Wednesday, September 30, 2009

fair is fair (with Mama shoe flair)

It's not fair when I:
rub his brother's back for longer than I rub his.
give Marcel a kiss first.
Cuddle with him longer.
Sleep in my own bed, alone.

It's not fair when I win at a board game,
in fact it feels like a complete breech to his nervous system if I do.

It's not fair that his brother's birthday comes first. It would help if he could get presents too. That would feel fair-er.

What is fair is the fair.
Rides by himself because he can.
Rides with his brother because his brother can't
A giant order of cotton candy for dinner, because
I said he could buy what he wanted
with the money he earned
sleeping in his bed five nights in a row.
Watching motorcycle snow mobiles lift into the air
over a giant pile of dirt,
and horses pulling riders in unison.

What is fair is asking for the toy trumpets to disappear
for the car ride home if they want to ever see them again.

All of this negotiating and rewarding
and noticing is making me very, very tired.

I suppose that's fair.

Monday, September 28, 2009

And on the 7th day...

Just a quick update to tell you that the bunk beds
are a huge success.
13/14 combined nights of sleep in the beds all night.
1 falling event to the ground from the bottom bed
1 self selected painting event with poster paints
23 pillow fights
0 regrets

Considering that I came in and rearranged their room, removed the only beds either of them remembered essentially, put an end to sleeping with mom, and turned two sleep times into one (Marcel used to go to bed 1/2 hour before Sam) this is an amazing report eh?


Without all the help that I am so accustomed to
my, our edges start to show.
Support is something I'm so good at-anticipating,
asking for, and lining up.
That this late September/ October breach to the system
has walloped me.
Left me here at 4:30 am wondering
Just where did everybody go?


One family moved across the country-
I counted on them for humor,
play dates, and advice.
Their loss is a low constant ache
that you cease to medicate.
A facebook wave, an address on an index card
I keep meaning to write.
We drive by your old house,
feelings of longing swirl around your driveway
with the leaves.

Then love swooped one away,
with a new career, and a house.
Changes we applaud and celebrate.
I know things will even out,
you assure me of that and how soon
we'll land back squarely on your plate.
Your tenderness and ease,
your patience, the way you make everything
great! is profound in it's absence as of late.

For five weeks.
A cave it will take that long to find our way out of.
You are missed.

School started.
Senior year.
We miss the you living downstairs
the organic knowing that you are
always here.
Of course you are always.

Uncle's under pressure.
Work demands.
Time has new boundaries.
in this there needs to be some limits on nephew land.
Mom doesn't quite know where to land.
Trying not to mis-understand.

Our upstairs family
lured downstairs for homemade cookies and a check in.
Graduate school, and the new curriculum
were also at the table then.
I miss kick boxing, and
the long walks.
Dinner plans, and the mint we were going to
watch swirl around in the ice.
My kids taking over your home
while I wrote a story or
organized my life.

A relationship that was so reliable and easy
before one became two
This is a miss unlike the others.
It involves missing myself
as only I was with you.
Twenty plus years in the making.
There was no me the mom in the middle,
no elephants to tip toe over consistency and negotiation.
A larger miss, missed, missing.

And then there are the unanswered emails
and calls not because we are no longer important
or even desired company.
Things come up.
Family time takes precedence.
People do have other friends too.
Other friends have needs too.
Schedules just don't allow for impromptu
the way they used to.
I am as much to "blame" as you.

I remember the twenty-four people
crowding the room at Sammy's adoption-day celebration.
How the judge was noticeably moved by this single mother's
extended family.

And I don't have time to tell you all-
Until I wake up at 4:30am in this I miss-You-state.
and write about it in my BLOG
that I miss you.

And it is hard.

It is or was September after all.

Such a shift for everyone.

Or, an opportunity,
one could say to make new friends.
Create other kinds of support-
to follow up the calls to those two girls
from the high school looking for babysitting work.
Accept the offer for the cup of tea.
Call the friend of the friend who is a single mother too.

I did after all really enjoy the weekend-
at the soccer game alone.
The walk and roller blade in the rain to harvest
the harvested tomatoes at school.
The satisfaction of putting the boys down to bed
successfully twice.
And the visit that I finally arranged with the triplets in the park.
The two crock pot meals
that I thought were delicious anyway.

I can move beyond this inventory,
beyond the I miss you.

Thursday, September 24, 2009

Hip Mama.... if only

Even though two of my poems are included in this, the newest issue of Hip Mama, it is hard to feel hip in my tired old bones today.

But please CHECK OUT this issues, and BUY IT online or at your local bookstore and hip bodega. It is their creativity issue which makes me feel particularly HOT no matter what.

Bunk bed update: two nights in, and two nights out for Sam. Marcel has mastered the art of the lower bunk--as long as you never put covers on him, and remember the socks. As long as you rub his back, and not his head. As long as you sing the alphabet song, or Swing Low, but not Summertime. These are this weeks requirements.

