06 July 2011

A new kind of life

My first day in eight years without a paying job.

It feels...odd.

Yesterday people at work tell me that I must be so relieved. That it must be nice to be getting rid of my stress. And, yes, it is.

But I haven't totally gotten rid of stress in my life...just the stress of working in a job at which I was pretty good for a long time, but on which I had burned out some time ago.

Now there's new and different stress...

We're officially a one-income family until I can figure out a way to generate some income while I'm a stay-at-home-mom. Hopefully with my writing.

I've committed to getting the house in shape for the baby's eventual (and hopefully soon!) arrival in our lives. That means cleaning out all of the closets, getting rid of more accumulated stuff to make way for new baby stuff, baby proofing, painting the baby's bookshelves and dresser, and the big project - sanding/priming/painting the remaining trim on our main floor. That's seven door frames (both sides), four window frames, and all of the baseboards. May not sound like a lot, but if you've ever sanded/primed/painted trim you'll know that it's a huge, time consuming, tedious and tiring task. Still, when it's finally done the house will feel fresh.

And then there's making sure that I'm using my time wisely and efficiently each day. That I don't allow myself to get lazy. That I don't sleep in everyday, but I get up and go to "work." That I make a list of things needing to get done each day and that I do them.

As part of my daily "get things done/don't get lazy" regime, I need to make progress on my book. Big progress. Now that I'm not dealing with the exhaustion (or the excuse of exhaustion...) of a full-time job I am making the commitment to myself to write everyday.

Every. Single. Day.

To make writing part of my daily list of things to do because until now I've been pretty haphazard in my approach to getting this book written. Some days I don't even look at it. Other days I'm off at the coffee house for six hours clackering away on my laptop and ignoring the rest of my life. It's time to learn a little discipline when it comes to pounding out my novel.

Then there's also the stress of being the person who is now available to get "stuff" done. The cat needs to go to the vet. The plumber is coming to deal with the leaky faucet. Deliveries. Other house stuff. Grocery shopping. Cleaning. Laundry. That's all going to fall to me because I'm the one that will be home and not "working."

My conversation with my husband this morning:

CHRIS: So, what's on tap for you today for your first day of freedom?

ME: Well, I need to head to the Target in W to get sheets and beach towels for the trip. And also those t-shirts that I like so much, but they didn't have a whole lot left at the Target in S. Um, and then I have a couple of other errands to do and then an appointment with N (my therapist) at 2:30. And then I'm going to come home and deal with laundry.

CHRIS [furrowed brow]: Mmmm. Um.

ME: What?

CHRIS: Would you mind doing the laundry this morning?

ME [furrowed brow]: Why?

CHRIS: So everything has time to dry today. I'd really like to pack this evening so we can get on the road tomorrow as soon as I get home from work.

ME [brow still furrowed]: Um.

For about half a minute I'm annoyed by my husband's perfectly reasonable request/suggestion.
I have my schedule planned out for the day! The way I want to get things done in the order that I want to get them done. And now he wants me to change my whole schedule to take care of the laundry this morning???

I'm about to make a really stupid comment to the effect of what is on my mind which will surely start something that involves serious bickering. But I stop myself. Suddenly feeling very foolish and embarrassed for being annoyed for even thirty seconds.

He's right, of course.

It certainly makes more sense to get the laundry done and hung up this morning before I head out for the day. And, aside from my 2:30 appointment, do I really have a set schedule? Nope. Just my handy list of things to do and purchase.So, getting the laundry done this morning? Not such a big deal.

ME [flushing slightly with embarrassment and hoping that Chris doesn't notice]: Of course. I'll take care of it.

The first load of laundry is in the washer right now. It's still early and I have plenty of time to get everything done that I want to today.

* * *

Just because I don't have a paying job doesn't mean that I'm not going to be working or that I won't have stress.

I'm just going to have a different kind of job. And there's going to be different kinds of stress. And I'm sure that there will be days where I wish desperately that I was heading into the office. Days when if I have to look at another load of laundry or clean out another closet I will likely lose my mind just a little.

Hopefully that's in the distant future (or, even more hopefully, not in the future at all.)

But for now I've signed on for a new life of being the person in our house who takes care of the "stuff" and who has to learn how to fill her days in new ways - with writing, taking care of our home, hopefully taking care of a baby very soon.

Am I excited?

Yeah, kind of.

Am I scared?

Yeah, a little.

OK, a lot.

But here I am and I want to be in the present moment with all of it.

04 July 2011

Maybe next year

Most days I'm OK.

I do not spend much time these days obsessing about the adoption that fell through earlier this year or the one that has yet to happen.

Most days I'm OK.

I go about my business. The business of living. The business of trying to be in the present moment.

But then it creeps up on me. Stealthily.

The sadness. The longing.

Like yesterday.

In many ways yesterday is a good day. Gray and rainy. I spend the day in my jammies, reading the last book in my very favorite fantasy series, hunkered down on the couch, enjoying the cat snuggled up beside me. The house needs to be cleaned, but I ignore it in favor of the life of the mind and imagination.

It is only in the evening when it's finally dark enough for the fireworks to start and I head out with my husband onto our back deck to watch them that I realize how sad I am.

How yet another holiday has almost come and gone.

And we are still not parents.

I try to enjoy the fireworks, but fail and head back inside to finish my book.

Last year at the Independence Day parade we talk about how great it will be "next year" when we have the baby with us. We laugh and wonder if she'll make it all the way through the parade or if the heat and the noise will be too much for her and we'll have to pack up and head out early.

And yet here we are at "next year" and next year's parade...

Still no baby. Still not parents.

Today we head to the parade, but surprisingly, I am not sad. Apparently I had my little moment yesterday. Instead I clap for the marching bands, clap for the veterans from the Korean War, Vietnam, and WWII, eat a forbidden hot dog, laugh at the tiny Chihuahua a few feet away barking like mad and desperate to get at the passing Clydesdale horses, and thoroughly enjoy watching parents with their children all around us enjoying the day.

And hoping that maybe next year...

29 June 2011

Mental illness: There but for the grace of God, go I...

She is in line in front of me at the Dunkin Donuts. It isn't that she has a bad odor drawing my attention to her because she doesn't have one, which is surprising.

It is her oddness.

The way she holds her arms away from her sides, hands dangling, and sways ever so slightly. It's the short brown obviously unwashed hair standing straight up in the back with large flakes of dandruff embedded in it. It's the droopy, dirty, strapless sundress and the dirty white flip flops that make me look at her more closely. Her tan feet are filthy with long, sharp looking toenails that have not seen a clipper in many, many months. I notice that her long, sharp looking finger nails are dirty as well. When her arms are not held away from her sides she plucks and plucks at the skirt of her dress. I'm guessing that she is somewhere in her early fifties, although it's hard to tell. Her face, except for her rapidly blinking eyes, is slack and immobile.

The young girl behind the counter quickly gets the woman in the sundress her two powdered sugar jelly donuts and a large coffee all the while pointedly not looking at the woman or speaking to her except to say "That's three dollars and eighty-two cents."

Donuts and coffee in hand the woman in the sundress makes a beeline to a table with her flip-flops slapping loudly against her filthy feet as she walks.

The young girl behind the counter, obviously relieved that the crazy woman is gone, chatters loudly at me as she takes my order. I take my bottle of water and grab a seat.

From across the restaurant I watch the woman in the sundress. It's hard not to. I am embarrassed to find myself staring, but she doesn't notice. She has dumped the donuts on the table without the benefit of a napkin. The table top is now covered in powdered suger. One of the donuts has a large bite taken out of it. Half of the woman's face is covered in powdered sugar, but she makes no attempt to wipe it off. Doesn't even seem to notice. Her eyes blink rapidly as she chews and she continually plucks at the skirt of her dress. After swallowing she stops blinking and plucking, stands up, grabs the partially eaten donut and makes a beeline to the trashcan. Slap-slap-slap go her flip flops. She throws the donut away, taps the door of the trashcan four times and then slap-slap-slaps her way back to the table to grab the uneaten donut and repeat the whole slap-slap-slap/throwing away/tapping process all over again.

Now other people in the Dunkin Donuts are watching her. It's obvious to them that she's not right in the head and they stare at her. As I am staring. She still doesn't notice.

The remains of her original twenty dollars are on the table next to hers. She grabs a five dollar bill and returns to the counter where she orders another two donuts (same kind) and another large coffee. The same young girl waits on her and is apparently still too embarrassed to look at her. The woman sways and plucks at her skirt until her order is ready. Her sundress is falling down. I am suddenly afraid that the entire Dunkin Donuts is going to be treated to seeing this woman quite naked. Amazingly, the woman notices her dangerously drooping sundress and hikes it up.

