Saturday, October 31, 2009

Halloween Reccomendation

Sam and I are watching a DVD called "Golden Blaze" which takes place in an almost all African American community, and has an AA protagonist and antagonist. The messages contained within include literary terms and rich vocabulary and language; "do you notice the irony here?" and "nature abhors a void" and uses techniques like flashback to tell a complex story.

The son "educates" the father on how to be a superhero, and the importance of school is one of many positive messages. Minor characters include Asian American female newscasters and other minority supporting actors.

I asked the folks at our local video store for any positive AA videos in the family section. I am sure it is flawed in some way, but I haven't found them yet.

Happy Halloween!

Here is the Wikipedia piece on it:

The Golden Blaze
is an animated film released in 2005[1] written by Archie Gips and directed by Bryon E. Carson. The feature, starring the voices of Blair Underwood and Michael Clarke Duncan, had a limited theatrical run making it the first flash animation ever to be released on the big screen. It also took top honors at the prestigious 2005 Giffoni International Film Festival. It was produced by Urban Entertainment and distributed by Warner Bros. Home Video.

Friday, October 30, 2009


I scored a goal.
No, a real one.
It was pretty too.
Even the Welsh gym teacher
responsible for the assist said so;
Sharp I believe was the word.

Students vs. Staff.
And my sixteen years of soccer
were good for a little muscle memory,
keen anticipation,
and an undeniable score.
Not to mention victory.

In the post game line up
slapping hands
in good game syncopation
and I am back in high school,
brash and invincible
in this breathless moment.

I thought parenthood would feel that way
no really, I did.

The three little ghosts we made out of cloth diapers,
newspapers, and wire
are bobbing
defiant over our front door

From the street
they are creepy and odd.
We made them after Sam asked why our street wasn't as fun
as his friend Emily's.

So we remedied that.

I go to bed each night hoping no one rips the ghosts down
in a drugged frenzy.
I imagine that Emily's neighbors don't have the same
ghost buster potential.

(I hope that the decorative ducklings
stolen from my bird bath
last week
that survived the summer safely
land in a lawn like Emily's
in their afterlife.
Having an urban garden is a constant
exercise in non attachment.)


What will I do with that hour we get tomorrow?
When will I really savor it?

Knead it between my fingers-
like warm dough
and squeeze it into a poem,
a paragraph, or a slice of promised apple pie.

Tuesday, October 27, 2009

history in the texting

We have his school pictures-
and we were wondering
if you would like
8x10, 5x7, wallets or all
of the above


LOL I want them all!
I have new ones too of us
for you.


Pls send me your thoughts about
writing X (birth father's name here)*
should I try again
or wait?


I tried to contact him
and he never wrote back
don't waste your time...
well, I'd wait a while.


Sam will want to know him one day
pls let me know if your take on this
changes at any point?
Pictures in the mail soon



after almost five years
and we have reached this place
on the one inch screen of a cellphone
where our lives intersect
with ease
on occasion.

Sam being the larger intersection
the giant black point
on the graph
where birth mother
and adoptive mother

sometimes three times a year
sometimes more.

(I pick out the pictures that it is hardest to see
the giant tie
with the backwards tying.)
* this is a reference to a prior discussion
between us, where she had asked for more time
to consider her response.
The larger back story here will be in the memoir
I am writing.

Saturday, October 24, 2009

First Family First.

Radiant. Historic. Breathtaking. Joyous. A family first.

Blah Blah Blah

Feel overwhelmed in an
underwhelming way.

Post op blues+
Mothering fatigue+
Single parent burn out+
New England winter dread+
Five years of sleep deprivation+
adds up.

Guilt slithers at my ankles
the sanity in a choice
to parent alone



Sam doesn't choose to listen to much these days.
His processor is on a
personal leave of absence.

Family therapist says this is all related
to my getting sick
and physically compromised
for a few weeks.

Supermom-unstoppable-pick up two boys
at once while
cooking dinner-with one hand
and grocery shopping with the other

as she dribbles a soccer ball-
and paints her just repaired wall-
before writing the poem-
to the smell of the pie baking
and the second night time story being read
all with one eye on her homework-
the bills-and the calendar while
riding a horse sized chicken
to the moon

is not getting out of bed today.

