Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Who's to say whose crazier?

One of the best things about being not quite right mentally, is therapy.  I love my therapist.  We've been working together for almost five years.  I initially hated her guts, thought she might be just a bit that side of malpractice.  Predictably, it was my alcoholic's mind that made me think she was out of her tree, and I had put my mental eggs in the wrong basket.

Her major transgression?  Suggesting I needed AA.  I remember, clear as a bell, telling a friend "doesn't she realize I have REAL problems going on?".  I laugh at my brazen, stupid self of yesteryear.

Another great thing about therapy is that I get a quiet break of at least 30 minutes in the waiting room.  No whining child.  No husband prattling away on a work call that you can hear at any spot in our tiny townhouse.  Blissful peace.

So I break out a book while waiting my turn, and start to realize my appointment time is nearing.  My senses perk up for the telltale signs of another client quietly leaving my therapist's office.  Ten more minutes passes, and my time is officially past.  Normally, when someone exits, I do the therapy office bit of neighborliness, by averting my eyes and ignoring the person.  No way I could do that to the lady leaving today.

She was guffawing before the door even cracked.  I could hear my therapist return the laughter, and then the lady started talking LOUDLY about decisions she had to make.  She broke therapy etiquette by pretty much airing her business.  I had to look.  So I took her full in.  Because I am learning to deal with my character defects, I admit I am quick to judge.  I also have a hair-trigger for loudness.  My immediate thoughts were not kind, and erred on the side of brutal.

E, my therapist, whispers for me to come in.  Promptly I march in and plop myself on the sofa, and reach over to the other end to feel the warmth on the seat from the braying woman who just vacated.  Mind you, I am not ticking off the many ways I am being crazy.

I have been really anxious and irritable the last three weeks since my last appointment.  I chalked part of it up to my menstrual cycle.  Then I tried to mentally scroll through all the things that could be causing my mood upset:  motherhood?  Nope.  Husband?  Not really?  Mother?  I had to admit that even that hot-button was not it.  So for the next 50 minutes E and I worked our way through what it could be.

Well, seems I am very much fearful of getting licensed to be a foster parent.  Right under my nose the whole time, something I SHOULD have picked up on, but didn't.  Felt great to get that load off, and now the fear is manageable.

I left E's office feeling light and bouncy.  Then I thought, "man, she must be emotionally drained from dealing with crazies all day long!".  And I am pretty humbled to admit, I was barely thinking of ME being part of that equation.  The braying woman came right to mind.  Then I though how awful of me to diminish my own crazy and it's effect on others.  Light bulb!

Still, that braying woman has some shit to work out.  Heh.

It could have gone one of two ways....

...but we got a smile instead of sheer terror and a look of horror.  Either way, a good story to tell when we pull the pics out years later.  Last year, Cam had "the look".  Mouth agape, and staring dead ahead as if in complete shock. 

This year Cam took to Santa like a pig to mud.  After the picture was snapped, Santa came up to me to ask how old Cam is.  He was shocked to hear that a 21 month old was so calm and ready to sit happily.  The kid even said "No!" when I asked her if she wanted to come back to Mama.  She even gave Santa a big kiss.

When did my baby start looking like such a big kid?!

Friday, November 25, 2011

Thank Full.

That is the saying on my Thanksgiving tee I got from Life is Good.  I wore that sucker with pride yesterday, having sat impatiently by the front door for days waiting for the UPS man to bring it to me.  It arrived right before 1700 the day before Thanksgiving.  For that, I AM thankful.  :)

We had a great Thanksgiving.  We gorged ourselves at Cracker Barrel, knowing our family eats late.

I had FIVE plates of food from just ONE order.  Oh how I love thee fatty, carb-laden foods.

I had been so looking forward to spending the day hanging with family, chatting.  What I did not take into account was that keeping track of a very inquisitive, agile, and energetic 21 month old would lead me to have no conversation longer than "are you done with your plate?" or "where is your father?".  Still, it was a wonderful day, especially since two of my out-of-state cousins were able to both be there.

