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.
Today, my Mom took me to buy a new outfit to wear on my first day of work at my new job next week.
Small things like this, are things that she has always done for all of us. New job, promotion, transfer, some sweet gift, surprise, or other kind of gesture.
She offered to buy me a new suit to wear to interviews when I lost my job. My first interview happened before we had a chance to go shopping. I told her I would take a rain check, and get something new later.
Today was the day.
Gone are the power shopping trips. Epic laps around the mall finding just the right thing.
Today, we parked in the closest handicap spot.
We got a stroller/cart at Kohl’s so she could have something to hold onto to keep her steady. It reminded me of my Nana, who had to get a cart if we were running into the store for a carton of milk.
I try not to think of her being sick. I don’t want her to be.
It is what it is, and some days it just hits you.
On days like today, my smallest daughter spending the afternoon and evening with her Nana and Papa, it hit me as I hung my new pants in the closet that there may not be all that many more days like today.
Even as she fights through this disease, it has a strong hold on our family. As much as she doesn’t want it to control her, and her life, it feels like it is slowly taking over.
Last night Mack and her boyfriend came over for dinner, and somehow we got on to the subject of our neighbor who passed away last year. Mea asks, “What made Judy die?”
I know that it wasn’t the right thing to do, but at that moment, I had to leave the room. Every part of me wanted to scream and cry.
Judy died of lung cancer too.
I could overhear Mack just say simply, “Judy was sick.”
Mea accepted that answer, and went on showing off for her sister.
Sometime soon, she is not going to accept that as an answer.
I don’t expect her to, and I know that here soon, I most likely need to actually talk to her about her Nana. I am still at a loss for words when it comes to this. Sometimes I cannot even process my own emotions, much less those of a seven-year-old.
So where days like today are a reminder of what has always been, it was also a reminder of what is to come. Tonight, I cry a little. Mourn what was, and how things should be, and am grateful for the moments that we still have together.
I feel like I have been missing in action from my online world. Without having a computer in my face for nine to ten hours a day, it has been easy to stray away from blogging, blog reading, and such. Things have calmed down some, so I am hoping to get a bit more focused in my blogging. (Stealing #hashtags from Jen.)
- I still am actively looking for a job.
- I have had a few promising interviews, and am in a bit of a waiting mode.
- Trying not to stress out about it.
- Each time my phone pings with a notification from my “professional” email account, my heart lurches a little bit.
- I am also trying to do some fun things with Mea while I can. We have been to the zoo, the amusement park, and are going swimming this week.
- My Mom had her last “big” chemo treatment last week.
- The symptoms hit her sooner this time, but they seemed to pass a bit quicker.
- Father’s Day dinner was a bit awkward, with C trying to act like everything was normal.
- I was cordial, but really that was it.
- At one point she was in the house, and the girls were all in the backyard, ages 4 to 10 playing on the swing set. I could hear the oldest granddaughter yelling, and went back to investigate. She was yelling at Mea, stating that Mea “stole” the swing from her sister.
- After asking all of them, this was not the case. Mea just got to the swing first.
- I told her there is 2 swings, and 4 of them and that I expected them to take turns.
- If they weren’t going to take turns they could go sit with everyone else and not play at all.
- She cut me a scathing look, and went and sat down with everyone else.
- This leads me to believe that her mother has been talking about all of the family issues in front of her or to her.
- I just don’t really know what to do about all of this.
- On Saturday, Mea had an outing with her Uncle, my BIL.
- He later posted something on Facebook about how great it was to be able to do things with his niece, and that he is so happy that we trust him with her.
- I am really proud of him in his recovery. He is doing an amazing job.
- Mea was requesting to watch Olde Willis the other day.
- It took me a full day to figure out what the hell she was talking about.
- I felt like a detective, asking a zillion questions about what the movie was about, who was in it, etc.
- I finally discovered that she was talking about Forrest Gump.
- There is no connection.
- Mosquito season is upon us with a vengeance.
- All the rain and flooding around here makes for perfect mosquito weather.
- I have been trying some less chemical filled options for bug repelling, and after bug bite itchiness.
- I hate spraying things filled with Deet on her, but up until recently haven’t really found anything else that keeps her from being bitten.
- I haven’t come to a conclusion yet, but there could be a post coming about what I have discovered after more research, and trial and error.
