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Thursday, December 10, 2015

Why aren't you following me?

I am a speaker…. Really.  Someone said that if you declare something, it can become true.  I am also a writer.  Both of these statements are honest.  I delivered a speech on our adoption journey with my husband at a fundraiser banquet.  I have a blog.  I regularly present some kind of update or report via conference call weekly and another in-person of some form or fashion monthly.  So yes, I’m a speaker and a writer.  Are you following me?  

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Thursday, September 24, 2015

What to say Instead...of "Just No"?

You know I adore Glennon Melton of Momastery.  She's a canary (read about her to understand what that means).  Today she posted about not only teaching our kiddos to "just say no" but instead HOW to say no.  Brilliant!!  I remember... okay who am I kidding.  I know how self conscious you can feel in a social situation, I want to be liked and not look stupid.  While I'm eons from needing this nugget of wisdom, I want to remember it for me, so I can help my kiddo(s) when the time comes.  

Yes, we spend hours talking to our kids about WHY to say no, but we don’t tell them HOW to say no. When they are put on the spot, they don’t have hours to explain their decisions to their peers. They have a split second. And while our teens and ‘tweens want to make the right decisions, they often want to avoid awkwardness even more. In the absence of a plan, they’ll likely default to yes. Just like we so often do. Maybe they’re not saying yes because they want to rebel—maybe they really do say yes because they don’t know what else to say. They need help knowing, preparing. That is where we come in.

Tuesday, September 1, 2015

Watching him walk from the window

I'm lucky.  I am able to work from home and I have a caring nanny who takes good care of Tripp during the day.  Maggie and Tripp just walked down the lane together holding hands, she stopped and squatted.  There was something on the ground that she picked up and I could tell they were talking about it.  Maybe a caterpillar.  After a minute, she placed whatever it was in the yard, took Tripp's hand and continued walking down the lane.  

This scene just tore up my heart.  I should be out there with Tripp...holding his hand, talking about the bugs and trees and enjoying the sunshine.  He's only little for a so long.  Instead, I'm upstairs, negotiating data from spreadsheets, trying to make sense of numbers and widgets to audit big company's telecom spend.  

I'm thankful that I've been able to arrange for people to care for Tripp, and can have a good career, and be close.  Yet, I still feel so sad.  I want to walk thru the world with him and not miss the wonder and the most adorable exclamations of 'WOW' that come from his little mouth.  

Friday, May 8, 2015

Yellow Roses to Heaven

I wish I could send you yellow roses for your birthday and Mother's Day like years past. 

 I wish I could say Thank You and tell you exactly why I am expressing gratitude with my new found understanding.  I can now grasp how fiercely you loved me and the sacrifices you made - giving up yourself for the role of taking care of me and my brother.  

My heart clenches when the love for my son collides with the memories of you, Mom.  His guileless smiling face with smartly raised eyebrows - daring me to come and smooch all over him - allow me to have a glimpse of what looking thru your eyes at my face may have felt like... and I want to hug you so desperately in that moment.  I want to apologize for not trying harder, for not fighting enough for you.  You fought for me, you caught my puke, you let me sleep in bed next to you when I was afraid in the middle of the night.  You cheered for me at softball games, riding lessons, band concerts, and tennis matches.  You sat me on the floor and piled puppies in my lap.  I don't remember it but I'm sure you wiped my bum a million times.  You talked to me, you loved my boyfriend - fiance - and now husband.  You were the first person I wanted to share any achievement with because I knew just how proud you'd be.  I know you told your friends about everything I did.  I know you loved me.  No matter the situation, even near the end when it was very hard for you, you still made sure to tell me that "I love you more than anything in the world."  I wish I understood the gravity of those words and what they meant and every little action behind them.  

I don't think any person understands what their mother feels and sees until they become a mother.  It was easy to accept your love and care and take it all for granted without considering the depth and sacrifice.  I knew you as mom, that was your "job" to be mom... I didn't know you as Rita.  I regret that now, I regret the conversations we could have shared. I yearn for my son's granny.  He sees you in pictures and he'll hear you in stories when he gets a bit older.  You would have given him the moon and every treat his little eyes lighted upon.  You would have seen "God's Exclamation Point" in his red hair and believed in miracles then. 

