Saturday, May 23, 2009


When crazy hair day is posted
as this weeks Friday activity
(last week was a picture of your pet,
the week prior a souvenir...)
you, the mother of the only
African-American child
in the preschool class
has the right to
and consider
your approach.

Do you comment,
suggest an alternative,
or educate?
You consider
each of the above
in three second
and land
on the combination
you are most familiar with:
adapt and educate

When your son's hair
does not invite
barrettes, gel, or braids
you have reason to consider
the value of
crazy hair day.

On the Thursday before
you mention to the teacher in your most
and cautiously insistent
voice that it would be appreciated if the class
could consider options for all kinds of hair
for success tomorrow.

Excuse me?

Well, crazy hair day can be a little
complicated for tight curly hair
like his.

A flash of realization washes over her face.

Oh my, I hadn't considered..

It's fine.
We'll figure it out.
They have hair sprays
you tell her, in pink and blue..

Your scour the shelves of the drug store
and explain to the manager
wearing the toupee
your predicament.
45 minutes later
as the groceries melt in the trunk
you find it,
the perfect solution
tucked behind the blush
and the tanning cream


Three days later and Sam still has
silver sparkle intergalactic eyeshadow
in his hair-
in five
Star Wars pilot Darth Vader

It was a huge success.
and lasted longer then the braids,
the gel, the rubber bands and
all the other
Caucasian hair accoutrements.


Thursday, May 21, 2009

Welcome Uncle

Uncle Marc moved in
A new era, as short or long as it is-
has begun.


Cooking dinner
packing for the trip
to Grampy and Grammy's
en famile
including Uncle.

Contacted three counselors
today, researching
the possibility
that Sam and I need an outside
hand to guide us through
that seem to knock us both
off of center

Guided my students
through new poetic
landscapes this week

they are so proud
of the territories they have
jumped up and down

into all of the good choices
we are making

Tuesday, May 19, 2009

color me finished

Last night was a celebration
today was frustration
laced with
humiliation and

That orange belt was taken away
from Sam
when he hit me in the face with his
karate attendance card
because he didnt want to
and i wanted him to

go to class

that's when they took his belt
without giving him a chance to

why a four year old hates karate so much

parenting on the fly, samantha called it
parenting in a panic i felt it

do i make him?
release him?
listen to his tears
when he screams;
i hate it-
i hate that it is so long
i can't sit so long

my son

i have learned to listen to sam
even when hundreds of years
of parenting wisdom
contradicts it

i have not learned how to handle being punched
outside of my home
when i said
no to a guitar lesson and a BBQ
because your behavior was so

the parents who tried
to help sam,
and me
maneuver the tantrum
were so appreciated
the understanding smiles-
the outstretched hands

uncle arrived
at my tearful

and rescued the afternoon
with a tennis
between them

returned the

and reassured
me that i

calmer they
left me

to pack the lunches
and unpack
the indecision

Monday, May 18, 2009


My little ninja
prior to receiving his
orange belt.

Pride is a many color thing

Tonight it was orange.

An orange belt
followed by orange cake.

He was surrounded
by family and friends as he
proudly recited his champion

Saturday, May 16, 2009

Only Saturday?

Kick boxed with Sarah
this morning while
Sam played goalie across town
with Uncle
and Marcel watched baseball
with Jay.

The farmer's market
for flowers.

Helmet. Helmet. Helmet.
and a nap.

I planted those flowers
while Sam watered them
with a pump action
squirt gun.
A few perennials.
Mostly annuals.
It's a source of so much joy
my 4x6 plot of possibility.
Even though
the bird bath never
has any

Then boredom
led to the box-
the cardboard box
from the two cases of diapers-

One box.
Two kids.
Several transformations including:
"A transformer that you ride in"
"A doughnut that you fly in"
"A tummy"
and then after they
"kicked it to get out"
"a soccer goal."

Helmet and Kick it and Ball and Obama
(Yes, it does sound like Mama)

In the car before dropping by our friends house
to deliver a get better melon
(you know how you draw a face on the outside
of the melon with markers and hand it to
the man who just got
home from the hospital because he had
a stroke and artery surgery
and tell him it is a get well melon, right?
OK so it was that or the pumpkin pie
that just came out of the oven.
Need I Say more?)

Before going in
I remind the child that
we are going to be great listeners
and quiet, and only stay long enough to deliver
our good wishes and a card.

