26 February 2015

Margaret's Birthday

"There is a cat," says my 3.5 year-old daughter.

We are sitting at a table in our local library and she is "reading" to me from a Rainbow Fairy chapter book. Whenever we come to the children's section of the library she immediately secures the lone red plastic wagon with the blue handle (there are also two blue wagons with yellow handles, but apparently these are less desirable than the red) and rushes to the chapter book spinners to peruse and select her books. Recently she announces that she will only select the Rainbow Fairy books with the PINK covers.

Conveniently there are dozens and dozens of Rainbow Fairy books with pink covers.

Once her wagon is loaded to almost overflowing, Esme comes to me to "check out" her books. This involves me sitting with an old computer keyboard in my lap "scanning" each book - passing it over the keyboard while saying, "Beeeeeep." I scan them. She puts them back in the wagon.

Today Esme grabs my hand when we're done "checking out" her books. "Come," she says, pulling me to my feet.

"Where are we going?"

"To a party!" she says with a grin.

"Whose party?" I ask.

"Margaret's party! It's Margaret's birthday party today."

Margaret is Esme's baby doll. The doll who goes EVERYWHERE with us. Whose clothes, despite numerous washings, have degraded to a rather unfashionable shade of pale grey. Who is, according to my daughter, the source of all trouble in our house. When I comment that the living room is a huge mess, Esme informs me, "Margaret did it. Margaret makes big messes!" When I trip over the scooter suddenly laying behind me on the kitchen floor, Esme says with a straight face, "It was Margaret." And when I return to the living room one day after folding some laundry in the bedroom to discover an entire bowl of Triscuits crumbled to little bits and spread all over the couch...the apparent culprit, "Margaret."

We really do love Margaret despite her trouble-making tendencies.

So, apparently, today is Margaret's birthday (it was also her birthday a week ago Thursday, several times in January and on multiple occasions throughout the last six months) and we're having a party in the library.

Esme pulls all of the rolling chairs from the computer desks over to a table. There is no one else in the children's section right now so I make no objection.

"You sit here! In this one," says Esme pointing.


She then pulls half a dozen Rainbow Fairy books from her hoard, slaps one on the table in front of me and says, "This is yours. You read."


"No, wait!" she says, yanking the book out of my hand. "I read this one to you."

She opens the book to the middle and begins in the sweet sing-song voice she uses when she tells her stories, "There is a cat. The cat doesn't want to be picked up. I pick up the cat. I say, 'Shh cat. You OK. You OK.' I put the cat down. The end!"

She closes the book and looks at me with a huge smile.

"You have so many stories to tell," I say to my daughter. "So many stories to tell."

She laughs.

And with that she opens another book to tell me yet another story. This is what the rest of the party consists of - her "reading" the rest of the half a dozen books to me and Margaret. Some of the stories have a plot and even make some sense, but most of them simply involve Esme experimenting with different words in nonsensical combinations, half-talking and half-singing.

I'm pretty certain based on prior experiences that Margaret will have another birthday soon. Probably not in the library. More than likely at home where Esme will "bake" her a cake in her play kitchen and I will be commanded to sit at the kitchen table where I will have to eat the pretend cake over and over and over again. 

22 February 2015

You Never...Until You Do

Do y'all have a list of "nevers" in your head?

You know the list...that slightly self-righteous all-knowing "Well, I'll never do this" or "I'll never do that" list.

"I'll never date a bad boy."
"I'll never lie to my parents."
"I'll never take the easy route."
"I'll never get married."
"I'll never have kids."
"I'll never get fat."
"I'll never stay in a bad marriage."
"I'll never get divorced."
"I'll never take a job that I don't feel passionate about."
Etc. Etc. Etc.

I didn't know that I had a "never" list when my husband and I set out to become parents some five odd years ago. In the front of my brain I just assumed I'd become a mom and it would be all rainbows and unicorns and sweetness and light.

OK, well maybe no rainbows and unicorns, but I thought it would be awesome.

And it is.


I know that I am incredibly lucky to have the life I do with my husband, my daughter,  a nice house, money in the bank, and the opportunity to stay home to raise my daughter. Truly, it's a great life and I know I shouldn't complain.


But three and a half years into this momhood gig I realize that I've had a "never" list lurking in my brain.