Sam, well Sam needed to paint the bed apparently. Poster paint. Green. All over the bed, the floor, and Marcel's lamb. He said it was his, and he wanted to paint it. I was so flabbergasted I didn't even react. I just handed him the warm wash cloth and he got to work. This didn't improve things, made it worse actually. But, it allowed me time to go sit in the other room, and breathe.

I do a lot of that to avoid yelling.

It worked last night.

It's not even a pretty green either.

His logic; "Mom you said I could paint it." (What I said the night before was--Sure we can paint it some day--we'll go pick out paints together if you'd like. )

Translation: Mom, as I become wiser in the world, and can handle language like play dough I am going to explore some more limits with you. Are you ready?

Uncle took the boys to the park so that I could take a nap (Sam woke up four times last night to ask for reassurance that he was supposed to sleep in his bed )before a meeting I have to go to this evening.

Instead I run to the blog.

Because I had to tell you about the green paint, and the fact that the gentleman I have been dating for a few months is leaving town for the weekend to play the part of an invasive beetle to educate people at a country fair.

So this weekend I can say that I am dating a beetle, and it would be the truth.

In some circles that would seem incredibly hip.

Sunday, September 20, 2009

Bon nuit*

They are both sleeping.
Sam on the top, and Marcel on the bottom bunk.
The crib is in pieces against the wall in my room.
An era ends.

I sat against the wall on the cushion for ten minutes in the dark, with just the glow of the basketball night light to bathe them and me in this sweet passage together that we are making.

We read three stories.
A picture book with both on the bottom bunk.
A chapter book with Sam in his bed,
and Marcel in my lap.
Another picture book with Sam dozing off above,
Marcel next to me in the bottom.

By the third verse of Summertime,
Sam was snoring.
Marcel ten deep breaths behind.

I'm feeling so much success at this moment.
Two boys arriving so in tact here.
At almost five and nearly two.

And tonight I remember how deep was my longing
to have a child come into my life.
The longing never landed in an image of me there on the floor
looking up at the two of them sleeping
listening to their symphonic breathing
holding their emerging dreams in my heart.

(*This post dedicated to Uncle to whom this particular
milestone being realized is attributed to.)

Sam helping with the drilling (top). The boys testing the top bunk out (above) and one of my all time favorite pictures of me and Sam taped to his headboard in case he wakes in the middle of the night and needs to see me.

Saturday, September 19, 2009

Donuts for Dinner, or You're not My Real Mom.

He has been gone on an impromptu-post soccer game-
play date for several hours.
This in itself is new, and I am eager to hear how it went.
He is striking out in the world on his own,
dribbling down one field after another.

The doorbell rings, he bursts in, and before I can say hello-

You are not my
real mom.

This he announces as he sits on the big blue chair,
the overstuffed cuddle chair,
the Marcel nursey-nigh-nigh chair,
the bedtime story chair.
the one we call safe when we are playing in the house.

Kneeling as I help him untie his show, and take a second to gather
my thoughts, and to hush my oh-no-he-didn't-just-say-that-feelings.

I am prepared to answer this, this time.
I have practiced this one.

Does it feel like that sometimes? I begin.
Does it sometimes feel like you have two real moms?
Me, your real everyday mom, who loves you
every moment of every day-

and your real birth mother who carried you in her tummy and
brought you into the world?

He sticks his fingers in his ears, and in a sing song-y voice;
I can't hear you. I can't hear you.

This was not in the version I practiced.
Which part is too much to hear?

I can wait, I say. I rub his knee, I grab his foot.
I can wait to tell you how much I love you, until you are ready.

He jerks away for a second to deliver; You're not my real mom.
When you die you are not going to be my mom any more.

Death, abandonment, and adoption related identity integration
and individualization on a Saturday afternoon.
Who isn't prepared for that?

I breathe. I picture myself back in the family therapist's office,
I give myself a moment.
I get up, and sit with him now.

He is waiting.

I am your real mom. I love you the way only a real mom does.
I will always be your real mom.
[Birth mother's name here] will always love you
and be your real birth mother.

Death will not change that.

He shifts away, and then looks right in my eyes-
which I realize is so rare-to tell me-ask me all at once;
But you can't talk to me when you die.

I take his hands, and gently squeeze, Not like we are taking now.
But, I will always be in your heart.
And when you need to talk to me, I believe that I will still hear you in a way.
I talk to my Godfather all the time ( Uncle Dick's picture hangs on the wall near us)
And although he can't talk back, I always feel better after I have said what I needed to.

How come I can't have a donut for dinner? Don't we have any left?

It is now safe to jump off the blue chair.

Monday, September 14, 2009

Of note...

Stealing a few minutes at 3 a.m.
The beginning of the new school year is just like that.
The blog calls to me in a voice overshadowed
by the seventy or so other voices
that land every September in bold force into my orbit
with a volume I am never quite prepared for.