Cam melted down hours before we anticipated leaving, so we had to hustle out, and hit the country roads.  Cam was asleep before we got a mile down the road, which was a nice change from the whining we endured for most of the hour and a half trip over.  I was zooming down the nice hilly road when a deer decided to make a break for it right in front of us.  I am extremely thankful for Doris, my most awesome family hauler.  She stopped on a dime, which meant poor Dixon (9 year old Pug with a bum leg) was thrown full speed into the back of Rob's seat.  Cam never woke.  Poor Dixon sat on the floor where he landed for the next 20 minutes.  Rob finally put him back on the seat, only for him to climb right up onto Cam's lap for a long siesta.  Being that he weighs a few pounds more than her, I felt bad...yet I felt worse for my boy.  Who doesn't need a warm lap after a near death experience?

Got home and got Cam back down fairly easily.  A few hours later, she woke up crying and hopping mad.  We sat in her chair, but she could not get comfy.  Then the cough she developed two days before started.  the kind of cough you'd expect from a wizened old woman with a three pack a day habit.  Then the tell-tale signs of retching began.  I thought, oh shit we are in for it finally.  The kid is NEVER sick.  Nope.  She yakked for about 10 minutes and recovered.

It was this morning when I realized, she did the same thing the first night of vacation, and on another big day.  Too much excitement?  Perhaps.  But I am extraordinarily thankful that the puking ended and that all she has today is the nasty cough and a grossly snotty nose.

Lots of gratitude today.

Wednesday, November 23, 2011


Tomorrow we are spending the holiday at my aunt and uncle's.  My uncle is my Dad's brother, and I used to spend lots of weekends with he and his family when I was a kid.  I love this side of my family, because even though we only see each other a few times of the year, it always feels like...home.

Choosing where to go for Thanksgiving has gotten dicey over the last few years.  Once my Pop died, I felt compelled to spend the day with my mother.  It wasn't where I wanted to be, so I was ever so thankful that she decided to buck tradition and go to her friend's parent's house.

The last two years, since Pop died, I have chosen my other relatives, because it's fun and I don't have to be surrounded by negativity and a maudlin atmosphere.  This year was even dicier.  Mom decided she wasn't going to her friend's house, and I never offered to come to her place.  She made the correct assumption that I would be going to my uncle's, and I just let it lie there.  Cowardly, I know.

You see, my uncle's side of the family is technically my step family.  Since Pop died (and even before) many little things have transpired to make Mom persona non grata.  My sister has completely alienated that side of the family, as she always thought of them as step family, and not the people who actually gave a shit about us.

Last week my sister L had a little birthday party for my uncle and my niece (her daughter).  Mom actually came with.  It was odd in that the day of the party was on my Mom's actual birthday, but it was barely acknowledged.  Well, not odd, just...awkward.  To make matters even more awkward, Mom starts saying how she feels bad, but she won't be able to join us for Thanksgiving, because she will be spending it with my sister S (confused yet?  S is my full blood sib, L is my step) and nephew.

Silence.  Like you could hear crickets kind of silence.  Fresh in my memory was last year's conversation with my aunt "we'd invite your mom but she never seems to want to be here.  And your sister and nephew have made it very clear they don't like us."  Ahem.  Okay.

So, my step family, who feels MORE like family to me does not like my blood family.  I am stuck in a weird and awful place, because my mother keeps asking why she has been black-listed.  Um, really?  Think about it.  Mull that one over and see if you can figure out why, because it's quite glaringly obvious to everyone else.

I posted last night on some forums that my dirty little secret is that I sometimes wonder if my family, the ones I never remember meeting because I was younger than Cam when my parents hooked up, secretly puts me in the same camp as my mother and sister.  I wonder, because we are not blood, if I am really one of them.

It's ridiculous, so says my heart.  OF COURSE they love me and think of me as one of them.  It shames me to feel this way.  And sometimes I wonder if I only feel this way because of the rejection of my mother and sister....which then makes me extremely pissed at THEM.  Is their behavior and attitudes causing me to lose a bit of a grip on my family?  95% of me thinks I am completely bat-shit crazy to think this, but then there is the scared, self-conscious part of me that can't shake the feeling.

