The day that our social worker called us and told us that Mea would be coming home to us, I dropped by Mack’s old sitter Lois’ house to see if she would take Mea in her daycare once she was home.
At that time, Lois had quit taking babies. Two to three years old was the youngest she would take them.
She said she couldn’t promise anything but she would try it. She was concerned, she kind of didn’t think it would work with a “little” baby and the rest of her big kids. She said that if it didn’t work out she would let me know, and give me time to find someone else to watch her.
After the first week, they were two peas in a pod. Lois loved Mea, and Mea loved Lolo. It was an instant bond. Unfortunately, I didn’t have much time saved up to take when she came home, and my Aunt was sick, so I had lots of “being away for work” guilt, so Mea started with Lois the second week she was home.
Lolo and her husband have been like a second set of grandparents to both of my kids. First Mack, and now Mea, they are forever bonded to this couple.
On November 20, Lois pulled me aside and said that she needed the week of Thanksgiving off. She told me that her husband had cancer, but they didn’t know where or how bad yet. The week of Thanksgiving was when they were doing the majority of the testing. The evening before Thanksgiving, I had a call from one of the other mother’s to tell me that Lois was done. Her husband was pretty bad, and she couldn’t do daycare anymore starting immediately.
I was a little hurt that she didn’t call me herself. (This is a post for a different day. We have visited and called since and it is yet another heartbreaking story to go down for 2013.)
In addition to her being Mea’s babysitter, she is my friend. I have cried all over her and her husband so many times over the years it is ridiculous. I gave them a little space, knowing just how much they were going through at that time, I just left them be for a few days.
Then the search was on.
No one can replace a Lolo, but I was determined to try.
Mea was adamant from the beginning that she did not want to go to Metrokids, the school’s before and after care program. I didn’t know why at the time she didn’t want to go, but she was so upset whenever I even mentioned it, I was going to try hard to find somewhere else.
I called all the centers all around us, and none of them had an opening for Mea’s school. It is a big school. One of the largest elementary schools in our city. Not one of them had room on their bus for before and after, or after school only.
I posted a few things on Facebook, looking for opinions or suggestions of friends.
I looked online.
We found a website for state approved daycare providers within our area, and called a few that were close. I set up appointments to go over to these homes, and interview the babysitters.
At the first house, it was clean. The girl seemed nice enough, a little young, but nice. Then she told me that she forgot that her own child had early out from school that day. She goes to a private Catholic school, that only does early outs every now and then instead of every week like Mea’s school.
But, you guys, she FORGOT HER OWN CHILD!!!!
While we were there someone from her child’s school brought her daughter home and another daycare child!
As I am talking to her she tells me that she picks up from another school that gets out at the same time as Mea, but what she will do is pick up from the other school first, and Mea could cross the street with the crossing guard and wait on a street opposite from the school until she gets there. It should only take her ten minutes.
ONLY TEN MINUTES????!!! My kid is not standing in the cold, on a street corner, away from her school while she waits for you to get there.
The next house. This house was across the street from the school. It looked okay from the street.
It looked less okay up close and personal.
It was awful. Mea goes tearing off playing with the kids. The babysitter asks me if I want to see the rest of the house, I agreed only because I don’t know if I knew what to say. It was filthy. If you knew someone was going to be coming to your house, wouldn’t you run the vacuum? Wipe down the counters in your kitchen?
But then again, from the looks of things, this probably was “clean” to them. She asked me if I wanted to sit down in the living room and I declined because the couch was so filthy I was afraid to sit on it. There were no legs on the couch or love seat. There were visible stains on both couches, that were almost “crunchy” looking.
Of course, Mea saw nothing wrong with this place. At all. She was so mad when I said that she was absolutely not going to go to either of these places. After the last one, I quit calling any in-home daycare providers.
We basically had no choice. It had been two weeks, I needed someplace for her to go. I told her that she had to go to Metrokids at the school, and if she hated it, I would do my best to find somewhere else.