Back at her table, the woman in the sundress again dumps the powdered sugar covered donuts on the table. But now she stops. The plucking and the swaying stop. She holds her arms out straight from her sides and looks perplexed. Furroughs her brow. It's obvious that she is confused. Then she suddenly appears upset. Something is wrong, but she doesn't know what. She pulls her arms back in, furiously plucks at her skirt a few times, blinks rapidly and then just about leaps out of her seat to grab another five dollar bill and head back to the counter.

This time she takes her third order of coffee and donuts to a completely different table on the other side of the Dunkin Donuts leaving the mess of her orginal two coffees and second set of donuts on the first table. She also leaves the rest of her money out on the other table. Again she dumps the donuts on the new table. Now she studies them and her current location. A brief smile plays on her face as she picks up one of the donuts to take a large bite apparently much more satisfied with this table and these donuts. She chews, blinks rapidly, and plucks at the skirt of her dress.

I pull myself away from the spectacle of this seriously mentally ill woman because I have to get myself to work. But not before I sit in my car for a few minutes breathing deeply, wondering if I should do something, not knowing what to do for the woman in the sundress, feeling guilty about not knowing what to do, and then simply being thankful for my life.

12 June 2011

Am I an awful person?

I'm sitting in my favorite coffee house today trying to get some writing done when she walks in with her friend.

She can't be more than 15 or 16 years old. Laughing and giggling. Very pretty with long dark hair, dark eyes and tanned skin. She is wearing one of this season's popular floor length "maxi" dresses.

And she is also very obviously very pregnant.

She and her friend purchase their coffee and treats and sit at the next table over from me chatting happily away. I know that I am staring at them, which is terribly rude, but I cannot tear my eyes away from them so distracted and distressed am I by the sight of this pregnant girl.

Distressed and distracted not by her or her pregnancy, but rather by my reaction to her and her pregnancy.

"How can you possibly take care of a baby at your age?" I ask her in my thoughts. "You're just a child yourself!"

I wonder whether she's planning to keep her baby, if her family is going to step in with help and financial support. Will this young woman's parents step up and raise the child if she cannot or will not raise it? Is the father going to be involved? Will they live at home with her family? Or will this young woman try to live on her own with the baby?

Then suddenly some part of me contemplates getting up and walking over to this young woman to introduce myself and ask her outright if she's considering adoption. To tell her that there is a couple living just a few miles away who would make wonderful adoptive parents for her child. That the woman who would make a great mom is me! Standing right in front of her!

Urgh! Ach!! WTF??? How can I be thinking these things???

Quite suddenly my mouth goes dry and I start to sweat with the shame of it all.  I am so ashamed that even just one of these thoughts has for one millionth of one second been rattling around in my brain. So ashamed.

This young woman's pregnancy is clearly none of my business.

And, further, I have absolutely no business whatsoever judging her for being young and being pregnant.

Soon the young women finish their coffee and treats and make their way out of the coffee house leaving me behind with my terrible thoughts. Leaving me feeling...





Does this make me an awful person?

22 May 2011

I am still not a mom

It's been 70+ days since we found out that the adoption fell through.

In that time I've: wept, blogged, withdrawn from the world, come back out into the world, exercised, not exercised, gained and lost 6 pounds, gone back to therapy, attended a conference for work, decided that I'm going to have a nervous breakdown if I continue my work, tendered my resignation (effective July 1), started looking into new careers and returning to school, cleaned my house, let my house become a complete wreck, avoided the subject of adoption, talked incessantly about adoption, got weepy when I would see little babies out with their moms, came down with The Plague, missed a week of work, started revamping my novel.


At least over the course of the past week, I stopped thinking about the fact that I am still not a mom.

Until today.

It just kind of hit me. And I don't know why. I walk into the house after my trip to the gym and there it is loud and clear in my head:

I. Am. Still. Not. A. Mom.

Which then leads to this thought:

Chris. Is. Still. Not. A. Dad.

And the really sad thing is that we're not having those great little conversations that we had been having for a long time before the adoption fell through...

"We're not going to be able to sleep in on the weekends anymore once the baby comes."

"I can't wait until we get to take her to her first PawSox game!"

"Omigod. I am so not looking forward to the poopy diapers."


It seems like we've kind of lost our enthusiasm.

We've turned our attention to other things to avoid thinking about the fact that we were supposed to be more than two months into parenthood by now.

I am still not a mom.

Which kind of sucks.

However, there's not much I can do about that now except be in the present moment.

And so in this present moment I am off to drink a green smoothie, have some lunch, shower and then hit the grocery store.

Life goes on.

18 May 2011

Being with discomfort

"Did you take anything for that?" my husband asks me a few days ago during the height of what I am now calling "The Plague." The "that" he's referring to is me practically hacking up a lung every twenty minutes or so.

"No [coughs]," I reply in a deep scratchy voice through a stuffed up head and chest. "I'm waiting until I go to bed for the night [coughs] to take any cold meds [sneezes and blows nose twice] so I can at least breathe a little better while I sleep. [coughs] During the day I'm just trying to let [sneezes] this thing make its way [coughs] through my system."

He looks at me as if I have lost my mind.


A few hours after this conversation I still cannot breathe. I'm huddled in my nest of blankets on the living room couch and still hacking away. Our elderly cat is enjoying the warmth I'm emitting as a result of my fever. She lays snoozing on top of me, opening her eyes each time I cough to regard me with a baleful glare as if to say, "You're disturbing my nap. Hush."

Like my husband, I'm sure the cat would love it if I would just take the cold medication.


Unlike those folks who medicate themselves day and night in an attempt to squelch every symptom of an illness, I prefer to simply be still and quiet and let whatever upper respiratory yuck (because that's usually what I get) just run it's course.The cold meds aren't going to make it go away any more quickly. If anything, I sometimes think squelching the symptoms slows the progress of a virus through your system forcing it to linger.

Better to just let it do its thing and get it over with.

Yep, that's my strategy.

It hits me as I'm laying there trapped under the cat and coughing yet again: In spite of feeling wretched, I am actually good at sitting with physical discomfort.

I am good at just being quiet for days on end and being still and sitting with the discomfort. At waiting it out and letting it run its course.

How weird is that?

In the next moment it hits me that, sadly, I do not possess the same skill when it comes to my mental and emotional life. While I might be good at sitting with physical discomfort, experiencing psychic discomfort of any kind...yikes!

Nope. Not good at all at being quiet and being still when it comes to sitting with difficult emotions or thoughts.

Like most people, I want to squelch the symptoms of discomfort in the realms of the mental and the emotional - numb them with things like food, movies, televsion, my computer, solitaire, anything fun and pleasant that will distract from the discomfort.

How sad is that?

And especially now when I have just given notice at my job, with no new job in the wings and my future plans uncertain. I'm making the leap into parenthood (hopefully, if our adoption ever goes through) and potentially into a writing career.

Yep, there's definitely going to be some psychic discomfort heading my way.

Maybe I should replicate my nest of blankets from my days with The Plague? Think that would help?

17 May 2011

How many self-help books are too many?

I open the plastic storage bin in search of a specific journal that I've used in the past to record notes and thoughts about a particular self-help book.

And there they all are.

My collection.

I've had to move them because we turned what was the guest room/my studio into the baby's room. My studio is now down in our finished basement. And I haven't taken the time to pull out and shelve my self-help book collection in the new space.

Until I look at them in their bin this evening, I had forgotten how many self-help books that I actually own.

Holy buckets, Batman.

That's a whole lot of advice from a whole bunch of experts staring me in the face from inside that bin.
That's a whole lotta books.

Books rife with meditations and affirmations. Buddhist books. Art therapy guides. Zen books. Writing therapy guides. Mystical books. Practical self-help books filled with strategies that I can easily incorporate into my everyday life!

Authors who promise they'll take me on the wonderful journey to becoming the thin, healthy, professionally fulfilled, sexy, happy human being that they know I can be!

Many of my self-help collection have illustrations. Others have accompanying workbooks or spaces within for me to write and journal. Still others allow me to create my own illustrations or add my own artistic touches.

So many tomes devoted to guiding me through multiple exercises that will lead me through the pain through the suffering through my past and my present to get to the healing and to discover my ultimate truth!!!

I've read them all. I've worked through them all.

And yet...

Here I am.

Forty-three years old and not quite where I would like to be in my life.

Still struggling.

Still looking to yet another new self-help book for some guidance and inspiration.

Maybe I just haven't connected with the right book yet?

How many self-help books are too many?

