Monday, August 31, 2009


With my sandal in the summer,
and my Mary Jane in the fall.

As a mother mama writer with sun drenched skin who makes time.

Who makes sand castles and cupcakes.

Who makes loons out of pigeons.

Who makes observations around the edges.

Who makes changes when it isn't working.

Who makes space for him to tell me when he just can't handle it.

with a list of to-do's to do today for tomorrow
when it all begins again
And a summer to laze around in-in my head instead.

Caught myself last night resenting what he just couldn't handle
as I looked around the room of eight women gathered
for our End of Summer Salon
my poets, my writers, my playwrights, musicians, my artists, my friends-
my son there too, next to the other poems in my lap.
My little muse, my constant rough draft,
witnessing why the Moon is Always Female*
in a four and a half year old way.

Caught a holy mackerel on Monhegan, he told his teacher this morning.
Sam caught a big fish in the water his little brother added.

*The Moon is Always Female by Marge Piercy read at the Salon/Book Launch last night

Monday, August 24, 2009


If I were a child, she said, I would want to hear how I was adored, and cherished, and grabbed up the moment my mother first laid eyes on me.

I listened carefully.

Retell the story, she said, and let him know that he was not placed in your arms gently.

I listened and recast the moment in my own memory--dispelling the doubt and the fear I had, replacing it with an image of an eager and brightly lit me, bursting into her room, and scooping him up, tight to my heart in a whirlwind with no doubt between us.

And I have.

Retold the story to Sam many times since I met with the therapist a few weeks ago.

And it seems to be grounding us both.

I have just ordered Holly Van Gulden's Learning the Dance of Attachment ( at a friend/adoptive mother's strong suggestion. I will share my findings here, when I have read it.

To The Lighthouse

To Marcel the lighthouse is big. To Marcel the world is a place to conquer. Language has erupted. He hears the word once, he practices it. Then, it is his.

When he saw this photo he remarked; Look! This is Mah-cell in front of a big big BIG lighthouse. Then Mah-cell fell down on the beach got wet and no eat Mah-cell acorn. In those sentences he recapped the walk we took together yesterday to Ned's Point in Mattapoisett, Massachusetts. He looked some more, and laughed out loud. Then, No Sammy stroller-walk, just Mommy and Marcel. His choice to tell me this reminds me--how rare and important our alone time-out in the world is too.

The narrative ended with; I saw a bunny too mom, and then the bunny went home, and so did the seahorse. The seahorse is a reference to Salty the 25 foot high seahorse that welcomes visitors to the town. He stayed awake just long enough to say goodbye to Salty as we drove home yesterday. Marcel's sense of time, relationship, and the order of things, is like the lighthouse-ever present and BIG.

At daycare I was too tired for tact, so I blurted out that he had essentially potty trained himself over the weekend--I go potty now please Mommy he called to me at four this morning. His diaper was dry. I obliged him with the diaper removal, and he took care of business. He spent the last three days, annoucning the like, and in most cases, following through with great success. The director responded beautifully as always-informing me that his teachers felt that he was ready to transistion to a new room a little ahead of schedule. This means a potty next to the room. This means a class of other potty training children. This means an end to the diaper era in a few months. This is a joyful thought.

Thursday, August 20, 2009

Lists, Leaps, and Longshots Landing

Summer is a list:
Fish off the pier, check
Pee in potty, check
Article in magazine, check

Summer is a leap:
Inches marked on a door frame
Sentences where words were
His anger is about feelings he can not articulate, yet

Summer is a long shot:
How about coffee? I'll be the one with a book in the corner
Submit your query to...
Honk if you believe in health care

Summer is a landing:
into brotherhood
into mother-writer
and teacher
into this moment with a little less work

Thursday, August 13, 2009

Sick is just what the doctor ordered

His fever in almost a moot point.

It was bigger then him, this time.
Flattened him for three days.
He didn't eat for two.

I worried. I pampered. I called the doctor. I worried some more. I googled all those scary mommy sites. Menigitis? Can you move your neck? Will you please just touch your chin to your neck. It is important. I dabbed cool cloth on hot skin. I administered the medicine, and charted the times. I kissed his burning forehead, and squeezed his toes to make the head ache go away. I woke him at intervals with the water and the straw; "just a sip, sweetie, just a sip." Then I held him asleep in my arms. I remembered to smile, and to tell him how strong his body was, and that his body would take care of itself soon. It was only a flu.

But, it was also a gift.

A chance to return for a few days to that place
where I was pure Mom. Where he was pure mama's boy.

