Sunday, April 27, 2014

I'm Here

Seeing you just lying there
Afraid, adrift, alone
I long to sit beside you
& hold you till it's gone

Stroke your face
Embrace your heart
Rock you off to sleep
Safe from all your demons
And always mine to keep

Draw strength from me
Take all I have
Assured that I have more
I'll be your guiding lighthouse
To bring you safe to shore

I'll take your fears and worries
Don't fret, my arms are strong
Try not to be so scared now
I've been here all along.

(written by Donna Roucoulet, 4/26/14)

Thursday, April 24, 2014

Dreaming of the Future


 Maybe it's the blooming of Spring, but something has me feeling restless these days.  I don't know quite how to explain it.  Sometimes I feel like I just want to jump out of my skin, other times I want to run away, and still other times it's just an unfocused energy.  It's almost like when my kids have "ants in their pants" and can't sit still - that's what I feel like.  Whatever is causing it, I wish it would stop.  It's not the most comfortable of feelings at all.

     Do you ever have days where you are constantly thinking backwards?  Thinking of people or events in your past that you miss in some way?  I do, far too often.  They come to me in my dreams too.  I can't control that at all, but it does make me wonder why.  I can go months or years without thinking of something, or someone, and all of a sudden, they are in my dreams at night.  That happened recently, and this time it wasn't as unnerving as usual.  I had a dream, and someone appeared in it - completely out of any context we ever were associated together in (I was dreaming we were in a school class together, and we didn't know each other in school at all.)  Thanks to the wonders of the internet & Facebook, we are still friends & occasionally "talk" online.  My curiosity was peaked as to why I dreamt of them, so I thought I'd check in.  I just sent a quick little note, like "hey, how are you, thinking of you".  What happened afterwards was great, and I'm still thinking about it days later.

     My friend has ups and downs, just like anyone else.  I happened to have messaged during a down day, and we ended up chatting for a good long while.  Nothing extraordinary, nothing profound really - just chatting, remembering.  We did come to the realization that we've been friends for close to THIRTY years (don't do the math, I keep trying to forget that part, LOL.)  And remember, we didn't go to school together at all, so to me, it's been a long time, in our adult lives, that we've known each other.  And yes, I still remember details like birthdays, middle names, addresses (though I'm sure THAT is not the same) - which goes to show you that either I am a little strange (or a lot strange), or this person has always been important to me.  I don't think they knew that until we had our chat the other day, but I do hope they remember it now.  No matter what is going on in our individual lives, or how far apart we may be, I think of my friend.  Often.  I remember many things we did together as foolish 18-19 year olds.  I still have pictures in my albums of us together too.
     I was also reminded of how this friend encouraged me - in my writing, in my life.  Told me things I needed to hear, even if I didn't like them, or didn't really listen to them at the time.  Maybe I should have listened more.  I may have helped them with a rough day, but it helped me too.  It brought back memories of when I had more ambition, when I wanted to do more with myself.  I may not have done it then, but it's never too late.  It may have not been the easiest route to where I am, but I wouldn't change the journey at all.  If one small thing had changed, so many bigger things might have.  I may not have had the awesome children I have.  Who knows what would have been different?  So, I'm glad I went the path that I did.  I hope my friend is too.  But I am very glad we reconnected, even if it was only in that one moment.  I like to think we plan on staying in closer contact, but that remains to be seen.  

     One thing I do know, is that I don't want to "waste" more time in my life.  I haven't had any real ambition for a very long time.  I do my mom thing, and I love that.  I LOVE that I am ABLE to do that.  But I also feel somewhat unaccomplished in so many ways.  I am almost 46 years old, and what can I say about myself?  I'm a wife of almost 20 years.  I've been a mom for 25 years, of four fabulous kids (some not so "kiddish" any more.)  I write here - but not often enough. I run my own small business with The Gourmet Cupboard.   Is that enough?  Should I do more?  And if so, what?  I think it's time to find out what I want to do when I grow up.  I think it's horrible that I still don't know.  And I don't know how, or where, to start.  So, if you're reading this, I'm taking suggestions on where to begin to finally find out what I want to do.  How did you decide that you wanted to do what you are doing?  Did you just fall into it, like I did?  Or did you have a goal, like my daughter who is in college studying psychology?  Am I just having a mid-life crisis, and if so, how do you survive one?  Or should I just run off and join the circus?  I'm open to suggestions, really.

Tuesday, March 18, 2014

Celebrate Your Artistic Side

     I want to share something.  First, I'm a proud momma, of all of my kids of course, but last night, my 10 year old was one of 2 kids in his school who were recognized for their "excellence" in the arts.  If you knew my Spency, you'd know he loves art - drawing, pottery, etc.  You can't go wrong giving him any kind of art supplies, ever.  He also plays clarinet in the school band, and is singing in the 5th grade chorus (but admittedly, that is not his choice, he "had to", LOL)   Both his band/music teacher, and his art teacher nominated him, and the other child, so it was unanimous.