03 May 2011

The missing piece...

Being present is challenging when you're waiting for something.

Especially when you're waiting for a big something.

Like becoming a mom.

And you have no idea when it's going to happen.

Or even if it's going to happen.

As hard as I try to be in the present moment, to be in the here and now, to enjoy this moment and the next, to live...somehow it just feels like my life is on hold.

I hang out with my husband, go to work, go to the gym, see friends, write, make art, do all of the things that I once did before we decided to adopt, but now I do these things with a sense that I'm missing something. 

Something essential.

Every part of me is just aching everyday for that missing piece.

Still...everyday I try to smile, try to be a good wife/daughter/friend, try to do my job, try to take care of my body. And everyday I feel it down to my core. The missing piece.

How can I miss something so much that I've never had?

29 April 2011

All will be revealed...

"Can you at least tell me what I need to wear? Casual? Dressy? What?" I ask my husband for the fourth time earlier this week.

"No. All will be revealed on Friday," he says with a sly grin.

"But I might want to go out shopping to get a new outfit if I just knew what I need to wear!" I say getting exasperated.

"You don't need to buy a new outfit."


I hate surprises.

Really. I do.

Hate. Them. With. A. Passion.

Early in our marriage I tell Chris, "If you ever decide to throw me a big surprise birthday party, you might as well just give me the signed divorce papers as my birthday present."

That's how much I hate surprises.

But a few weeks ago at our 10th wedding anniversary dinner Chris tells me that my anniversary gift isn't quite here yet and that I should take the day off on April 29th.


"Because it's part of your anniversary present."

"Are we going somewhere?"

"Can't tell you that."

"Well, what do I need to wear or bring with me?"

"You'll just have to wait and find out."


So, by yesterday when not one of my inquiries met with anything more than a "All will be revealed on Friday" I am absolutely beside myself with curiosity and not just a little bit of frustration because I have no idea what we're going to be doing or what I should be wearing today.

Last night at 5:15 Chris texts me, "So, what is your evening looking like?"

I text him back, "I'm wrapping up here and can be out of here pretty much at any time."

"I'm in the mood for some chili steak. Want to meet up at Tongg D?"

Meet up at my very favorite Thai restaurant? As if he even has to ask? "Sure!"


"Done! See you there!"

Of course, at that moment my computer decides to go all kaplooey on me (seriously??? now???) and I spend twenty minutes trying desperately to un-kaplooey it. So now I'm running late. Urgh.

Finally I make it to the restaurant twelve minutes late. Chris has already secured us a lovely corner table on the far side of the restaurant. He is standing in front of the table wearing what I can only describe as a huge shit-eating grin on his face. The grin widens as I move closer. Then he steps aside as I am about half-way across the room to reveal someone else sitting at the table.

And there she is.


My oldest and closest friend flown all the way out from Seattle.

My surprise anniversary gift from my amazing, kind, thoughtful husband who always knows what I need.

This surprise...pretty fantastic.

26 April 2011

An open door

"Come on. I'll show you the baby's room," I say to my parents during their visit this past weekend.

So, I take them into the baby's room with it's newly painted lavender walls, the gifted crib, new super comfy glider with matching ottoman, new changing table, new stroller/car seat combo, and all of the other assorted and sundry baby things that we've either purchased or received as gifts.

"You've done a really nice job in here," says my mom.

"Do you like the color?" I ask.

"It's really pretty," she replies and then after a pause adds, "I guess I just thought you'd have this room closed up."


I relate this story to Chris after my folks have gone back to their hotel. He says, "What? Like if we have the room all closed up it'll be like none of this ever happened? Like we'll forget?"

In a way, I can kind of understand what my mom means. When the adoption first falls apart back in March, every time I walk by the baby's room it's painful to see all of that stuff in there. But somehow I can't bear to close the door. I can't make myself do that.

And I still can't just close the door. Doing that....shutting away all of the baby things...somehow that would be like I've given up hope.

So, the door stays open. I look at all of the baby stuff in there everyday. Every single day.

And I know that someday soon there will actually be a baby in that beautiful baby's room. I have to keep hoping that.

I have to keep hoping.

20 April 2011

Might have spoken a little too soon...

Night before last...meltdown.

Meltdown #32? #33? Who can remember?

The night before last Chris comes home after his first long, craptastic day of the week (and, rather inconveniently it's Monday, so there are at least four more long crappy days to come) to find me puttering the kitchen, no dinner yet prepared, looking...pitiful.

"What's up?" he asks me. And then, "How'd work go today?"

And before I know it I'm absolutely bawling into his shoulder.

Bawling and sobbing.

Like I haven't sobbed in a long time.

And then last night, after another completely craptastic day at his job, Chris says to his still depressed wife, "I guess it's been easier for me. I mean, not easier, but I've been able to just say to myself, 'OK, that didn't work out' and then I let it all go. I've been able to move forward. It seems like you haven't been able to do that yet."

Apparently so.

My head says to move forward, but my heart...not so much.

I've promised my husband that I'm going to make an appointment with my therapist.

As much as I don't want to re-hash the entire adoption-falling-apart-at-the-last-minute for her (I haven't been to see her since December...), it looks like I'm going to have to. I don't seem to be working through my grief. It sneaks up on my at the worst times. Stealthily. I'll feel fine and then...BLAM!

Nausea, upset stomach, headache, tears, no energy, no appetite, depression, misery.

It's just so stupid.

I need to get over this and move on.

When will it happen?


18 April 2011


America's game.


"I know what I want to do for my birthday," Chris tells me a few weeks ago. "The PawSox have a home game on my birthday. So we'll get a block of seats and invite everyone to the game."

Which is exactly what we do yesterday.

Nine of us enjoy fifth and sixth row box seats in section fourteen just along the third baseline. The weather is perfect. Sixty degrees, a few clouds in the sky, but mostly sun. It's not too hot or too cold.

Peanuts, hotdogs, chicken sausages, french fries, and hamburgers are enjoyed by all throughout the game  along with beer (for the adults) and cotton candy (for the kids...yech! How can they eat that stuff???) thrown in for good measure.

The PawSox and the Buffalo Bisons play some fantastic baseball: homeruns, stolen bases and some absolutely incredible diving catches in the outfield. It's glorious. The PawSox run up the score to 10-2 by the bottom of the sixth inning. Buffalo rallies in the seventh with four runs, but they never do make up the difference.

A great game. A great day.

And for an entire glorious day, I am happy. Happy that my husband is enjoying his birthday. Happy to be with dear family and friends.

Happy to not be talking about our failed adoption.

In fact, I don't think about the adoption at all.

For a day...I forget.

And I am happy.

16 April 2011

Too old?

The old mom.

That's going to be me.

I'm at an evening event for work a few weeks ago. There are lots of "young people" in the room - mostly in their early and mid-twenties. One of the servers, offering me a nibble from a tray, points at one of the twenty-somethings and asks me, "Oh, is that your daughter?"

I must give him quite a look because he quickly amends his question to an ever-so-awkward, "Orrrr maybe your, um, sister? Um, you look a lot alike."

I don't answer him. He quickly scurries off to the other side of the room with his tray of nibbles.

Darn you, you young whipper-snapper!

You couldn't just leave me my illusions that I still look really young???

I'm going to be one of the oldest, if not the oldest, mom on the playground. Until this twenty-something server kid makes the comment about me being the mom of a twenty-something (which I could be had I had a kid at twenty...), I really don't spend a whole lot of time agonizing about being too old to be the mom of  a new baby.

Now, of course, after the whipper-snapper's inadvertent dig at my age, I'm kind of obsessing about it a bit.

Well, more than a bit.

A lot.

I relate the story and my obsessing about being too old to be a new mom to my colleague "C" who was an "older" adoptive mom.

"I was forty-two when we brought F home," she says, "so I was definitely the oldest mom out there for a while, but you know something? It really doesn't matter. Those moms who were in their twenties? All twits!"

We laugh.

"I mean they really were kind of twits but it was because they were SO young. But, you know, you stand around with the twits talking about your kids and all of the funny things they do and it's fine. No one really notices how old you are. And now, with so many women having children when they're older...chances are you won't be the oldest one out there."

She's right, of course.

I need to just get over myself.

15 April 2011

It finally happened to me...

 And the boys understand as much as they can, they really do. But I truly believe that we have these mama buttons inside that once they get flicked on they can be all consuming.
A friend of mine wrote the above to me in a Facebook message. While Chris and I are in the waiting/wondering/agonizing/hoping stage of adoption, "A" and her husband are in month 20 of struggling through infertility. It just kills me knowing how much A wants to be a mom and how difficult her journey has been so far.

