Category Archives: things that make me smile

I Want a Talking Dog for Christmas

That is what my son has told me over and over for weeks now.  Talking dogs are very prevalent on tv and movies these days and its impossible to convince Woob that they don’t indeed exist.  Oh, but he’s in that sweet time in life, where magic really happens, and I’m holding on to that with both hands, trying not to shatter his innocence.

I don’t remember when I found out that Santa wasn’t real.  Could it have been the year my older sister showed me where mom hid all our Christmas presents, and in my parents’ absence we took them all out and played with them for awhile? (Where WERE our parents when we were that little?? I am always telling my mother that we weren’t adequately supervised while we were children, but she doesn’t agree.)  That year, I got corduroys with a roller skate on the back pocket and a Donny and Marie microphone/amplifier.  Very cool.  But none of it came from Santa, and I don’t remember being heartbroken or feeling jaded or betrayed by the “big Santa lie.”   So I guess I’m not too worried about perpetuating that little fantasy of the magic of Santa, since it was such a non-issue in my own life.

Woob is not quite four, but he’s already seen the shows on tv about kids wondering about the “realness” of Santa.  He watched as Will Farrel pulled the beard off “fake” Santa, telling him he “sits on a throne of lies” and “smells like beef and cheese”.  And directly following, saw how song and Christmas Spirit was able to get the “real Santa’s” sleigh off the ground at the end.  That seems to be a common theme, I guess going all the way back to “Yes, Virginia, there is a Santa Claus” published in the newpaper every year since way before my time.  I want him to hold on to the magic, and to believe.  Its one of the few precious things kids have left these days, that belief in magic.

I love it when he asks how reindeer can fly, or how Santa climbs into the chimney.  He’s trying to figure out if Santa “sneaks” in, or just happens to stop by as we sleep.  He’s trying to figure out who is on the “naughty list” and who is on the “nice” list.  He’s been singing snippets of various mingled Christmas songs for the past week, which is SOOOO cute, and brought me a lanyard strung with beads and a jingle bell that he made at daycare himself.  I proudly wore it to the home improvement warehouse and the grocery store last night while he sang his own version of Jingle Bells.  And as he followed me through the dairy aisle, he asked me, “Mom, is Santa Claus real?”  “Why of course he is, sweetie.”  “Is Christmas Jesus’ birthday party?”  “It sure is.”  “And Jesus and Santa are in our hearts?”  “Yes they are, and they both love you very much.”  “I love Jesus, too, Mom.”  *melt*

Wishing you and yours magic and love this season.

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OART: The Importance of Christmas “Presence”

Thanks, HeatherPNR, for another Open Adoption Round Table writing prompt–as you can see, I need it.  Its been forever since I graced your all’s blog reader with anything 🙂

So, the Holidays and adoption.  We don’t have a lot of set-in-stone holiday traditions with Woob’s first family (yet?).  I stand by traditional gift-giving, though, as a way to stay in touch and as another way to let them know we care.

The first year of his life, Christmas passed without any contact from N. or her family, though we did send, through the agency, a gift.  We bought one of those kits that has the bi-fold picture frame–on the left is a frame for a pic of Woob (the one we used for our Christmas card and oh-so-cute!), and the right half has a clay imprint of his little 9 month old hand.  I’m happy to say they got it, because I’ve since been priveleged enough to see it perched upon the tv cabinet in N.’s house.  At the time, though, it was hard not knowing what was happening in N.’s world, how they celebrate, who she’d be spending the time with, or with what sentiment the gift would even be received.

When Woob was almost two, his second Christmas, we put together the package to send, this time, without the aid of the agency (yay!) because we had gotten together over the summer and had some visits and phone calls.  The gifts were  nothing big, but we sent some things for N., her boyfriend at the time, and Woob’s soon-to-be sister, whose arrival was expected that February.

