Sunday, April 24, 2011

Wake up to your pain

It's funny (but not so much in the ha-ha! manner) how from time to time, things really mesh together. They just, you know, make sense.  Perhaps it you weren't looking, the connection wouldn't be made- but when you are?  When your eyes are wide open?  Heck yes.

Today a friend described an analogy:
A little girl, walking up to her mother time and time again with a handful of dandelions... sure that this time, this time her mom will accept them.  The truth of the matter is, all her mother can see are the weeds.  Not the beauty, not the effort, not the gift... just the weeds.
Today, as I glanced through a book, I found these words:
 Wake up to your pain and investigate it.
That's right.

We're about to have some good times over here.  Real good times.

Saturday, April 23, 2011

Succulent Wild Woman

I was recently reminded of my desire to be an succulent wild woman. 

That's right.  A succulent wild woman.  Me.

According to Sark, a succulent wild woman is:
A woman of any age who feels free to fully express herself in every dimension of her life. 
If, like me, you are not yet there, then you must pay heed to the advice:
Stand firm and whole as a woman.  You are precious and irreplaceable.  Treasure your female self.  Choose innocence.  Invent ways to feel more free.  Investigate your darkness.
I have a friend at work (also happens to be a dear friend outside of work) who I am sure is well on her way of achieving succulent wild woman status if she's not yet already there.  Case in point:  she got these crazy wild new shoes.  They actually outline each of your toes.  Never before have I seen shoes like these.  Sure, I've seen the socks.  But the shoes?  Never.  Random point being, these are shoes that are bound to catch attention.  And sure enough, she's gotten it.  Not all good, by the way.  But this friend of mine?  She loves these shoes.  So much so that she could give two shits what the person next to her is thinking.  She laughs when she walks, she giggles when the kids stare, and she throws handfuls of glitter wherever she happens to be (well, maybe not so much the glitter bit).

I love that friend.

Sark says:
Choosing succulence is a deliberate act of personal revolution.  It means waking up!  Embracing your true self, studying your patterns, and letting out your most alive self... We deserve wildness.  Wildness can be as simple as wearing tall boots when none of your friends do, or talking to gorgeous strangers, or visiting expensive hotels for just a cup of tea... Being tame is what we're taught... No matter how dry and tame and nice we live, we will die.  We will also suffer along the way.  Living wild is its own reward... Live a wild, vulnerable life.  Let us see you, laughing loudly, walking flamboyantly, and wearing colors that don't match!
Because I'm all about paying heed to advice lately, I took her words to heart.  And for the first time in well over (maybe?) two years, I put a scarf on my head before I walked out the door for the day.  A beautiful, bright, long scarf.  And I said to myself, this is your deliberate act of personal revolution (and no, you do not look like Bon Jovi when you wear this!  And if someone says that you do, shield yourself with laughter!).  This is your means of waking up!  This is a step forward to your living a wild and vulnerable life.  Wear this scarf with joy and confidence because, damnit, you love it.  And if you feel like wearing another one tomorrow?  DO IT.  And how about that desire you've been holding onto for forever and ever to find wild and beautiful skirts that go all sorts of directions when you spin?  FIND THEM.  And haven't you been wanting to paint your nails a dashing shade of burgundy?  GET BUSY PAINTING.

Choose succulence, me.  Be more alive.  More contributing.  More flexible.  More fresh.


Tuesday, April 19, 2011

The body is marked with history, and so ripe for claiming by a community

I know.  Here I go again.  The thing is, I just can't help it.  I just can't.

But, before I begin, I want you to know there have been some incredible comments made on this post as of late and I think you should read them.

Onto more blather....

"The body is marked with history, and so ripe for claiming by a community"

(How's that for a title?)

That's right folks.

I'm here to process.  To dialogue.  To learn.  To document.  I hope to not get overly messy.

As I read through the comments from a couple recent posts, I continued to come back to the idea of "it's me, it's my family, it's my son... because of those reasons (and plenty more I can assure you!), I get to make the decisions when it comes to my child's hair style."

And it's true.  The woman at the merkato is certainly not my boss.  Nor is my social worker.  Or the woman next door. 