As for me...What's kind of crazy is that I never believed that wanting to be a mom could be so all consuming. For many reasons (which I've discussed at length in earlier posts) I always thought that I didn't have that "mama button." While other women I knew were so excited to become moms, some even obsessed with it, I just never had that feeling.


Until recently.

Two years ago when I told Chris that I wanted us to have a family, I was thrilled knowing that my decision would allow Chris to finally become a dad because it's something that he's wanted for a very long time and I know that he is, of course, going to be awesome.

But for me...there was still a lot of fear. And still not "that feeling" that becoming a mom was what I was meant to do. It was something that I was choosing and something that I would have to work very hard at, but...

Until now.

Now, after two years of waiting and writing and reading and learning and hoping and worrying...It finally happened to me. That something in me that most women feel in their twenties and thirties finally seems to have clicked on. What A calls the "mama button."

However, for me it's been more like a seismic shift than a button click.

It's taken such a long time, but now that the shift has happened...man, I just want to be a mom. More than anything. And I want to see Chris be a dad. More than anything.

I'm trying hard to not let this feeling be so all consuming. To focus on being in the present moment and enjoying my life, but is it ever hard.

So, I send A and her husband healing energy and hope that their wait to become parents ends ASAP and I try to give myself and Chris that same healing energy.

Yeah, it finally happened to me...and it's driving me kind of crazy.

12 April 2011

Umm...yeah...my life is fine...

A friend of ours is in the hospital for a second time in just a few short weeks with a serious - yet mysterious - illness. He's already had one emergency surgery, but the surgeons are hesitant to go in a second time until they know what they're going in there to do.

This is serious and life threatening and super extremely scary stuff.

We're keeping L, his wife and their families in our thoughts and sending him lots of healing energy.

So...all of the bitching and moaning and whining that I've been doing about adoption these last few weeks....

Umm...yeah...my life is just fine...

11 April 2011

Monday Monday...

It's been hard to go to work these days.

Especially on Mondays.

While I am most certainly on the upswing from the lows of the last few weeks, I must admit that I've been finding myself on Monday mornings thinking, "I shouldn't be going into work. I should be at home on maternity leave."

And it's pretty much sucked.

However, this is the first Monday since everything fell apart that I'm not feeling incredibly blue.

It's a Monday.

I'm going to work. Just like I've done a million times before.

Work isn't where I thought or hoped or dreamed that I would be these days, but it's where I'm at so I'm going to be in the present moment and focus my attention on my job. Not on what "should be" or what "could have been" or "what will be."

Take a breath. Be in the present moment...

Monday Monday...

La la la la la la la...

10 April 2011

Surprisingly joyful...

Yesterday...my niece's 6th birthday party.

We travel three hours on Friday for an overnight stay with my sister-in-law "C", her husband "G" and their girls "L" and "A" so we can celebrate "L"'s 6th birthday. We arrive at 9:00 p.m. to find my SIL baking three cakes, my BIL plunked on the couch recovering from a 22-hour work gig, the girls sound asleep in bed (not surprising) and that my husband's little brother "P" is also in town for the celebration. Surprise!

"P is here," C tells us as she separates eggs over the garbage can.

"Like here here?" we ask.

"Yup, here here, but not here at the moment because he's in The City visiting with a friend. I told him that he has to be back no later than midnight so I can pick him up at the train station."

"What's he doing here?"

"He got a call from [super extremely famous high-end modeling agency] to have his photo shoot done with [super extremely famous high-end fashion photographer]. It was supposed to be today, but I guess it's been moved to next week so he's staying with us until then."

"That kid is going to be really famous, isn't he?" one of us says (as one of us usually does) a little ruefully.

Someone else pipes up (as one of us usually does), "As long as he pays for our kids' college educations!"

We laugh.

C finishes the three cakes, which will ultimately be carefully cut, stacked, sculpted and frosted together to create one beautiful cake that looks just like a baseball stadium. My SIL says, "I know, I'm completely crazy."

My FIL, his wife and their daughter arrive at 10:15. Lots more chatting and watching my SIL bake.

We all finally retire to bed at 11:30.

The day of the party is gorgeous. Despite earlier predictions in the week of rain and yuck, the day is sunny and rapidly warms up. Chris and I greet P, next supermodel of the world as he and my 12 year-old SIL "S" are playing Mario Brothers on the Wii. Breakfasts are consumed. Everyone takes turns in my SIL's one lone shower.

SIL gives us all our marching orders for the day. Chris and I are to head to Michaels' Crafts to pick up supplies for the craft project (decorating blank baseball caps) and when we return we are put in charge of putting peanuts and popcorn in their various bags. Chris also helps with outside set up.

The rest of the family arrives around noon. My MIL and her husband. Lunches are consumed. Party set up continues. The gigantic baseball themed Bouncy House arrives and, once it is set up, the male adults and the little Girls avail themselves of its fun while the rest of us hang out in the kitchen watching the Master Baker frost the baseball stadium cake.

The guests start arriving at 2:00 p.m. The older kids (that would be all of the 6 year-olds) immediately make their way into the Bouncy House, while the moms, dads and their toddlers/babies hang out on the driveway watching.

The rest of the day is filled with food, bouncing, baseball, crafts, musical bases, parents hanging around talking to each other and amusing their babies/toddlers, cake, and keeping kids out of the house. L seems to be having a wonderful time during her party. Aside from a few kids getting bonked on the head by a stray elbow or knee in the Bouncy House and one bitchy mom acting rude, there's no tears or drama and everyone has a marvelous time.

Lots of joy and laughter.

Even me.

Truth be told...I've been pretty much dreading this party.

Awful, I know.

This is my beautiful little niece we're talking about! Her 6th birthday!

How could I be dreading it?

Well, of course, I've fully expected to be attending this party with my own little one in tow. But, after the adoption falls through last month, obviously that isn't happening. So, I go with a sense of dread...of being surrounded by all of these moms, dads and their kids .... and Chris and I still in the waiting and wondering and hoping and agonizing stage of adoption.

I keep thinking that at some point during the day it will all be too much and I'll have to excuse myself so I can go downstairs, lock myself in the bathroom and cry for a while. That somehow this party will just bring up all of the feelings of loss and sadness that I've been experiencing on and off for weeks.

Yet somehow...once the day starts...I am amazed to find myself enjoying everything and everyone. I am not sad, but instead feeling joyful while watching the kids play, meeting and cooing over all of the babies and toddlers, talking to other moms. It's so surprising.

"K" and "S" are kind enough to hand off their 3 month-old baby "R" to me to hold after she's been fed. She's a super mellow, beautifully plump little baby with lots of dark hair and really intense dark eyes. R seems perfectly content to simply be in my lap as I ask K & S to provide some advice for a soon-to-be new parent.

Many of the people I meet have learned from my SIL of our recent failed adoption. They're all very kind. And while people's kindness just a few weeks ago was simply more than I could bear, today their kindness feels soothing and healing. Surprisingly, I'm able to talk about what happened without feeling resentful, sad, angry or exhausted. Instead, surrounded by the joy of the party and the joy of the people and with little R hanging out so happily in my arms, I feel OK and even hopeful in a way that I haven't felt in weeks.

As if soon the baby in my arms will actually be our daughter.

08 April 2011

Bad days and good days...

Today...a good day.

So far.

Husband wakes me up and off we go to the gym - he to a personal training session and me to my beloved treadmill (2nd one in from the left in the set of treadmills that do not have television screens attached to them. I come to the gym to get away from watching tv!)

While Chris gets put through the ringer by his devilish little trainer (she's tiny, petite, adorable and smiles very prettily while she tortures him), I pound out two and a half uphill treadmill miles. It feels good to sweat.

And now we're back home getting ready for the rest of our day. I'm clackering away here. Chris is making himself some breakfast. The grumpiest cat in the world, our Cecil, has a little pep in her step and is busy doing kitty acrobatics with her favorite toy in the middle of the living room. Not bad for a cat who is turning 18 in just a few weeks.

"Who put a quarter in you this morning?" I ask her. (And she has now stopped her play to crawl into my lap while I type...this is a little challenging as I have a laptop computer. Can you see the visual?)

So, so far today the blues have not come crashing down on me.

Off to seek sustenance and a shower.

Today...a good day so far.

07 April 2011

Good days and bad days...

Yesterday...bad day.

I keep saying that I'm going to move on...move forward...move wherever. I'm going to be in the present moment. Live life. Focus on the good stuff and all of that other jazz. And then sadness, headache, tummy ache and just plain lowness hits me like a ton of bricks.

