Thursday, December 20, 2012

the kiss.

i believe it was in august of 2011, i had a little boy i watched overnight.  he was around 11 months old.  and he gave these beautiful, wonderful, open mouthed, slobbery kisses.  he got me once, and my heart started to tremble inside me.  i didn't even know i missed slobbery kisses, but apparently, i did.  and i also all of a sudden wanted to be the mama of two kiddos instead of one.  jason wasn't there yet so i just hung back.  in early november we were at a birthday party for one of abigail's friends.  there was a very tiny little there (about a week old) who snuggled up on jason and fell asleep.  on the walk home that day he said, 'okay let's do it.'
that was around september 11.  we started the homestudy process, getting fingerprinted, so on and so forth. almost two months later we met our little.  it was the craziest whirlwind experience ever.  we didn't have a bed set up for her.  we didn't have clothes pulled out or washed.  we just didn't think that two weeks from our homestudy being finalized we would be meeting our daughter.  but, i love thinking back to that day in august with a little boy giving me kisses, and knowing that this one moment in time led to all of these.

slobbery cheek kisses.

i love this little girl.

best part of being a mama,  ever.

loving how things have come full circle, and my thirteen month old now greets being picked up with big wet cheek kisses.  i think i might be one of the most lucky mamas alive.

Tuesday, December 18, 2012

those 'normal' kids.

i was at the grocery store the other day, going about my day.  i had my big and little with me.  i was wearing little in a sling, and big was pushing a child size grocery cart (erratically).  and i noticed another mom and two kids.  her oldest was walking along with her, and her youngest looked to be around the same age as our little, and was just sitting in the cart babbling away, and eating a snack.
i kept trying not to stare, but i was having a hard time.  i just immediately felt that twinge of sorrow for her family.  'it must be so hard' i thought, 'to be dealing with two 'normal' children.'  i'm pretty sure 'normal' isn't the politically correct term here, but i can't keep up with normal parents and all their pc request to not call their kids one thing or the other.  and anyway, i don't really mean anything by 'normal.'  it's just a word.  it's not like i would use it to make fun of their kid or anything.
i wondered what her life was like.  how did she have the strength to get out of bed every morning?  i wondered what she had done that caused her to end up with normal kids?  did she take all of her prenatal vitamins?  and go to all her prenatal check-ups?  i mean i know these things just happen sometimes, but usually, there is a reason that kids turn out to be normal, even if nobody wants to talk about it.
it must be so hard for her to have kids who reach milestones, and bypass them without ever having to think about it.  i mean, i imagine she didn't even notice the first day her children were able to hold their heads up well by themselves.  that has to be so hard.  she didn't even know about the amount of muscle strength it takes for a child to hold their head up on their own.
i wondered if she had thought about the future?  did she know that one day her kids were likely going to grow up and move out?  probably get married?  maybe even have kids of their own?  i don't know how families can handle that sort of thing.  what if one of them moves to seattle, the other to new york, and they are stuck in the midwest?  that  has to be hard on not only her, but the sibling relationship.  and if she has any more kids, they will just add to that.  i would imagine that she has to lie in bed at night just thinking about it and worrying.
and those kids.  those poor kids.  how hard it must be for them day in and day out.  they probably don't even understand most of what's going on around them.  they don't realize that there are children who are having surgery, cancer, or spending months on end in hospitals.  they have no idea that some children use walkers and wheel chairs, hearing aids and g-tubes.  i just can't help but feel sorry for them.  will they even know how to be compassionate if all they ever experience is normal?  i don't even feel like their parents could explain it to them because they just can't understand anything that big.
and so, i smiled a knowing smile at her.  one filled with pity for her plot in life.  she got pregnant, and had two normal babies, who met normal milestones, eat normal food, and live normal lives.  i just can't imagine what her life must be like day in and day out.  but, i do resist actually telling her how sorry i am for her.

this post is satire.  if you are not sure what satire is, please go here, and then come back and re-read.  if you understand it, but get through this post, and feel angry, well, chalk it up to me being the mom of two kiddos with special needs, that were adopted, and this being my outlet for my life.
however, i have wanted, for quite some time, to flip the scenario a little bit for people.  i can't tell you the number of pity smiles i get.  it makes me want to leap up and announce, 'we're fine.  we're all fine here.  we love our lives.  we love our children.  they are happy.  they aren't burdens.  they aren't suffering.'  instead i look away to avoid the smile.  feel free to share this, respond to it, or write kind and loving constructive criticism. (i have a sensitive heart).

Friday, December 14, 2012

mama heart.