My list goes something like this, "When I'm a mom..."
  • "I'll never 'let myself go' and will always take care of myself so I don't get fat and unhealthy."
  • "I'll never neglect my marriage." 
  • "I'll never judge other moms for their choices."
  • "I'll never leave the house while wearing sweats or yoga pants."
  • "I'll never let the laundry go for days and weeks."
  • "I'll never leave the house unless I've showered and done my hair and make up."
  • "I'll never leave dirty dishes in the sink overnight or for days at a time."
  • "I'll never put my child's needs before the needs of my husband and our marriage."
  • "I'll never resent my husband for having a job outside of the home when I'm home all of the time."
  • "I'll never let my kid eat food for which we haven't yet paid."
  • "I'll never let my kid have a tantrum in public."
  • "I'll never raise my voice to my child and will always speak to her patiently."
  • "I'll never check out mentally when I'm with my child."
  • "I'll never plop my kid in front of the television for hours at a time so I can get things done."
  • "I'll never check out mentally when I'm with my husband."
  • "I'll never give up time with my girlfriends."
  • "I'll never stop being a good friend."
  • "I'll never stop writing, blogging and making art."
  • "I'll never spend every evening on the couch zoning out in front of the television."
  • "I'll never give up date nights with my husband."
  • "I'll never lose the things about myself that make me me."

And I never do any of these things.

Until I do.

All. Of. The. Time.

I almost always leave the house while wearing sweat pants or yoga pants.  Do my hair? Wear makeup? Seriously? That never happens. I haven't been thin or healthy in quite some time. I find myself judging other moms for things that I know that I do with own kid or that I am afraid of doing. I don't want to be THAT mom who is yelling at her kid on the playground. But sometimes I am.

Do I pay attention to my amazing husband beyond talking about our daughter or general domestic issues? Not so much. Here I have this wonderful, kind, brilliant and loving life partner, but I can hardly remember what it feels like to be in a romantic relationship with him because I don't make the effort these days. I'm too worn out from being a mom. Or at least that's what I tell myself to justify not giving him more of me. He always gets the last and worst of me. I'm not the wife that I want to be.

What about my totally awesome kid? She's funny, kind, energetic, and one of the most engaging people I've ever met. But I'm not the mom I want to be because I'm not in the present moment with her the way I should be. I'm so tired and sometimes just plain resentful of constantly having to be on duty for her. She gets me all of the time. But she doesn't get the best of me. At the end of the day especially I am always impatient and in a hurry to get her to bed. I'm not kind. I'm not the mom I want to be.

My house is consistently a wreck. It takes too much energy and patience to try to wrangle my 3.5 year-old into helping put away the 800 toys and all of the household items that she just HAS to put on the floor every single day. I always put off doing the laundry and the dishes. And when was the last time my floors saw a mop? Ha! I'm not the housekeeper I want to be.

And my friends? Well, I see them a few times a year and I keep them updated a few times a week on Facebook. I'm an awesome friend...yeah, not so much. I'm not the friend I want to be.

Blogging? Writing my novel? Making art? Haven't done any of that in I can't remember how long. I'm not the creative person I want to be.

Truth is, I'm pretty much a hot mess right now. I find myself in that territory many moms find themselves in: I've lost the things that make me me because I let the "never" list take over.

I never.

Until I do.

But now.

Time to set the "never" list aside.

Time to get back to being me.

25 June 2014

Transracial adoption: One of these things is not like the other...

An interesting incident from January 2012 when I was still a new mom...

We are in line at the grocery store, my five month-old daughter sound asleep in her baby carrier on the cart and me watching the woman in front of us unloading her cart's contents onto the belt.  The woman is blonde, blue-eyed, petite, and pretty. The little boy standing next to her - probably five years-old or so - has to be her son because he looks exactly like her. He is adorable. I can't help staring at him.

The little boy notices me gazing at him so I give him what I hope is my best "I really like little kids" smile. Thankfully he smiles back. Then he notices the baby carrier sitting on my cart and makes his way over to me.

"Can I see the baby?" he asks me in a raspy voice.

"Sure, Buddy," I say and move aside.

Grasping the cart handle he hoists himself up for a good look. Apparently this is a kid who really likes babies because he gets a goofy big smile on his face. At this moment his mom notices him missing from her side and looks around to see him standing on my cart.  She looks as though she's going to call him back so I give her my most "it's OK" smile with a little hand wave and she relaxes while the cashier continues to scan and bag her items. After another moment the boy's smile fades as he looks from Esme to me and back again several times. He steps down from the cart and with a serious expression says slowly and loudly, "S h e ' s   v e r y   b r o w n."