Truth?  When I first picked this book up, I decided to read it just because I got pissed off at a quote on the back cover:  "Is it a right for white parents to adopt African American children?"  I then went on to read what the author had to say and here I am, sharing yet more information that I think is worth thinking about. 

In response to the conversation regarding hair....  The reason why I believe an African American woman can grow her toddler son's hair into an Afro and I, a European American, cannot (or rather, why I am now choosing not to) is simply this (as stated in Weaving a Family):
It is a tangled, complicated relationship that exists between culture and the body.  It is not that ethnicity, the way of life, the community, the culture is carried in the blood, in the body, as racist essentialists would claim.  But the body is marked with history, and so ripe for claiming by a community.  Is that so bad?  Of course it has the awful flip side, the dark side of community:  some bodies are marked as not belonging, marked as other.  Victoria [the author's daughter] doesn't look Jewish [which the author is].

The marking of the body is a very powerful argument against transracial adoption.  It is a reasonable argument to make:  let any White family of any White ethnicity raise the child any way they want to, inculcate  him or her with all the cultural lore, values, way of life, songs and recipes, history, all of it that they have and want to share-- and if that child's body marks her as Black, if her skin and hair and face present her to the world as Black, she will have to live in this world as Black.

And she damned well better know how.  Race isn't just something we talk about; it's something we live.
The way I see it, it's pretty clear cut.  I'm not Black.  My husband is not Black.  My son, however, is.  Because of this, we need help in raising him.  I'm going to ask questions.  I'm going to read books.  I'm going to take advice.  I'm going to be as honest as I can when I am talking, inquiring, and pursuing discussion.

Life is different from what it used to be when it was just my beloved and the two cats.  It's magnificent and joyful and at times hard as hell.  (I wouldn't change it).  While I anticipate continued mistakes on my part, I hope I can always quickly get it back together and be the best I can be for those here right around me.

Like I said, this isn't about my needs.  Not even one teeny tiny bit.  It's about my boy.  Who will one day be a man.  And if I can't take a big bite out of humble pie and learn how to step down from my ginormous self-entitlement soap box, well, I'm not doing him any good. I'm just not.

Sunday, April 17, 2011

The saddest of sounds

We were lucky enough to head off to a local ranch down the road this morning- rumor had it there was a brand new natural hot springs pool in the final throes of completion, some horses, some chickens, a donkey, a llama, and 17 lambs new to the world as of this past week.

Leone was so damn excited- all he could say was "baby animals" over and over and over again.  Made my mama heart blossom and grow.

On our way to the outside pen full of lambs we were immediately drawn to this long, high-pitched sound coming from a small barn- a sound of such agony that it made your soul hurt.  As we approached, our friends (the ones who run the ranch) told us that one of the sheep was refusing its baby.  That sound- that sad, sad sound- were the cries of that very lamb. 

Hungry.  Afraid.  Alone.

We peeked over the side of the barn and watched.  There was the mama, standing in a corner- just staring at the wee one as though she had no idea why the two of them were stuck in the same space.  And in the middle... falling, stumbling, crying... was the lamb.

It got me in the gut.

As I listened to the ranchers explain that the chances for the lamb's survival were minimal at best if they couldn't get the colostrum from the sheep into the baby, all I could do was blink back the tears while holding my own little one a bit closer... trying my hardest to not let the sounds of grief and confusion drown out everything else.

Saturday, April 16, 2011

April 15, 2011

I took Friday off from work to be with my boy.  We had a real good day.  Like, real good.  We did the play-doh thing.  We did the markers on paper thing.  We did the throw five million rocks into the river thing.  We did the mac and cheese thing.  We did the nap thing.  We did the doctor thing (that part ended up not being so good, but it had to be done).  We did the park thing.  We did the pizza for dinner thing.  We did the bed thing.

Although it was super cold, the sun was shining and lots of love was in the air.  It felt so good to light a candle in remembrance while being able to hug and squeeze and kiss my son whenever I felt like it.  Ends up he felt the same way. 

Like I said, it was a real good day.