The night before the first day, we had read some of her latest chapter book and were snuggling in bed. She says in her whining tiny little voice that she does not want to go to Metro. I asked her what was bothering her so bad about it.
She said, “Metro is in the cafeteria, and during lunch we have to sit and be quiet and not talk, or they turn the lights out. I don’t want to sit in the dark from after school until you get there Momma.”
Oh, my heart.
“Mea, just because Metro is in the cafeteria doesn’t mean that it is just like when you are in the cafeteria for lunch. At Metro they play games, they play with some toys and do crafts. They play outside when it is nice enough outside, and it’s supposed to be fun.”
She was still terribly nervous. I promised her we would go early and I would stay with her for a little while so that she could meet some friends. The lady who met us at the door was a little gruff, but nice enough, the other ladies inside were sweet and talked to Mea about some things. She saw a friend playing “restaurant” with some other little girls, so I took her over to say hello. They immediately asked her if she wanted to be a “worker or a customer” and brought her into their game. I stood back for a little while and watched.
I walked over to her after a few minutes and asked if it was okay for me to leave. She nodded her head and kissed me goodbye.
When I picked her up after I got off from work, she asked me why I came to get her so early.
Like most parents, I try to limit the amount of TV that Mea watches. I also try to make sure that she is watching TV shows or movies that are, for the most part, age appropriate.
In our perpetual search for appropriate TV that everyone can stand to watch, we often end up watching Nick or Disney. We were huge iCarly fans, so when the show ended last year we were all a little sad, and had to try to find a new show that we would all like to watch again.
Jessie has opened up many conversations about adoption with Mea. Jessie is a show about a nanny from Texas, a wealthy couple in a New York penthouse, and their four children. One biological child, and three adopted children, one domestic, and two international. A little too Pitt/Jolie for my taste, but it is still good to see adoption portrayed in a positive way on TV.
On a recent episode that we watched the youngest daughter wanted to plan a huge Gotcha Day celebration.
We always do something special to celebrate the day Mea came home. (I really don’t care for the “gotcha day” phrase, just seems weird and wrong in my mind, so we have always just said it was the day she came home or her home anniversary, something along those lines.)
Last night I was laying down with her watching a different episode of Jessie, and she asked if we could have a party to celebrate the day she came home. She wanted to invite all of our family, and have a BBQ, with cake.
She asked about the day she came home again, and I told her the story again about how her foster mother June brought her to us, that when she arrived it was just Mack and I home, and that Daddy joined us later after baseball. How she cried a little, and then ate lunch, her favorite, spaghetti. We went outside and played for a bit, and then she took a nap snuggling in my arms.
We usually talk about that first week. How she met her Nana and Papa (in the hospital) when I took her to meet her babysitter, that we had her pictures taken, we celebrated Mack’s fifteenth birthday, all the things that I can remember from those first days home.
There have been times when we have seen adoption portrayed on TV or a movie and it has not been something Mea could relate to. Now we are not rich, we do not live in a penthouse in New York, but the youngest character in the show is about Mea’s age, and black. She seems to see some similarities between herself and Zuri.
I think this is all a good thing. It keeps us talking. It keeps the adoption conversation going. It actually is a cute show.
In the mean time, I am going to try to pull together a family BBQ on the 22nd.
Over the years, there have been various times where my children, all five of them, have told me that they hated me.
Sometimes it hurt to hear these three words more than others, but for the most part, in the end, by my children saying these words to me, it brought us closer together, made us both pause for a minute to think about what was said, and made the “I love you” that came after the “I hate you” that much more meaningful.
”I hate you” doesn’t really mean that they hate you. They hate what you said, what you did, how you punished them, or not getting what they wanted when they wanted it. When they are younger it’s hard to tell the difference between hating the punishment, or reaction between hating the giver of the punishment.