The petite blonde looks alarmed at this loud pronouncement from her son.

"Yes, she is," I reply.

"She's very brown," he repeats, "and you're NOT."

A look of sheer horror settles on the face of the little boy's mom, but I wave her off gently before she can interrupt.

"No,  I'm not," I say with a chuckle.

The little boy thinks about this for a moment and then asks, "So, is your husband brown?"

"Omigod," says the little boy's mom her face flushing in utter embarrassment.

Personally, I don't think she should be embarrassed at all. Her kid is a genius! How many five year-olds would make that leap?

"No, Buddy, my husband isn't brown."

He looks confused.

"My daughter is adopted."

"What does that mean?"

The boy's mother is now making quiet strangling noises with her face in her hands, "Honey, please!"

Ignoring his mother's near panic, I say, 'That means that my daughter grew in someone else's tummy, but that lady couldn't tale care of her when she was born. So my little girl came to live with me and my husband and now we're her parents."

"Oh, OK," he says cheerfully walking back to his mother's side.

"I am SO sorry," says the mom looking as if she'd rather be anywhere else.

"Please don't apologize. It's just fine. Really."

My daughter is brown.

Very brown.

And I am not.

23 June 2014

I'm Back (and Conversations with Esme...)

It's hard for me to believe that my amazing girl is almost three years old.

And that I haven't written on this blog for more than two years. What the heck happened???


That's what happened.

Diaper changes, sleep deprivation, walking circles around the kitchen island in the middle of the night trying to get her back to sleep, schlepping her in the car seat here and there, teething, barfing (her, not me), bottle feeding, baths, sleep deprivation, multiple daily clothing changes, getting barfed on, getting barfed on some more, getting barfed on again, sleep deprivation, crying in my car because I'm so tired, hearing her first laugh, seeing her first smile, watching her roll, then scoot, then crawl, then pull herself up, then take her first step, and more steps, then run, then say her first word and her second word, trips to the playground, more trips to the playground, etc. etc. etc.

Losing myself entirely for almost three years in this wonderful, terrible, fabulous, maddening and transformative thing called motherhood. When I started this blog back in 2009 to explore my husband's and my adoption journey, I had every intention of then writing about our family post-adoption and about my experience with motherhood. But somehow writing about motherhood just never materialized. I was just too busy. Too tired. Too much of a mom and not quite as much of the me I was before I became a mom.

But here I am again. Feeling the need to write. And what else would I write about? Being a mom is my full-time gig. It's what I do. It's what's in my brain. It's kind of all I know these days. So basically it's all I know to write.

So, to kick off the re-boot of this blog I am going stop making excuses for why I've been gone so long and instead get you up to speed on my girl via some of my favorite conversations with Esme who is, as I already mentioned, amazing.

Actually she is A-M-A-Z-I-N-G. Super smart, extremely independent, uber social, fearless, compassionate, charming, and has a great sense of humor.

February 8, 2014

Filed under "What Not to Say to Your Child":

ME: OK, Sweetie, it's time to get dressed.

ESME [goofs around in rocking chair]

ME: Guess you don't want to go to the mall today. Guess we won't replace your bracelet.

ESME [hopping off chair]: Go mall! Go mall!

ME [lifting Esme onto changing table]: Well, we have to get you dressed. Can't go to the mall in your pajamas. Well, you could, but then I'd be a crap mom.

ESME [laughing hysterically]: Crap mom! Crap mom! Crap mom!

March 19, 2014

At the library with La Munchipessa.

ESME [picking up a toy stuffed frog]: Frog is sad.

ME: The frog is sad? Why is he sad?

ESME: Has no friends.

ME: The frog has no friends?

ESME: Nooo.

ME: That is sad.

ESME [rolling a toy car with two Little People in it to the frog]: Frog has new friends!! [smiles]

May 5, 2014

ESME [pointing to her purple sock monkey doll]: This is baby.

ME: Purple Monkey is your baby today?

ESME [nodding, but also frowning]: The baby sick.

ME: She's sick? Oh no.

ESME: Need to go to doctor office. The baby sick. Need to go to doctor office.

ME: OK, we better call to see if we can get an appointment.

ESME [pointing to Purple Monkey's little leg]: The baby has cramp! Has cramp!

ME: Oh no.

ESME: [rubbing Purple Monkey's leg and smiling a huge smile]: Cramp all gone! Baby feels better!