Imagine, the therapist says,
if you were told all your young life
that your mother
couldn't care for you the way she needed to
so she chose
to place you
with another mother...

Imagine then that mother can't
care for you the way she needs to
so she asks for help
for a few days
or a week
then two.

Imagine what this means to you

Mothers who can't care for you

disappear into a frame
on the book shelf.

Weaned Marcel
when the medicines were too strong
and untested for transmission
through to a little healthy kidney
and beyond.

And, it was time.

And, we're both stumbling
to recover
our footing on that
one as he boroughs into my neck
for a cuddle
and squeezes my hand
as he cries to nurse.

I hold him tight,
folded back into his
Mama's right here.
Her I am.

Maybe all of this perceived
leaving is leaving
me perceiving
my own deep




Saturday, October 17, 2009

Slow Picking

On the mend
Trying to take it slowly by choice.
This is not a strength of mine.
In fact I am miserable at it.

Put the "garden" (read 5' x 2.5' patch)
to bed for the fall/winter today,
the lettuce and tomato pots under the back stairs
and cut things back and under.

Pulled every article of clothing the family owns
out of it's drawer, nook and cranny-
onto the floor.
Giveaway, store, fold or toss.
Two hours. Done.
(Uncle and the boys were at soccer and the playground. I was in 5th gear for two hours strait.)
Winter, I'm ready.
Boots are labeled in the bag for school.
Socks are matched.
Coats in the wash.

Orchard for picking, hay riding
and laughter.
More today then in weeks for me
Uncle had me cracking me up.

The boys feel my recovery
their ease is within reach like
those trees laden
with golden juicy de-lish.

Approached by an editor of an adoption related publication venue for permission to include "Black Enough" in their winter newsletter.
A friend of hers saw it in Hip Mama,
and brought it to her attention.
Imagining my words savored in a cafe
across the country?
Fuel for these ole digits to keep at it.

This is where you'll find me*

This is where you'll find me
whenever I stop
wiping the counter and
folding the clothes or
mapping out the rest of the week
in yet another to do list, today.
And this is where you'll find me
when the papers are graded,
the dog hair swept up,
and the bills to be avoided just stay put-
so I can sit in the rocker and hold


in my imagination. Pushing off into next
month? Next year? When?
When will I find you here
in my arms-
wriggling, wiggling, drooling, crying, giggling, cooing,
and wondering just how
you arrived here
with me from wherever you may be now
in your birth mother's belly

listening to her muffled laughing or
singing or crying into you her hopes
for the little miraculous one you will grow up to be
away from her. Outside of that
unfathomable moment when you

arrive here

where I'm waiting
for you unfolding the baby clothes I've collected
in between the dreams I've collected,
and the future I've coveted
watching you crawl
then walk,
then run into this,
our room, our house calling "Mom"
always knowing that this is where you'll find me.

* posted here from my personal archives in honor of Kathy and Jeff and the
imminent arrival of their son Matthew any day now.

(Originally written in October 2004, weeks before Sam's birth mother chose me to be Sam's everyday mom. It is wild for me to retype this here, remembering all the feelings I had, complicated, raw, hopeful, sad, enormous feelings I had months before my parenthood began through the mosaic and miracle of adoption.)

Monday, October 12, 2009

Surgery and the Happy Ones on Picture Day

When a nearly five year old
screams in your lap;
I don't want anybody cutting you under with a knife!
You wish it was just an idiomatic expression to blame.
How did he overhear that? I feel like a sloppy mom in pain now.

I explained that no one would.
That it was just going to be a little procedure
to make mommy better, soon.

When he handed me the dinner knife
this morning and asked me if I needed to take this one with me,
or did the doctor have another one,
I knew it was time to talk about this a little more.

Then he hurled his brother's toy across the room.
It was a toy his brother was playing with, alone.
A toy that was in his hand before Gargantua-Sam grabbed it from him.

In need of comfort anyone?
In my arms, still, I explain
how the doctor is going to help Mommy's
pain go away.
Gently, with a little tube, and a camera, and a
No knives, nothing to fear.
All of this whispered in his close and closed ear.

All of this while careful to hold close my own fear.

Marcel walks by holding my slipper.
Mommy's slipper is sad. Mommy's slipper has an owee.
He needs a little help too is my guess.