He marches in,
hands off the melon,
forgets the man almost
and pounds out a few
songs on the piano instead.

In the car on the way home
he asks if he
is going to have a stroke too.

When he is satisfied with my answer
he says good-
because I want to have
three kids

and they will need me
to be their
for a long, long, time

Star Wars
pumpkin pie

sparklers in the fog

Sunday, May 10, 2009

Gratitude Day

Mother's Day
is Gratitude Day

for our family
birth family

for our friends

and caregivers

for moments of self directed play
and long cuddles on a Mommy-Sammy-Marcel day

for frozen pizza ready in ten
for all of you who say, Sure? When?

for "not once have I ever doubted my decision"
a birth mother's words delivered with precision

for the desire and ability to write
for this blog, and Adoptive Families* for bringing it to light

for Sam who made me a mother 4.5 years ago-December
and who will not let me forget to remember

that the day to day with him and Marcel
is the necessary potion for the everyday-is -Mother's-Day spell

*this week I received a reply from the editor at Adoptive Families Magazine that they are interested in publishing a piece I submitted. It looks very promising.

Friday, May 8, 2009

Big Words

I hate you
he said.

(I had said no after all
No we can not go to the playground.)

I hate you,
and I don't love you too.

That was clear.

It hurt.

I thought I had eight more years before we had to navigate that one.

Then, in the car on the way home from
"baseball practice "
(aka t-ball introduction)
(which is next to the playground)
he informs me through
mouthfuls of pb&j
that the reason he yelled
(oh, and kicked me twice, and hit me in the head
with his mit)
was because he was hungry.
very, very, hungry.

As happy as I am that my son
connects his blood sugar
to his mood
I still could have done without it

that I hate you line
was still rubbing under my skin
pushing my heart
beats harder and closer
to the surface

later that night I realized
that the card we had written
to his birth mother
and mailed right before
practice might
have been more at play
then a missed opportunity to go down a slide backwards

Sam, it is OK to be angry and love her
all at once I say in a cuddle on the

Would I be mad at
her because
she has three
kids and not
me growing up
with them too?

I hurt all over again,
but this time for him,
and for

Yes, I think I would feel sad and mad
if I were you.
And I would love her
because she chose to bring us
together for everyday
and always too

Can we read a story now? he asks his
voice big and ready for something new

Yes, and Sam I love you.

I don't not love you anymore too mom.


Monday, May 4, 2009

recording it

Sam's words to Marcel on Saturday (I was around the corner folding laundry so you know he meant it): Marcel, I think that I am falling in love with you.
Marcel: shriek- followed by Oh-my-gosh.


I've finished another piece to submit out there to the publication ether. This one is about a miscarriage. I work-shopped the piece, and it's as good as it's going to get. At the moment I have two pieces, no three, waiting for a yeah or nay, and one in the warm up circle. The regular out-go feels so important and impressive. Lots of great staff feedback from the reading on Thursday.

This morning one of my students met me for breakfast and memoir writing. It's an over due assignment he needs help with for another class. I brought the bagel, he brought the material. He lost a family member last year to gun violence. I challenged him to make notes about that over the weekend. He came in saying that he was at a funeral over the weekend and it brought up all sorts of memories that were too hard to talk about.

Then, he started talking. I just listened. Fifteen minutes later his memoir was essentially written. It was the first time that he spoke about his brother's death in such detail to me, and probably to anyone. I typed down everything he said, as I remembered it. He looked over it, and made some edits. The piece organized itself on the paper. It was such an amazing testament to the power of listening, recording, and memoir. He was at least eighty pounds lighter when he left my room that morning. He described the way he feels about everything around him as in a cloud that only he can see.


I am not reading enough. I am trying to write, and not allowing myself time to read. It doesn't work that way. Sam and I completed our first chapter book, Stuart Little. He can now listen without pictures. I had no idea how much joy reading longer books would bring me. My father used to read Alice in Wonderland to me from a little leather bound copy with the silk ribbon bookmark, that I always got to place in between the pages. I could not wait for the moment that I would hear his feet coming down the hallway towards my room. His gentle gait. making it's way to me. His enthusiastic reading, his determination to bring Alice's magic into my room.


When I woke up this morning I wondered if I am making a difference in the world. At all. What is the point of my being here. Blogging tonight has reminded me that I am . A is off with the kids in the park--her Monday gift to me. An hour to myself, to do this, and make dinner, and prepare the lunches, and not yell.