I regret my hesitation to share the details of our adoption journey with you.  We, you and I, were stuck, focused on your adoption.  Your story was different and heartbreaking and more than any child should endure.  Yet, I assume you resolved to be a better mother because of that.  And you were - you were an excellent mama.  If you had known how close we were to adopting, would if have made a difference?  There's no way to know, and events fell in to place in a timing that could only be described as divine.  I try to give all that to God and not "what-if" myself too much.  

God gave me my son so that I could withstand losing you to your battle with your demons.  I am certain He saved me that way.  I tell my son every night - "I love you more than anything in the world" - and that helps me remember you, mama.  I'm sending yellow roses to heaven.  

Wednesday, April 15, 2015

Wait, I Wasn't Ready Yet!

Have you ever looked up at the (proverbial) high dive and thought about what it would feel like to drop down thru the air into the water?  Maybe you've even walked up to the edge and looked down, nervous by how high it really is when you're standing there. Imagine you've been pushed off.... and it takes 5 months to hit the bottom and you aren't sure if it's pool season and there is water at the bottom, or concrete. 

Yeah, I've been shoved. I hadn't even realized I was teetering on this precipice.  I didn't see it coming and I'm not sure what I'm falling into at the bottom. Maybe I'll hit a trampoline that will bounce me right back to the starting block; or maybe I will swim off to a whole new world. Either way, I should be grateful for the time to contemplate it all as the wind rushes past my frightened flailing limbs. 

Tuesday, April 14, 2015

Take Off Those Comparison Glasses!

Comparison.  Is.  Not.  Accurate!  

I don’t know how my mom was raised.  I don’t know what my Nana did or didn't do for breakfast each morning, to judge whether or not my mom got it right.  I don’t even remember what my friends said their moms did or didn't do for them.  I do remember going to dog shows and sitting down to be covered with a blanket of puppies.  I remember road trips, and visiting her friends’ houses.  I especially remember a day when we had a “picnic” in her bedroom with McDonald’s food and Dumbo on TV.  I don’t know if any other mom in the whole wide world did that with their kiddos but it was very special with my mom.  

Tripp needs deserves ME, right now, doing special important things with and for him.  He’s not looking at Pinterest and judging if it’s fancy or perfect enough… just time and attention, it’s enough.  So, while I’m beating myself up, wondering if I measure up or if I’m doing something right – he’s just hanging out waiting for mommy to come be with him. 

I should also remember, that I fiercely love(d) my mom.  She was not perfect, she was fighting her own demons, but that did not matter to me.  It didn’t matter until the end when she was so sick.  I didn’t “see” it for a long time.  I didn’t want to see it because I only wanted her and I’ve always only wanted her to be happy and feel good.  Wouldn’t Tripp want his mommy to be happy and feel good, too


Is God coming…. ?

Glennon Doyle Melton is someone I wish I could have tea with at least once a week.  She is so open and honest and relentlessly optimistic about the human spirit and what God can do thru us – and brave enough to share her musings with the world.  Ok, Ok, I’ll be honest, she’s sort of my inspiration to share my musings and get this blog going.  I read recently that to be successful in the blogosphere you need to teach something.  I’m not so sure what I am an expert of that I could teach anyone; but I do love nuggets of wisdom and want to share what I pick up.  So read Glennon’s post on Momastery….



I got into a spiritual conversation with the least likely candidate, a Jewish colleague who carries an air of cynicism and firmly believes in science over every other possible explanation.  The question of baptism evolved into a debate about the presence of God.  He believes that God kicked things off with the big bang and moved on to His next project.  My colleague doesn't think God is listening to and answering prayers or causing bad (or good) things to happen.  I politely dissented… We absolutely have free will to do as we please, but God is there for us to seek him out.  Everything is about our personal relationship with Jesus.  It’s our individual faith in Him that influences our actions – which in turn impact other people around us.  God works thru us, so He’s here, right now; he shows up.  We just have to pay attention.  I think this is what Glennon’s post was all about. 