My oldest step-daughter told me that she hated me a lot, the other two step-daughters did say they hated me, but since they didn’t live with us, they got over it quickly. The truth is, maybe my oldest step-daughter did hate me at the time. I wasn’t her first step-mom, I am not and will never be, her mom. I also didn’t put up with her shit. Due to the fact that I didn’t put up with it, her Dad started to get a backbone, and he didn’t put up with as much either. I don’t think she hated me as much as she actually said that she did. In many ways, I think she was looking for some rules, and boundaries that she hadn’t really had before I came along. When she tells me she loves me now, some thirteen years after the first “I hate you” I know that she means it. It is not fluff. She really actually cares about me, and I love her. That is huge.
Quite honestly, Mack did not say “I hate you” all that often. Maybe a handful of times, and when she did say it, she was very young. Maybe four or five years old. Testing it out to see what my reaction would be. She didn’t like the reaction. She felt guilty. I could see it on her face, and she would quickly apologize and we would make up.
My darling Mea. She is in full “I hate you” mode right now. The first time she said it, it cut me like a dull knife to my heart. I am getting much more resilient to it at this point.
Now, I don’t think that she means it anymore than her sisters did when they said it. I know that she loves me. I know that it’s not only okay for her to show, and verbalize her emotions, but that she also needs to do it. I do think that the fact that this is my daughter by adoption who is telling me that she hates me, might make it hurt a little bit more than the others doing the same exact thing.
My answer when the girls have been small has always been, “It’s okay for you to hate me, but remember that I will always love you. Now why don’t you go hate me in your room for a while?”
When it was my teenage children doing it, the answer was a little bit different. Usually, “Fine, I don’t like you very much right now either.” Typically followed by also sending them to their room, taking away a cell phone, taking car keys, or whatever other technology was their current favorite at the moment.
I am hoping that sometime very soon, we will get past this “I hate you” phase that I am in right now with Mea. It seems like the quickest and easiest thing for Mea to say when she is in trouble, or doesn’t like what I have to say. As much as you try not to react to it, it can be hard.
I know that part of this has to do with the change in her routine. She likes going to daycare. We are spending a lot of time together. She is quite honestly, sick of me. I have heard, “Why don’t you just go get a job?” several times in the last week. If only it were that easy.
If I had a way to figure daycare every day into our budget, I would just let her go to keep the peace, but one day a week is about as much I can do right now.
I am tired of her spending time hating me in her room.
Maybe it will be Daddy’s turn soon.
I have been having a few second thoughts lately about my anonymity online lately.
There have been reasons why I have kept my blog private from my family and most of my friends. One of the main reasons being that I don’t think I can write with the complete brutal honesty that I write with if I have to censor myself to spare the feelings of others.
I realize that I could just not write those posts anymore, but if I am honest with myself, my blog, more than anything, has become my own personal therapy project. Getting whatever feelings out, usually makes me think with more rationality, and/or comments from my dear readers can help in more ways than I can help myself.
My issue is this, since my email project, my Mom has asked me several times about my friends from all over the globe. I have told her that I am part of an online adoption group. Which in some ways, I am, many of you are as well, but it still feels like a big fat lie. Some of you are not tied to adoption at all.
When it comes to my Mom I have never been a very good liar.
Probably because I end up consumed with guilt, like I am now.
I feel like I could tell her that I blog, and this is where all of you came from without having to share my blog, same thing goes with the twitter too.
She avidly journals, and those thoughts have always been her thoughts, not to be shared. When we were kids, we would be schooled if we were caught reading one of her journals. Much like getting into Mom’s purse, it was something that was just not allowed. A private place/thing, not for anyone else’s eyes.
I thought I could go back and making posts private that I don’t want her to read, and share my blog, but that doesn’t feel right either.
I think I am over-thinking this.
Maybe she wouldn’t get her feelings hurt if she read some of the posts from the past when I vented about her, my sister, my husband, my cousins, and any other various relatives. She is human, and in some ways I think she would get it more than others would. I know that at some point she has written in her journal about my Nana, my Aunt, my Dad, my sister and I, in a less than savory view-point.
When you are writing for yourself, you are honest. You write from your gut, and usually tell it like it is. In some ways I think she would learn more about me, my husband and her grandchildren than she could in any other way, just from my sending her the URL, and letting her have at it.