May 11, 2014

I am in bed while my husband and daughter are busy in the kitchen making pancakes for me. (And I know this because La Munchipessa just ran to the bedroom door, announced, "We making pancakes for you!" and then dashed off again.)

Happy Mother's Day to me!!!

[addendum: In related news, La Munchipessa just reappeared in the doorway to announce, "We have syrup!"]

May 31, 2014

So, I'm fighting the spring/early summer crud [cough cough cough sniffle sniffle sniffle]. My daughter;s take on the crud...

ESME: Open you mouth.

ME [opening my mouth]

ESME: You have germs in you mouth.

ME: Yes, I have germs in my mouth.

ESME [pointing to herself]: I doctor. I make you feel better.

ME: You're the doctor and you're going to make me feel better?

ESME: [nodding enthusiastically] : I doctor.

ME: What do you recommend for me to feel better?

ESME [thinking]: Soup!! [runs to her covered water table where she busily combines dirt and grass in a bowl] I make you cake. You feel better.

ME: Well, thank you. I think cake will make me feel better.

08 April 2012

She comes home...part 8

It's difficult for me to describe witnessing my husband hold his daughter for the first time. I'm not sure that I can beyond including the above photo in this post...It's still my absolute favorite photo of the two of them together. The quiet wonder and joy of the moment.

Several hours or so before this photo is taken... I tuck Esme into her carrier and load her into the car to make the trek to the airport to pick up Chris, who is finally able to travel to Orlando to be with us for the weekend. According to the airline website his flight is on time so I expect to park the car, meet Chris at baggage claim and have some time to introduce him to his daughter. Imagine my surprise and dismay when I receive a text mid-way on my drive to the airport that his flight is 25 minutes early. 


So, now I'll be picking Chris up curbside.

A short time later I see him standing there with his backpack slung over his shoulder. Smiling. Looking a little tired and nervous.

I ease the car over to the curb, get out and walk around to greet my husband with a long hug and a kiss. Then wordlessly he opens the rear passenger door and leans in to get his first real look at our daughter. Tears immediately spring to his eyes. Happy tears. "She's so beautiful."

We have to get going before airport security shoos us away on this busy travel Friday.

"Do you want to ride in the back with her?" I ask.

He shakes his head.

And then we're off to the attorney's office so Chris can sign the papers.

We don't talk much on the way and laugh a little hysterically when I call up the wrong address on the GPS landing us at the pediatrician's office instead of the attorney's office. A quick panicked call to the attorney and we're off again.

Finally we arrive. Chris gently lifts the carrier out of the car. It is apparent that he is already mesmerized by his little girl.

Soon we are settled into a small conference room. The attorney leaves us to gather the papers. 

"Do you want to hold her?" I ask Chris, taking Esme out of her carrier.

"No, I'll wait until we're back at the hotel," he says wistfully. Then he looks at Esme in my arms. "Wait. Yes. I do."

So I hand her to him. For a few seconds he looks as if I've handed him a live grenade.

"It's OK," I say.

She looks so very tiny in his hands.

He gazes at her already full of love and adoration.

I take a few photos. He is lost in the moment, but finally looks up and I snap a few of him smiling, too. 

Then the attorney is back and Chris is signing papers while I change the baby's diaper and give her a bottle. 

And then it's done.

Chris and I are now Esme's legal guardians.

We return to the hotel to begin our first weekend together as a family. While we do many fun things including dinner out at a Thai restaurant, a trip to Babies-R-Us to buy a Snap-n-Go, and her first visit to an art museum, what I remember most about the weekend is Chris holding Esme. Singing to her. Dancing slowly with her around the hotel room. The way he gazes at her. It is obvious that he is completely smitten.

We joke now that we're doomed. That one day our daughter is going to look at Chris and ask sweetly, "Daddy, can I have a pony?"

And he's going to reply, "A pony? Of course! What color, Honey?"

You can see it all in this very first weekend. 

Sunday comes all too soon and I find myself driving Chris back to the airport so he can return to his last week of work at the job he is leaving. Neither of us wants him to go. But he'll be back in five days.

He kisses our daughter gently. He kisses me gently. And then he's gone.

21 March 2012

She comes home...part 7

"I don't know how you did that! Taking care of a newborn all by yourself in a hotel room! I couldn't have done it."

Numerous people express these sentiments to me upon our return home with Esme.

"Well...I didn't really have a choice," I reply.

