Friday, April 30, 2010

Crime and Punishment

My life is a quaqmire of unmentionable situations right now and each promotes completely conflicting emotions.

This week I spent time on the phone with a lonely, heart broken person facing enormous loss from behind bars due to consquences for choices made when those consequences were not being considered.  I write a note, I send token gifts to comfort, I make arrangements to visit.  I feel sad.  I feel no responsibility for either the choices or the consequences, but I do understand that I can aid in softening the crushing blow.  So I try.  I comfort.  I console.  I care.

On the other side of the fence, which is definitely not greener, someone I am distantly (but not far enough) related to through marriage (and certainly not my own marriage) committed a horrific act this week that resulted in a huge violation of my privacy, my comfort and my peace.  There is no sympathy from me.  No empathy.   If I let myself go there I would admit I want this person dead  and tortured  run over by a bus  strung limb from limb   to simply have never existed.  Too many years of pain and shame brought upon us by no act of our own.  And to protect my children I cut someone off that I love.  It's an almost unmentionable, unfathomable  severing, and yet in some ways it is a mirror reflection of the situation above.

Severing relationships. 

Gaining peace at what cost? 

Monday, April 26, 2010

One Small Step

She walketh ... at least 10 entire steps.  Never have 4 boys, two moms, a dad, several aunts, uncles, grandparents and the odd social worker been so proud.

Friday, April 23, 2010

A Glance

Carrying laundry, rushing too and fro, I walked past my stairs and from the corner of my eye I caught the glimpse.  I froze and stared.

Perfectly chubby yet somehow impossibly long toddler legs dangled off a stair.  Round belly, sweet fingers wrapped around a toy, eyes the color of dark chocolate, wispy brown hair framing her face.  She giggled as I passed, then paused with a "Mom?" when she realized I was staring.

Miss Tiny is Thirteen months. 

The same age SHE was when she left.  I feel it in my bones.  The grief that seeps into my soul.  The ache that is never quite abated.

Two do not replace the one.  I love the two fully and completely, but one is still absent.  Most days now I feel the joy of the memories and the appreciate of the gift of time together but in that moment, in that glimpse I remember what I lost.  Who I lost. 

The enormity and depth of the space in our family that was once her. 

It's the familiar weight of two legs wrapped around my hip as I fill a bottle.  The snuggle into my shoulder when a sleepy baby wants to rest. A fist that still can be completely wrapped in my grasp.  The perfect acceptance in the eyes of a baby who loves you most. 

Thirteen months. 

I don't know if I want to wish the reminders away or wish them to stay.

Wednesday, April 21, 2010

Mostly Wordless Wednesday: Homework

Caden is my child that loves endlessly, participates joyfully and gives with abandon to all he does.

I captured him this morning, paused on the windowsill while he checked over his spelling words.

My baby boy. 

Tuesday, April 20, 2010

Hockey, Racists and God's Sense of Humor

Overall, we have been relatively incident free when it comes to racism and our kids.  There are some significant exceptions, and some I have handled better than others

You might remember the incident that happened earlier this hockey season where a boy on another team implied my child was an animal normally found in tropical climates.

Greg was offended, and did what he was supposed to do by reporting the incident to the referee on the ice, to his coach and then again speaking up bravely when we had to meet with the President of our local hockey association and the BC hockey league itself. 

The outcome was that more education was offerred to refs throughout the province to deal with these specific sorts of situations and the child in question was talked to.  It was the outcome we were hoping for.  (although momentarily I did fantasize about forcing the offending child to skate around the rink with a sign stating he was an ignorant racist hick while I threw tomatoes at him.)

Fast forward six months or so.  Selections are made for the best hockey players in that age group to attend the U16 BC CUP

We were VERY proud when Greg made that team.

Then the team rosters came out. 


On the same team as Greg was THIS child. 

Sitting next to us a the rink on our first day there?  His parents.
And the next day?  and the day after that?  Again, his parents.