When Woob was almost three, his third Christmas, he had a more active role in picking out things to send, and it ws fun getting his perspective on what to pick out for his little sister (a baby doll), and another yet-to-be-born sister, again expected in February (a carseat toy)  🙂  A funny story about that.  Since he was involved in  the picking, he got to watch me wrap the gifts and he “labeled” each one and “signed” the Christmas card.  We went together and took the wrapped presents to the UPS store for shipping where he watched as the clerk was handed the packages and sealed them up in a big brown box and took it away.  He was distraught, and no amount of my explaining could convince him that the clerk behind the desk was not at that very minute playing with the toys that he had picked out for his little sisters!  “But SHE TOOK OUR TOYS!  They’ll NEVER get to N’s house!!  THAT LADY TOOK OUR TOYS!!”  Poor little dude. He talked about it for the next few weeks, and I had to have N. tell him directly over the phone that she did get their packages in the mail so that he would step off it already 😉  Who am I to be able to demystify the working of the postal network??

Now, Woob is almost four.  (Which is CRAZY! Four??)  We’ll be sending another package within the next week or so, this time to N., his two sisters, and N.’s new husband.  Woob made his gift preferences known and he’ll make the trek to the UPS store with me.  He has a better understanding of mail now–he LOVES getting mail! So maybe he’ll trust our carefuly chosen treasures to get where they are supposed to go.

Seems each Christmas, we get to add another person to love on that side of his family!  THIS is what I wanted for Woob when I nudged for openness way back when…to know his family, to have them be a real presence–real people in his life.  I think both of our family’s lives are too busy to get together right at Christmas, but a package, a call, a card help keep the connections going until we can get together again.

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Wedding Whirl…

{For those of you who haven’t read here before, N. is my son Woob’s first mother.  This is the story of her wedding day.}

Saturday was Wedding Day for N. and S.  For those of you who read the previous posts, yes, I did find something to wear and yes, I did manage to decide on a gift I thought was appropriate for the occasion.  Neither of those things happened without way too much anxiety and energy, but that’s just my defective worry gene rearing its ugly head.  In the big picture, none of those things mattered.  They got married regardless of what I did or didn’t do or buy…and it was absolutely beautiful. 

The weekend was a little exhausting for several reasons.  Probably the biggest reason being that my job has been trying to kill me over the past three weeks.  I started the weekend with being just so tired, that I think it made it harder to do what needed to be done to prep for the wedding (shopping! packing! shopping! driving!).  Add the wedding and visit on top of that and my head is all awhirl with different emotions and thoughts about the way things are.  Its been hard for me to put events into neat little categories that will help other people understand, and parts of the story that I’ll probably never speak to any IRL friends or family about.  So many of the IRL people seem to be the CAUSE of a lot of the whirling and swirling in my head, as a matter of fact.  But here I’ll try my best to break it down.

THE WEDDING ITSELF 

Our little part of the world got pummelled with about three inches of rain on Thursday and Friday, which caused lots of flooding, mushiness, and just outright grumpiness for a lot of people.  Did I mention that N.’s wedding was to be an outdoor one (at her mom’s house)?  In addition to the wet dreariness, there has been quite a chill in the air as well.  It wasn’t boding well, but when I called to check on N. Friday to check the state of the union (haha, get it?), she was in good spirits, and totally committed to the whole outdoor thing, come hell or high water–literally.  It was cloudy for the full two hour drive to her town, but by the time we got there, there was full sunshine and a beautiful blue sky.  If you stood in the sun, you could manage to be comfortable in long sleeves and a sweater.  The afternoon weather was nothing short of a miracle.  Where there had been standing water in the yard yesterday, family and friends were gathering before the wedding, socializing and putting last minute touches in place.  Little weiner dogs were running around 🙂 and Woob was having fun petting them and reacquainting himself with his little sister, J.  Within 30 seconds of our arrival, the knees of Woob’s pants were covered in mud, because those little dogs were just too irresistable!  For the record, there is not enough “SHOUT” in the world to shout out what he did to those pants that day.  I started snapping pictures as soon as we got there–of the wedding setup, the cake/gift table, the guests as they milled around, the kiddos, and the family members that we know. 

I do think its kinda cool that we are able to attend an event like this and be welcomed, and that we know enough people to be comfortable (with very few exceptions) and to realize that there are no secrets there.  It seemed that everyone knew our role, and if they didn’t early on, N. never felt the need to hide the fact that Woob is her son and that we’ve adopted him. 