I know that she would be pleased to know that I am writing. I know that she would be very happy to know that I have such an amazing group of friends who are here for me, and who have been there for her now as well.
So what do you think?
Do I just vaguely tell her about blogging, so I am not lying?
Do I tell her that there are currently 681 posts and over sixteen hundred comments?
Do I tell her about Monkey Soup?
My friend M at Eighteenyear’s Blog, recently wrote about her husband trying to find a dead rat in their attic. They have been preparing for a home visit from their social worker, in the final stages of getting licensed for foster care licensing. They didn’t find the rat, but they did get rid of the smell.
After reading her post, I was recalling a few dead animal stories.
Yes, a few.
When Mack and I lived in our little white house we would occasionally have a little brown house guest. I was always bothered by them, but honestly, before I could get a mouse trap set, or call my landlord, our cats would usually have their fun with the mousie and there would be no point in calling.
I think it only happened twice in the three years we lived there.
One of the times we had a visitor, Nala and Meg, our cats, played with this poor thing to death. I tried to catch it myself to get it out of its misery. I couldn’t catch it. Nala and Meg, did catch it. They would catch it, bat it around for a while, carry it around, then let it go and let it run.
Mack was gone for the night with my parents, I was alone with these two nocturnal beasts chasing the poor mouse around our tiny little house. I finally fell asleep, even through the chasing, and cat and mouse games happening all over the house.
When I woke up the next morning, my darling cats, had placed their dead prize on my chest. What a way to wake up.
After my husband and I moved in together, with Mack and my oldest step-daughter, we rented a house in a historical area of town. Beautiful home. I wish we still lived there. Kind of bent out of shape about it actually. We were looking to buy a house, told our landlord, my husband’s friend, and after we moved he ended up selling the house. It didn’t dawn on him to sell it until after we had moved.
So this was an older home, two-story, with an attic. We primarily used the basement for storage, and the attic wasn’t finished, but every now and then we would put something on the stairs, that needed to be found upstairs. The door was rarely opened.
Once my youngest step-daughter came over to babysit Mack and to spend the weekend with us, Mack was 8 and E was 14. The evening that she babysat, she and Mack explored the attic. Until they found a dead bird. Then they freaked out, and wouldn’t go upstairs for the rest of the night until we got home.
Then we had a bat.
My husband chased the bat around with a tennis racket, and a bucket, for hours.
He had made contact a few times, but never actually got it.
Then he couldn’t find it again.
We assumed that it had gotten out and we hadn’t noticed. While he had been chasing the bat around we had opened the windows and the doors, hoping that it would just fly out.
A few weeks passed. We didn’t think anything of the bat, but then there was a smell. Something was dead. It wasn’t horrendous, but we also couldn’t figure out where the smell was coming from.
We looked all over.
We moved all of the furniture.
I took all of my books off of the built ins.
Checked all my plants.
Looked inside of the piano. (If you haven’t read the piano player story, go read it when you are done, it is kind of hilarious.)
Anywhere we could think of.
I kept candles lit at all times we were home. Finally, the smell just went away.
When we moved, I found the bat wedged in the side of a basket that had magazines in it. We had looked in the basket, but it has somehow gotten itself stuck in the side of the weave of the basket, and just blended in so we didn’t see it.
I threw the basket away.
Brandee, from Brandeewine, who is one of my new favorite people, has tagged me in a blog hop. Brandee and I have gotten to know each other via Twitter, and she is full of awesome.
The rules are pretty normal blog hoppity rules, answer five questions, then tag three people. So read on to see if you are the next victim.
1) Tell me about your writing process. Do you plan out what you’re writing or sit down and do it? What was the greatest surprise about this writing process for you?
I typically sit down and just start writing. There are times when I have had a thought rolling around in my head for a few days, and then when I sit and start to type, it will form into a coherent blog post. It still amazes me at times how these thoughts come out of my head and will turn into actual writing. Words strung together with correct spelling and punctuation, and feelings.
