To: The woman who gave birth to my son,
The sacrifice you made blessed me in ways I never imagined possible. The words from Amazing Grace “I was blind and now I see” never meant anything until you came into my life. I am not sure who wrote that or what it meant to the person writing those lyrics but I see, like really see and know that I was very blind. I was blind to poverty, to what it means to be selfless, to sacrifice, to abuse and neglect and the cycles of these issues and how one person can change/break that cycle and change the trajectory of a life. I was blind to racism and to the love between races. You placed your brown son into probably the palest arms on the planet. I see the world both the past and current in ways and through a lense that is just mind-blowingly intense.
I think about you every day, EVERY DAY, every single day! I wish I could tell you how he lights up, how he literally burns with fire from behind his eyes and its so powerful that his smile radiates through him and into anyone in the room. People stop on the street to acknowledge him, people of all colors and ages and walks of life…its as if they know how special he is just by seeing him. I would tell you how he is so crazy smart and that he already asks about you and I tell him what a beautiful person you are. I would tell you about his friend Daisy from India and how he asked her if she had any big brothers and she said yes and then he asked her if her brother was white like his brother. His laugh is non-stop. He wakes up smiling. He sucks his thumb at night and when he sneaks into my bedroom we sing and rub our heads together and sometimes just stare into each other’s eyes. He is a picky eater and he is action in motion…always on the move. And when he looks at me with this certain grin I wonder who you would say he reminds you of.
I wish I took your picture. I think it was such a wild experience that I just didn’t know what was appropriate. Would I do something that would make you change your mind. Now I try to find you in him from memory. I see you. I remember how you told me that night in the hospital that he would be big. You didn’t want to see him when he was born. You arranged it so that I was in the delivery room with you. It was me and you, your friend, the OB and two nurses and I remember thinking it was so powerful…these women together, the OB was Asian, me and your friend Caucasian, one blonde nurse and one African American nurse and you bi-racial. I was freaking out. You wanted me to either cut the cord or catch him so they put me in scrubs and I decided that I would most likely pass out if I cut the cord so I stood down there watching his head crown and thinking holy shit and at the same time telling myself that if you were able to give me your child then I was able to watch this beautiful birth without hitting the floor.
I held him tight and left the room with him. But that later that night I came to your room. It was dark…just you and me. You asked me to tell you something about him. I searched my mind for what would be ok to say, wondering if any information would be too emotional for both of us. I told you he ate a lot and that is when you laughed and said he was going to be big. I wanted to take you home too at that moment. I think I grabbed your hand. I wanted to say thank you but it felt weak. It didn’t feel adequate enough for what transpired between us. So, I told you I would protect him with my life. I cried and hugged you and left.
You had told me before that you would probably take off…disappear for a couple years. It’s now been four and when you first said that to me, I was relieved thinking it would be easier for all of us. But now I can’t wait until the day I hear your voice. I hope and pray to someday be able to thank you, thank you for the greatest gift of my life.
Love- your son’s mother-
Yikes- A lot has happened since I stopped blogging in June. The girls were transitioned to a home where they will be the only children and where the family will adopt their brother as well if it goes to that situation. It was hard but we have never been more sure of the right thing to do then with this situation. We could not have asked for anything more amazing then to have clarity on such a serious decision as to parenting two additional kids and knowing what is best for them and our three. They moved in July and are doing fantastic!
We are as well. I am still getting my masters and my job is a bit insane but what else is new. Joe is a monster and I am happy that he is still pretty level headed for a middle schooler. Louis is still off the chain active but hilarious. He is starting to ask a lot of questions about me being white and him being brown. He told me the other day that under his brown skin he was white. This bothered me because it made me think that he thought white was better. So I dragged him over to Lydia Lawn Goddess’s house so that Louis could talk with her husband who is brown. So that we could talk about the beautifulness of his brown skin and do so with a man that looks as beautiful as him. Beatrice is still hard to control in any way shape or form. It is hard to have such a spirited kid because I love it and at the same time it scares me to death.
