Monday, October 13, 2014

Hoopla and Heartbreaks


It's been a while.

So busy.

So, so busy.

Our adoption finalized with very little hoopla. I was surprised. I mean, there we were, all gussied up and the entire thing took about 5 minutes. It took us longer to drive there than to actually complete the ceremony. Plus, the judge didn't even come over and shake hands. But it's finished. For better or worse, we are the legal parents of Thing One and Thing Two.

Heaven help us!


We had our adoption party and simply moved on to regular old life. No more social workers, no more court dates. No more asking for permission to do this, that or the other with our girls.

School started, I turned 47 (EGAD!), and here is Halloween looming before us.

And my boy's heart is broke. Fabulous Girl (whom we all LOVED) and our Boy decided to part ways. They just didn't want the same thing for the future. My heart hurts because his heart hurts.

It never ends, does it? These protective feelings just well up inside me. It's exactly like it was when he was little and hurt. I want to fix it.

Fortunately, I'm not a big enough nutcase to think I can fix it. Heartbreaks of adult men are NOT for mommies to fix. Mommies need to mind their own business and let time heal those wounds.

Oh, but it's hard...

Thursday, August 14, 2014

You are My Bucket List

My birthday is coming up next month. I'm pushing fast towards 50, but I'm not 50 yet!

No, not yet.

I'm just gettin' close. Real. Close.

Close enough to reflect on these past years of my life.

Mine is not a real exciting life. I haven't climbed mountains or soared with eagles. I'm kind of a stay at home girl. We had our babies....and raised them. Then we took on two more...because that's just how we roll.

I have a friend whose living my life. The life I have always felt I should/would/could be mine.

She writes for a living. She teaches. She cooks organic/gourmet. She travels. She loves her job. She hangs' with her buddies. She has a bucket list.

I have a bucket too. It usually contains mop water. I don't write, not like I thought I would. I don't teach, I barely cook and I seldom travel. Friends? Ha! Who has time?

Every time I read of some amazing adventure or new opportunity that this friend has, I sigh a little. I do not sigh because I regret the path I've chose, it's just that....I thought there would be, you know, more.

More of what?  I don't know.

Life is good. Our adoption will finalize in a few weeks. The girls have settled down a bit more. There's a pattern to our days. We are healthy, at least reasonably so. We're employed, something to be truly thankful for.

So, why do I sigh?


Then, I had a light bulb moment. It came to me when I was looking at custom jewelry site. One of the metal stamped necklaces simply said:



Children - YOU are my great adventure! YOU are my sunny day at the beach, my whirlwind tour of strange and new place, my inspired painting.


From music & art to athletics and drama, it's all you kids.

I feel so happy about this! Because it proves what I've always, always felt. I am more than just a middle aged woman.

I am a mom.

And I'm a good one too!

Monday, July 14, 2014

Nothin' but Blue Skies

We have hit mid-summer, with its muggy nights and sun drenched days. Our little family is waiting for notification from the attorney to complete our adoption. Two to ten weeks, they said. We are 2.5 weeks into the process and the silence is deafening.

This waiting game is like standing under a waterfall that's being held back by dental floss. You know it is not going to hold...but it's fascinating to watch the water press and strain against the barrier.

I can almost feel the stress from the oldest adopted daughter. I can feel her longing to test our parental strength, our love. The battle hasn't even begun and I feel myself sharpening my sword and testing my battered shield. This one, this blondie daughter, will push and pull and test our endurance. We have no doubts about her ability to strain against us and God.

She is so broken. So very damaged. This tiny girl who longs for adulthood, yet can barely see over the steering wheel. She wants contacts. She wants a drivers permit. She wants a new Ipod, a cell phone, a laptop.

She had a boyfriend...

She has a manipulative friend...

She trusts no one...

High school is just weeks away and I remind myself of one phrase that I have mumbled and shouted for years: WHERE IS HER MOTHER?

This is my catch phrase for girls who dress like hookers, girls who find themselves pregnant at 15 and girls who fail to thrive.

Where is her mother!

Now I find myself the mother of a potentially troubled girl. Is it possible to guide this wild girl through adolescence without addictions and pregnancy? Can I keep her emotionally stable and avoid self mutilation, an eating disorder or suicide?

I feel unprepared for the days ahead.

I am thankful for those who have gone before me and survived the days filled darkness and hurt. Their struggles and ultimate triumph give me hope. If you are one of those moms, and you know who you are, thank you. Thank you for sharing. I never imagined that I might face these same ordeals, but God knew and He game me your friendship.

I have come to realize that this daughter of mine, will by my daughter at arms length. She will not let me close. She will not accept my all encompassing love. Her heart is her own and she will not share it with me the way a biological child will.

At least, not yet and probably not for years to come.

And it's okay. I'm learning how to love the child who desires love, but rejects it with the same hands.

Monday, May 19, 2014

Trouble, Trouble, Boil and Bubble.

I'm on a the verge of a deep and dark sadness. I have made the mistake of reading the history page on Pinterest. Most of the time, the pins are interesting and I usually walk away with new and interesting information. However, in recent weeks, someone is researching serial killers and I have made the colossal mistake of reading them.