My Mom has always been a our record keeper, she has a “book” for each year, for decades worth of years, every major milestone in our family has been documented, every baby, every marriage, every sickness. I thought that this journaling thing had skipped a generation, but it turns out that it hasn’t. I am glad to be the one carrying on this torch.
2) What was your worst job? (It doesn’t have to be about writing.) Why? What did you learn from it?
For a very brief time, well for me anyway, I managed the jewelry counter at a certain, very large, warehouse store. I had left my chain jewelry store job as an associate after being passed up for a management position. I was twenty-one, had a three-year-old, and made a hot-headed decision to take this job.
It was more money, but I should have known better.
When I went to the job interview in a suit, and the district manager was wearing jeans and a sweatshirt, I should have known. When I showed up for my first day of work in a suit, and the district manager was wearing the same exact jeans and sweat shirt, I should have run as fast and as furiously as I possible could while wearing three-inch heels on cement in a warehouse.
But I didn’t. I eventually walked out. The only job I ever walked out on.
I learned to trust my gut. If something doesn’t seem quite right, it’s most likely not going to be.
3) If you knew that tonight would be your last meal for a week, what would you eat?
I could tell you all kinds of different answers but the truth would be I would probably eat pizza. I could eat it for every meal. If it needed to last me for an entire week, I would probably either order from someplace really good or make my own, but I would still eat pizza.
4) How do you feel about frogs?
I know that frogs and toads are not the same, but when I think of frogs, it makes me think of toads. My grandmother (the drunken one) called my sister Toad. I don’t really know why, but I remember being jealous because she had a pet name, and I did not. She also had a big ceramic toad that just sat on the floor in her living room. It was weird. My sister and I played with it. Which is also weird.
5) Where is your favorite place to chill out and why?
I have this corner of the sofa that is mine. If you are sitting in it I will ask you to move. Even if you are a guest. I am friendly like that. I will occasionally allow my husband to sit there if we are watching a movie and I want to lay down on the couch, but for the most part, everyone knows not to sit in that spot, as it is mine. I cannot begin to tell you how much this pisses Mea off. She wants her own spot, too. I told her that when she can afford to buy her own sofa, that she can have her own spot.
Until then, she can sit somewhere else.
So, that’s it. Five questions. Five answers. Three victims.
Charlotte, from Living the Highland Life, is my friend via blogging from Scotland. She is a lovely lady, with two beautiful girls, and a wonderful friend.
Polly, from Polly’s Blog, adoptive Momma, and soon to be bio-Momma!
Lisa, from Three Cat’s and a Baby, adoptive Momma to Jayden, amazing crafter extraordinaire!
In an attempt to get to know one another better, OAB (Open Adoption Bloggers) is having another blog hop.
This time the question is: What is your Favorite Quotation?
I have many. They change on a regular basis depending on what is going on in my life, but here are a few that have been in my head recently, in no particular order.
“The first thing I do in the morning is brush my teeth, and sharpen my tongue.” ~ Dorothy Parker
“There will invariably be people who do not accept you. And in that case you must be your own badass self, without apology.” ~ Katie Goodman (This quote stolen from Jen.)
“Live your life so fully that the Westboro Baptist Church will picket your funeral.” (I have no idea who the author of this quote is.)
“Let us endeavor so to live that when we come to die even the undertaker will be sorry.” ~ Mark Twain
(The last two are courtesy of Elissa, most badass nurse extraordinaire.)
“Be yourself, everyone else is already taken.” ~ Oscar Wilde
“A room without books is like a body without a soul.” ~ Marcus Tullius Cicero
“Darkness cannot drive out darkness: only light can do that. Hate cannot drive out hate: only love can do that.” ~ Martin Luther King, Jr.
“If your kid needs a role model and you ain’t it, you’re both fucked.” ~ George Carlin
As I could go on and on with more and more quotes right now, I will leave you with this one last Dorothy Parker quote, it is one of my new favorites. Sometimes you have to find the “fancy” in a terrible situation.
“This wasn’t just plain terrible, this was fancy terrible. This was terrible with raisins in it.” ~ Dorothy Parker