We both needed that.

There was no increasing awareness of his birthstory.
There was no anger or rage.
There was no conflict.
There was no doubt about who was what when.
There was just a mother helping her son recover, well.

I am an excellent mom when you are sick.
He is an excellent patient.

I was packing some things in a bag when
I felt his arm around my leg.

A gesture that took me by surprise
in it's innocence-
or by it's absence.

Can I have another cracker?

I am so happy he's better,
and so thankful that we shared this sick.

Sunday, August 9, 2009

With an Open Fist

My son's rage
is a fist curled tight
a foot stomped harder
a path carved by tears back
to a birth that was an end

before it was a beginning

It is common she said
for our children to experience rage
on a deeper level
to relive their loss in every loss

it is common
she said
for our children to need more
reassurance that we are going
no where

We withstand their screams
deflect their arms raised
embrace their disintegration-
soothe their heart
and swim inside-beside
that pool of loss with them
to witness
what we can't touch

Sam arrived in my room
at midnight
and crawled into bed
with his eyes closed

Then he reached
underneath the pillow
in his sleep
to find my hand-
with his fist wide open

dedicated with gratitude to the six women gathered

Thursday, August 6, 2009

Wild Blueberries and the Boys Who Love them

On a little island
on a little lake
in another state

One day is all takes

Picking blues
kayaks for two
who don't need shoes

Sam at the wheel
determination carved in steel
Going growing real

One day is all it takes

Night nights to the loon
whispers settle soon
boyhood eclipse the moon

Tuesday, August 4, 2009

Magazine Debut!

Here it is! The cover of the issue of Adoptive Families Magazine (September/October)that my article "True Love Times Two" appears in on page 23-the "Our Story" section. I am not certain if a link will appear to my story--but that is why we have book stores. It should be on the stands end of August. (I know it is available at Borders, and whatever the Borders equivalent is in the midwest, and west coast.) I am so pleased to have the piece here, and offer big thanks to Ariel Gore and The Wayward Writers for their editorial input! I will try to post a link on the right.

Monday, August 3, 2009

On Birth Certificates

It was what you would call a feel good moment-typing your son's name into the on-line soccer registration form. The feel good moment that often accompanies a long awaited arrival.

We have arrived at the age where one is old enough to play soccer.Old enough to mind the coach and kick the ball.Old enough to run the lap in the same direction as the rest of the team. Old enough to feel so excited about the new pink (yes pink) laces for the almost new soccer shoes.

After filling out three pages of essential information, paying the fee, and pushing print, I arrived at the little line that gave me a jolt. "All new members are required to mail a copy of their birth certificate to...". Into the closet, into the flame retardant orange box, I am looking for that envelope that I sobbed into the first time I held it.

I smiled at the little post-it I forgot that I had left there. In beautiful, feminine print with red ink it says; "I hope you have a happy mother's day." Those words from the clerk, in the office in North Carolina who received and processed my request for Sam's birth certificate. The documents from the court hearing that terminated the alleged birth father's paternity rights were the final piece that had to line up in order for that certificate to be produced. And, without it, my petition to finalize Sam's adoption in Maine would not have happened. Her pink script is not indicative of all of our communications, but a testament to her choice to see the finish line for a little family in Maine.

In my hand, I am stunned by how I react to seeing my name on the line where the mother is. Of course I am his mother, now, and from the time that he was thirty-six hours old. But it is not a Mothering Certificate, it is a Certificate of Live Birth. And, having done one of those too--I know how much I deserved a certificate for that! One deserves an ocean liner of them for carrying the child and birthing it too. Her name should be there in addition to mine.. (Of course I know that this was intended originally to protect the birth mother's identity which is not something I am in a position to address here--I am strictly addressing my feelings as an adoptive mother to share the stage with the biological mother's identity.) It is not just semantics, it is the importance of that document from the act of registering a four year old for soccer or school, to getting a passport, or proving that you are who you are.

Unlike most adoptive parents, I managed to procure the original one. So Sam will have both. Records of both of his births. His biological birth, and his birth as my son. They are not mutually exclusive. So, I would like them to both appear on this one all important document.

His birth mother and I share in the joy of his life. We do this actively through letters, emails, and calls. He is who is he is because of her and because of me. I would rename it "Certificate of Live Birth and Parentage." Then, the document could be a constant testament to the triad of adoption.

If only the people at the soccer league knew how much thought has gone into that little photocopy that will arrive in their mailbox tomorrow.