Monday, April 30, 2012

On Weekend Things......

We started the weekend off on a high-note.  We put clean sheets on our beds.  And to Georgia this household chore is an excuse to swing from the rafters and shout rock n'roll with her finger in the air.  I kid you not.  She did that right before I shot the picture below.  I have no idea how she even knows  to do that.  We haven't played guitar hero in ages--probably not since before she was born and we stopped letting her watch KISS concerts on On Demand so I'm really lost.  But this girl sees me start peeling the sheets off the bed and she is up there dancing like a dervish in five seconds flat.  It's uncanny.  It's like she sees a naked bed as an open stage, ripe for some new talent.  

We encountered a hiccup in weekend fun when we decided we really had to do this.  'This' entailed bringing our cat, Sparrow, to the vets to be put down.  We've struggled with this decision for months and it was just time.  But explaining where he's going in three year old appropriate language is never easy.  For now she seems okay with everything.  For now.  We've decided that we'll probably bring a new kitten home at the end of the summer and I'm assuming that will bring up a whole new crop of questions regarding why Sparrow is officially being replaced. Big sigh.  I'll worry about that later.

But on to happier things.  Georgia and I went downtown on Saturday afternoon to take in a Civic Theatre (I love to write THEATRE with an RE--feels so proper) production of Pinkalicious.  One of my least favorite children's books--does she really need to be so bratty, foot stomps and all?--but I'll say....the play was way more up my alley than the books.  I thought it was adorable and our little theatRE did an awesome job.....complete with delicious pink cupcakes to eat at intermission.

The smart people buy their cupcakes before the show.....keep them safe in a box......and then don't have to wait in line at intermission for a cupcake.  For once, I was that smart mom.

This little purse is a new staple.  It accompanies us everywhere and holds important things like one card from a strawberry shortcake memory game (good luck to whoever tries to play that memory game), a tube of lip smackers Cinderella glitter lip gloss, some skewered marshmallows from a LaLaLoopsey doll, and a Penne noodle necklace--just the essentials.

See that lady playing the doctor up there?  She's really my doctor.  It's always interesting to see someone you're used to sharing your most embarrassing medical problems with who plays the "I'm a serious doctor" role quite well, sashaying around a stage singing falsetto.  A little bit of that might have helped lighten the mood during all those infertile years.  She really is an amazing lady--and the most easy-to-laugh and crack a joke doctor I've ever encountered.

Waiting in line to get one more intermission.  And here I was so smart.

She loves to pay for stuff.  If only it was really her own money huh?

Please notice that little dollop of frosting on her nose.  I love that.

And from there Chris and I had a night out.
Here's Chris twenty minutes before the sitter arrived.

And Chris at the end our night looking for new fishing poles.  Dates have come a long way in twelve years.

But........he's still the only guy I'd want to hang out in MC Sports with and take paparazzi pictures of fishing pole perusing with.

Sunday......we returned to the Renucci House, a third time, to serve dinner with our small group from church.  And I've said it before, but I love doing this.  I love it for the sense of community it builds; both for me and for my daughter.  I love watching her play with our other small group kids; fourteen total, of all ages, all of them running around and laughing and playing tag in little courtyards and decorating cards for the people that will come and eat dinner.  I love that she can be a part of this.  I think community service projects are that much better when our kids can do them too.  And kids might make the projects a little more hectic, complicated, and necessitate more vigilance........but it's 200% worth it to me.  Because even though she might not know exactly what we're doing as a three year old, helping people together is becoming part of her every-day--it's just something we do.  That's worth so much.

Getting ready to decorate some cards for the people staying at Renucci House.

Anna.  This girl is a favorite amongst the little kids.  She is amazing and Georgia worships the ground she walks on.

Just a few of the kids....we're missing the big kids here.

And of course....where kids are gathered and there is just the smallest bit of open space available a tag game will ensue.  I think Georgia ran about two miles total up and down this little courtyard that was fifty feet long.

Rachel, Deb, and Lianne in the kitchen.

