February 20, 2011

A Letter to My Son’s Mother


I was thinking of you today.  I usually try not to.  Not that I try to avoid thinking of you.  But since we’ve never met, and truth be told - I don’t even know if you’re alive, I can’t conceive of you really.  I can’t picture you.  Not in a tangible way.  I think of you in the abstract.  Here but not.  A part of us, but not.  Certainly a part of him…but then sometimes, not.  We are living life and the motion of it carries us forward – onward…away from those days in Ethiopia.   This makes me both sad and happy.  Happy because he is so wonderful…such a joy in our lives.  Sad, because I often get a pang when I think of you – of great loss.  Not just for him.  For us too.  That we couldn’t put our arms around you, hug you, comfort you in some way.  Show you how much he is loved.


I like to think you were pretty.  If you could see your son today, you would know why I think this way.  I like to think you had no choice.  I pray that was it.  I hear rumblings of infant thieves who take the young from their mothers and sell them to the highest bidder in places like the one you surely lived in.  I hear stories of those who discard their young because of presumed curses on the babies.  I hear this and I think to myself – please when it is all said and done – don’t let these things be true for him.  Let it be that you, his mother, truly had no choice.  That you left him somewhere you knew he would be found.  That you wanted him.  That you loved him.  That you still do.  I want that so badly for him.  So badly for me…

I’ve been trying to picture you in a tangible way – not in the abstract.  But as a mother who could not, for many reasons, care for him.  And in that, you gave him unknowingly into my care when you left him that day.  I like to think of you hugging him…kissing him…crying over his little body.  Telling him that you love him so.  That you would never forget him.  You had him for two months.  Two months in mother-speak is practically a lifetime.  Certainly enough time to fall completely in love.  I know for me, it took only a moment…a look…holding him in my arms – and I was in love permanently.  I like to imagine you felt the same way when you gazed into those beautiful chocolate colored eyes and held those gorgeous fingers and toes in your hands.

I want to confess that sometimes I feel incredulous that you could walk away from him.  How could you, I think to myself.  He’s so amazing!  He’s so much that words aren’t enough….  Then I feel so very sad that you had to do that...walk away from him.  Then I feel angry that you left him there.  What if he had died?  Then I feel broken that you were in a position to have had to leave him there to begin with.  I feel sad that he’ll never know you again.  He had you...he had you and your arms and your heart...even for a little bit...and then he didn’t.  And as grateful as I will forever be – I am always filled with such grief that he won’t know you.  He won’t be in your arms again.  He won’t know why you did what you did.  He won’t understand in this lifetime.  And I’m sad and incredulous and angry and broken all over again.  For him.  For me too I guess…


Are you still thinking of him?  Do you love and miss him as much as I like to think you do?  He’s so tall.  Handsome and bright.  Funny and loving.  He’s affectionate and kind and full of energy for life.  He has a smile that would melt every sad place inside of you, and a laugh that makes you come undone.  He loves to hug and kiss and doles out generous pats on the back.  He loves to chatter and sing and dance and play.  He loves to climb and roll and do summersaults.  His eyes are big and beautiful and his fingers and toes are still gorgeous. 

He’ll be four this year.  Growing up so fast and changing so much.  I wish you could see him, hug him…let him give you one of his incredible kisses.  He would hold your face in his hands and he would kiss you soundly on the lips.  Then he would kiss each cheek.  You would dissolve into the ground, just like we do.


I wish you could pull him onto your lap and tell him something wonderful in Amharic.  I wish you could tell him about his grandparents, about his father, about his siblings…

I wish so many things for you, Dearest Mother of my son…and I wish so many things for him.  Our son.  Yours and mine. 

I like to think we are alike.  That we would both do anything for him.  You would give him up to save him.  I would raise him up to save him.  I like to think this way, because it helps my heart to think that you love him as much as I do.  Even though I’ll never know all the answers my heart wants, I still like to think that you might be, at this very moment, on the other side of the world with a heart full of questions too.  Was he found?  Is he alive?  Is he growing up?  What does he look like now?  Is he cared for?  Does he have food to eat?  Is he well?

Is he loved?

Yes, dearest…he is loved.  So, so much.  Some day, on the other side of heaven, I’ll show you…

~ Your Son’s Mother

February 18, 2011


It’s not a question of love. 
There is no shortage of love over here.
I love them – add infinity – add infinity.


But loving another person the way I love them – good grief…
the vulnerability is alarming.


I can’t even put it into words how nuts they make me.
Day in and day out.
Like they were born to push my every button
and smile while doing it.
Making me gray and crazy and feeling like I’m drowning.
Who are we kidding, I was gray before they came along.


And other days?  Just joy.  Tired, yes.  Exhausted really.
But joy.  Deep down.  A feeling of total privilege.
That I get to be their mom.
Total abandon to let them have all of me.
Totally vulnerable to their love.
Living for it, some days.


