Friday, November 30, 2012

An emotion sandwich

Over the last month I have felt more emotion than at any other point in my 38 years. Just ask anyone who has spent more than an hour with me early on in the adoption process; I developed this strange habit of randomly bursting into tears without warning... in the middle of laughter, standing in line at the post office, or on the phone with a stranger. It is an odd thing to feel so many different overly intense emotions all at the same time about the same thing. Happiness. Excitement. Nervousness. Fear. But more of each emotion than ever seemed possible. Emotion sandwich anyone?

It has been both the best & the hardest thing. We are finding our way, one day at a time... sometimes one moment at a time. Slowly but surely inching towards some sort of new normal. 

On Saturday, something happened that made me feel a little more like myself. For the first time in what seemed like forever, I realized that there was some sort of peace that had fallen on our home. Everyone was okay. For the first time in two weeks I could feel that everyone was, even temporarily, feeling the first bits of acceptance about this new normal. So I sat down at the table & picked up a paint brush for the first time in a month... and then I started to feel normal too.

Wednesday, November 28, 2012

Dear Greta

Dear Greta,

Hi, I'm Aunt Sherry. Your Mom & Dad are two of my best friends. So sorry that you have been around a few days & I haven't met you- I recently became a mama myself & haven't had a moment to lay eyes on you yet, but I have been thinking about you. As I mentioned in the letter to your big sister, I'm not sure how babies get matched up with parents but you have really hit the jackpot so you should definitely take credit for the choice. You didn't do too badly with your big sister either- she is amazing.

That's actually what I wanted to talk to you about... from one baby sister to another. Listen, your big sister Gemma is going to undoubtedly be great at her job. I have seen her pick up her toys & she is incredibly focused for a 21 month old. For real. She will show you around... let you know where the toys & books are located, how to get the dogs to make noises, what to do to get your Mom & Dad to do what you want- you know, the important stuff. She will eventually show you around school, maybe cheer you on while you learn to drive & give you all sorts of advice. But somewhere in the middle of all of that, she will find her special power. Her I-am-the-big-sister-and-I-was-here-first power. Don't get me wrong, she is wonderful... but there isn't a person alive who can have that sort of power & not abuse it every now & then. I mean we are all human, right? That's what my big sister would say, anyway.

Your big sister will be able to reach things you can't, eat things you can't & appear to be magic someday when she goes whizzing by on a bicycle with no training wheels. It will be infuriating. She will get dressed up one day & everyone will take photos on her first day of school & you will wonder why she got picked & you didn't. Everyone will tell you that you will get your turn & you will... but it won't be first.

So this is the important part; the part I wish someone had told me. She may get to be the first, but that means you get to be last... which carries with it a certain sweetness. You will very likely get away with things that Gemma never could. Your parents will want to rock you until your feet are touching the floor as you sit in their laps. They will be willing to carry you a little longer. They will linger longer with the camera as you go off to your first day of school... because you, dear girl will be their last first day of school. Their last first dance. Their last first day of college. Because you are their baby. And you always will be.

Just ask my big sister.

Welcome to the world Greta, I am so glad you are here!

Aunt Sherry

Monday, November 19, 2012

What to expect

The flash cards are the closest I have come to making art over the last couple of weeks. Oddly, I am okay with this. Not forever, but for now. Priority number one has been getting three little boys on a schedule so that they can know what to expect, which is especially important if you have been shuffled to 7 or 8 schools in your short little life. If you have lived with different families with different rules. Knowing what to expect is important, but also confusing. Yes- you read it correctly. If you are used to moving and changing and being told one thing while another thing happens, and suddenly that stops... it is confusing.

After a little while, it will become something comfortable, this knowing what to expect. It will become something to reach for. Life feels a little less "out of control" when you know that you get a bedtime story every night. You know your clothes are clean and in the drawers. You know who will wake you in the morning and how you are getting to school. You start anticipating things and appearing to be very pleased with yourself because you knew what to expect. We are having moments of this pleased-with-yourself business and I love the slow smile that comes along with it. We also have moments of not-very-pretty-angry-at-the-world mutiny, but let's not focus on that... let's just think of the smiles for now.

At the conclusion of the days of trying to follow through with absolutely every word that has come from my mouth, I am still too mentally exhausted to paint... although this won't always be the case. But for now, I'll stick to the flash cards. Because there is a six-year-old expecting them.

Monday, November 5, 2012

Where I've been

I realize that I have some explaining to do & I'm not really sure where to start. We have been jumping thought the proverbial hoops with the state for about 18 months & recently found out that we would get to be the lucky adoptive parents of 3 little boys. Once things started happening it was like holding on to the wing of an airplane as it goes down the runway... there has just been a crazy, happy, hard whirlwind of activity for the last few weeks. Not one day has passed that I haven't ended up in a puddle of tears over how happy & scary it all is... & I am astounded & completely humbled by the kindness & support we have received. 

You might wonder why you haven't heard about this before- it's because there needed to be a space where I could come & not think about it, or be asked about it or wonder if it would actually ever happen. So I came here & talked about art & painting & other things that I love.

I'll still be talking about those things- once everything settles down. Right now I just want to be with my new family. Adoption is a crazy thing. Especially when you are willing to adopt older children & have no idea how old they will be or if they will be boys or girls... or any of the other million things parents wonder about. We made ourselves a little crazy sometimes wondering where they were, who there were & if they were in a good foster home. Was someone reading to them at night before bed? Did they feel loved? Luckily we now know that the answers were yes... at least for the last while. We have received more than kids, we have also received their foster parents who are now part of our family as well.

Sometimes I would silently say to myself "we are here...we are here..." because as much as I wondered where the children were, I couldn't help but think they might be wondering the same thing about us.

I will talk about them... eventually. It's important that you know that I will not talk about how they ended up needing parents or even their names... because how they ended up in foster care is their story to tell. Not mine. It is also not my place to tell you their names because once I put things out here on the Internet they can't be taken back... & they have had enough of their little lives discussed by adults who don't know them. 

So for now, I just wanted to explain where I have been. And that I will be back. But not today- because it's almost time to pick up my kids from school.