Before I go further, let me just set the scene…bright blue sky with a few swirly clouds, about 35-40 guests surrounding a wedding aisle lined with gorgeous gold and orange mums.  The aisle led to an arch which was twined with a fall leaf garland, and punctuated with more mums on each side.  The grass was thick and green from all the rain we had gotten this fall.  The groom and his groomsmen were all wearing brown pants with autumn-orange shirts.  Such a simple setting, but so pretty on a day like that.

We all finally got situated and music began playing and Granpa G. and N. peeked their heads out the back door to begin their procession.  Because I can’t let a good picture go untaken, I started walking around to get better shots.  Before very long, I realized that I was the ONLY ONE taking pictures.  The photographer didn’t show up, andI had unwittingly become the official photographer of this wedding with my little digital Canon, so didn’t really get to sit quietly in my seat to watch the ceremony.  And, oh…no pressure.

Walking down the aisle, I must say that N. looked so, absolutely beautiful.  She’s a rather tiny young woman, and as my son looks just like her, I think her face is absolutely beautiful.  I think I would think that even if he didn’t look like her.  That day, even moreso, all made up perfectly, and with her hilited auburn hair curled into sharp corkscrews a’la Shirley Temple.  Her white dress fit her beautifully–strapless, mermaid-style with a train, and with a back that laced up like lattice-work.  She was breathtaking, like all brides hope to be.  Her daddy walked her down the aisle and handed her to her new husband, who looked pretty serious and nervous, as many grooms do.  We’d never met S. before, so have no idea what he might be thinking, but he didn’t take his eyes off her the whole time they repeated their vows and exchanged rings, until their first kiss as a married couple.  N., for all her composure in the days prior to the wedding, had through the course of the ceremony, become a blubbery mess, however 🙂 .

The reception following the ceremony was held there in the yard and the garage, converted just for the occasion.  There was food and music, throwing of garters and bouquets, releasing of balloons, and cutting and eating of cake, with just a little bit of that cake flying through the air as the bride and groom smooshed it in each others faces.  And LOTS and LOTS of photos taken (130 I think??).

This could go on and on, so I’ll stop here and declare it the end of PART 1.  PART 2 to follow very soon.

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Always Running Behind

…but yet, I persevere!  I think this “assignment” was due by the beginning of this week…but that seems to be a trend these days, so my new mantra is “better late than never!”

This installment of Open Adoption Roundtable, brought to you buy HeatherPNR, asks us to write about a small moment that open adoption made possible.  Honestly, when I first read this, I thought it would be easy!  So many moments have been made possible by the openness we share with N. and her family.  But then it seemed to be a very big task to pull out one small moment.  So I just put it on the back burner.

Then such a moment came the other day that seemed so perfect even in its simplicity.

Woob loves the idea of motorcycles, even though we are not a motoring family.  “I want to get a motorcycle!”, he says often.  And we reply, with humor, “of course you can have a motorcycle–when you turn 21 and can affort to buy it yourself!”  So he goes around telling everyone proudly that when he’s 21 he’s getting a motorcycle.  Told his daycare teacher that this morning as a matter of fact!  So while he was in the tub the other night, I was reading to him from the “MOTORCYCLES!” book that has lots of pictures and explanations and bike parts and such.  He again reminded me about what he perceives to be his 21st birthday present.  I replied,”but you know, neither Mommy or Daddy knows how to ride a motorcycle.  Who do you think will teach you?”  Without missing a beat, he smiled and said “J. and M. (his two sisters who are almost 2 and 1 year old)!”  When I laughed, and asked, “really?  You think they’ll be able to teach you?” he giggled and said “no, that’s silly! They’re just babies!”

One of the reasons I pursued openness is for the fact that I wanted Woob to know any siblings he had as he grew up.  I feared that there would be family out there floating around that he would never know, never be able to depend on, never even possibly know they existed!  This little exchange showed me that he knows exactly who his sisters are, even if he hasn’t spent tons of time with them, that he thinks about them, and puts them into some category of “People Who are in My Life”.  I also know his first mom enjoys riding four wheelers, and I could envision years into the future all of them riding together (though it scares the heck out of me!).

