Friday, January 1, 2016

Thoughts on New Year's resolutions and actions

January First, 2016

     Wishes and Resolutions.

I always hesitate to make resolutions, because a week from now there will still be chocolate and good bread to avoid and cold weather to walk through in order to exercise.  Besides, those things are less resolutions than commitments to health and well being.  And, they do not make the world better, they are "first world" problems and in truth, at least this mama is intending to find a resolution that is not self-centered.

    Self-centered.  A lot of blogs and authors and agencies recommend self-centeredness  as something healthy.  "Put yourself first".   In watching the world of late, specifically American politics, the biggest problem IS putting ourselves first.  Being afraid of others.  Not wanting to share wealth and resources with others.  Thinking of people who are different from us in some visible or tangible way as "others".

     Starting a new year, my question will be "How can I help?"  Send money?  Speak up for those who have less privilege and therefore less voice?  Be present with those who are alone?  Smile more and share abundantly with whomever needs a friend, a meal, shelter, a visit?  

    Overwhelming needs are in our world.  I live in a small town in a small state in a huge country. There is only so much I can do and yet...  It is a new year and the only thing I can do is try.

If you read this and are looking for a place to start...a food pantry, homeless shelter or aid organization will welcome your offers to join them.  Current international organizations I love are :
International Rescue Committee.  Www.rescue org
BlinkNow (Kopila Valley Children's Home)
ShelterBox USA
Mary's Meals

Sunday, November 29, 2015

Thanks. I give thanks.

This minute in time.   I give thanks.

My Beloved Child was home for the long weekend.  Thank you for coming, sweet pea.
She brought a friend who was lovely and easy and kind.  Thank you for coming to visit.
We had TWO Thanksgiving meals with friends and extended families of friends. Thank you for
     inviting us and feeding us and sharing your company and homes.

Thank you to my family who supports me, educated me and loves me... I continue on this journey with you day in and day out.

Beloved Child came home.  Just when I was lonely for her.  I'm a fortunate and blessed woman.

This minute in time.  I give thanks.

Sunday, November 22, 2015

Wings are bigger and fly further...

It's been a long time since writing...the Beloved Child has entered her Junior (!) year of college and is preparing to go to Europe for a semester abroad.  She called tonight to discuss plane tickets, money and more money. Money does seem to come up in every conversation. Ugh.

    She talked about also beginning to search for a Summer job (Summer '16) and said " Mom, I am NOT going to come home and work there. I would go insane if I had to work in town. I have no friends and there is nothing to do there."   And with those words I realize that, she is never going to live at home again. Vacations maybe occasionally, but unless her life situation demands it, she is determined to leave this house, this town and be her own person.  She will never WANT to live here again.  This is not her life.

   I want her to be her own person, definitely. I raised her for this independence and strength.  I just want her to want to see me occasionally. Maybe, eventually, after her wings are fully spread, I'll have a place in her universe, but today, this moment, I feel the kind of abandonment that I had not anticipated.  Bleakness.   Tomorrow I won't feel so bleak, but tonight, even with the pinkest sky I have ever seen and a fire in the woodstove...

   Yes, it is not all about me.  Yes, it is also.  

Saturday, October 5, 2013

October Already?

   Beloved Child has been gone more than six weeks already.   Mostly I receive one word answers to how she is doing at school. Me:  "How are you?"  Child: "Good."     Me: "How is school?"   Child: "Fine."     On occasion she will call and chat for a moment when she is walking to a class or back to her dorm, but mostly I get briefly worded texts and an occasional phone call.   Amazingly, I am alright with this.   She is SUPPOSED to be spreading her wings, learning to deal with things on her own, making new friends and finding her own way in a new environment.   I guess most of what I feel right now is relief.  Because I hear so little, I know that she is surviving her new challenges and adapting to her new circumstances.

     Things I have learned:  1) She dropped a class.  She decided on her own, did the appropriate paperwork and made certain that she was okay for credits.  2) Her initial roommate situation did not work out. She found a solution, changed rooms and only called to let me know that she was going to move to a new room. 3) She has made friends.  I will likely never know where they are from, what they are studying or who their families are because, in truth, it doesn't matter any more if I know or not.  (and yes, this part IS weird)

     It is funny though, the things I wish I knew.  It was Parent's Weekend this weekend.  I did not go to the offered activities because Beloved Child actually came home to get some "stuff"  (her word, she said she needed things for her room, but she would only know what things when she saw them).  As the University Parent's Weekend does not involve meeting the teachers and hearing how your kid is doing, I did not figure I was missing much. The showcase hockey game was sold out, the barbeque would be a bust since I don't eat meat and in truth, Beloved Child would prefer that I not hang out in her new world.   Meeting teachers and knowing how she is doing are things of the past now.  My "Beloved Child" is considered a grownup by her professors and peers.  My baby.

     So, here it is, six or more weeks in.   Friends tell me how often their kids call home (one daughter of a friend texts each night to say "good night") and ask me what I hear from mine.  I am content with my answer, "I assume she is fine. I don't hear much from her."  This is the way it is supposed to be.