Friday, April 15, 2011

I would prefer easier to digest food... for thought. (Updated that next morning over a cup of coffee and toast smeared with almond butter)

Here's the update:  Try to not get hung up on the vocabulary- it is my belief that the author used the terminology as a way to provoke emotions. Furthermore, this was only a small portion of the book... there is a context that I did not include due to the length.  Additionally, I know of many children who are considered "trophy children" who are born to the mother and father- the athlete, the brain, the actor.  I personally don't know of anyone who has adopted that parades their child around as though they were a pet or a prize, but I think it's something interesting to consider- the "orphan child" that so many write about saving- their own version of the trophy.

Regardless, people are people.  Humans are humans.  For the most part I believe we are all doing our best to be our best.  One of my ways to do my best is to read and converse.  I grew up in a world full of white Republican German Roman Catholics- the more exposure to different viewpoints, the better for me and my family.

Now, onto the original post:

There was much food for thought in the comments received on the last post.  I recommend reading them if you get the chance.

As for me, I thought I would continue on a bit more with some insights from author and sociologist B. K. Rothman:
It's this funny Benetton ad thing:  race exists to surpass itself.  We recognize race, but only to go past it.  We celebrate race, we take pleasure in it, we overcome race.  It is a way of thinking about race that involves not thinking about race, denying its significance, its politics, its history.  We are all just people-- black, white, yellow, or, as some people like to suggest, green or purple.  Our variations, they say, are just meaningless colors.  This is both a celebration of color and a denial.  "Color" becomes "colorful," meaningless, apolitical.

This approach, or model, or image for the white parent raising the black child is to ignore blackness.  A baby is a baby is a baby.  That could not, of course, be more true.  In each and all of the daily acts of nurturance, the race of the baby is completely besides the point.  Diapers and diaper rash, breasts and bottles and baby food, early language acquisition, peek-a-boo, skinned knees-- these have nothing to do with race.

But blackness is a quality assigned to the child, even if not to the relationship.  The child has to have the oft-discussed "survival skills" of a black person.  At its extreme, the slave child has to learn how to be a slave.  The subservience, self-protection, street-smarts-- whatever it is that the white society demands of that child, the child has to learn it somewhere.  And as the child grows, larger and larger loom the societal expectations about race.

The real movement folks, those who continued to work long past the early days of marches and bus boycotts, got past that Benetton, color-blind, all-in-it-together thing pretty quickly.  In a racist system, you're not going to all join your multi-colored hands together and sing race away.  The work got harder.

And the work gets harder for the trophy children.  Just as we all have to grow up and realize we're not the best-beloved pets of the whole world-- only, if we were very lucky, our parents' best-beloved pets-- so too do children who start out as trophies have to grow up to take their place in the world.

Kind of hard to read, 'eh?  Yeah, this book made it tricky for me to sleep at night.  I found it much easier to read Shantaram, a 1,000 page mostly autobiographical novel, full of tales that leave you breathless and full of wonder.  But this one, this one I keep referring?  Its stories left me full of anxiety.  Just reread that bit above as a case in point.

When I talk about my son's hair, when I struggle with whether or not I should cut it, I am not thinking as a white woman with a white son.  If that were the case, I more likely than not would push for my son to have the wildest, craziest, mountain hippie hair possible.  Chances are high that as he aged, I would beg him to let his hair turn into dreadlocks.  Not even kidding.

But like I said, that's not how I'm thinking.  The way I'm thinking now is as a white mother, raising a black son.  Who has gathered information from stories I have heard shared from other mothers, as well as friendly conversations I have had with women who share the same culture as my son.  Whether or not I want them to be, those facts are significant to me.  On so many levels.

This book I am referring to- it isn't the be all and end all.  It's not my bible.  I don't hold every word to be the truth.  But it does give me another perspective- and if it gives you one as well, then I'd say the author is doing her job.

Tuesday, April 12, 2011

Not teaching their kids how to be black in America

Did you know that I had big plans on Leone having one of the hugest, most amazing, most incredible, free flowing heads of hair?  It's true.  I so love his hair that I was convinced he should grow it and grow it and grow it until it just couldn't be grown any more.