Pain meds not being conducive to parenting, or teaching
or blogging but have
meant Herculean Help in the form of our
amazing extended chosen family and Uncle.

It has been a rough two weeks.


I am home and comfortable after a surgical procedure.
Can I just leave it that?
Pain and medication free I write.
In my home, propped up in bed with pillows, water, and a little light.

The nurses should all be sainted
with their empathy, care, skillful calm, and compassion.
Can I just leave it at that?
The doctor's lack of good choices around patient care
might just merit a post of his own.
Unless I can just leave it at that.

Alone in a hospital bed, wrapped only in dread.

(Breathe, breathe, breathe
I can hear my neighbor Sarah saying
when I was in the ER three days ago wailing.)

Looking at their picture,
taken last year on Picture Day,
in my palm I exhale.

Sammy offered for me to take his (shredded disgusting lovie) blanket
with me. He did not offer again today-
Thank goodness-it wouldn't fit under this sterile pillow.
I breathe in all that empathetic four and three quarter year old goodness.

And tears are soothing.

When the nurse asks you if you are alright sweetie?

Yes, I am anxious. And yes, not having morning coffee
(who knew the lack of just one cup of instant could)
make me all knotted up.

Looking at the wall with the monitors and the Patient Rights
as the stiff johnny gives reluctantly under my non IV arm-
I twist and curl over
to whisper into my arm-
Let them find nothing.
Take the pain please.
Return me in health to these boys who I was meant to mother
for a long, long time.

And then a little longer, please.

When I came to, I asked for my phone.
I called their daycare as promised.

I had left his teachers a note-
Sammy is worried about me.
I will call him to reassure him that my visit to the doctor went well,
that when he sees me this afternoon I will be all better.
I will not be able to speak to him directly (or I will cry).
Please relay my message at the appropriate time.

They did.
I think we both felt better.

He did great at school-
picture day.
He chose the tie.
We cut it to make it fit.

He wanted to look good for me he told me tonight.
And mom you're going to love the one where I was kissing Marcel.
Its really going to make you cry-
your happy ones.
Your happy tears.

Saturday, October 10, 2009

Iodine, Bread Crumbs, and Worry! Oh My.

What was she thinking?
Throwing the routine upside like that?

That is what Sam must have been thinking tonight.

When I asked Uncle to do bath and get them to bed.
(Something about that iodine test today, mixing up with this week's overall discomfort turned my stomach into a cauldron of upset.)
I needed to lie down.
Read the New Yorker.
Instead of hang over a bath tub distended and snappy.

Reassured them with hugs,
sweet night night kisses and smiles.
Mommy's fine I just need to go night night first tonight.
How fun to have Uncle put you to bed?

Sam appeared fine with this at first.
The first three requests to sleep in my bed,
were handled with firm resolve.

But this one, at 11:45?
With the screams and the pleas.
With Marcel climbing over me awakened and afraid-
this was hard.

Uncle got Marcel to sleep-
as I cuddled with Sam in the blue chair
the external womb chair
the nothing can touch me here chair
the no matter what I am safe chair.

and I listened.

Like Grettle searching for crumbs to find her way,
our way home.
In the dark, afraid.

Last night in that chair he answered-
You know everything about me mommy.
When I asked him how things were going?
In a rare quiet Mommy-Sammy-Marcel-is-already-asleep moment.

Last night in that chair when asked if he could change
just one thing in the world he says;
I wouldn't be the only brown skinned boy in my preschool class-
if it were different it'd be better for me.
To which I could only agree and say thank you for telling me.
(Told his teachers,
and brought in books from home with everyone brown like me
for circle time too.)
Next year in kindergarten, it will be so different you'll see.
But mom, I don't want to wait that long.

Remember who looks just like you?
I know mom, Obama, and he is the president.
But he doesn't go to school with me.

Tonight I listened to his deep breaths
and his soft sobs
and I said that I was going to be fine
and all I meant when I asked Uncle to put him to bed
and to let me have some quiet time was that my body felt sad
and needed some time alone.


This he understood.

The other ten ways I tried to explain it did not make sense.

and that did?


He went right up the ladder to his bed, and to sleep.

Just like that.