Grilling chicken for about fifty people plus our crew.

I'm thankful for weekend things.  I'm thankful for Sunday nights when I am exhausted and actually look forward to Monday because it will feel like a day off.  I'm thankful.

Friday, April 27, 2012

After a Visit.

This post is part of the Open Adoption Roundtable  on Open Adoption Bloggers.  Open Adoption Bloggers hosts a series of occasional writing prompts about open adoption. It’s designed to showcase the diversity of thought and experience in the open adoption community. You don’t need to be listed at Open Adoption Bloggers to participate or even be in a traditional open adoption. If you’re thinking about openness in adoption, you have a place at the table. The prompts are meant to be starting points–please feel free to adapt or expand on them.  This is my response to their latest prompt.............. 

"After a Visit."
I used to think about visits with Georgia's birth-mom and her mom a lot.  Thankfully, as our open relationship has progressed, Sharon--Tarah's mom--has even shared her feelings about it on this blog, and we're more and more honest with each other about we feel, I don't think about the "after" of a visit as much as I used to.  And for me......that is a huge relief.

Because the thing is, I used to worry myself into oblivion after a visit.

"Was Georgia well behaved enough?",
"Do they think she seems happy enough?",
"Did I seem like a super happy mom that is always in a state of bliss even though I had five hours of sleep last night?", "When Georgia does need re-direction, do they think I handled it well?",
"Georgia cried....a lot....they think I'm a terrible mom."
"Georgia acts so shy around them and they're so out-going--they must think we're sheltering her."
"Georgia can't really swim yet and they live on a lake--I'm disappointing them."
"Georgia has had a UTI for eight months.  They must wonder why in the world we can't figure this out."

I remember one time when Tarah's mom, Sharon, was over by herself, Georgia was in a particularly hyper mood--she was berserk.  She threw something in the air after being asked a number of times not to and it hit Sharon right in the head. I wanted a magical trap door to open under me.  I had to do something about it.  I refuse to be one of those parents who just smiles about bad behavior and shrugs it off with a, "I don't know why she's doing that.  She's always a perfect angel."

She was two.  If you think your two year old is "always a perfect angel," I'd like a sip of whatever you're drinking.

I put her in time out in her room and she threw a fit.  Like an "I'm being murdered fit."
And then I got her out and I made her apologize to Sharon.
And Sharon seemed okay with it.  She kind of laughed it off and we went about our visit.

When she left I started thinking about all of the things I worried about when it came to visits.  And it was just so stupid.  This woman has raised three amazing daughters.  She has kids in and out of her house all the time--she's like a kid whisperer.  And most importantly.....

She's a mom--an excellent one.  And she helped her daughter pick me to be Georgia's mom.  To do mom things like play in the back yard, show Georgia how to look people in the eye and say hi, play appropriately, laugh, learn how to use the potty, say please and thank-you, love a little girl like crazy, and turn her into a responsible adult.

And she knows-- (as does Georgia's birth-mom who is also AMAZING around kids) she knows how two year olds act, and three year olds, and seven year olds and twelve year olds, and sixteen year olds.  She's seen her fair share of tantrums, broken toys, hurt feelings, lies, bad attitudes, cranky faces, and crazy kids.  None of this is new to her.  None of this is surprising.  None of this is an indication that I'm doing a bad job as a mom.

It's all normal.  Expected. A rite of passage. A really hard job.  And.........the one that her family is trusting me to do.

So now--after a visit I don't worry so much.  I don't make it all about me and what I should or shouldn't be doing differently.  I'm thankful.  Thankful that I have these people in my life to ask questions of, laugh with, kick my shoes off at their house and jump in their pool, invite to birthday parties, send piles of pictures to, go to the circus with, eat way too much Greek food, and most importantly........

Visit with.  For them, for me, for my daughter.

And after a vist.......I find myself thinking, "I can't wait to see you again."

Tuesday, April 24, 2012

Daddy is my best.

Celebrating G's adoption day

I hear it one hundred times a day.
"When will daddy be home?"