I followed up that conversation asking “you’ve been thinking about your sisters?” He nods.  “Would you like to see them sometime soon?”  And he answered, “Yeah! and Granpa G. (N’s dad) can come along too!”

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Tiny Dancer

Last night after bath time, I was combing Woob’s hair and he was watching in the mirror.  I commented on how handsome he looked, and he smiled, and in that little, sweet tone that projects wonder and awe said, “oh, and I look like a ballerina!!”

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THREE.

Three short years ago, there was really no way to comprehend how full my heart would be with being a mommy to our little Woob.  As I’m writing this at just a little after eight in the morning, I realize that only the following had yet happened:

1.  We were called to show up at the hospital around 5 a.m. to wait in a little waiting room off the emergency. 

2.  We were called just prior to 6:30 by N.’s Dad who was in the delivery room.  We had not yet met him, but he called to say the baby had been born, and “wait a second…”  We waited, and a few seconds later, we heard the first cry of the baby who would become our son.  What a gift.  I am still in awe that he thought to do that–he didn’t have to.

3.  We met Woob’s grandparents for the first time on the hospital ward.

4.  We saw the naked, squalling, newborn through the glass, getting his vitals checked and all the poking and prodding that’s involved with coming into the world.

And that’s it.  By this time on that day, we had not yet met N. in person, not yet held our son, talked to his family about his history and their wishes, met with tiresome attorneys…given first baths, baptized, heard first words, watched first steps, taught first words, taken to daycare, rocked to sleep a thousand times, fed solid foods, giggled, cried, pulled in a wagon, pushed on a swing, climbed on a slicky slide, gone to the ocean, taken to the zoo, played in the snow, and on and on and on…and all of the other miracles that came along the way till now.  How could we have possibly known the joy we’d feel?

Woob, I love you with all my heart and still can’t believe you are with us.  I pray every day that I succeed in doing right by you, in giving you what you need to grow up healthy and happy and strong.  May the sun shine on you today.  You’re THREE! (That means you get to go roller skating! 😉  )

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Good Stuff

Despite the general gloominess of my blog lately, things here are pretty darn good.  Despite the fact that hubby is in bed looking simply puny with a temp of 101.5, and my kid is coughing like there’s no tomorrow, I’m doing really well.  I had an extra day off work today and got a few things done around the house.  I was able to buy a few Christmas presents (finally), and I was able to meet sme deadlines prior to leaving work for Thanksgiving.  We’re planning a visit for this weekend to N.’s (hoping hubby starts feeling better by then).

My boy is growing strong and smart and knows important facts and states them way out loud to whoever will listen, “Pee comes out my PEEEnis.  Poop comes out my BUTT!”  Basic biology…check.  He has a wicked sense of humor and can recite old time Bugs Bunny cartoons in proper voice.  He sings funny songs like “old MacDonald had a shark” and loves all things football, baseball, soccer, and golf.  And air hockey.  And cars.  And, and, and.  Christmas is going to be soooooo fun this year.  He looks through the toy catalogs on Sundays and goes over it a million times, “What’s THAT?  I want THAT!  What’s THAT?”  He told Santa he wanted power tools 😉  He knows that someday he will play for the Pittsburgh Steelers, and will tell anyone who asks that “Kentucky is YUCKY!”  He’ll say the same about Dallas Cowboys.  He’ll also let you know (as his grandmother told him,) that his Daddy brainwashed him. 

There are a hundred times a day that are just plain hard.  Potty training has gone three steps forward and 90 steps back.  I lose my temper sometimes and of course, my patience.  But then I am remeinded that my buddy likes hot chocolate, and wants nothing more than to go outside and play even though its 32 degrees, and raining, and that Buzz Lightyear boots make the world go round, and my heart melts.

I don’t know why I deserve the blessing of him in my life every day, but am so thankful that I have it. 

Happy Belated Thanksgiving.

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