I'm sure before all of this craziness happened if someone had told me that I'd be spending 10 days with an infant in a hotel room, the majority of those ten days alone with her, I probably would have fainted at the prospect.

Fainted dead away.

But the truth is that once we get to the hotel and it's just Esme and me...I'm more relaxed than I have been in almost three years.

After the insanity of our failed adoption in March, getting the news of Esme's birth on the heels of Hurricane Irene and the mad rush of getting myself to Florida, after the agonizing and waiting, making the final pact with K, nasty Nurse Stink Eye, the signing of the papers, the clueless attorney, and finally (painfully) saying goodbye to K...being alone with Esme in a clean, quiet hotel room seems comparatively easy.

Even relaxing.

"I didn't have a choice," I reply to the folks amazed by my ability to take care of a newborn alone in a hotel room. "But honestly, compared to the two and a half years of waiting and everything else that happened on our adoption journey...taking care of her turned out to be the easy part."

Esme is a quiet baby.

She sleeps most of the time wrapped up like a burrito. Over the course of two days at the hospital I have become adept at swaddling. She cries when she wets her diaper and when she's hungry. However, I am extremely grateful that she is apparently one of those babies who, when a need is addressed, immediately stops crying. She isn't one of those babies who gets herself all worked up.

Our room is spacious with two queen sized beds, a decent sized sitting area and a tiny kitchenette. Because we're in Orlando - Land of the Evil Empire Disney - hotel rooms are plentiful and cheap. A room this size and quality near where we live would be in the hundreds for just one  night. But here it's affordable. And conveniently the hotel is right across the street from Target. Anything I need is just one minute away.

Our first night together as mother and daughter is relatively quiet. Upon our arrival in our temporary home she sleeps in the portable bed-top sleeper while I get all of the various baby stuff set up in little stations around the room. Once that's done I sit next to her on the bed to watch her sleep. Wrapped up burrito-style she is very still, although from time to time she moves her little head in a circle and her mouth opens wide in a silent cry. And then she settles back down into deep sleep.

Do newborns dream?
"Hello, my little burrito," I whisper to her.

Some part of my brain thinks that I should be panicked about being here on my own with her, but I'm not. She's quiet and content. I'm quiet and content.

I send text messages and photos to Chris and our families. She sleeps, eats, makes wet diapers, and occasionally opens her dark-brown-almost-black eyes. I'd like to think she can see me, but I know from my reading that she sees virtually nothing at this point in her life. Her world is made up of sound, taste and other physical sensations. Like most newborns, she isn't crazy about being naked. Her skinny legs and arms flap manically when I change her. Her way of saying, "Holy crap it's cold in here!!!"

"I'm sorry, my little burrito," I say and try to dress her quickly. The teeny tiny newborn clothes are simply gigantic on her. Every time I change her I can't help but be delighted by her big feet. Well, giant for her...they are tiny little feet, but look ginormous on her pencil skinny legs. She has long, slender toes.

When she is awake, I lay her the length of my thighs and just gaze at her. Every little movement is adorable. She makes soft smacking sounds. And sometimes she sighs deeply.

I touch her face, her hair, her hands and feet. I am certain that she is the most perfect baby ever and tell her so, "You are the most perfect baby. Ever."

She doesn't reply, but looks in my direction with wide unseeing eyes. And sighs deeply.

I'd like to think she understands that already after just a few days I adore her with every fiber of my being.

No matter how tightly I wrap her into her burrito blanket cocoon, her left hand inevitably makes its way up and out of the top of her swaddling blanket. She sleeps with her fingers pressed to her cheek. This just kills me it's so sweet.

"I think we should call her Houdini," I say to Chris. "Her left hand will not be contained. She gets it out of the swaddling every time I do her up!"

He laughs, but it is obvious that he is incredibly sad to be missing her first day away from the hospital. Her first day as part of our family.

"You'll be here tomorrow," I say trying to ease the ache, knowing it doesn't help.

07 March 2012

She comes home...part 6

My stomach is doing uncomfortable flip flops.

I sit on one of the couches in the airy third floor hospital lounge, but it's impossible to get comfortable. From time to time I get up and walk around just to be doing something. When I'm not walking or glancing at the door, I'm sending text messages to Chris.

10:50 AM [ME]: I signed all the papers. The attorney now in with K having her sign everything. OMG. This is really happening.

11:01 AM [CHRIS]: I'm at my desk. Having a bit of trouble breathing.

11:01 AM [ME]: me too

11:20 AM [CHRIS]: Anything?