- My dear Mea has discovered lying.
- I had forgotten that age seven is the year of “liar, liar pants on fire.”
- “Did you spill the water in the kitchen?”
- “It wasn’t there five minutes ago, and now you have a glass of water.”
- “It wasn’t me.”
- Hopefully the lying thing doesn’t last long.
- All kids go through it.
- I finally broke Mea of saying “ain’t” after she picked up that gem from one of her sister’s and her children. (Not naming names, but she doesn’t have an E or M name.)
- It was a long couple of weeks.
- I honestly didn’t think I was going to make it through.
I think this is it for now.
I hope that all of my Momma friends had wonderful Mother’s Days, full of all the things that you like to do.
We had a really nice day.
Mea had a friend sleepover, and we had our youngest grandson overnight as well. They were both picked up by 9:30, and we headed over to my sister’s house for brunch shortly after.
I had printed the letter on nice paper and left it in my parent’s car as we were walking into my sister’s. I didn’t want her to turn into a puddle in front of everyone, and I know I would have been bawling too. My sister and I pooled together and bought my Mom a rosebush, and a gift certificate to a favorite restaurant my parents go to when they go out-of-town. Their 41st anniversary was on Monday, and they are headed out-of-town for a few days this afternoon after my Mom’s chemo treatment. (This is the weekly chemo, not the big one. Less side effects on this small treatment.)
They are excited to get away for a few days.
Mack, Mea and I spent a good portion of the afternoon together, playing, and shopping. It was a really nice day.
I had really nice messages from the big girls as well.
The past few days there has been some major drama going on with my youngest step-daughter and the baby’s father. To break it down simply, he borrowed her car, and messed it up. It is going to be costly to fix, and he is not working. I wish that these girls would learn from each other when dealing with their baby daddy drama, but I suppose it is something that they each have to learn for themselves.
Yesterday, the baby had a doctor’s appointment for his six month check-up. Little chunky man is doing well, despite the fact that he has a major cold going on.
While I was waiting for Mea at gymnastics last night, I sent her a text message asking how is appointment went, and if there was any news on what is going on with her car.
Her Mom has been working on getting the car fixed with some mechanic she and her boyfriend usually use. At some point she was talking to E, and her phone cut out so she couldn’t hear her mother, and her mom got pissed off thinking she wasn’t listening and hung up on her, then wouldn’t take her phone calls.
This makes me completely crazy.
These are our adult children. They are not teenagers, they are not children. Now sometimes they may act like it, but still. Then again, we all know how mature their mother can act.
We texted back and forth for the majority of the hour during Mea’s gymnastics class. She talked to me a bit about the drama going on with her baby’s dad, the issue with his mother (another grandma) doing daycare, and him holding daycare over her head if they get into arguments.
I talked her through it a bit, gave her my opinion, and offered to take the baby anytime she needed me to while I am not working. Due to this latest development with the car and the baby’s dad, daycare was going to be an issue for today. We agreed that I would watch him while she worked today, she had missed two days this week because of the car, and the baby not feeling well, in addition to the fact that he told her that she couldn’t bring the baby for daycare.
While Mea and I were in route back home, and stopping for dinner, E posted this on Facebook…
I’m so blessed to have not only one wonderful mom but two… Love you Kelly, thank you so much for being there for me!!
When I get these messages from the big girls, I cannot begin to tell you how happy it makes me. It was a long time coming. It took a lot of love, patience, and time.
This morning she sent me a text stating that her mom called in sick to work so that she could watch the baby, but that she may have me watch him tomorrow.
It is fine.
But at the same time, it is ignorant. I know that her mom took a paid day off from her job because it was going to be me that was watching him.
I sent her a text back saying that I would be happy to watch him if she needed me to.
My husband called a bit ago to see how the baby was doing. When I told him that I didn’t have him, and what I speculated the reason to be with his ex-wife, he reminded me that these reactions to things are part of the reason that she is an ex-wife.
I get it.
I just don’t really understand it. My husband isn’t jealous of her boyfriend of twenty years. He understands that he has been a big part of their lives. She is their mom. I know this. They are also grown-ups, and should be able to have adult relationships with anyone they want to have a relationship.
Sometimes it feels like she is constantly challenging me to some sort of weird better mother duel.