Let us not forget the daily news...

School girls kidnapped simply because they are GIRLS receiving an education.

Coal miners dying.



All of which has led me to wonder about that goodness of ..... anything?

Where is the outrage? Where is the justice?

Why do people care about Brad Pitt throwing Mathew McConaughey a beer?

Every minute of every day someone is murdered, injured, abused, abandoned. Someone goes hungry. Another barely survives a twister. Earthquakes. Fire. War.

How can we be the good that we hope to see in others?

People are so petty. So small.

Myself included.

So, I sit here in my little pool of darkness and wonder what it's all about.

If this is all life is about, all this death, despair and judgement, than it stinks. It's putrid and boiling over with darkness. I hate it.

Show me the good! Give me all the smiles and rainbows you can find!

And I sit here writing this, just outside my window, I see a grey, bushy tailed squirrel munching joyfully away on a peanut. He is not aware of me and not aware of the burden sitting on my heart. He is just doing what he does.

The pansies are swaying slightly in the morning breeze and smiling up into the face of the sun.

An elderly couple is walking arm in arm, as they do every morning.

My life is good. Everyone is healthy. We are employed. I have friends.I believe in a life after this miserable life.

I just long for justice... now....but I know it's coming and will be far worse than anything I could even imagine.

Come Lord Jesus, Come!

This little kiddie pool of darkness is rising and I can feel its slimy fingers pulling at me.

Come quickly.

Tuesday, May 13, 2014


During the past two weeks, I've noticed something interesting about girls. It's not as if I didn't already know these things about us, but for some reason, the "beauty" issue just slapped me along side the head. It wasn't a gentle caress either.

A week or so ago, Girl and I flew to Los Angles for my best friend's daughters wedding. I hadn't set foot in CA for so many years, that I am embarrassed to even write how long it had been (20 years!). My friends girls had grown into lovely, talented, amazing young women (see what happens when you don't visit your friends? Their children grow up!).

Standing next to them, my own beautiful, accomplished, talented daughter felt...frumpy.


My girl?

No way!

Yet, she did. She's a quiet, willowy young woman who would rather tackle a complex math problem than party down with a group of people she doesn't know. It's just  her way. My poor girl felt out of sync with these lovely ladies; an ugly duckling among the swans.

It wasn't the way the girls treated her. Surly not! They all have their Mama's heart and embraced my Girl with love and kindness. It was something inside her that made her feel as if she somehow didn't measure up.

Simply not true!

All ended well and Girl looked lovely at the wedding, but I'm disturbed by her reaction and when I follow the thought process back to it's original...well, damn if it didn't lead straight back to ME!

No matter how hard we try, we women just can't seem to get over caring about what other people think of us. Even when we know (and we do KNOW) that no one thinks about us as much as we think they do.

So, my own insecurities have bled over into another generation.


Which brings me to pretty girl number two and her new found beauty.

KK is an athlete. She's tough. She's very much a no make-up, hair looks fine, gray t-shirt wearing if you don't like it, don't look at it, kinda girl.

Until Sunday, that is.

What led to this make-over? Not a clue, but suddenly there she was, blond hair curled, eye lids tinted a soft blue and lashes swept with mascara.

And she was lovely. So, so lovely.

And we did what everyone does...we bathed her in praise.

We didn't praise her because she is intellegent or because she's a beast on the Lacrosse field. Nope, we saw a pretty face and complimented her on it.

Palm to face.

For all my bold and brash language concerning beauty being on the INSIDE, I have taught my girls by example and word, that beauty is on the outside. I didn't mean to. I do not want them to feel inferior in a room full of super models. I want them to stand on their own two feet, secure in the knowledge that they are strong, talented, and amazing. I desperately want them to see that they are a powerful and they do not need anyone's approval.

It's a hard subject to teach...when you don't always believe it yourself.

I think I drank too much of the Koolaid when I was growing up. I think we all did and do.

So, I'll keep telling my girls how smart they are. I will remind them that their hearts are what is truly beautiful and I'll try to remember that a pretty dress does not a pretty girl make.

Just don't ask me about this one.... Because she already knows she's all that and a bag of chips.

Tuesday, April 22, 2014

Pardon Me While I Polish My Halo

Have you heard?

I'm a saint!

A wonderful person.



It seems that not week goes by without someone, friend, foe or stranger, telling me how amazing we are for taking in two "special" children. It's getting to the point that I no longer mention that we are adopting the girls. I can withhold this information from strangers simply because the girls look very similar to us. Except for Hay-Hay that is, who looks almost identical to me. Funny that.

I wish people could see that we are the lucky ones. The girls have breathed new life into our family. It isn't just the middle school drama and the piles of laundry. It's more than double Lacrosse games every.single.Saturday. Yes, so much more.

When Girl started college, Beloved and I had fun. Lots of fun. Lots and lots of lots of fun...for about 6 months. After that, we watched too much television. We puttered around the house. We talked about joining a gym, but never did. I noted that we were turning into our parents and we were in our early 40's for Pete's sake!