I am still pushing my husband to the extreme. Especially where I recently met with a teenage girl with a two year old who needs a home. Wasn’t a good fit but he was a bit freaked out that I would even consider it. It kills me to be exposed to the need that is outside of our cul de sac. There are so many kids that need a solid foundation and just a chance to make it out. If we can somehow help as many as possible get an education/a trade a family that loves them and expects them to be successful then we can help more people help themselves and to become contributing members of society. This is my new mission in life. My dad doesn’t understand. He asked me why we would continue to foster or adopt. He is loving and kind he just worries about us. He said let someone else do it. I told him that if we don’t do it then no one will do it. There isn’t someone else…if we all wait for someone else to do something then nothing will change and we must make change…we need to help these kids.
Yikes…been gone for the longest time since I started this blog. Tonight I noticed that I am shrinking or at least thought that I had. Joe is currently five feet seven inches tall and apparently I am about the same. I have been telling everyone (my doctor included) that I am about five feet nine inches. It has occurred to me that this height must have been assigned to me in around 9th grade when I made the varsity basketball team. This was common back then…the adding of inches to the roster to instill fear into our opponent.
Anyway, lets see if I can give a quick re-cap from the past two months because the one thing not shrinking is the size of my family!
-Louis is now over three and spends every other day in the principle’s office for things ranging from saying fuck to bringing in matches and poppers to talking about his penis non-stop.
-Joe is our resident giant and besides finding a playboy hidden in his gym bag and shooting out our french doors with his bb gun (he said he saw a Zombie) he has managed to stay out of any serious trouble.
-Beatrice…oh BB…she put on a pair of shorts that fit when she was eight, tied her shirt up through the collar and went out to wash the Suburban. She does not know about Paris Hilton or the famous Carls Burger spot but my mom who was coming to visit nearly ran down our mailbox at the sight of our ten year old acting like the resident hooch. Although, truth be told Bea is the little entrepreneur of the family offering to do everything from washing the car to selling rocks to make a buck. This is nice when she isn’t screaming at everyone in the house for just existing.
-Little Rosey – She is still with us as is her sister and its going on a year. She spends half her time worshiping Bea and playing dress-up and the other half trying to control the two three year olds who pillage her things all day long. You can usually find Rosey playing outside or reading a book…her two favorite past times that is when she isn’t having a tantrum on the grocery store floor.
-LB – she is three year old number two in the house and is the female equivalent of Louis. She does not spend her days in the principles office but she has been know to bite chunks of “her friends” skin off and she loves to “borrow” well, anything she can get her tiny beautiful hands on…pillaging being her favorite past time.
Otherwise…its been a pretty sweet run- E
I may or may not be on book three of this trilogy. It depends on with whom I am speaking. If I were at my next residency for my MFA in Poetry program this coming May chances are I may have heard some rumblings from the literary world about this so called book “Fifty Shades of Something” being the downfall of literature and society in general. I may even admonish anyone would cloud my head with such useless banter.
Or if I were attending my church group meeting with friends/people I care deeply for…well, I haven’t heard of it/it really doesn’t exist in my life/cannot relate to that unspeakable stuff and would not be surprised to learn of a religious group somewhere trying to ban this book. This book makes “Forever” read like the book of Mark.
If I am talking with my closest friends and my sister…I might have (or not) suggested that they drop everything and read this series. I may have given fair warning that it could have been written by a ten year old, it is filled with cliche after painful cliche and lacks any original language. And I certainly would have said something (or not) like “thank GOD for the Kindle because this is one book cover that you wouldn’t want flashing around.” or “if there is a book club out there reading and discussing this book then let me know bc I will find time to attend.” or “you might want your husband near while reading.”.
I think the critics are right and I think the lovers of this series are right. Is it good writing? Not even close! Is it scandalous porn…yup. Is it a page turner leaving you feeling breathless, appalled, foolish, insulted,intrigued and over sexualized? Yup. Does it say something about our culture…sure as does celebrity obsession, Facebook, people.com, bloggin, twitter etc etc etc. Its a new era and one that will light up our history books.