That would describe my yesterday. All ready to head off to work when the nausea kicks in. And my head starts pounding. And the tears start flowing.

Damn it.

"Have you talked to N [my therapist] recently?" Chris asks me last night. He's been watching me as I, with a definite lack of enthusiasm, fold my laundry  (oh, and he comes home last night to find me huddled up on the couch once again drowning my misery in Animal Planet, the Food Network and movies about which I usually could care less. Did I really need to watch the moderately awful "Valentine's Day" for a third time?)

"No," I reply, "I haven't been to see N in a while."

Chris raises his eyebrows.

"Maybe you should."

"I don't think that I have the energy to re-hash all of this for her," I reply, not looking at him and instead focusing on the t-shirt I'm folding.

"Still," he says and pauses, "I think it might be a good idea."

Well, of course it's a good idea! Seeing my therapist and talking through all of this crap - it's a frickin' brilliant idea! But I don't want to go! I just want to be done with all of this. I want one of our agencies to call today to say that we're on our way. That we'll be doing soon rather than this interminable thinking, wondering, waiting, hoping, agonizing, fretting.


So much for just spending some time in the present moment while not thinking about or writing about all of this adoption stuff.

I'm hoping that today is going to be a good day.

I've had enough of the bad days.

Wish me luck.

03 April 2011

Being present and moving on...

I don't want to disappear again from posting here.

Like I disappeared for a few months earlier this year...until we got The News that it had all fallen apart for us. However, now I'm not sure about what I should be writing anymore.

Writing about the monotony of the waiting seems...ummm...rather monotonous. For you. And for me.

And exploring all of the reasons why we're adopting...well, been there and done that. If you've been following along for a while you'll know that I've covered a lot of that ground.

From time to time I still visit a few blogs of folks who are either violently opposed to adoption or have reasons to dislike it just to keep myself informed, but I don't feel the need anymore to write lengthy posts about them. Again - kinda been there and done that.

My worries about becoming a mom and taking care of a child...over the last two years I've worked through a lot of that, although I'm sure that it will all come up again when we actually bring our daughter home. But, until then, think I'm all set with that subject.

So, what else is there?

Apparently - and amazingly - I have run out of adoption fodder. Or maybe I've just run out of steam for any further exploration of all things adoption. For a while anyway.

It would seem then, that until we receive some new news, I will instead simply post about other things for a while. Just spend some time being in the present moment and sharing what's happening here.

So, what's happening in my present moment (that has absolutely nothing to do with adoption or waiting or hoping or worrying) is that it's a gorgeous day. No clouds. Sun. Not too windy or cold. A perfect day to throw on my walking duds and hit the bike path for a long walk. And that's exactly what I'm going to do.


01 April 2011

Actually moving forward...

So, I think that I'm pretty well de-funked.

Thank goodness.

Been going to the gym this week. Eating well. And generally settling back into life.

And, of course, I've settled back into the waiting groove.

It's easier to wait now that just about everyone in our lives knows that our adoption placement fell through at the last minute. No more having to explain. No more saying "Chris and I will just move forward" or "I'm doing OK"  or "well, obviously the Universe has other plans for us" or "It is what it is" or any other hope-filled re-frame that I can think of to make others feel better about my pain. So many people have expressed their sympathy and asked their questions (for which I am really, truly, deeply grateful - even if I didn't sounds terribly grateful in that last sentence...) and heard the explanations. So, now it's a relief that I don't have to keep talking about it.

It's a relief to once again be in a place again where sadness and grief aren't at the forefront of my consciousness.

There are little twinges when I walk by the baby's room filled with all of the baby stuff, but they're just that - twinges. Not the deep stabbing gut pain I was experiencing until just a few days ago.

So, life is moving on.

Chris and I are indeed moving forward.

We're doing OK.

The Universe has its plans for us and we'll just have to be patient to see what those plans entail.

It is what it is...

26 March 2011


11:47 a.m. 

Day two of my forty-third year on the planet.

Still in my jammies and bathrobe. Have not - as I promised my husband yesterday - gone to gym. Instead, got up while he was at spin, had my breakfast and went back to bed for several hours.

Thinking that perhaps I'm not exactly out of my funk just yet.

"You OK?" says wonderful husband popping his head into the darkened bedroom.


He looks worried.

He probably should be.

Still kind of funk-y.

It's a gorgeous day today. Another of those not-a-cloud-in-the-sky kind of days. Chris says it's cold out, but I don't care. Time to put on some outdoor-cool-weather-exercise-clothing. Go for a walk. Get some air in my lungs and a bit of Vitamin D.

Time to de-funk-ify.

25 March 2011

Happy birthday to me...

Welcome to forty-three.

"You have a birthday coming up this week, don't you?" asks my mom the other night while we're on the phone.


"How old are you going to be again?"

"Forty-three," I drawl.

"I can't possibly have a daughter who is forty-three," my mother groans. "That would make me old."

Sorry, Mom, but there you have it. It's true. Forty-three.

And here I am...said birthday has arrived today without much fanfare (and, thankfully without any snow, as had been predicted.) Cecil is sitting next to me sulking because I remove her from my lap a few minutes ago so I can write this blog post. Chris is off sweating at spin class. I should be at the gym with him.

But here's the thing.

I'm in a funk.

(For those of you who have been reading for the last few weeks...I'm sure this doesn't exactly come as a shock.)

I keep trying to sort of pick up the pieces of myself and move forward,  but I'm feeling kind of stuck. And I hate it.

Hate that I feel stuck and grumpy and sad and funk-y.

Part of me feels like I should go whine to my therapist about all of this for a while. Another part of me has no interest whatsoever in going to see my wonderful therapist to rehash this whole debacle. All of me knows that I definitely should get my flabby ass back to the gym. And then another part of me is kind of like, "Oh, for God's sake...Just. Get. Over. It. Already. Adoptions fall apart all of the time. You're not special!! Move. On."

And that last part of me is probably pretty smart. Time to get out of this funk. Set aside some of the grief and Just. Move. On.

It's not like I don't have things to do either.

There's an unfinished novel residing on this laptop that I haven't touched in months. My art studio...ugh, a disaster that needs cleaning and sorting in the worst way. Ditto for our bedroom. Cecil needs constant adoring. Exercise and meal planning could definitely be brought back into my life. There are friends that I haven't seen in weeks. My job is ramping up again. Thank you cards to write to family and friends who gave us all kinds of wonderful baby stuff. There's my parents 50th wedding anniversary party that I'm helping to plan. Oh yeah - and I have a pretty fabulous husband who is also sad and hurting and who could use some of my attention.

It's not like life needs to come to a screeching halt because of all of this adoption crap.

Time to get off my stuck, sad, grumpy, funk-y keester to get back into life.

Forty-two did not turn out to be - for me anyway - the "Ultimate Answer to the Ultimate Question of Life, The Universe, and Everything." But I'm hoping that my forty-third year on the planet will be a good one.

Welcome to forty-three. Happy birthday to me.

Think I'll go have a bowl of oatmeal.

23 March 2011


"Your subconscious is apparently not so happy about the disruption," Chris says to me this morning.

This is his assessment of the nightmares that have been plaguing me for the last two weeks.

Ya think?

While I don't remember last night's latest round of nightmarish dreams, I do remember quite clearly waking up drenched in sweat, practically hyperventilating. So fun in the middle of the night!

For many years I suffered from insomnia - both kinds - the "I can't fall asleep" kind as well as the "I can't stay asleep" kind (very often suffering both types in the course of the same night.) During those years I came to dread bedtime and night in general. I lived on anywhere from one to four hours of sleep a night. It wasn't much of a way to live.

Once I married Chris the insomnia waned and over the years just about subsided altogether. I still struggle with it from time to time, but these days thankfully I mostly enjoy the normal eight hours of sleep that non-insomnia sufferers enjoy.

Until two weeks ago.

Until our adoption fell apart.

And now the nightmares have come.

Full throttle apparently.

I'm waking two and three times a night covered in sweat and out of breath. And after a few minutes of cooling down I fall back into an uneasy sleep - very often right back into the same nightmare that sent me into terrified consciousness in the first place. Not really enjoying this so much night after night after night. In fact, it's getting downright old. Waking up feeling more exhausted than when I went to bed the night before....yeah...ummmm....not so much, Folks.

It's kind of sad that I'm actually sitting here just longing for the days of plain old annoying insomnia.