Attachment? Adoption? Oedipal? Huh?

Worry? Frustration? Control? Huh?

The cat scan today with the iodine was meant to turn my insides into
a light board.
Reveal the mystery lodged back there in the right flank
that is refusing to move on, and let me be.
On Monday the doctors will decipher the clues
and tell me what's in store for that right flank and me.

Soccer game at nine thirty mom.

Time to put us all to bed-
the iodine
the bread crumbs
and the worry.

And I thought I had my bed to myself!

Wednesday, October 7, 2009

I'm just waiting on a stone...

I love this picture of me.
I took it before I went to the doctor today because I felt relief-

knowing that I was going to get some answers today,
brought that twinkle to my eye.
I wanted to capture it.

I won't take the post appointment shot-
it would be the bleary eyed red one.

Not because of what they said,
but because of all the things that they can't say.

We can tell you that it is one of the above.

It may be this, that or the other thing.

We can tell you that we'll know better after this test.

We can't tell you when you can have this test.

We can tell you to relax.

We can't tell you how to do that.

I looked at that sweet young man,
who I seriously doubted was old enough to have a driver's license
let alone an MD anywhere near his name,
and I thought how proud his mother must be.

The not knowing when your pain is going to be resolved
is like parenting.

I am reasonably certain my children
will grow into compassionate,
well intentioned,
intelligent beings,
who respect themselves, and others.

I will hope that the decor of the principal's office
will not be something either of them will be able to recall with any certainty.
Law enforcement altercations will be as foreign to them,
as not calling me on the weekends from their college dorm room.
These are reasonable requests,
that will take years to be processed.

That I was informed it would take two to three weeks
to get in for a test that my doctor ordered; "STAT"
is an unreasonable reality to me.

What does one do with that?

Monday, October 5, 2009

Where two begin?

Two is here.
Marcel navigated the journey with grace.
In that graceless way only a two year old can.

He insisted that he was five all day.
He ate donuts.
His nose the river ran faster than we could.
He loved his new Lego firetruck.
He didn't share.
He screamed a lot.
He jumps from the furniture.
His head.

In between the morning gathering with one little friend
and several big ones,
and the evening gathering with family extended
I made it to the ER for a kidney stone or two.
There I was in the same hospital where I delivered Marcel
two years before.
For a much shorter stay with much less to show for it when I left.
(Drink lots of fluid, takes lot of Advil. Wait.)
The free socks were old lady beige this time.
Pink when you are a new mom.
White after a miscarriage.

Home alone today
in a droopy silence.
Exhausted from the pain,
and the joy
and the eventuality
of the unspoken.

When Sam turned two my body was a lean plank,
my hair long,
my heart so full-at least that's what I see in the video
we all watched together the other day
to remind the big brother
how he was when he was two too-
and how much more he can do
now at nearly five.

Growing up is hard you know.
Especially when your little brother fits in to your spider man rain boots from the bag downstairs
the boots you didn't even know you ever had,
which makes it even harder to let someone else have them now.
Someone who has already opened one present today.
Enough already.

I look at that radiant woman
only two years into motherhood.
And I see someone so able,
beautiful and willing.

A woman who seems oddly foreign to me now.
Transformed by a pregnancy
and the loss of 4000 hours of sleep-
over five years.

She is the woman in the cubicle next to me
who I listen to all day, but we somehow never managed to connect.

No, she's right here,
underneath the kidney pain,
and the grief of letting go of the baby for the big boy now.
She's on the pages of the Hip Mama magazine
arriving today in the mail.
She's in between the pages of the new vegetarian cookbook
and on the underside of the magenta petals of the farm picked flowers Louise gave me last night
to celebrate me in the middle
of Marcel making it to two with so much graceless ease.

Friday, October 2, 2009

Poets with runny noses

Home with two sick boys today.

Green, the operative word is green.
I'll spare you any more details.

On the way back from picking up party supplies at the store-
in an effort to pretend we are not that sick...
Marcel says;

The football with that man is in the happy sunlight
and the sun makes my body feel right.

Of course he was looking at a homeless man
holding something
football shaped in a brown bag--
but to Marcel-
pure light!

Before that he made blueberry lego muffins
for Duckie and "MarSammy" his baby doll.

He turns two on Sunday.