Some days, I just want to shout “freeze” to the clock
that keeps ticking in life. 
Hold it!
Stop right there.
Slipping…slipping away…
So sweet.  So tender.
Don’t take them with you, time.


But we’re usually a temper tantrum away from
wishing those thoughts away.
Wondering if tomorrow will ever come.
Wondering if it intends to leave me here forever.
Haggling over uneaten meals, routines,
scattered toys and too much laundry.
Wondering if this is my life.


Thankfully, it is my life.
Thankfully, the Love always wins.
Love trumps all.
Their Love.  And the Love I bear them.
Love endures even when I feel I can’t.
Love never fails.

February 15, 2011

On Being Missed

My husband, a very busy – hurried – relentlessly overworked man, frowned at me from across the Valentines dinner we were sharing.  A stolen moment that up until even then, we had not been sure would happen. 

“It’s a sad day when you’re too busy to write on your blog”.  He made a frowny face.  I smiled.  “really?  what do you mean?” I probed. 

“Well, it’s just you haven’t written any of your posts…you know what I mean…the long ones that get everyone in the gut.  It’s been a while.  Lots of pictures, and those are good…but…I miss your writing…a lot.”  I was flattered – truly.

And I guess he’s right.   I haven’t written a whole lot lately.  Not that I don’t have thoughts about this or that, or long posts about some dramatic thing or another swirling around in my head – I do!  I just lack the time and effort it takes for me to get them out.  My only free time is at night.  Usually, late.  So it comes down to this: Sleep or blog.  Sleep or blog.  What would you do? 

I’m trying out a new normal – which includes a blooming Blog Design business (woot woot!) and a return to work (thankfully and once again, from my home).  It also includes a very busy husband who cannot be home as often as either of us would like (you can figure out how fun that is after several days - alone with two children...who I sometimes feel could eat me alive and no one would notice...like a crazy lady with too many cats....but I digress)  I have a husband who could likely sleep for weeks straight if left uninterrupted (bless him).  But for the children who are the self-appointed Sleep Deprivation Duo.  But for the children we could both sleep for weeks.  Like mummies in a tomb. Mummies, I tell you.  Asleep mummies who don't speak.  Just lay there.  Wrapped up.  Sleeping....(sigh)


{lost in thought about sleep now...can you ever have too much sleep?  I don't really think so.  I'm tired just thinking about it.  Does the mummification involve chocolate?  Some sort of chocolate layer on the inside that I can sort of eat my way out, if necessary?  I could totally be on board with that, or whatever.}

ahem.  Ok.

So yes, lots to tell and say and write about.  No time.  And – oh, the children.  So much to say there too.  So many fun things to share.  They are wonderful and a mess – all in the same breath. 

I’m sorry.  Sorry if I have fallen back a little on the writing.  Sorry for my lackluster blogging lately.  It happens a couple times a year, I’ve noticed.  Just some apathy that usually clears up when life settles down after changes set in.  We’ve had some changes - that's for sure - and so I’m waiting for the wind to die down.  It’s coming…I can feel it…stay with me!

Meanwhile, can you stand this Risky Business boy?  This is not staged people.  I can’t make this stuff up.  He came out, did a little dance, turned on his heel and retreated to the bedroom.  But not before I got me some LOVE shots.


**ALSO – big time public apology to my parents for missing the video Valentines Day call.  {smacks forehead for 100th time} – I’m still upset about it.  Forgive me?  We love you and the gifts.  More to come on all the Valentines Day love…

February 11, 2011

So sweet, it breaks your heart

Ever since my parents came for a special one-month visit back in October – Quint has carried a tried and true flame for both of them.  A flame of love in his little heart that provokes him to mention them daily, talk about them, ask for them, include them in lists he makes (“me go store?  me go with Papa?  Nina?"), and more recently, add them into his bedtime routine. 

Because he misses them so much, I gave him a picture of the three of them in a frame for his room.  Just so he can “see” them every day if he wants to.  And it turns out that he does.  Very much.

Love and miss you, Nina & Papa…


Hi Nina.  Hi Papa.  How was your day?  Mine was fine. 


Goodnight kiss for you.  And for you.


February 9, 2011

picture me {im}perfectly

I hope/think/believe you already do.  Knowing that I am, alas, an imperfect girl in so many ways.  I’m often known for spilling the truth on the mothering/wife/being a girl gig – and it's certainly not ladled with much besides my messy life and the trappings of too much reality. 
I don’t often join in on the many blog exercises I see running around the pages I follow, but this one….well, it spoke to my sense of need.  The need for women to be able to speak out about what life is really like.  That it’s not, in fact, perfect.  That there are many days, many…, where you might want to throw in the towel.  Imperfect.  But still, it remains in the shadows for so many that would rather cover up the vulnerability of their humanity.  Hiding that {im}perfect girl that lives within each of us.  Darn her.  