I am ever so thankful that she is not on Facebook. I have a feeling that the messages that I get from the big girls would either not happen, or the meaning and thought behind the messages would get ruined by this woman.
In the meantime, I will continue my internal dialog to myself, saying, “I am the more mature one, I will not do or say anything to ruin the relationship I have worked so hard for with these girls.”
I think I will silently hate her in my head for the rest of my life.
I have been MIA for a few days. I just haven’t really had much to talk about. I am starting to lose my mind sitting at home all day long every single day. The good news is that it’s starting to get nice outside, so hopefully, I will be able to spend some time in the nice weather.
Let’s get to the thoughts taking up space in my brain.
- I am starting to get on Mea’s nerves.
- She is also starting to get on my nerves.
- Quality time is over.
- I am bored out of my mind.
- I need a job.
- I have another interview set up for next Monday.
- It is promising.
- I just wish that something would/could pan out soon.
- It was my mission to completely wear Mea out after school yesterday.
- I succeeded.
- She played outside for three hours.
- We even did her homework outside.
- When it was time to go in, she made this face at me, and told me that I wasn’t her friend anymore.
- Even when she is “mad” she is super cute.
- So after dinner, I put in Mary Poppins.
- Specifically so that I could prove to Mea how “Supercalifragilisticexpialidocious” is said.
- Every time she goes to say it, she somehow adds “Miss Alabama” into it.
- I have no idea why.
- It ends up something like, ‘Supercalimissalabama, Momma, how do I say that one really long word again?”
- She fell asleep before the song came on.
- Which means we will probably have to watch it again so that I can prove to her how the word is said.
- I don’t mind, because I love Poppins.
- Also, let me tell you how thankful I am that Hollywood hadn’t attempted to remake this movie. There are some movies that just should not be remade.
- Mary Poppins is one of them.
- I probably just jinxed it.
- I have been thinking of a dear friend who underwent major surgery on Friday. Take it easy! Let yourself heal! Don’t do too much!
- I made this super delicious Caramel Apple Crisp Pizza on Sunday. So good.
- Cross between apple pie, and apple crisp.
- It was almost too easy to make.
- Sinfully good.
This is all I have.
I hope you all have a Supercalimissalabamafragilisticexpialidocious Day.
I know that the majority of you are not surprised at all by “kids are weird.” They are strange little creatures.
Yesterday, when I picked Mea up from school, she had a neon orange slinky that she had picked from the teacher’s prize box. Every now and then she will come home with some item from the prize box. I don’t really know what they do to earn a trip to the prize box, but she comes home with some sort of tchotchke every other week or so. She has brought home small balls, tattoos, stickers, little containers of bubbles, sticky things, slimy worms, sometimes a gum ball, or a fruit snack.
When we were on our way home, our conversation went some thing like this…
Momma, what should my slinky’s name be? Mr. Slinky or Mrs. Slinky?
Well, is your slinky a boy or a girl?
Hmmm, I think he’s a boy. So I guess he is Mr. Slinky. Mr. Slinky can go stretttcccchhhhhh like this… (She yanks the poor little plastic slinky as far as her arms will stretch.)
Mr. Slinky can make a flower. (I couldn’t see how she made it a flower.)
Mr. Slinky can make a circle. (Obvious, circle shape.)
Mr. Slinky can get stuck in my poofs. (Moves circle shape to the top of her head, and it gets stuck in her hair.)
Mr. Slinky can go in a rainbow. (She makes an arch.)
Mr. Slinky like to bounce. (Grabs it by one end, and shakes it and wiggles it all around.)
What else can Mr. Slinky do? (We had pulled in at home by this point.)
Mr. Slinky likes to eat Doritos!
Mr. Slinky wants a fruit snack!
Mr. Slinky is thirsty!
Mr. Slinky doesn’t have a leotard that fits him, I don’t think he can go to gymnastics naked.
So after Mea told me all the silly things her slinky could do, Mack came home as a surprise. She was going to dinner at my Mom’s, and I had invited her to go to gymnastics with us before dinner.
After much snuggles, and loves on her sissy, she started telling Mack all the incredible things Mr. Slinky could do.
When we got home from gymnastics, her Daddy got an earful of what Mr. Slinky could do as well.
Mr. Slinky was a very busy guy yesterday.