A stellar landing though.
With NASA like ease and precision
we managed to arrive in the school year
with nary a bump on Fall's solid ground.
The family was ready.
I take full credit for this one.

Of note: Sam's return to the barbershop
and my refusal to let him be cut
by anyone other then our barber
even though two seats sat open.
As far as barbershop etiquette goes
I can tell you that I stood about ten feet tall telling the owner
he'd like to wait.


You were too rough on him last time.
You made him cry.
It took us a year to come back.

You could almost hear the lollipops in the basket saying;
No she didn't just tell him that.

Sam rested his forehead on my shoulder.

The other barbers looking from me to the owner with eyes wide and wider.

And then the most amazing thing,
besides me finding my mama bear in the middle of barbershop
where few mama bears even ever dare to go-
was his response-

kneeling down in front of us both
the man who keeps a baseball bat under his mirror that
is not meant for hitting leather
says I'm sorry Sam.
I didn't mean to upset you man.

Talk about rising to an occasion.

When we left
Sam says Mom I look good.
I like it there.

Oh yeah, how come?

I don't know

Is it because you look like everyone in there?

Yeah. And they cut my hair and it looks good.

I do too, I tell him.
But I didn't used to.

How come?

Because now I feel like they know me Sam, and don't mind it
I come in the door too.
They like us both now, not just you.

Running for the playground, looking so good
despite the unruly mopped little brother running after him
I can tell Sam knows exactly what I mean.


Also of note-the Adoptive Families September/October issue
is now at the store(s).
Let me know how you liked it if you saw it.
Let me know if that is what brought you to this blog.
(See link to the right. And if you click on the "home"
button once you get there-you may eventually see the actual piece on line.)

Hip Mama Magazine-issue 44: Creativity
is carrying two poems

and a photo. Due out in a few weeks too.

Of note:
Sam's first official, uniformed, coached, and refereed soccer game
(and I use all the above terms as they are intended in the Under Six league)
was a definitive WIN to him.
And me, in my soccer mom debut.

I have that kid.
I have the one who scores three goals, in ten minutes.
I have the kid who knows which direction to dribble
and knows how to dribble.
I have the kid who makes the sport
look like butter melting on hot early September sweet corn.
Yes I am the mother of that kid.

And he has the mother who hollers, and claps,

and jumps a few inches form the ground when she does.
And he has the mother who directs him to thank the coach
after the game (so she can hear the coach say
in a British accent for added impact)
Lad, you are really switched on.
If you keep working this hard
you'll be really really good at this game.

I am the mother who sees herself at her son's gold medal ceremony-
a little prematurely.

Of note:
My remembering to find my way to yes
as the therapist suggested and what a remarkable difference it has made:

Sam: Can I have a popsicle?
Me: Yes, you can have one after dinner.
Sam returns to the train table.

What is unremarkable here-the conflict.

What is remarkable here-the lack of conflict.

That exchange used to take minutes.
I would say "No you can't have a popsicle it is dinner time."
and he would say...
Why can't I-It's not fair-Last week I-You said I-Just one please-At Grammy's I-Please-
I said please-My brother got one when he was sick...

Or something like that.

Now I don't engage in that.

And it took a week or so to get it right
to reset the stage for positive interaction
instead of the NO reaction.
And look at all the space it creates on the Sammy-Mommy scene.
We find so much more ease together in the YES.

Of note: I am dating still.
And when I asked him if it is daunting to date a woman
with two young kids

(who he met briefly once,
and for a long while we'll just leave it at that)

he said Yes, shouldn't it?
and But you are a package deal and I know that.
How Librarian a response.
(As in a Libra, albeit one who is very bookish and cute.)
The cast iron medley of roasted vegetables,
and apple fritter he cooked were notable too.
Flavored just so with lingering lines like;
Just so lucky to have met you.

Saturday, September 5, 2009

Round and Round

Hula Hoops hang in the air
around him like dancers in flight.
I can do three he claims, and he's right.

School began again-easier this time.
It is always easier.
I love watching them walk in my room on day one.
I love their faces revealing
the mystery the wonderment:
Who is this lady?
Is she nice?
Who are those kids all over her wall?
Are they her children?
Will I be seen by her too?

For Sam a promotion of sorts-he is the oldest preschooler there.
Marcel stepped up to "Toddler B" the youngest in his class. "I in new room Mommy with big kids too."

It's all new, it's all the same.
We practice transitions.
We practice new beginnings.
We practice holding onto expectations, and then letting them go.
We practice so that we don't have to practice as much.

Summer is so big, takes up so much space at the four season table.
I'm not as beside myself as some, that she is finishing her desert.
She makes such a raucous with her plans, and little trips, long evenings, and her endless requests for ice cream, and photo opportunities.
Her laughter incessant.
She never goes to bed on time.

So, Fall can relax a little into her own,
now that summer's cleared her pit strewn plate.
Even if she comes back to say goodnight,
we can exhale a little as we shift and notice
the shimmer in Fall's auburn hair.