     I'll be the first to tell you that I don't have a creative bone in my body.  I can't read music or play any instrument.  I love to sing, but I will admit that no one wants to hear that. (It's not a pretty sound.)  I can't draw to save my life.  Let me trace it, and it might come out okay.  But, listening to the key speaker last night, I realized that I do have an artistic side, somewhere.  He thanked us all for nurturing the artistic sides of our children, and believe me, I am all for that.  I will do whatever I can to make sure they can do the things they love, and the things they excel at.  He then explained that he's heard a million times from parents who say they aren't creative or artistic at all (I was thinking it about myself while he was saying it.)  He said we just had never had the chance to explore it, and develop it.  And that is probably right.

     I was in chorus in school, and loved it, but due to circumstances, wasn't able to continue with it.  I also took dance lessons for quite a few years, but similar circumstances put an end to those as well.  I still wish I had been able to continue with those, for many reasons, but it was not to be.  I think I ended up turning into one of those "helicopter" moms for a bit (maybe I still am to some degree.)  I wanted my kids to do everything.  They didn't.  I wasn't as bad as some, but you'd have to talk to the older kids to really know if I drove them crazy with activities or not.  I'm trying to be a little more relaxed with the younger ones.  It also "helps" that our finances don't allow for quite as much as the older kids had.

     In any case, I definitely encourage my children to do what they love (within reason, of course.)  My son had the toughest time just recently, because in 6th grade next year, he could only choose one elective class.  So, he had to decide between band or art.  He was almost panicking at the choice because he likes them both (and I think part of it was that he didn't want to let us down at all either.)  We assured him that we wouldn't be upset with his choice, and that we understood just how much he loved art, so that is what he picked.  He found out last night that it's only one year that he has to choose between them, and he can still do jazz band in the meantime, so he's very relieved with that idea.

     Last night was about him, but it also let me realize that I DO have an artistic side in me somewhere.  I just need to locate it, and do what I encourage my kids to do - let it out, enjoy it, have fun with it.  Now to just find where I tucked it away...

Monday, January 20, 2014

"Gotcha Day" is coming!

"Gotcha Day" is coming up at our house this weekend.  For those of you who don't know what "Gotcha Day" is, it can vary for different families.  It's a term used to celebrate a child's adoption date, or day they joined the family, or day they arrived at home.  In our house, the date signifies the date we signed those final papers, making our son "officially" our son.  In my heart and mind, he had already been my son for over 15 months, from before he was even born.  But that date was the day I breathed a little easier, knowing he was actually "mine" in the eyes of the law.

Now, S has known, since he could understand, that he's adopted.  He knows his birth family very well, since his "birth mother" is my sister-in-law.  He knows how he grew "in her belly", and all the details a ten year old boy can know.  He sees his birth father's family several times a year - we all get together after Christmas, and for their family weddings/birthdays, and picnics in the summer.  He also gets very excited to celebrate his "Gotcha Day" with us.  (I have been ordered to get cookies or some treat for his class.)

I understand some people don't care for that term, "Gotcha Day".  To be honest, I didn't either, until it happened.  Now, I can't imagine NOT using it.  It's not only the day that I gained another son, it's the day that he "got" our whole family.  It's the day we all "got" a larger, more complicated family, but one we can't imagine being without now.

It's been NINE whole years since we signed those papers.  S had been home with us for just over a year, he was actually 15 months old on the day we signed them.  I was holding his younger sister, M, in my arms, as she had miraculously been conceived and born in the time we waited to make it all official.  He was sitting on my husband's lap, happily giggling and smiling that little smile of his.  He'd just learned to walk within the previous month - on the day that M was born.  I had been terrified that that day would never happen.

He was born 11 weeks early, at only 2 pounds, 7 ounces.  Tiny, blue, and scary yet beautiful.  I cried that day, so scared he wouldn't make it. Scared he'd never come home to us.  I visited him every day of his full 2 month stay at the NICU.  Watched him grow stronger, bigger, learning how to eat.  I panicked when I'd think someone from his birth family might decide they'd adopt him instead of us (it took me a long time to get over that idea, even after the papers were signed.)  I was the one to pick him up and bring him home on his day of release from the hospital, though in their eyes, I was nothing but his aunt then.  I spent his TWO first Christmases, home alone with him, quarantined so he wouldn't get RSV or pneumonia, while the rest of the family visited relatives for the holidays.  So "Gotcha Day" is a very important day to me.

It was the day I stopped holding my breath so tightly.  The day I could actually say he was MY SON.  I will bring cookies or cupcakes every year until he tells me he doesn't want them.  I will make him a special meal, celebrate with him, look at pictures, however he wants to do it.  I will also celebrate in my heart - that I got my second set of children - one through adoption & one through birth, after I had accepted that I'd never have more after J & K.  I will celebrate it forever, whether anyone notices it or not.  It's as important a date to me, as the day of every one of their births. So, if anyone ever gets confused when I say HAPPY GOTCHA DAY on January 25th, I'll be happy to explain it to them if they want to hear it all, but I will never stop saying it.