Monday, April 13, 2015

Alien World

What must it be like to be dropped into an alien world where everything is new and different and you can’t adequately communicate?   It would be so frustrating and probably scary to not be able to say what you want or need and not be able to understand what your captors are saying back to you! 

 I think we’re hitting that point with our son.  I can see and very much hear his frustration.  He can’t really fully explain what he wants and if I do fully understand, I can’t explain why what he wants isn't happening.  I think he’s freaking out every time I open a specific cabinet because the Easter candy is (was!) in there and he wants it.  I can’t explain to him that I’m not giving him peeps for breakfast or that the peeps are all gone (both true).  

At least for this toddler the aliens that are caring for him love him dearly.  

Thursday, March 26, 2015

I Pushed a Button

Tripp loves to push buttons.  Sometimes his compulsion is helpful – like when he’s “mopping” the floor with the swiffer and spraying cleaning solution.  Sometimes he’ll push too many buttons and wipe all the data from my iphone.  

Yesterday, I pushed a button… to submit our inquiry to foster-to-adopt another child.  It’s only the very beginning, but yesterday God laid on my heart that we should add to our family and that the timing is now.  John and I have been talking about it even since before Tripp was born, how we will expand our family.  We are very nervous of venturing down yet another path, but we've already proven that we can learn the process, the terms, and the players on each path we've taken.  

I personally feel compelled that foster to adopt is where God is leading us.   It’s scary and we personally know triumphs and tragedies of close friends who have gone before us.  Yet, I firmly believe that God will bring our children home to us and I’m trusting the direction He’s leading us.

Besides, I’m on day 3 of being upright and productive on almost no sleep.  If I can handle this, what’s one more little heartbeat and sweet face to keep me up at night?!?  

Tuesday, March 24, 2015

Flat Tire

Not going to lie… for a split moment I couldn’t help but wonder if it was on purpose.   I’m semi-stranded, away from my leading men on a weeknight.  The low tire pressure lit up on my dash, so like a good responsible driver, I steered to the local gas station to get some air.  Air is free – I mean, I’m breathing right now and not paying for it – but if you want it compressed and a machine to forcibly push it somewhere, it’s no longer free!  I make my way around to the last tire, thinking that this stupid sensor is just way too SENSITIVE for only a few psi’s and find a nail in the almost flat back tire.  Drat!!  For all the computing power I carry in my hand all the time, I mildly panic and call my manly “take care of business” husband to find out what to do.   It seems so ironic given the amount of responsibility I handle at work without batting an eye, but a slowly flattening tire… HELP! Someone must have purposely stuck that nail in there – who’s out to get me?!  What do I do?  Deep breath, put on my big girl panties… I tell Lovey, there’s a tire shop in the next parking lot and head there.  Whew… $35 and a tire plug, crisis averted, I think.   

[I warned you that I was indecisive - and by virtue I'm also random!]

Our Story Part 1: Once Upon a Time....

Once Upon a Time...

…there was a red head who met her prince; fell in love, got married but then hit a snag in the baby-making department.  So much for that neatly tied up fairy tale.  That would be oh-so-boring anyway!   Our real story will reach into your chest, squeeze tight your heart, make your stomach drop, and bring happy tears to your eyes.  It’s quite time that I write it down. 
I could cobble together the IF blog posts, numerous Facebook rants, wordy and emotional emails to close friends, our adoption banquet speech, more sleep deprived Facebook love fests, and one memorial page to explain the shoes I stand in right now.  That seems like it would be cheating a bit – and I’d like to write the narrative for you, for me, and especially for Tripp.  Would anyone else read the whole story end to end?  Well, maybe yes – because we've been impatiently waiting on Papa to write the family story, so why not start ours now, while the memory is fresh?!