A couple of weekends ago we happened to be in an Ethiopian merkato when, pressured to tell me what she thought of my boy's beautiful locks, the clerk made a bit of a face and responded with the words:  "You are going to cut it, right?"

My response?  The jaw dropped.  Down to the floor.

Cut it?  Did she not see what I was looking at?  Could she not see?! 

As we drove home Tesoro and I discussed next moves.  I mentioned hearing, via blogland, how other folks had been told that their Ethiopian child/son should have shorter hair.

Did this mean we should join the bandwagon?  And if we should, should we do it because someone who happened to share our boys' culture thought we should?

But weren't we the bosses?  Weren't we his parents?  Weren't we the ones in charge?

A couple days later, Tesoro and I got a bug and decided it needed to be done.  Like, now.  Just cut that beautiful hair off and move forward.  See what we thought.  (But do it only because we were deciding to do it... not because someone else told us to... right?)

Needless to say (of course), the wee boy turned out to be quite the good looking kid minus the big hair.  Not that he wasn't good looking before, but this?  This was something completely different.  Not better, just... different.  And amazing.  And... phew.

The kicker is, two nights after we cut his hair, I read the following from the book Weaving a Family:  Untangling Race and Adoption (quick- go out and get this one!):
I was also like a lot of other white women who have black kids:  I liked it [her hair] unrestrained and wild.  And I wanted her to like it.  I wanted my child to love her body, her self, her blackness, just the way she was.  You see a lot of black children of white mothers with wild hair.  I've come to spot them now on the streets.  But now, to my eye now, they look "motherless."

And that's the conundrum:  the little soft baby Afro, the wild young-girl hair, is intended by the white mother as a celebration of difference.  It ends up being a disregarding of culture.  A culture has developed- out of experience of the hair itself, out of a response to racial denigration, and also out of self-love and pride and joy- that tells people how to deal with that hair.  And loose, unbound, wild- that's not it.

When you listen to white folks who are raising black kids talk about it, they sometimes pride themselves on not doing their kids' hair.  They're not the ones who are going to braid that little head of hair into submission.  And for sure, they're not taking out the hot comb.  White folks are too cool to straighten.  They're teaching the kids to love themselves, they say.  And maybe they are.  But they're not teaching their kids how to be black in America.
And then- right at that moment- right as I finished that paragraph, the discussion in the merkato hit me.  And the discussion in the car, where it was mentioned that other Ethiopian women had pushed their thoughts about short hair onto other women I knew who were mothers to Ethiopian children.  And the visit to the zoo, and the pictures on blogs, and walks around the world?  All places where I have seen black children with either loose, big hair or hair neatly trimmed up and/or braided.

And the truth is, the kids I see who happen to have loose, big hair tend to have mothers like me.  Moms who aren't Black.

And that, well, that just didn't sit so well with me.  That general ignoring of culture.  Of ethnicity. 

I mean- who am I, the one who happens to be begging for ideas on how to make sure my son grows up knowing how to be Black, if I happen to kick aside words such as those quoted above?  To be ignoring the words of the woman in the merkato?  To be shoving aside the opinions of African American women and Ethiopian American women who happen to live all around me?  Who am I if I ignore these women because I, the European American, want my kid to have big, wild hair... because I think it looks cute and it's so awesome and isn't it incredible and so deserving of celebration?

If I want my son to learn how to be Black in America, I need to remember that this isn't about me.  Not at all.  Not even one teeny tiny inch.  Even when it pains me.

Saturday, April 9, 2011

11 children killed in Brazil

When Leone and I got home last night, we stuffed some cheese in our mouths and headed outside for a quick bike ride to the General Store so I could pick up a paper.  There's been a lot of drama going on within the school district I work for, so the more information that can be gained, the better. 

After riding the bike for a bit, running for a bit, and then be carried for a bit (that would be Leone, not me), we eventually made it to our end destination.  No local papers were available (of course), but the big state one was right there.  And as I peered through the glass to read headlines, this one caught my attention:  Man went on shooting spree in elementary school, Brazil. 