in less than a year, i will be starting kindergarteny, schooly stuff with my big.  she is smart and funny.  charming and beautiful.  she loves ballet and super heroes.  she can't wait for Christmas.  she is a pretty typical and amazing four year old.
in nine days, 20 families will be celebrating Christmas without their little's.  most of them were in kindergarten. their parents fed them breakfast, put on their backpacks, and like any other typical day, sent them off to kindergarten.
i have seen numerous tragedies like this unfold.  i was in high school when columbine happened.  i vividly remember having nightmares of gunmen in our school.  i was a sophomore in college when 9-11 happened.  i stood in the dorm, staring at the same television that everyone else was.  i couldn't wrap my head around what was happening.  i didn't know whether i should be afraid of more attacks.  all my classes were cancelled, as were most of the other people's around me.  we just sat.  and watched.  and prayed. and i remember the virginia tech shootings.
this, though. this plays into the fears and pains that parents feel for their children.  the desire to protect them from the ugly, the horrible, and the yucky in the world.  the hope to keep them innocent for as long as we can.  and the belief that when we entrust them, even for a few hours, to someone else, they will come back to us the same.
there are hundreds of families tonight trying to help their small elementary aged children make light of a man coming into their school and shooting people.  there are hundreds of children, too afraid to fall asleep.  and their are twenty mama's and papa's who's little didn't come home today.
i don't know any of these children.  this tragedy is multiple states away.  but, the thing is, i can't shake the feeling that i live with what their children were like.  i live with the never-ending, not that funny knock knock jokes.  i hear countless poop jokes everyday.  i watch a little mind unfold as it learns new things.  i live with sibling rivalry, and excited to be a year older.  i watch best friends developing, and look forward to slumber parties.
and tonight, i pray.  i don't know what else we can do.  i pray for the families of the children.  i pray for the families of the adults.  and i pray for the family of the gunman.  all of these people are hurting tonight.  and i pray that the Lord would come quickly.  so that we could live in that place where there will be no more sorrow, no more pain, and every tear will be wiped from our eyes.

Thursday, December 13, 2012

something normal.

there's this thing about kids.  they are amazingly accepting if given the information and ability to be.  they are curious of things that are different, but explain it, show them, and make it seem 'normal' and they think it is too.
this is what we have found with shilo's g-tube and our transition to a blenderized diet.  abigail always wants to know what shilo is eating, what medicine she is taking, and what it is for (she also wants to be a doctor when she grows up).  and i answer those questions every time we feed shilo.
abigail also has a baby doll that had g-tube surgery a while back (i'm actually a pretty great surgeon.  had we known ahead of time, i could have saved us some time and money and just used scissors and a knife to put shilo's tube in.)  she has a very similar tube to shilo's, and abigail has a connector tube as well as a couple of syringes to feed her baby.  pretty much every day this is what happens.
abigail using her blender.

'what are you making?' 'milk, coconut oil, and mustard.' (i've never fed that combination to shilo, just for the record.)

it's going to be loud mama.

are you ready?

ornery face for good measure.

it's done.

pouring it in a bottle.

sucking it up in the syringe.

getting the air out.

a little more.

almost there...

feeding baby.

clamping the tube shut.

is your belly full baby?

taking the extension tube out.

closing the g-tube.

see.  something completely normal.  baby is fed.  dishes need done.  and then baby gets layed down for a nap.  our lives are not nearly as exciting as they look to the curious onlookers we notice.

Tuesday, December 11, 2012

'it's been a long december...

and there's reason to believe,
maybe this year will be better than the last
i can't remember all the times i tried to tell myself
to hold on to these moments as they pass.

the smell of hospitals in winter.
and the feeling that it's all a lot of oysters, and no pearl.
all at once you look across a crowded room
to see the way the light attaches to a girl.'

-counting crows.

we had an outpatient appointment the other day for shilo.  we walked into the massive (and new) foyer at the children's hospital, and there was a cheery group of high schoolers playing an assortment of christmas songs on instruments.  we stopped for a few minutes and listened before we had to rush on to our appointment.
yesterday i went grocery shopping.  the stores are a mass of crazy this time of year.  so many people shopping.
the first store i went to was just groceries (aldi for those familiar) and definitely more busy than i usually see it.  as i got up to the check out, there was one lane open, four people in line, and quickly four more people filed in line behind me.  the last person obviously has something very important to get to, because she stood there yelling, 'can you open another register?  can't someone come check more people out?'  and on and on. the two people directly behind me were complaining about the ridiculousness of one register being opened.
i stood there cringing.  it's not that i don't have days where i'm impatient.  it was just that as i stood there listening to those people, i thought about the families who still sit at the hospital, long past the carolers being gone.  the kids who will spend their holiday there, celebrating in a hospital room.  i thought about the many families i know who lost children this year.  i thought about how christmas will feel for them.  and in (a likely somewhat cliche) another moment, i thought about people who would love to be standing in a line knowing that they will have enough food in their cart to feed their family.
i think, not just during christmas, but year around, we truly forget about the suffering that is happening all around us.  we spend thanksgiving talking about how thankful we are, and the rest of the year wanting, complaining, and forgetting the rest of the world around us.
so as you celebrate holidays with your family, not just christmas, but things like fourth of july, mother's day, and any day you celebrate, that there are millions of families doing it in a children's hospital with a sick kid.  as you wait in line at the grocery store, with a cart full of enough food to feed your family, remember that there are families around the world who are eating dirt mixed with hay in order to put something in their bellies.

i am increibly grateful, and believing, that this year will be better than the last.

our hospital stay last december with my 4lb 4oz one month old.

and it is not lost on me that there are families that are experiencing a lot of oysters with no pearl.  so in reality, if the worse thing that happens to you today is you have to wait for ten minutes at a check out at the grocery, your day is great.  and while you are waiting in line, say a prayer for those families who have much worse things going on.

Tuesday, December 4, 2012

just. like. mama.

every day abigail does something that is me.  sometimes i cringe as i realize that she has picked up on the ugly parts of my heart.  sometimes i beam as she radiates those moments i have where i am kind and patient. these pictures were taken at a local luminary walk we did on saturday night.  this was a beaming moment (i doubt that i would willingly post my ugly sides for all to see).

i love those two girls.