The thing about insomnia - and now these nightmares - is that they become cyclical: You have a bad insomnia/nightmare night. That sucks. Then you have another bad night. That really sucks. Then you have a third bad night. And then you start worrying about having a fourth bad night in a row because you're so tired from the first three bad nights. And guess what? You have that fourth bad night. So then your anxiety starts to grow and you dread going to bed because you're afraid that you won't sleep or that you'll have the nightmare. And then the anxiety hits you earlier and earlier in the day and you spend time worrying that you're not going to be able to get a good  night's sleep.

You see how this works?

So, I'm now in the cycle.

But the thing is that I'm aware of the cycle. I'm aware that I'm having these damn dreams. I'm aware of why I'm having the damn bad dreams. There's no mystery here. So, really there is just no good reason for this to keep going on anymore.

Message to my subconscious: I get it! You can stop with the nightmares anytime now!

Maybe I'll take a little nap under my desk at work today.

Think anyone will notice?

22 March 2011

Sixteen days later...

Sixteen days since we received The News.

It's been sixteen days since we received the news that we would not yet, as we had hoped and planned for, become adoptive parents. That we would not be getting on a plane to head to AZ. That we would not be meeting our daughter for the first time. That we would not be bringing home that little girl. That we would instead have to continue waiting and waiting and waiting as we have done for the last two years.

Two weeks and two days since we received The News.

I don't feel quite so raw two weeks and two days later.

Yesterday is the first day I make it through a full day of work without feeling the need to go to my car for a private place to sob or to run away from my office to someplace where I can read my book and eat fattening food. I actually feel some modicum of focus and normalcy as I do my job.

But then last night I walk by the baby's room all kitted out with crib, changing table, glider, kids' books, stroller, car seat and new lavender paint and...the grief hits me again. Not a wave, but a sharp stabbing pain deep in my gut. Brief and intense. I want to go with it - be present with this feeling of pain and grief - but I just can't.  

I just can't.

It would be so very easy to fall into this grief. Into allowing myself to wallow in this grief. Into crawling downstairs everyday to numb myself with television and Cecil's soothing presence in my lap. Allowing the grief to swallow me up. It would be just too easy.

I just can't let that happen.

My life has to go on. My life as a wife, a daughter, a friend, a professional, a writer, an artist - all of it. It has to go on. I have to go on. I will go on.

So, I set aside that stabbing painful feeling. I don't give into it, but instead head downstairs to snuggle up on the sofa with my husband to watch two amusing episodes of "Chuck" and to adore Cecil.

And today I head to work for an all-day training.

Life is going on.

17 March 2011

Yes, it is kind of crazy...

Ugly confession time.

I can sometimes be pretty judgmental.

OK, very judgmental.

This judgmental-ness is not a quality of which I am particularly proud. In fact, it's something about myself that I don't like at all and I try desperately to squash when I become aware that I'm doing it (sadly, not always with much success and sadly I'm not always aware that I'm being judgmental.) I swear to God that it's genetic...the wonderful quality that I inherited from my maternal grandmother - the Queen of Judgmental...

And before all of this adoption stuff. Long before I ever even knew that I could and would someday want to become a parent, I am afraid that I was very judgmental of couples desperately trying to become parents. Couples who spend thousands and thousands and thousands of dollars on unsuccessful infertility treatment after unsuccessful fertility treatment. Women who endure injections and hormones and all kinds of invasive tests and procedures over and over again in hopes of becoming a mom. Men and women who watch as their mates endure the injections and hormones and tests and procedures and disappointments. Couples who run through their life savings and take out second mortgages on their homes in desperate and often vain attempts to become parents.

"They're crazy!" I would say as I'd hear or read about these couples. "I mean who would spend their life savings like that? What kind of woman would put herself through all of that just to have a kid? What kind of spouse would sit by and watch his or her wife go through all of that pain and misery? That's just crazy."

See? A lot of judgment...

(Again - really, really, really not proud of this...)

But now I get it.

I do.

I really do.

The single-minded drive and willingness to do what you need to do to have the family that you thought was just going to happen for you in a relatively "normal" amount of time....Yeah, now I get it.

In the case of couples struggling with infertility, I'm sure they originally think, "OK, we stop our birth control and in a few months...Ta-dah! Pregnancy! Parenthood! Family!" and years later as they continue to spend and hope and endure the countless tests and procedures and disappointments, I'm sure they must be thinking, "OK, this time...This time we're finally going to become parents."

And in our case, where adoption is our path to parenthood and a family...we sign on board with an agency that informs us that the average wait time is 2-6 months.

Wow! 2-6 months? Holy buckets! Great! Ta-dah! Parenthood! Family!

We fill in form after form after form and endure the rather invasive homestudy process. We write check after check after check...thousands and thousands of dollars to cover the numerous and often outrageous fees. We clean and organize. And spend more money prepping our house. And inform our families and friends and jobs. We wait and hope and wonder.

And wait and hope and wonder.

And wait and wonder.

Months go by.

Possible adoption situations come and go and some just plain fall through.

More checks are written.

More months go by.

And here we are two years later... thousands and thousands of dollars later.... three situations that didn't amount to anything later.... and one heart-breaking disrupted placement later. We are no closer to parenthood than when we set out on this journey.

So now we are embarking on work with Agency #2 (our local agency - the one through which we got the social worker who does our homestudy and homestudy renewal) in addition to the agency across the country that we signed on with way back in the beginning.  It's gotten to that point for us. Our local agency was not really doing much by way of domestic adoption when we started down the adoption path two years ago, but is now much more active with domestic adoptions and has called us repeatedly about potential situations.

So, we sign on.

Even though the money we've already spent with Agency #1 is non-refundable.

We sign on anyway.

Luckily, we don't have to take on a second mortgage, but signing on with yet another agency is certainly going to take a huge bite out of our savings. But, at this point, two years into our journey we're just ready to become parents and to have a family. We're ready to move forward so we're willing to do what it takes to get there. And if that means thousands and thousands more, well...

Now I get it.

Someone out there reading this blog or knowing our story is probably thinking, "They're crazy! Who spends their life savings like that?"

And I don't really blame them for expressing those sentiments.

It is kind of crazy.

But now I get it. The single-mindedness of knowing that you just want to have a family like everyone else and that you just want to be parents, but being disappointed over and over and over again is enough to drive you to do a crazy thing like this.

So, we've signed on. And we'll wait some more. But hopefully the wait will be much less this time. This time hopefully a new situation will come to us sooner rather than later and we'll have our family.

Now I get it.

16 March 2011

A little clarification...

"You know that's twice that you've mentioned on your blog that you were ironing my shirt," says Chris last evening. "People out there are going to think that I'm some kind of Neanderthal. 'Woman! Go iron my shirt!!'"

We laugh.

"I'm sorry. I'll make sure to clarify on the blog about the ironing."

"No, no. That's OK."

So, even though my Neanderthal husband says I don't have to...I'm clarifying about the ironing.

I like to iron.

And this is pretty much the only household/domestic chore that I enjoy.


So, while Chris (who, I might add is pretty much the farthest thing ever from Neanderthal...) makes our lunches, I iron his shirts and pants. Actually, I'm pretty sure that I come out with the better end of the deal.

"'Woman! Iron my shirt!' kind of reminds me," I continue, "of that Bloom County strip from a million years ago. The old guy guy who's the leader of some really conservative fundamentalist group..."

""Oh yeah. I think it was like the Bloom County Moral Majority."

"Exactly! Yeah, that was it! And he comes home yelling, 'Wife! Make me my dinner!' and then in the last panel you see him holding a TV dinner while wearing a frilly apron and reading the instructions aloud, 'Fold back foil to reveal tater tots.' I love that strip!"

We laugh again.

It feels good to laugh.

15 March 2011

Not quite walking on sunshine, but trying

Well, the ides of March have come...

Not so great for Caesar, but good for me because they have actually brought with them a not-a-cloud-in-the-sky-walking-on-sunshine sunny gorgeous day. Somehow it's just so much easier to feel like moving forward and moving on when it's sunny outside.

I'm walking on sunshine, wooah
I'm walking on sunshine, woooah
I'm walking on sunshine, woooah
and don't it feel good!!

Hey, alright now
and dont it feel good!!
hey yeh 

OK, so I'm not exactly in a "Walking on Sunshine" place right now, but I will admit that there is something hopeful about a sunny day. And I just hope that I can carry this sunny-day-Katrina-and-the-Waves-Walking-on-Sunshine-type-hopefulness with me today instead of descending once again into the depths of despond.

Off to iron the husband's shirt and then get myself ready for the day.

14 March 2011

Moving forward...

Moving forward.

What does this even mean?

I keep saying to people and writing on this blog and in messages to well-wishers, "Chris and I will just move forward."