We didn't have a purpose and even though we said we were going to go on adventures, we didn't. We just watched television and went to happy hour and worked.


When the girls moved in, boring moved out. Life has been full throttle ever since. Life is much more, dare I say, sweeter than before? (Since I've thrown this out there, you can expect an exasperated post in the near future!)

We are not saints. We are moody. We are tired. Sometimes, we are fed up. We jump to conclusions. We react instead of think. Occasionally, we remind each other that there are only "x" amount of years left before they leave for college. There are meals of boxed mac and cheese and far too much ice cream. 

I complain about dirty dishes and laundry and bad attitudes. I repeat the same mantra every morning: brush your teeth, feed the animals, make your beds, did you pack a snack, where are your shoes?! Why can you NOT remember to do these things????

Would you think it awful if I told you that sometimes I yell? Me? I've never been a yeller. Sigh.

In the midst of the chaos stands my little family, held together by a wish and a prayer. 

I am not a hero. I am a mom. I am doing the best I can with what I have. Often times, I'm wrong. I'm cranky. I'm sarcastic. 

But I'm blessed. So very, very blessed.

To those who think I'm some kind of Mother Theresa, please keep your mighty praise for someone else. For those who constantly say, "I'm so glad you are doing this...I never could take in other people's children." I challenge you to reword what you are saying. You could do it, but your are choosing not to and that's fine. Just please stop making it sound like I'm curing cancer or negotiating world peace.

And for that one guy who never misses an opportunity to tell my daughters how "lucky" they are...Jack, you better back the heck up, because I'm about to tell you a thing or two.

Now, if you'll pardon my, I've been nominated for Mother-of-the-Year and I need to write my acceptance speech.


Friday, April 11, 2014

My Big Fat American Life (Teenage Boy Included)

If you have seen the  movie, My Big Fat Greek Wedding, you may recall a scene when Gus Portokalos (Michael Constantine) says to his wife, Maria (actress Christian Eleusiniotis):

 "It is mistake to educate women but, nobody listen to me cause now we have a boyfriend in the house! Is he nice Greek boy? Oh no no Greek! No Greek xeno! Xeno with the long hair on top of his head!

I love that line. I love how passionate the dad is about his child. Granted, the poor girl was 30 and way past her expiration date (another great line!), but still a child is a child is a child. Always.

Today's long overdue blog post is about....The boyfriend.

Or specifically, a boyfriend. A freckle faced youth with dazzling blue eyes and an incredibly respectful manner. Who is young. Oh, so young. But so is she. Sigh.

I have great mommy radar. When Boy was a youth, I always knew when he was up to no good. Even if I wasn't sure exactly what he was doing, I always knew he was doing something. So, when my radar started pinging BOYFRIEND, I casually asked KK if she had one. Her denial was sure and swift and a little too believable.

I asked. I threw out names. I joked.

She held firm to her story that there was no boyfriend. Until...

The night of her band concert she matter of factly told me that, "Colin (names changed to protect the guilty) will be playing percussion and his parents would like to meet you."

Colin is one of the boys that I had specifically asked about. Pointedly joked about. Looked her dead in the eye and said, "Is Colin your boyfriend????"

I stopped dead in my tracks in the middle of the high school parking lot when she blurted the news of the non-existing boyfriend. Xeno! What transpired next was an angry tirade of words and thoughts. Hours later, when I reported the story to Beloved, he simply said, "Why didn't you just leave? Why did you let her manipulate the situation? She set you up. I would have told her to get her sneaky butt back in the car and drove home."

Gee, wish I'd thought of that.

But, I didn't. I met Colin (firm handshake, good eye contact) and his mother, who I am fairly certain thought I was the meanest mom on the planet. I was simply unable to stop my mouth from saying things like, "Oh, Colin TOLD his mother about YOU?!" and "Sure they can hang long as there are eyes on them AT ALL TIMES!"


Since that fateful night a month or so ago, Colin and KK have been texting up a storm. They say silly, gushy things to each other. We allowed them to go to a movie....with a chaperone. They've made plans to go to the mall (again, chaperoned). They say, "I love you".

Double Oi.

Here's the thing; KK has trust issues. What happens when she goes to high school next year and Colin stays in middle school (yes, he's younger than she is)? Or worse, what will become of KK when they break up? And they will. they are just children after all.

Children playing with their hearts.

Who will be left to pick up the pieces of KK's fragile heart?

 Me, that's who. 

My friends, they don't get it. These friends fall into one of two camps. There are the ultra conservatives whose children do not date before age 18, of which I was a part of back when Boy and Girl were younger. The other camp consists of those who think dating and all that jazz, is a normal part of a child's development. They ask why I'm so anxious, when it's all so normal.

No one gets me.

We have a boyfriend. A boyfriend! A boyfriend in the house!

Is he a nice Christian boy? I don't know!

At this juncture, we are all over this situation like hawks. We keep our friends close...and our enemies closer.

Nick Portokalos:
I've never seen my sister this happy, Ian. If you hurt her, I'll kill you and make it look like an accident.