11:20 AM [ME]: Still waiting

11:21 AM [CHRIS]: This is nerve-wracking.

11:21 AM [ME]: What about this entire experience hasn't been nerve-wracking???

11:22 AM [CHRIS]: Bonus wracks for being so close to it happening. I'm sorry I'm not there with you.

11:22 AM [ME] I'm sorry too. But you'll be here tomorrow and we will just get to hang out without anyone else around!

Two hours earlier I arrive at the hospital to find K watching television and the baby laying next to her asleep.

"You just missed her being awake," says K.

"That's OK," I reply. "I'm sure she'll be awake again soon."

K nods.

"Do you want to hold her?"

I nod as K hands her to me. The baby doesn't even stir during the hand-off. One little hand peeks out of the top of the swaddling blanket.

"How are you?" I ask K.

"I'm OK," she says looking at me and then back at the tv. "I'm OK."

Again, I wonder if she is trying to convince me or herself that she truly is OK.

"Are you sure?"

She nods her head.

I try one last time. One last time I'll say it and then there's no going back for either of us.

"There's still time to change your mind," I say.

The statement...a question really...hangs in the air between us for a minute before K says, "No. I'm OK. I'm OK."

She looks back at the tv. I look down at K's baby in my lap. Sleeping. Content. Unaware of the pact being made and confirmed by the two women who love her more than anyone else in the world will ever love her.

Finally the attorney arrives. A pretty woman with dark hair in her mid-thirties. She smiles broadly as she introduces herself to K and to me. She coos over the baby announcing that she has a 5 month-old at home. After a few minutes of chit-chat she turns to me and says, "So, have you and your husband chosen a name?"

"Esme Louisa," I reply.

'That's beautiful," says the attorney with another big smile.

"Unless you changed your mind and there's a name that you like," I say turning to K hoping, even though I love the name we've chosen, that K will tell me that she's changed her mind and would like to have a part in naming her baby.

She shakes her head, "No. I'm OK. That's pretty."

Esme Louisa it is.

And then the attorney is leading me out of the room explaining that I have to be in a different part of the hospital while K signs the papers. She leads me to the lounge, pulls out a huge packet of papers and proceeds to go over each one with me. I'm sure that I'm supposed to read each one thoroughly, but I can't seem to focus properly because I'm so nervous. So, I nod a lot. Finally, the attorney announces that she needs to go review all of the documents with K, which will take a while. I try my best to read everything per the attorney's instructions, but just end up locating all of the places I'm supposed to sign and, with shaking hand, do just that.

The lounge is empty but for me. People come and go from the maternity ward, but no one stops here.

The minutes drag by.

Then at 11:32 the doors open and there is the attorney with a big smile on her face.

K signed the papers.

The attorney gives me a quick hug. I hand her my signed papers. We return to K's room. The moment I see K is so terribly, horribly bittersweet. She is crying. Big tears. I want to hold her, to tell her that it's all going to be OK. I want to adopt K along with her baby. She is so young and scared. She needs someone to take care of her. Seeing her cry and knowing what we've done...I am so heartbroken for her. So happy for me and Chris, but so heartbroken for her.

Part of me just wants to take it all back. To un-sign everything and go back in time to before we even knew about K and her baby.

I walk to her thinking that I will put my arms around her, but she thrusts Esme Louisa in my direction and turns away.

I can't blame her. I'd probably turn away from me, too, if I was her.

The attorney, oblivious to K's pain and only interested in my joy,  jumps in front of me with a camera and says, "Smile!'

So, I do. Then the attorney says, "Give me your phone and I'll take some pictures for you."

So, I do and she does.

"How about a picture with K?" says the oblivious attorney.

"Well, I think that's really up to K. I don't want to intrude on her privacy," I respond.

K is not crying anymore, but is still obviously shaken by what has just happened here.

"Oh, I guess I always think that everyone wants their pictures taken. It's such a happy occasion!"

Not for K.

This attorney really is clueless.

I look at K who says quietly, "I don't think I want my picture taken."

"I understand," I reply. "That's totally fine."

The attorney looks confused and disappointed. She puts her camera away. Finally, she announces that it's time for her to go. She congratulates me again, makes some vague noises in K's direction and leaves us.

I am wrung out and have no words left to text my husband so I simply send him this photo:

And then I sit on the low pink couch with my daughter and her mother. One of us is sleeping soundly while the other two contemplate the enormity of what we've just done.