And I guess that's the case. Except perhaps for the one ginormous ridiculous glaring fact that we've taken a huge step backwards. Back to waiting and wondering and uncertainty. Here we thought that today we'd be on maternity/paternity leave. Starting a new and exciting chapter in our lives. The chapter when we become parents. And instead today is back to work as usual.

Will anything ever feel "as usual" again?

"We'll just move forward."

At the moment I don't even know what that looks like. I keep moving from being sad to being numb to moments when I feel OK to trying to distract myself from the sadness and the numbness to extend those moments when I feel OK.

And now we're supposed to just go back to work as usual.

How do my husband and I do that?

How do we grieve and be normal and functional at the same time? How do I do that? How do I move forward when all I want to do this morning is crawl downstairs to my couch/cave and spend another day weeping there?

"We'll just move forward."

Our little tragedy is done, right? Move on. Get over it. Go to work. Focus on your job. These things happen for a reason. This obviously wasn't the right situation. Soon you guys will be parents.

"We'll just move forward."

Like Chris, I keep trying hard to not think about all of the things we would have been doing today had the adoption not fallen through. And I'm kind of failing miserably at not thinking about what today would have been like had the adoption not fallen through.

"We'll just move forward."

How do I do that? Can someone tell me?

At the moment I keep pretending to other people that it's as simple as moving forward one day at a time. I'm pretty sure that I keep pretending to myself that I'm moving forward.

But at the moment I don't know what the hell moving forward looks like.

I really don't.

 * Addendum *

Chris reads the above post then wanders into the living room to plant a few gentle kisses on my forehead.

"I'm so sorry. I wish there was something I could do for you."

Knowing that he is in just as bad a shape as me, I reply, "I wish there was something that I could do for you."

"You could iron my shirt," he says with a little grin.

"Now that I can do," I reply with a smile.

So...I guess we're moving forward.

12 March 2011

Day after meltdown...

Chris was supposed to wake me this morning to head to the gym with him, but he let me sleep instead.

And sleep I did.

Totally exhausted from yesterday's complete emotional/physical meltdown. Wow. I didn't even hear him head out for his Saturday spin class. I was out. Completely and totally out.

And apparently a really good night's sleep and waking to a gorgeous, beautiful, not-a-cloud-in-the-sky sunny day seem to be helping immensely...my spirits seem to be lifting. My tremendous sadness of yesterday, while not quite completely evaporated, is such that I don't think that today will require once again being crumpled in on myself on the couch watching bad television. And weeping.

That old phrase, "What a difference a day makes"... hmmm, apparently true.

Today - miraculously and thank goodness - I don't feel like my world is ending.

Life is sometimes not fair. The adoption that we've waited for and worked for and hoped for and dreamed about fell through. Yeah, that really, really sucks. And I was truly down and down and down about it yesterday.

Really down.

"Checking out" for the day yesterday...well, why not? I guess I needed it. I had tried so hard to keep it together all week - tried to go to work, tried to be functional, tried to be a grown up and assure everyone that I was OK, tried not to cry, tried to hold it all in.

Look where that got me.

Maybe I should have taken Monday off when we received the news. Let myself be a wreck. Let myself bawl and moan and weep and curse at the Universe. But that's not the way it went down. And so it built up all week while I was holding it all in. The sadness hit me like a ton of bricks yesterday. So I crumpled in on myself. Let myself indulge in the utter desolation that I hadn't let myself feel all week.

Cried and cursed the Universe. And tried not to cry and curse the Universe. And watched television in a pitiful attempt to fill my brain with something other than the sadness that was there.

And now it's a new day. Now I'm awake. And the sun is shining. Its a gorgeous new day.

Life goes on.

We only get one shot at this life. One go around. Gotta make it a good one.

So, I think that I've officially had my adoption-disruption-meltdown and it is time to move forward.

Perhaps I'll throw on my running shoes and a hat and a jacket to head outside for a walk. Get myself a dose of Vitamin D and some fresh air.

Life goes on.

11 March 2011

Not moving forward quite yet...

I kind of crumple today.

It's a work day, but I use some of my sick time to crumple in on myself at home on the couch in front of the television.

To withdraw from the world and into myself. Into this wreck that is me today.

Cecil doesn't care. She curls up in the crook of my arm and snoozes all day. And when she isn't snoozing she stretches her front paw way out to tap me gently on my neck - her signal that she is awake and wishes to be adored.

"Are you the grumpiest kitty ever?" I ask her in my sweetest baby talk voice. "Are you? Nooooo. You're the most beeeeauuutiful kitty ever." I tell her while using both of my hands to rub her face and ears back. When I stop petting her she reaches out once again to tap me on the neck. So we repeat our little love fest. Satisfied after a few more minutes of being the center of my universe she sighs, puts her head back down and quickly falls away into deep kitty sleep.

Much of my day is spent absently flipping between "Animal Cops Houston" and "Say Yes to the Dress" and whatever really lame movie happens to be on Channel 53. And when those shows are over I flip through all of the deluxe cable movie channels.

Nothing actually holds my interest for very long.

I want and need to fill my brain with anything but what's in my head: today, had our adoption plans not fallen through, we'd be on a plane on our way to AZ. We'd be that much closer to being parents. We'd be settling into the apartment that I found for us. Contacting the attorney and the adoption rep. Buying linens, a few pots/pans and some utensils (the apartment is furnished, but doesn't come with  these supplies) as well as the other baby stuff that we wouldn't have packed. We'd likely be freaking out just a bit. And we'd be excited.

But none of that is happening this weekend.

Or in any weekend in the near future.

We're starting over. We're back to waiting again.

Tears fall occasionally throughout the day, mostly when I'm watching movies or sappy commercials. Or when the rescued puppy on "Animal Cops" - the one that was almost starving to death and was covered in fleas - is shown in his new a home with his new family at the end of the show and he's a happy, fat, frolicking puppy who's blessedly already forgotten the horrific start to his little life.

Yeah, I cry at that stuff today.

My husband texts me at the end of the day to see if I'm still at work. I text back saying that I had called in sick today.

"Your stomach?" he texts back.

"No, I just felt really really low."

And it's true. I feel low. Sad. Down. In the dumps.

I wish I could lie and say that I'm OK.

I'm not.

I'm really not.

10 March 2011

Not ours...

She was never ours.


The child who is likely going to be born to L this very weekend was never ours.


The truth is that we had only the most tenuous connection to this little baby.  Just the very barest hint of the tiniest thread of a connection.

But we allowed ourselves to get attached anyway.

We allowed ourselves to get attached. To this little person who we'd never even met. Who we never knew about until two months ago. Who is growing inside of someone else. Who has older brothers and an extended family who it seems fought for her tooth and nail and with whom she will now grow up.

We allowed ourselves to get attached. We chose names. Our guest room became a baby's room. People gave us baby stuff. We started to say things like "When she comes home..." and "I hope she's a good sleeper..." and "I hope she's a good eater" and we talked about how our elderly cat Cecil would react to the presence of a screaming, squalling baby.

And we weren't talking about just any screaming, squalling baby anymore (as we had been doing for close to two years), but a very particular baby. She ceased to be hypothetical. "The baby" had gone from being just an idea, just a fantasy, just a hope to being a real little person. A little person to whom we found ourselves growing more attached everyday even though we had never met her.

Even though she wasn't ours.

09 March 2011

Day 3 after disruption...

Can a person go through the 5 stages of grief in 2.5 days?

Seriously, because I'm pretty sure that I've hit 4 of the Big 5 today: denial, anger, depression and acceptance.

Not really sure that I'll ever get to bargaining since the only time that I ever really look to a higher power is when I get on airplane (a terrifying experience for me every single time.) At all other times of crisis in my life I figure that the Divine Mystery has more important things (like, for example, the revolutions currently going on in Egypt and Libya) to worry about.

So, the stages of grief...I actually feel like today I've gone through most of them: denial (when I wake up this morning, just for a minute I forget that we're not getting on a plane this weekend and I try to hold onto that for a few minutes longer), anger (see earlier blog post), depression (sitting at my desk a feeling of utter desolation comes over me and I have to tell myself over and over to just focus on work and to move forward), and acceptance (any number of colleagues come over to talk with me and I assure them over and over that I'm OK and that eventually my husband and I will become parents.)

There's a jumble of stuff going on inside of me. One minute I feel fine and then the next...utter despair...and a few minutes after that rage against the Universe.

I'm exhausted.

And so on that note... I think that I'll have a little late dinner and then go fill my head with a DVR'd episode of "What Not to Wear."

I can worry about all of this again tomorrow.

48 hours later...

48 hours since we received The News.