The young boy Caden befriended and played with the entire weekend?  His little brother. 

They were, in my completely judgemental opinion,  pretty much what you would imagine people to be like whose child would utter racist slurs.  I smiled, I was nice to their little boy but for the life of me I couldn't be friendly. 

I wish there was a better ending to this than to say we sat 5 seats apart but in different worlds, but there isn't.  I hope they saw us as a family  - a REAL family - with human children who just happen to have different color skin than their own.  I am not sure they did.  But I did see them as a mother and father who love their children, even if they have taught ignorance.

Killing racism with reality one hockey game at a time.

By the way my kid did good. We will hear more later about that!

Friday, April 16, 2010

Attempted Murder. Can I plead incompetence?

We have been over this before.

There was the time I got invited to make quiche with Tanner's classmates and forgot to add the flour and quadrupled the milk.  And the guests were arriving for the dinner they HAD PAID FOR in 20 minutes and what I had to serve them was some floating grated cheese in soggy pie shells. 

There are the various Christmas baking fiascos and knowing that what doesn't burn the dogs will eat.

But I am sure - or at least ALMOST absolutely positive, that I have never before almost killed someone with my baking.

My intentions were pure and good.  I was trying to be nice.  Sort of.

Mostly I was trying to be domestic.  I was trying to IMPRESS. 

I really, really am a slow learner aren't I?

A blog reader, a recent adoptive parent, a friend of a friend was coming by to meet me and my gloriously well behaved children in my beautiful home.

Ok, not really, but that is how I imagined things.

What she got was a slightly frazzled me, 2 miserable babies, 1 adventurous toddler, a 9 year old that was hiding in the tree fort crying because his brother teased him, a pretty friendly 12 year old, a grouchy argumentative 14 year old and a silent 15 year old.  

I tried to buffer that reality by whipping up a batch of home made cookies.  FROM SCRATCH.  Not even the "from scratch" I tell the boys is home made - really, really from scratch and no boxes involved home made!

And they turned out.  No burning, no fires, no mixer accidents and no spilled ingredients.

Gooey, glorious, perfect peanut butter chocolate chip cookes to feed her EIGHT children.

It's now that I mention that her son has a serious, life threatening, potentially fatal allergy to peanuts. Even the air born peanut oils that occur when you bake with peanut butter.

I tried to kill a blog reader's child. 

Sorry Justine.  I promise to never, ever bake again.
At least for you.

Thursday, April 15, 2010

Money Laundering

12 years ago, with the arrival of our first child, we bought our first home and along with our first home we bought our first washer and drier. 

If someone was going to write a manual for life, there should be a section on washers and driers because a BAD washer and drier can really make a woman's life not worth living.   Unless you have a large family you cannot even fathom how much time I spend sorting, moving, loading and unloading those two machines. 

Maybe it was prophetic or maybe dumb luck but "Super Capacity Plus" washer and "Extreme Capacity" drier came home to live with our little family of 3, which is now a family of 8.

About six years ago the drier developed a noisy clang but life was busy and it didn't seem to affect the driers ability to dry clothes, so being who we are, we ignored it.  That clang has gotten louder and louder over the years and slightly more persistant but life is busy and fixing the noisy but working drier was not on our priority list. The washer died a tragic death a couple of years ago and was replaced with one out of the buy and sell, the drier however has continued to clunk along.

It had gotten REALLY loud lately and we realized that it was probably time to replace it.   The new (used) drier arrived yesterday and the old (loud) drier was pushed into the garage where it was going to be picked up later by a teenager stepping out into living on her own and she was convinced that a loud drier was better than no drier. 

Her father decided to take the back off the drier to do any obvious repairs so that his precious daughter didn't burn her house down.  Apparently that is what you are supposed to do if you have the time.  Who knew?

This is what he found ...

What that is is SEVENTY SEVEN DOLLARS in change.  That is 12 years of unchecked pocket "lint".