Cutting down our Christmas tree. 

"Will daddy be home for dinner?"
"Daddy is my favorite."
"Daddy is my best."


"I want to get doughnuts just with daddy."
"I want to go to the store to buy ant killer just with daddy."

"I'm making this project for daddy."
"I want daddy to give me my bath."
"I think daddy will like this."
"That's daddy's favorite."

And it goes on.  And on.  And sometimes I feel a little like a third wheel.  Not really.  What I feel is immense gratitude.

Sunday paper. 

That this girl is in love with her daddy.  She wants to marry him and wears a Dora ring that she says is her wedding ring from daddy.  It doesn't matter what Chris is doing, Georgia wants to do it with him.  Edging the lawn, taking out the trash, re-arranging the storage room in the basement, moving the trampoline, reading the paper, going to Lowe's, cleaning up cat puke, or looking at Sports Illustrated--the most mundane of tasks are like a trip to Disney World if daddy is involved.  Meanwhile, I could build a circus tent in our living room, don a ring-masters tuxedo, and ride a tiger.......but if daddy rounds the corner with a broom to sweep the garage that trumps everything......we're sweeping the garage.

                                                Art Prize....downtown Grand Rapids.  

And I know it's not Father's Day--so why am I writing a tribute to Daddy?  Apart from the obvious answer--that I wouldn't want anyone else to be Georgia's daddy and that there is no one I'd rather do life with than Chris--there's a deeper answer in there.  And it starts with the questions that Georgia is starting to ask about herself.  And her adoption.  And what it all really means.  


Georgia and I lay in bed every night and talk and do prayers and act silly and give kisses and I remind her to stop biting her finger-nails.  And sometimes out of the blue she'll drop a really deep question on me.   Like......."If I grew in Tarah's tummy, I'm her little girl too, right?" 

Um.  So we're three and we're going to start these discussions. 

I was quiet for a minute.  I don't think it's bad to be quiet while you think about what to say.  "You know what honey, Tarah was your birth-mom.  There are two kinds of mommies and they are both awesome.  So, if she was your birth mom it means you grew in her tummy just like we always talk about and she picked us to be your mommy and daddy once you were born--she wanted you to be our little girl.  Remember--not all babies grow in their mommy's tummies.  Just because a baby grows in someone's tummy, it doesn't mean they are that baby's mommy forever.  We love Tarah, and she loved you so much--so much.  We're so glad she took such good care of you while you were growing in her tummy.  Aren't you?  So that you could be a strong healthy girl and be our little girl?"

Georgia was quiet for a minute.  "That's okay.  I like being your little girl and I liked growing in Tarah's tummy.  But I really like daddy." 

                                                                                      Larry's Pizza.

And all of that heartfelt conversation and deep emotion flutters away......because daddy is king.  But does it really?  No.  She's thinking.  Hard.  And that's great.  We've created an atmosphere in our home that we can talk about adoption whenever and wherever she brings it up.  It's her choice.  We don't bombard her with it, we don't make it heavy, we don't force her to read the books we have on it, we go weeks without even talking about it.  But if she brings it up--we talk, we joke, we laugh, we're as honest as a three year old can handle, and we celebrate.  Oh do we celebrate.  

And right now, Georgia wants to celebrate that daddy is her daddy.  It's her thing right now.  She said to me today, resurrecting our conversation from the other night and proving that she forgets nothing, "If Tarah didn't pick you to be my mommy, daddy wouldn't be my daddy, right?"  I smiled at her.  I tried not to let her see me wipe away some tears (because if she sees me cry she assumes I have a bad, bad boo boo and need a few band-aids) and I just said, "That's right honey.  And we're so happy that daddy is your daddy aren't we?"

Daddy is your best. 

Santa. Always a little scary. 

Putting together the big girl bed........with daddy. 

Antibiotics.  A way of life for almost a year.....until this week......we're clear!

                                                                              A snowy walk. 

Valentine's Day presents.  

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