As I skimmed, all I could mutter was "What? What?  Whhhaaat?" 

Details were limited, but I found some this morning.  11 elementary school children.  Shot and killed.  In the head. Point-blank range.  The coward fired off at least 30 rounds.  In an elementary school.  Before killing himself.

Elementary school.  That's first grade through eighth.

If this wasn't a public blog, there would be more than a few choice words being used right now.

Beyond devastation.  For those children.  For those parents.  For that community.  For our humanity.

Wednesday, April 6, 2011

A farewell

So every day for the past forever, our kid comes down the stairs in the morning anxiously looking out the windows in order to point and then shout, "BUS!  BUS!  BUS!"

Lucky us (although I didn't really think we were so lucky in this regard) ended up being neighbors to the bus driver of the local charter school; because we're neighbors, and because we live out in the middle of a friggen canyon, the mini school bus ended up being parked right across the street.  For every night.  For every weekend.  For every day.

Because of the every night, every weekend, every day part, Leone took a liking to the school bus thing.  So much so that he ended up having a school busapalooza for his second birthday. 

Tesoro made wall decorations!  I heart Tesoro!
I bought a donut!  I heart little boys with donuts!
Unlucky for us (although I really think we are so lucky in this regard), the neighbor ended up quitting her job as the bus driver.  Which meant that the school bus was moving on.  Which meant that yesterday was the very last day we would be staring at it every time we looked out a window.

Leone, no matter how much his papa talked with him about it, refused to accept the fact that last night was his final farewell.  To one of his bestest friends in the whole world.  His BFF, if you are so inclined.  His BBFF.  His BFFB.


This morning, as we walked down the stairs, he immediately leans forward to the window in order to take a peek: "BUuuuu....  Bus?  No bus?  Bus?  No bus?  No bus?  No bus?"

Holy crap.  A broken record.  In our house.  With a wee broken heart.

Seriously.  It was the only thing he could talk about during his breakfast.  The only two words he could muster.  With a frown.  With sad eyes.  With a voice that at times reached despair. 

Poor little Leone.  Poor mini school bus.

Sad, sad, sad.

Monday, April 4, 2011

That other thing

You know how I said there were two things?  Yeah, here's the other.

So the night before last I was determined to do the bath and bed routine.  So help me God,  I was going to do it and Leone was going to love it!  No matter that he started to wail as I took him up the stairs, so very far away from his papa.  No matter that I've given him baths many, many times in the past and nothing wrong has happened (okay, there was that one time when I called the pediatricians office at 6:30 in the evening, sure my eyes had seen something that wasn't really there).

No matter this, no matter that... I was doing it.

The typical routine was followed:  bath, condition hair, brush hair, wait for hair conditioner to do its job, rinse hair, dry the wee booger up, get him all kinds of lotioned up, clean out the ears, so on and so forth.  Then we sat down in the rocking chair, read three books, turned out the light, and sang a song.  I then continued to do what I typically do- "Time for night-night, Leone... I love you... Night-night!"

The things is, as I laid him down, he grabbed my arms like I better not let go.

So I didn't.

And we went back to the rocking chair and for the first time ever, ever, ever, he laid back in my arms like a teeny little guy and rested his cheek against my chest.  His right arm was tucked under my left and his right hand laid up against me in the most relaxed manner.  We rocked, we stared at each other, he gave me his right hand for kisses, he smiled like he was all kinds of milk drunk, and he let me rub his cheeks, his forehead, his eyebrows.

We sat like that until well after my left arm was convinced it was going to fall off.

Pure Heaven. In that room.  In that rocking chair.  On that night.  With my boy.

I didn't know how much my mama soul was craving that time with him- but, damn.  It was something else.

Sunday, April 3, 2011

Rays of sunshine in the midst of the snow that still falls

Yesterday two very big things happened.  I'll share the first....

Before bed, we let Leone run diaper free.  When he was an itty bitty, he got lots of time for that.  But now that he's on the move and we have a burgundy-colored floor made out of concrete and it's still like the middle of winter for the love of all that's holy, well, that time has been much less often.  However, to the delight of the boy and his parents, yesterday was the reunion of life being lived in a state of absolute freedom.  Well, freedom as it exists in regards to undergarments.