     So, she is home today.  The lights are on, the dryer is running and she is playing piano.   I'm enjoying the moment.   Peace in my heart. Peace in my home. 

Monday, August 19, 2013

A Whole New World

     In all of my life I have wished for nothing more than to be a mama.

     July 31st, 1995 in Changsha, China, that wish came true.

     Yesterday, August 18th, I dropped Beloved Child off at college.
     Her life and mine will never be the same from this day on.

     She is happy, excited, ready to be challenged and independent.

     This is what I have been raising her to do.
     To create her own life.
     To seek out her own dreams.

     I am not grieving.  I am sad that the day to day life of parenting is over,
    but it would be selfish of  me  to want it to have unfolded any differently.
    She is happy, healthy,  confident, curious and kind.

     She WILL find her way in the world.   

     I will be here, always.

    All of my life I have wanted to be a mama.  I still am one.   A whole new world.


Saturday, August 10, 2013

One Last Week Until School Begins

     Beloved Child came home today from her summer job.  She has 8 days to get ready to leave for school.  A week from tomorrow we go.  A week!   A week?   Is it time already?   How can this be?
As I walked this evening, I noticed that one of the swamp maples along the road had turned red, seemingly overnight.  The asters are blooming and the ferns on the verges of the road are turning yellow and brown.  Fall is approaching.  Fall means school.  It is time.

     It is so interesting to think about my own leaving for college experience.  My mom dropped me off, helped me to take my things up the stairs and then she left after saying "good-bye".  I don't know what it was like for her (and I am certain that she does not remember). She was pretty involved in her own life at that point. After one more year my brother left for college then she sold the house and moved to New York for 4 years.
     I remember that my roommate had not arrived yet, that it was a long weekend and that I was reading Leon Uris's Exodus. I spent the weekend lying on my bed finishing the book and feeling awkward and confused about what I should be doing before classes began.  Maybe I walked around campus?  I know that we had arena scheduling and I signed up on too many lists of "Christian" interest groups who then began knocking at my door.  I was completely naive about the evangelical type of Christians and called home to my ministers (parents of good friends) crying and panic stricken because the evangelicals told me that there was only one way to believe and that was their way. (Consequently I was doing it wrong.)
     I was not used to the noise and chaos and my dorm was full of both.  I was on the 3rd floor and a giant 7-Up bottle was painted on my ceiling.  Cinder block walls, a single bed, a desk and a closet were on my half of the room.  I had a trunk, a portable record player and Paddington Bear sheets.
   I had just come from a summer job that had been emotionally rough on me. I was kind of (!) lost and alone. No clue what to do in a new town,new school and no touchstone.
     Remembering this stuff and now thinking, "O God, please let my daughter have better internal and external resources than I did.  Let her know how to reach out for friends and fun.  Let her know how to ask questions and ask for help.  Let her know that I am here fro her always.  Life doesn't have to be so hard."

                                  Flashbacks, memories and hopes.   8 more days.

Saturday, July 13, 2013

Did He Just Say That?

     Normally I write about Beloved Child and my journey parenting a teen soon to be leaving home for college.
     Not today though.   So many of you have written about the odd and disconcerting things that people say to you when they see you have a child who might be adopted.  Today was my day, but not with my child.

    I am not an avid yard saler on a regular basis.  This morning I went to the local farmer's market and then decided to stop by a yard sale that I had seen advertised.  I parked and walked down the long driveway, noticing that lots of people were leaving but no one was carrying anything that they had purchased (a sign that things are overpriced?).  I wandered around for a few minutes and then saw two little girls digging through a bin full of trolls.   Of course I had to stop and chat with them about the trolls and the hair color etc. and then with their mom who was standing nearby.  After a little chatting about the dolls and the other amazing things the little girls were finding, I asked about her girls, as one was blonde and the other appeared to be African or African American.  She told me that the younger one was adopted in Ethiopia.  Excitedly, I shared that several of my friends have sons and daughters from Ethiopia and that my own daughter is from China.  We engaged in the usual type of conversation that parents do when they have something like this in common - we talked about the waiting, the challenges, the countries etc. and then, (this is the odd part), an older man who was overhearing our conversation jumped in with, "Have you heard how the terrorists are using babies to bring in bombs and weapons to this country and that they put the bombs on them or in them so it doesn't hurt them?"
        He went on about babies and terrorists and bombs for a few minutes and then wandered off.  I looked at the mom and said something like "Well, that was inappropriate, especially in front of the kids."  She responded with "I'll have to think of what to say to people like that when they (the girls) are older and can understand."
        I wish I had thought to say to the man "What kind of idiot are you, saying that to a mom and in front of her kids?"   Really and truly, I am generally a polite person, but what can you say to someone who says something like this to you?  

     The mom and I continued to talk, her husband joining the conversation and we exchanged email addresses and moved on, but since the odd man's comments I have been thinking, "Did he just say that?"

p.s. another odd thing - the trolls.  If it had been my yard sale I would have been handing out those trolls to every little kid who came along, free for the taking.  The yard sale woman came by and said to the mom, "Those are collector's items. I really have to charge $5. a  piece for them."  $5. for a used troll?  Really.   I am stunned.