So, I'm in.  Here is the setup:
Special nod to the creator of this blessed practice in honesty -
“picture me {im}perfectly is a weekly project to reveal that we don't have it all together.
i will post a picture me {im}perfectly blog post every wednesday 
where you will be able to link up to your blog
(or leave a comment) for the whole week (until the following tuesday) revealing that:
you are not picture perfect,
your kids are not picture perfect,
your house is not picture perfect,
your crafts are not always picture perfect,
let's encourage, inspire and remind other women that none of us have it all together.”

OK.  So....
...onto my own {im}perfect life.  Last year (and I know I'm stretching it here., but it has really stuck with me)..we were taking family pictures. Correction: trying to take family pictures.  For Easter.  And I was snapping off all these great shots of the kids and it was...well, great.  But then came our turn to be a family of four for the lens, and we got a couple sorta cute pics and whatever.  I think I even posted them on the blog.  For all of you.  Remember?

Well, here is the {im}perfect truth.  And frankly, it ain’t pretty, people.  Nope.  Not a bit.  I get easily frustrated.  I’m short of patience these days.  Take it up with God.  I have no idea why.  I’m annoyed.  In general.  And bless the man who married me, because he puts up with it all the time.  And when you try to deny to yourself that you’re that person…the one who is yelling and annoyed and annoying to be around?  When you try really hard to pretend you’ve got it all together? 

Oh forget it. 

I give you…{im}perfection:

“Stop cracking jokes and take the friggin’ picture already!  Do we have all day? 
Good grief…I’m aging here.  My kids are impatient to get down and eat chocolate.
I am impatient to get down and eat chocolate. 
Can we cut to the chase and take a picture like we’re happy already? 
For crying out loud…” 
(or something to that {im}perfect affect)

“Oh really?  Another temper tantrum?  You can’t just take the picture?
Why?  Because you didn’t just get a gazillion bite-size pieces of chocolate in your basket? 
You didn’t get spoiled all the live long day?
I’m so tired of this.  Just take the picture! 
What, are you TWO or something?  Jeesh.” 
(she seemed to say)

Do you know what I see when I look at this picture?  Ugly behavior.  Things not working out  according to my mental perfect plan – for whatever reason, and all that crappy behavior coming to the surface.  I mean, that first one…holy cow.  And to be honest, I think it was mostly in jest – because we had been joking around there as well – but just seeing it…knowing that there are many times that my behavior – much the same as what you see here – is not in jest.   And that is my life. 

The good news?  Forgiveness.  Mercy.  A new day to work harder on it.  Grace.  Of a loving Father and a loving husband.  I am certainly a work in progress.  And it’s not always pretty. 

So no matter what you might think of how perfect other peoples lives are – blogging is not often the best platform for that.  Bloggers let you see what they want you to see.  Not typically the imperfections – but the glossy version.  And in doing so, we can often get mixed up and confused about what is normal.  Especially when we perceive other women have it all together.  Especially then.

Is it normal that I can’t get my house clean?
Is it normal that I can’t corral my kids?
Why can’t I craft like that?
Why can’t I cook like her?
Why can’t I have the latest Coach bag?
(sorry, that last one was my inner desire spilling out towards the keyboard)

But in all seriousness…

picture me {im}perfectly.  From now on.  Promise?

February 7, 2011

February 6, 2011


I had no idea Easter candy manufacturers were listening to me pray the other night…


It’s the most wonderful time of the year (I can hear Johnny Mathis…how bout’ you?)

February 4, 2011

Am I the only Mom…

who thinks Play-Doh is freaking the coolest, funnest thing ever???  Keep your Legos (boring!) Quint and I literally played at this for most of the morning.  I know it can be a little bit messy – but I just throw some butcher type paper down over the kitchen table and lay out a couple ground rules (no throwing on the floor or feeding to the dog, etc).  And then we go for it!  I don’t know how they do it over at the Play-Doh Factory but making those little faux patties and buns and pickles…it just doesn't get old.  For either of us.



Well, it got kinda old when he took a bite out of this burger. 
But, you know…learning curve.  He’s three. 
Guess I need to add that one to the “ground rules”.  Ahem.


February 2, 2011

On Hair

I noticed recently, while staring at some stray gray (who am I kidding, they are ALL gray under the blondie dye) – that the hair on the top of my head is getting oh-so-thin.  Like,  in the front.  Where it counts.  Where people notice.  I can see large areas of vast nothingness.  And folks, it scares me.  Like, a lot.  Because while I do not consider myself to be a vain girl – I do appreciate a solid plantation of hair on the head. 

Meanwhile?  We have ponytail.  As in, she has it.  As in…stay with me…my 19 month old daughter has enough hair for a BONAFIDE ponytail.  People.  This is a solid plantation of hair:


Meanwhile?  I got a call from my all-time-favorite-hair stylist ever.  And she is no longer with my salon.  (Yes Val – our girl is gone) As in she left.  As in, buh-bye now.  So now, I’m balding and I have no one to turn to to make it all better.  Or thicker.  Maybe Keira can share with Mama?