Meet Tripp, the center of our world!   I've asked, tongue in cheek,  if there was life before this moment.  There certainly was – John and I have lots of adventures and “remember the times when we…" memories.  But if there was ever a defining moment in my life… it was from about 10am on August 21st 2013 until this picture right here (maybe 1 pm that same day).  Everything changed in those few short hours.

Baby, Tiger, and Suicide

originally composed 2.8.15

When you lose your mom and become a mom in a single day, it changes everything… eh what a cliché, but it changed everything for and about me.  A tidal wave of competing emotions swept thru me the morning I learned of my mother’s death while waiting in the hospital parking lot to meet my adoptive son.  And like a tidal wave – a new path is carved… the path of least resistance.  There are things and relationships in my life I’ve had to give up – there simply is not enough emotional capital left to spend.  The regret, resentment, and guilt I feel about some of those things only make it difficult to reach back to them.  It’s as though the destruction has been too great, too chaotic for me to be strong enough to walk back to and rebuild. 

Unconsciously, I spent a considerable effort to place the tiger of my mom’s death in a cage so I could focus on being Tripp’s mommy.  While we were actively pursuing adoption, it all happened very fast and we weren’t entirely ready.  Thank God for good friends and family who jumped in with both feet to help us.  I still don’t feel I’ve adequately thanked everyone or even given back to a level that comes close to what has been given to us.  I’m not sure if I ever can – which is a lot of what this writing is about.  I haven’t had it in me.

My mom committed suicide.  With little time and energy to face or deal with the tragedy, I put all the hurt, guilt, trauma, regrets, anger, and despair away.  It’s as though I locked up a tiger in a cage in my head.  It’s a dangerous, but living breathing being I feel compelled to visit and care for.

The dichotomy of losing a mother and becoming a mother is vexing.  My mom is not here to ask questions… doesn’t everyone wonder back to when did they first walk, how did they sleep or not sleep at night, just what was I like as a baby?  Those memories are gone.  I’ll not get them from my father.  Knowing how greatly she wanted to be a granny – and how she just missed that opportunity – by mere hours… it’s hard to choke back the tears when that thought comes to me.  I mourn for Tripp’s loss of his granny; one that he will never know. There is a photo of my mom and I on our fridge.  Tripp points to it often and says 'mama' and I always add "and Granny Rita." 

Then consider all these feelings, as I was juggling the reality of being a mommy to a newborn.  It’s scary – we couldn’t believe the nurses and doctors let us drive 5 hours home with this tiny 5 lb bundle of amazing gift of life.  His birth mom hugged us, said thank you, even, and signed the paperwork that would all but seal the adoption.  Now my husband and I were solely in charge of this tiny little life in my arms.  He doesn’t sleep well, never has.  The reflux is still here after 17 months and about 18 pounds.  I had no idea what I was doing – and all my energy was focused on him.  My miracle son, with red hair!  Red!?  If I wasn’t certain God was involved in this, the red hair only served to add an exclamation point to His declaration. 

There has been little time to grieve my mom’s suicide.  I haven’t allowed it, and I don’t feel like now, more than a year and a half later that others would allow it.  My old normal is gone.  One day, I was focused on my career, my husband, our dogs, and growing our family… the next day was tragic and euphoric, and the next several months were pure survival and no sleep.  Now, that there’s a rhythm and a new normal, I lift my head to see some of the destruction and just do not think I have the strength to overcome it.  Where would the time and energy come from to give back to others like they gave to us, to resurrect those friendships, to even perform as well at work?

 I won’t even mention the mommy guilt of going to work vs staying home.  (oh wait, I just did).  I prayed and asked and worked hard for this little miracle that calls me mommy and then I leave him in someone else’s care so I can sit at a desk in a corporation all day….?  Just where are my priorities?! 

I’m most worried about how I have not cared for myself.  Not just my health, but the tiger locked in my head that I only visit once in a while.  He will either need to die or be let out --- and since I feed him every so often I doubt he will die before me.  Letting him out will be so painful, he will bite and claw his way to freedom.  I don’t have that gap in time and responsibilities or in remaining support system to sustain letting the tiger out.  I’ve cashed in all my chips.  I’m on my own.