Somehow I make it through yesterday, although I can't say that the day is particularly productive.

Last evening we meet my MIL and her hubby for dinner out at a favorite Thai place. Chris is running late so I go in by myself. My MIL hugs me really tight. I say to her, "You cannot start crying. No crying."

"Nope. No crying," she says into my shoulder, still holding me tight.

Dinner turns out to be fun. When Chris arrives we talk just a little bit about the disrupted adoption, but soon move on to other topics. It feels good to laugh. To feel normal. To actually feel something after the numbness of the day.

This morning I'm trying to figure out how I'm feeling. Can't really decide at the moment. Sort of numb and not numb all at the same time. Maybe it's like when you have dental work done and the Novocaine starts to wear off: You can talk mostly normal, but you still feel kind of weird and half-numb.

Yeah, that's it.

And now I have to face the day.

The thing is that I... I don't want to face the day the way it is. I want to be facing the day thinking that this weekend we are getting on a plane to go meet our daughter for the first time. And that I'll be out on maternity leave next week. And that we'll finally be parents going through the big change that we've been preparing for for the last two years. I want to rewind 72 hours and be in that place of excitement and hope again.

Man, this just sucks.

Hmmm...apparently I'm a little more than half-numb this morning.

Apparently I'm a little mad.

Not mad at L or her decision - again, I truly only wish her and her family happiness.

Instead, I'm mad at the Universe and mad at myself for getting excited and getting my hopes up. Mad at myself for waiting until I was 41 to decide that I wanted to be a parent. Mad at the stupid body I have that requires me to take medication that will not allow me to get pregnant. Mad at the adoption agency that led us to believe that this process would be quick.


Mad. Mad. Mad.

Well, shit.

This isn't how I want to feel.

But this is where I'm at. So, I guess I'll head off to my office and put up my "Please Do Not Disturb" sign while I try to get through the day.

08 March 2011


24 hours ago my husband races up the stairs to fling open the bathroom door eyes looking a little wild. I'm standing there in a towel having just stepped out of the shower. He asks in a husky, shaking voice, "Have you seen the e-mail from T [our adoption rep]?"

No. I haven't.

"L changed her mind and she's decided to keep the baby."

We hurry to the living room and my laptop so that I can see T's words for myself. And there they are "...unfortunately..."  "...bad news...." "...disappointment..." "...so sorry..."

For a few minutes nothing seems real. Chris sits next to me on the couch. We hold hands both feeling a bit numb. Actually, very numb.

Eventually we start talking again.

"We always knew this was a possibility..."

Lame attempt at some humor.

"Well, at least now we can go see the Paula Poundstone concert..."

"I'll have time e-Bay all of that crap in the basement..."

Putting a positive spin on things.

"Now at least we're really READY for when we do eventually get a baby..."

Chris calls his parents. I call mine. I have to get ready for my day and get to an early meeting. No sense in sitting at home weeping all day. That's not going to change anything. Be a grown up. Just go to work like it's any other day. Chris lets me know that he'll stay home for a bit to cancel the airline tickets, the apartment we had reserved in AZ, and make some other calls to deal with arrangements that will no longer be needed.

We hug a lot before I go. Tell each other "I love you" a lot. Try to reassure each other through the numb feeling that we'll be parents someday soon. And hope that we both believe it.

Once at my office I tell the HR Director that I won't be heading out on maternity leave next week and give her the bare bones of the story. She is lovely and offers her support. Same with my supervisor.

"I'm OK," I tell them both. "I'll be OK. Really."

I smile what I am sure is a very wan and pitiful smile.

Next I compose an e-mail for the staff since just about everyone at my office knows of my impending maternity leave. I explain briefly that we just found out this morning that the adoption has fallen through, that my husband and I are hopeful that we'll still become parents soon, that I'll be happy to answer questions in a few days when the news isn't so fresh, etc. I thank them all for their support of the last few years while we've been trying to adopt. And I hit "send."

Replies to my e-mail start trickling in. Lovely replies filled with "I'm so sorry" and "keeping you and your husband in my thoughts." My supervisor sends an e-mail letting me know that if I need some personal time I should take it.

I sit at my desk for another hour trying to focus. And fail miserably.

Chris and I text each other making little stabs at humor.  Checking in. Connecting.

And then one of my colleagues comes to my cube. She looks so sad and gives me a big hug. It's all I can do not to burst into loud sobs right then and there.

Everyone's kindness....it's just too much.

I thought I could just get through the day by working, but it's all just too much. So I pound out an e-mail to my supervisor saying, "You know that personal time you offered, I'm taking it..."

And I flee my office.

To the darkness of a movie theater.

Two hours where I don't have to think about a disrupted adoption, the possibility of another two years of waiting to become a mom, the sadness my husband is experiencing, my job, the numbness.

Ironically I've opted to see a kids' movie, "Tangled" at the cheap theater and so here I am with three moms and their infants and toddlers. This makes me chuckle a bitter little chuckle. I realize as I'm sitting here that while I might enjoy the refuge of the theater right now, that I'll probably never be able to watch this particular movie again as it will always be associated with The Day That We Found Out We Weren't Going to be Parents.

But for now I just don't care and settle into my seat to enjoy some Disney silliness.

After the movie I head home to retreat to the comfort of my loveseat in the basement to numb myself even further with whatever happens to be on the television.  Thank God for Animal Planet and The Food Network. And Cecil who plants herself in my lap and begins purring. She has no idea why I'm home early. And she doesn't particularly care. She's just pleased to have a warm lap in which to snuggle and one of Her People  at home to adore her.

Chris, despite his intentions to come home early, gets stuck at work for a while. When he finally makes it home we engage in Round 2 of phone calls to friends and family to break the news. More sympathy. Lots more, "when one door closes another door opens" and "this happened for a reason, I'm sure of it" and "I'm so sorry."

We hug a lot before Chris sits down for his dinner and I make my way once again downstairs to fill my brain with "Iron Chef America."

Eventually I head up to bed leaving Chris to write a blog post (If you have a few minutes, you should read it. He provides more details than what I've provided here and he's an amazing writer...)

And here I am today. 24 hours later sitting in the very same spot I sat in to read the news of our disrupted adoption. Somehow I managed to sleep last night. Chris, too. And strangely I feel OK this morning - not quite refreshed, but OK. We'll see how long that lasts today.

Here's the thing...what happened is hard for us, but ultimately I just cannot be sad about it. Really. Because a young woman - L - who thought she was going to have to give up her baby forever, found the resources within herself and from her family to be able to keep and parent her own child.

This is a good thing.

A really good and excellent thing.

And I am happy for L and her family. Truly, I am.

I needed to be really sad for Chris and myself yesterday. And probably in the coming days the sadness will persist, but I don't want anyone to think for even one second that I'm angry at L or that I feel anything negative about her. Because I simply don't. I can't. That would be so very, very wrong. She's a mom who is going to parent her own kid. And that is an awesome thing. I wish her only the very best.

And now Chris and I move forward.

We start again.

We wait and we hope.

26 February 2011

A good person...

"You're so good to be doing this."

"Wow. It's such a good thing you're doing - adopting this baby who would have had a horrible life."

"You're a good person."

No, I'm not.

I mean, I am, but I'm not when it comes to adoption.

If I were a truly good person, I'd be adopting a 15 year-old away from foster care and dealing with whatever behavioral and other issues he/she might have from years of being shuffled in and out of foster care. If I were a truly good person, I'd donate the money I'm spending on adoption to family planning clinics to prevent the crisis and unwanted pregnancies that lead to adoption in the first place. Or I'd consider working with a family who is considering surrendering a child purely for financial reasons by providing them with the resources necessary to help them keep that child.

There are all kinds of things I would do if I were a good person when it comes to adoption.

"Just think of what kind of life this child would have led if you weren't adopting her."

Well, it would be a different life, but not necessarily a worse life. I hate the assumption that people seem to make that a child who is given up for adoption would have led some terrible life had they not been adopted. I imagine that the vast majority of women who place children for adoption do so because they lack the financial and familial resources to raise them. Because they are poor,  overwhelmed, and want to give their children the life and opportunities they feel they cannot provide.

The child we're adopting - would she have had a worse, terrible life with her biological family? I don't think so. Simply a different life.

Am I doing a "good" thing by adopting a baby?

Not really. But this is the way that my husband and I will be able to have family. It's our reality. It's neither good nor bad...it is what it is.

So, for everyone out there who has told me that I'm doing this good thing - I do thank you for your kind wishes. Really. I truly appreciate that you think so. But really, I'm just a woman who wants to be a mom and this is my path to motherhood.