I wish I had thought to record the event with at least a tape recorder; Leone ran around and around and around with such absolute glee that the only noise you could hear over our laughter was the squeal's of a toddler and the patter of his bare feet against the floor.

Man, I love those rays....

Saturday, April 2, 2011


It seems like forever and ever ago that I sent out a call for love and support.  I guess it has been.  Forever and ever ago.

Things have changed now- there's a wee boy in my life, a wee boy who likes to roar like a monster and cruise his bike down the Blvd.  A little person who has changed me in more ways than I thought possible; made me more of a woman... more compassionate, more patient, and yes- even more frustrated (oh wait, can I admit that?).  Also?  This same wee boy has made me more worried.  And anxious.  And more everything... all so much more that I could have ever wanted or dreamed about or longed for.

Today there are sisters out there who need some of that loving support because they are still in the throes of The Wait.  And although these women are so very aware of the fact that adoption is about so much more than the pain they are currently feeling, they still have the need for a loving hug or two... some words from people who know what it's like (or just want to say they care).

I was recently recalling the intensity of The Wait this morning; how one minute you are so very sad for yourself that the only thing you can think about is how crappy the pity party feels, to the very next minute in which you want to throw yourself off a high tree because how could you be feeling sad when someone else is about to experience one of the world's greatest tragedies?

Anyway.  The point of this post, this very one, is not to travel back in time (but maybe later, 'eh?).  Nope, the point of this post is that there are some incredible women asking for our support.  They have reached out there and said, "support us!  Let us lean on you for a bit!  We could use your love!"

Check out what they are referring to.... It's the love that hangs from my bedpost.  The love that I held on to when we found out about our boy.  The love that went to Ethiopia.  See, it's still there in all of it's glory:

If you feel up to it, grab a bag of skittles and baked Cheetos... maybe a glass of wine (this is a long one!)... and then read my initial plea made forever and ever ago.  Then go here and here to help a sister out.  You know you want to.

January 29, 2009

"We are sisters on a journey,
Shining in the sun.
Shining through the darkest night.
The healing has begun, begun...
The healing has begun."
- Co. Midwives Association

To the women out there I have met, to the women out there I have yet to meet, to the women out there I might never be fortunate enough to come face-to-face with... I am calling you. I am calling you as sisters, I am calling you as companions.

I am on the journey of motherhood.

Take hold of this piece of my heart and be gentle with it. I am tender.

My journey to becoming a mother doesn't include the words pee-stick. positive. pregnancy. fetal movement. hormone-induced nausea. sonograms. uterus. bulging. contractions. trimester. induction. birth plan. lamaze. doula. homebirth. vagina. nipple stimulation. heart beat monitor. dilation. 10 centimeters. push! push! push! umbilical cord. breastfeeding.

I am on the journey of motherhood.

My journey to becoming a mother includes the words infertility. agency. international adoption. orphanage. Ethiopia. homestudy. checklists. dossier. state certication. social worker. multi-racial. post-office. notary. check and double check and triple check. parenting classes. reference letters. homeland security. fingerprints. employment letters. stamps. stalking of the mailman. approval. online tests. conference calls. emails. adoption consultant. dte (dossier to Ethiopia). number 88. The Wait. phone call. referral. acceptance. The Wait (again). court. court closures. guardianship. vaccinations. airline tickets. travel. visa.

Either/or, there is a family at the end. Either/or, there is growth in the process. Either/or, there is motherhood.

I am on the journey of motherhood.

To the women I have come to know, to the women I have yet to know but know me through my words on this blog- I call you sisters. Sisters on this journey to motherhood. You have heard me weep. You have heard me laugh. You know of my sorrows and my joys. I have been comforted by you, I have been led by you, I am who I am today on this journey because of you.

I am on the journey of motherhood.

Today, because of this journey, I am asking you to be a part of my BlessingWay.

I want you to help mark my rite of passage to motherhood.