This issue has nagged at me throughout my life.  Having Cam may have exacerbated the feelings.  It scares the hell out of me to think she will ever feel this way about us.  About this family that I love.

So while I have a piece of my heart that is in turmoil, I am ever so grateful to have this family.  To look across the table and see familiar faces, not because we are genetically related, but because they have always been there.  I am grateful that Cam will grow up knowing that she is not the only one in the family who has no blood ties, and that everyone loves her just the same.

I am humbled and grateful this Thanksgiving holiday.

Sunday, November 20, 2011

A taste of two.

This weekend we kept a friend's baby while she was away playing Army.  We didn't keep him at night, just during the day.  I slept like a dead log last night.  Keeping Cam from savaging the baby (6 months) was a full-time, two-person operation yesterday, but today she gave up the fierce attacks and settled for surly attitude.  Still a two-person operation, and I still feel more tired than ever, but I saw that I may not be so crazy thinking about adding a second little human to our family.  Maybe.

Part of today's festivities included a bowling party for a four year old.  Cam's first taste of bowling:

Friday, November 18, 2011

Almost there.

Our social worker came today.  It was just supposed to be a training class make-up, as we missed a PRIDE class when we were on vacation in September.  Seems our home study is done, except for the inclusion of our references.  Those meetings will be held early next week, to which our SW thinks she will have it written up and done before the holiday.  Then we just need to wait on the interim-head of resource homes to sign off, and we will be licensed.

Holy crap!

When we completed our adoption home study, almost exactly two years ago, we were told a one to three year wait.  We a less than 2 month wait.  We were shocked beyond comprehension at how fast we became parents.

Now, our SW told us, before I even asked, that because we want children between 0-2, we will be waiting a long time.  She then said we could use other agencies to find placements that young.  That second bit surprised me, in a good way.  The first part, I have to laugh, because of Cam.

Part of me thinks we will have a placement before Christmas.  And I AM a betting woman.

Sunday, November 13, 2011

It has to be done.

Back in August I started writing out Cam's adoption story.  It was an idea I had after reading some things on adoption.com, about getting a will done and making sure to pick good guardians.

I got to writing in earnest, describing why we chose adoption, our venture into IVF, what agency we used, even what criteria we picked about what kind of situation we would accept.  I pasted in all the emails I exchanged between our social worker, some of which were difficult to read, as Cam's story has lots of twists and turns.

For whatever reason, I put the project aside and pretty much forgot about it until this week.  I suppose what precipitated my picking it back up, was joining my mom at her lawyer's office so that I could be made her power-of-attorney.  All of the sudden a fire has been lit up under my ass, and I am very close to being done with the story.

Except that I am not sure where it ends.  Does it ever really end?  Can I put a date on it and lock it up in our safety deposit box and forget about it?  I have been sitting in Starbucks for three hours.  Two of those hours I have been screwing around on the internet trying to decide if I need to include more.  When I think about the possibility of Rob and I both dying, and leaving Cam parent-less...again, I get all choked up.  She lost her first parents when they made the adoption plan.  If something happens to Rob and I, that would be two huge losses.  Because of that I am having a hard time wrapping up the "ending".

And perhaps Starbucks was not the place I should have gone to write something so filled with emotion.  Or that I chose the day I am overly hormonal thanks to PMS.  I should have brought my own box of Kleenex, as I have practically emptied Starbucks' napkin holders.  Not much of a choice, because there is no way I could have stayed at home and been afforded the solace in which to write.

When I have told people what I am doing, they think it's great...but morbid.  For whatever reason, I am not at all bothered by the fact of my mortality.  I just hope it doesn't happen with Rob.  Because choosing an decent set of parents to take our place?  Impossible.

Before Cam, I would have easily picked three couples to name.  Now, seeing those same three couples in light of their parenting choices?  Oi vey.  Add to that the special consideration of what adoption means, and add to THAT, what it means to parent a child of color.  My mind splits in agony at the thought.  My one motion towards that area is to put a book in my Amazon wish list: In On It: What Adoptive Parents Would Like You To Know About Adoption. A Guide for Relatives and Friends.