Do you know what seventy seven dollars worth of change sound like in a drier?  I do.

Monday, April 12, 2010

Just some REALLY BIG Toddlers

Eric celebrated his fourteenth birthday this weekend with friends and cake and generally making huge emotional strides forward as he understands why his birthdays are difficult for him.

In case you wondered, sometimes being adopted, feeling rejected,  and losing families sucks.  And sometimes it makes you feel like you don't deserve to celebrate your life, even when you really, really do deserve to celebrate your life and even though many people love you.  And sometimes saying those feelings out loud helps them to go away.

(the kid is cute but arent my cupboards PRETTTYYYY?)

My son is growing up. They all are.  And yet, given the opportunity, they are still just my little boys. Because what is it about teenage boys that prevents 3 minutes from passing in each other's presence before they are challenging each other to a beat down?

Noone was hurt in the production of these pictures.

Well, except for that birthday boy on the bottom.

And he survived.

Raising Teenage Boys really isnt that different than raising toddlers.

Happy Birthday my son.  You are a special kid and we love you so much.

Sunday, April 11, 2010

Smarty Pants

She knows her colors and she isn't even two.  I know this because after showing me her artwork she said "Purple Pen Mommy"

Is this where I mention the fact we just repainted our living room less than a week ago?  So recently in fact that our mouldings are still not installed.

Is this where I mention the fact that my boys never, ever colored on the walls (although more than one decorated clothing or bedding)?

Is this where I mention the fact I just went to tuck her into bed and she was completely naked and having a party in her crib?

This IS where I mention that our little Miss Curious is completely full of vim and vigor and everything I thought I knew about parenting I no longer do.

Thursday, April 8, 2010

I have to say something

Our lives are so focused around the MAY be's and POSSIBLY be's that its hard to come here and ramble about anything else. 

Fear is a gripping emotion.  Fear of loss, fear of change, fear of the unknowns, fear of the known.  On my on my way into the courthouse today I threw up.  For no reason other than fear.  I remember when my grandmother was called and told that her youngest daughter was killed in a car accident she instantly vomited.  I understand.  For us, it's simply the continual and never ending stress of the unknown.  An endless series of dates on a calendar each marked with the word "forever" and then a question mark.


I had the opportunity this week to speak with our local Member of the Legislative Assembly (for my American readers that would be the equivalent of someone in your state legislature) this week about the journey of children in care in our region.  The years of foster care and disruptions and what that does to kids in regards to attachment and special needs.  It was a neat experience and I made her cry.  That has to count for something, right?


My house is almost back together.  I stand in my kitchen and gush "It's SO NICE!" to anyone that will listen.  Even Miss Curious pats the cupboards and says "Pretty!".  Nothing like teaching a child to admire  fine maple cabinetry.


Lacy socks, white tights and matching pink dresses got me through the weekend. 

Saturday, April 3, 2010

Two Months

Two months ago my kitchen looked like this.
And then it looked like this ...
And then it looked like this ...
And now it looks like this ...
And I would go back to picture to the top just to have one more moment with HER.

I lost my Nan and thus gained a kitchen.  It seems rather trite to even post.  

But thank you Nan.  Thank you for thinking of me.  Thank you for my new kitchen. 

I think of you every single day.

PS especially thanks for the dishwasher.  Its been a long year with 6 kids and no dishwasher and honestly, I am very, very grateful.

Friday, April 2, 2010

A fight ..

We did not want and did not expect. 

The unbloggable saga continues. 

I have no other words because I have no other thoughts. 

Please continue to pray that someway, somehow the focus returns to the best interests of those most affected rather than the politics of race.

Thursday, April 1, 2010

When you read this...

At around 9 this morning, the boys, Shelby and I will be standing before a judge requesting to becoming permanent parents to the girls. 

We would covet your prayers for all involved, including of course, the babies and their first family and all that love and care for them who have made this choice possible. 

But most importantly for wisdom for the judge and peace for all of us involved.