Traditionally, a BlessingWay is held near the time of birthing (it originates from the Navajo people and was something I studied a bit when I was a labor doula). It is a time where friends gather in order to celebrate sisterhood. A time to honor motherhood and birth life. It's an occasion for a mother-to-be to feel strong and capable while being supported by a sisterhood of nurturing friends.

You have become my sisterhood.

If you would like to participate, I would ask this of you: please pick a bead from a local store or, if you have limited choices, go online to find something that touches you ( Before sending it to me, write down a poem, story or wish to accompany the bead. Once received, I will place the bead on a strand (determined by the order they are given). Eventually I will seal the strand and the beads can then be wrapped around my wrist or my neck.

Why this beaded piece of jewelry? For many, the bracelet or necklace is worn throughout labor. It's a focal point. It's a reminder. There are women out there that have borne children before you. There are women out there that are having children at the same moment as you are. There are women out there that will have children in the future.

We are not alone in this journey to motherhood.

As for me, I want those of you that have been a part of my journey to be present with us when we find out who our tawadaj is. I want those of you that have been a part of my journey (whether vocal or not) to be present with us while we are waiting for legal guardianship. I want those of you that have been part of my journey to be present with us when we hold our baby for the first time.

I want the physical reminder that I am not alone on my journey to motherhood. You are there. Your strength, your words, your prayers, your directions- they will be with me. I can look and remember I am with others that have been on this journey to motherhood. That I will get through this trying time. That, in the end, I will be a mother. Just like you. Or just like those that are about to become mothers. Or those that are in the very beginning of their journey and can remind me where I have come from.

Can you imagine how amazing it would be if we could all send a bit of ourselves to each other? A simple bead... something picked out especially to represent your presence. Words of blessing. Advice. Love. Compassion.

Join me in this journey. This journey to motherhood. I promise to do the same for anyone that asks....

Friday, April 1, 2011


Leone has taken to telling most people, if not all people, "no."  Actually, more like, "NO!"  With maybe a couple more "NO"'s thrown in there for good luck.  It's quite something, let me tell you.

A couple weeks ago we were at the local grocery, checking out in the self-checkout lane.  Enter random lady, swooping in like she was related to my crew.  The way her eyes opened wide during her approach made me think she must have known my son from someone or somewhere else- maybe even last year, when he was staying with a friend during the day?  Either way, there was no way to stop her and she came closer and closer and closer until she touched my boy right on his chest.  With her pointer finger.  He immediately pushed her right back with a strong, "NO!"  All the while, I'm trying to quickly finish the bagging and paying and pushing food over the red blinking light, convinced that she knows him and shaking my head at how rude my kid must appear to all folks around us.  I peeked again and there she was, shaking her necklace in his face talking about how she's a grandma and how he's so super cute and look at his hair, look at his hair, look at his hair!  To which he then said, in his new found monster voice, "NO!"  She sort of looked at me, I sort of looked at her, decided she had no idea who my kid was, mumbled something about how he was turning two and was finding himself to be quite disagreeable with most people of late, then rushed out the doors with my wee monster Leone's forehead and eyes set in a ferocious scowl.

A week later, same store, different lane.  Enter sort of random lady.  We've seen her but she doesn't know us from the other flies on the wall.  "Ohhhh!" she says as she speed walks right up to us, "Look at how big you are!  And your hair!  Can I touch your hair?!"  To which she then proceeds to smoosh with her palm while bending her fingers to and fro.  Yeah.  I bet you can guess how he responded to that one.

So yesterday we're outside, riding bikes, when two older women approach.  Their voices get all high and squeaky and there's already some "Awww!" sound coming our way from their mouths.  Leone stops his bike riding, scowls at both of them, and starts mumbling, "no, no, no, NO!"  It was like I needed to pay this kid to smile sweetly at our town's elders and not run cowering from their outstretched arms and hands.

I get it.  He's two.  He's over having people pat and smoosh and gently tug his hair.  He's not into the high-pitched squeaky voices and the "aww" and "ohh" sounds that come from their lips.  I get it, kid.  I just need to balls up sometime soon and stand guard for you, 'cus based on that monster growl you've got going on, trouble's ahead....