So, mortality is not a problem for me, making sure that after I am dead my kid knows how cherished and loved she was and finding suitable stand-in parents is.  

Responsibility is a bitch.

Thursday, November 10, 2011

Love the leaves, love the weather.

Cam looks a little..."off", and by all accounts, she has been today.  It did not stop me from hustling her whiny ass out of the house for our weekly walk in the woods.  I joined a mommas group last spring, and have been whiling away my stay-at-home hours with some pretty fantastic ladies.  It could be that this group keeps me from losing my mind.

And on such a beautiful morning, who could resist a walk?

Tuesday, November 8, 2011


A good topic for any day.  I have been keenly interested in the subject for the past few months, but a bit of serendipity pushed me toward it in a good way.  My church (Unitarian Universalist) had a sign-up sheet a few months ago for classes.  My eyes zeroed in on "anger", "frustration", and "management".  I signed up without fully reading what I was signing up for.  I just knew my ass had a problem with the first two issues, and was hoping the third would get it under grips.

Imagine my surprise on the first evening of the class when I was presented with a book on forgiveness.  Surprised, but intrigued I took a copy and promised to pay my $12 at the next class.  The book is fantastic.  Admitting full disclosure, I have been remiss in doing my homework.  I "cram" by going to class an hour early so I can read the chapter we will discuss that night.  I am a terrible procrastinator, and I have found that there is really not enough time in life to read all the books I want to read.  So I have about 8 books, most of them for AA sitting in my book bag or on my bedside table, that I read semi-regularly.

I struggle with forgiveness, much as I believe a lot of people do.  It is essential for a happy heart, I am learning.  Being that I have major trust issues, and all of them stem from my childhood, this class is at least opening the door of my heart.

One benefit, I was able to spend a good portion of yesterday with my mother, and just...be.  Not get angry.  not get frustrated.  I didn't let myself get triggered by comments or look at all the things SHE does wrong.  Not to say I have wiped the slate clean, or forgiven, per say.  More like I have started to understand, the once (highly!) irritating, "she did the best she could" mode of thought.  Work with my AA sponsor has also helped take the edge off my control issues, so that I am not so quick to judge or lash out.  Learning that i cannot control anyone else has been a long, slow, painful process.  This class in forgiveness also helps me in that process.

A roundabout way of saying forgiveness is good.  Not an easy undertaking (again, great book), but the fruits of the labor or worth it.

Have you been forgiving lately?

Friday, November 4, 2011

We are getting there.

Got a call from our social worker yesterday.  We got the most excellent news that we do not have to make up a class we missed while we were on vacation in September.  SW will be coming to our house to review the materials, and to chat with us about the home study, which should be done by the end of the month.  So it's all coming together, and I am extremely excited and a little bit nervous.

We could be licensed by this time next month, and possibly have a placement.  Two under two?  Have I lost my mind?

Wednesday, November 2, 2011

Parents of the Year award goes to....

Well, it doesn't go to us.

Today, within five minutes of meeting Cam's new speech therapist, I undermined what I thought was an air of superior parenting.  You see, Cam was busy digging through her new play drawers, drawers that at one time belonged to my massive wood TV stand.  My bachelor furniture, if you will.  It has nice, deep drawers that housed 100's of DVD's and CD's.  A few weeks ago I though it would be better used as a sort of toy chest, instead of the dreadful plastic bins I had been using.

Today we were getting acquainted with the speech therapist, and Cam was digging through her new drawer full of plastic jewelry, I noticed some had slipped behind the drawer.  I fished out a few bracelets I hadn't seen in a week or so, and then I grabbed hold of something small, almost credit card sized.  As I pulled it out to examine it, I realized, "Oh shit. Fuck me."

Sitting in my hand, was a pack of rolling papers.  I kind of chuckled and said "another life".  The therapist wouldn't meet my gaze.  I figure she must not have had the kind of recreational, relaxing nights I did.

All I can really say is it really was (what seems to me) a lifetime ago, and at least it wasn't the kind bud itself.