoot the breeze. A virtual family reunion and I’m really looking forward to it! Who knows? This might become a regular thing for us. Wouldn’t that be grand!

All in all, my first couple days at home have been okay. Some would venture to say, “productive.” It will be interesting to see how the 5 of us grow through all this together time.

Prayer for peace

Tonite I choose … consciously and deliberately choose … to be angry with the mancubs’ birth mother.

If she had only stuck with and worked her plan.

If she hadn’t harmed the boys, put them in danger, neglected them.

If she had only been a M-O-M to them …

If …

Then my 8-year old wouldn’t have had the confrontation with his friend at school today that he had.

For whatever reason, they started comparing their pain: his friend is about to have another surgery – he’s had too many to count and I imagine having to deal with the pain of surgery & recovery is super hard.

But to state it is more painful than being ripped away from your birth mother? That’s too much for me.

And it was too much for my son. I don’t have the whole story, but I think it may have gotten a little physical.

My youngest was 3 when he and his brothers and sisters were removed from their home. And despite all that he went through with his birth mother, there’s always going to be a part of him that wants to be with her.

I can respect that.

I cried on my way home from work tonite because I knew then as I know now that there will never be anything I can say or do that will completely take away his or his brothers’ pain. As much as I wish there was a magic wand or a special potion, there isn’t. He & his brothers and their sisters didn’t deserve this.

But it happened.

Their sisters are safe in a city far away from the birth family, as are our boys.

My prayer for the children … our boys and their sisters … is that they all will sleep peacefully tonite and every night.

And know they are safe.

And loved.

Wildflowers

I remember a time growing up when our family was displaced from our home at Castle AFB (California) so the floor tiles could be replaced. I don’t remember where we were living for those few days while the floors were being worked on. What I do remember is coming home from a neighbor excursion with a huge fistful of wildflowers for my mom. The smile on her face, the twinkle in her eyes, the feeling of pleasure I received from experiencing her happiness imprinted itself onto my brain and I’ve never forgotten it.

Texas weather is fickle but the wildflowers always know when it’s time to bloom.

The mancubs have begun bestowing gifts from the field and yard on me. The sweetness and joy in their faces as they deliver their treasures melts my heart. Every time.

… even when the oldest brought in a dandelion ready to release its seeds with the slightest breath – that one got bagged & tossed before its’ progeny could land in fertile soil

These boys … my boys …

My prayer for them today is that they’d never cease to wonder at the beauty around them. That they receive as much joy in giving gifts as they do in receiving them. And that they remember these moments of their childhood when they’re older & smile.

The Journey

We’re in the “final stretch” of the adoption process. With the stroke of the judge’s pen in just a few short weeks, we will officially be a family of 5. This has been a journey of a lifetime filled with a lot of waiting, prayer, and tears.

Sweet Husband and I will celebrate 33 years as man & wife later this month. As I raced down the aisle (true story: the priest had to gently signal to me to s-l-o-w d-o-w-n) to enter into covenant with Sweet Husband, did my twenty-something self ever imagine we’d begin the parenthood journey to three boys ranging from 8 to 11 the same year I was contemplating retirement?

Um … no.

And yet …

As we began this part of our journey well over a year ago, I remember wondering two things: were we “too old” to become parents; would there ever be anyone that would call me, “Mom.”

Now there are three that do: They’ve been calling us “Mom” and “Dad” since our second meeting early this past summer.

The moment they stepped through our front door, a few things became our reality:

Reality #1: this parenting gig is tough!  I was commenting to a colleague not long ago that I’ve never known a person could be this tired. She, a grandmother, laughed.

Y’all, Sweet Husband and I are old! A good friend texted us a few weeks after the mancubs came to live with us asking how we were doing. I responded, “We’re half the age of Abraham & Sarah and three times as tired!”

We belong to a sweet group at church called “Old Parents with Young Kids.” The group appealed to us initially because of the name.  Once we met them, we knew it wasn’t just the name of the group that was appealing. Turns out while all of us are older parents, we’ve all become parents through different avenues of adoption. While we only meet once a month, they’re one of our critical supports and we’re so thankful to have them in our lives.

Reality #2: you’re only too old to do something if you think you’re too old. Not going to lie, there have been plenty of moments these past months Sweet Husband and I wondered if we did the right thing because we are, admittedly, old.

Reality #3: these boys are worth every ounce of energy we pour into them; as perpetually exhausted as Sweet Husband & I seem to be, they have our hearts. This Mama Bear will move mountains so our cubs can grow into men who, as our Pastor said in a recent sermon series, “love God and have a job.”

Reality #4: I had forgotten how children view the world. Why is forgetting so easy?  I’ve lost count of the many moments over these past several weeks now burned permanently, indelibly, in my mind: The exuberant exclamations of, “Mom, you’ve just got to come see this butterfly, it’s so beautiful!”; giggles coming from the living room because of whatever silliness is happening on TV; sleepy snuggles from the youngest after a hard day of playing and working in the yard with Dad. And the questions! I pray these three never lose their love of learning and asking questions … even when neither Sweet Husband nor I have any idea of the correct answer.

We’re thankful this part of the journey will be ending soon and even more thankful for the beginning of our new chapter as an official family of 5 in early 2019.

Train up a child in the way he should go; even when he is old he will not depart from it.  Proverbs 22:6

 

Searching for Norman Rockwell

Deep down, I think everybody wishes they had the perfect family gathering with everyone in their best clothes and the fancy linens & wedding gift china, all sitting down to a fine feast with all the trimmings. The truth is, nobody’s perfect: the plates might not match and the table cloth most likely has a few stains that just.won’t.come.out. Doesn’t matter. What makes the meal? The people sitting together to enjoy it.

Those of my family that are in town this week will gather at my parent’s house in a few hours and enjoy a fine Thanksgiving feast filled with lots of good food, wine, and conversation.

It’s been a year of changes in my family: marriages, pregnancies, welcoming new family members. Finishing goals, pursuing dreams, entering new career fields. Preparations for children, both biological & through adoption, waiting and waiting and waiting … wondering how.much.longer … and waiting some more.

Through it all, despite our different interests & beliefs, we’re family. We’re a far cry from perfect to be sure. But we’re real. And we all support each other in whatever we’re involved in, however we can. We are here for each other. Not just on the special gathering days when the meals are fancy but also on the tuna sandwich & corn chips days.

Real life. So much better than a painting.