The bottom line is like I said a couple years back about the Twilight series…there’s a need or (no pun intended) a hole that this type of novel is filling for a certain 30-40ish age range. And if we are being honest with each other then we have to admit (or not) that we all have Fifty Shades and no one should be judging anyone about what they enjoy reading, listening to, learning about, doing for fun or behind closed doors. Its not ours to judge.
Regardless of what everyone thinks about the books…the author is laughing all the way to the bank. I know I would be.
Husband was out of town. Lou and Beatrice were in my bed. We have a king sized bed with one of those headboards that makes the bed look like a giant sofa. I love this headboard because I no longer worry as the various children come jumping aboard smashing their heads into it.
It was a special treat for little Lou to be in the bed. Really a treat for me because between work and school and our large family I felt the extra need to connect with him. The lights were out and he was holding his blankie. This blanket was made by my grandmother 12 years ago. She died before Beatrice could really meet her and the blanket was originally created for Joe but he just didn’t take to the scratchy wool preferring a quilted clown blanket that he still hides in his bed to this day.
I love watching Lou curled up in this blanket. It reminds me of all the things I loved about her and of how proud I know she would be to know that Lou was the owner of her blanket.
While I was musing in my mind at his beautiful brown eyes and watching him rub the blanket between his fingers, I heard the sound of a cricket chirping.
It was loud and clearly in our bedroom. Lou’s eyes widened. Beatrice shot up asking “is that a cricket in here?”
Lou was now sitting up. “will da cwricket get me? Will he cwimb in bed with us? I don’t like that cwricket.”
I got both of them calmed down and explained that the cricket would not get them and that we would catch it tomorrow. They fell fast asleep. I did not.
I finally grabbed a blanket and headed downstairs to the sofa. I turned the TV on low and rubbed a nice spot with my body and was about to dose off when I felt the presence of someone other than myself in the room. I whipped around to see my now five foot six 12 year old, Joe, staring down at me.
Me- “what are you doing?”
Joe-”I can’t sleep.”
Me-”just get on the other end of the sectional.”
I was too tired now to talk or try to pry whatever it was that was keeping him awake.
The next thing I know Ifeel an urgent tapping on my shoulder. I gasp and feel drool pull away from the pillow as I focus to see it is now Beatrice staring down at me. I see the clock behind her showing 334am.
Bea-”I can’t sleep because that stupid cricket”
She says this while trying to push me over on the already crowded couch. I look down to see Joe is still awake on the other end. He is my worrier and at this point it is clear that whatever is on his mind is pretty heavy to keep him up at this hour, but I have work and five kids to get to school in about four hours and just can’t allow myself to fully wake up.
Me-”Bea, no you cannot lay on top of me on this sofa, and sorry that the cricket in my room is keeping you awake!”
I was in such disbelief that I pointed her to the leather chair and ottoman and said if you can’t sleep in your room then there.
And that is what it looked like that night in our house. Me and Joe at either end of our crazy sectional, Bea sitting up right asleep on the leather chair and Lou sound asleep in my giant kind bed. And all because of a little cricket.
So Lou can raise one eyebrow over his eye. If I could get my video to upload I would so post this…of course we find it hilarious. And think he must be the only three year old who can possible be so genius as to be able to perform such an act.
The girls are still with us and I just cannot believe how in love we are with them. They have this little brother too…oh and how I am on full sales mode to husband…like look at that extra bunk in Lous room…or lets keep the Suburban with the second bench just in case…I know, its totally insane but it feels so right. Of course we have no idea where this will lead. Do I find the mother to be fit? Wish I could blog about it and will someday. I will say that I do believe that they would be in grave harm if they are returned to her and that there is a pattern of back and forth that prove this theory.
And having them in our home has made all of us better people. I mean what a disconnect between the haves and have nots…I am not talking about those who drive a 1988 sudan and those driving a 2012 Tahoe. I am talking about those who only have their feet and the promise of a roof over their head some of the time verses everyone else.
I am still working at the cool agency and in grad school for poetry and have this app idea that I would love to sell and writing (clearly not here enough) and just overall running around like a lunatic so really nothing new. I am so out of the bigger world loop that the other day I told my husband that I was certain that people must be siphoning gas out of the truck bc its always empty and then he informed me that the 20.00 I keep putting into the car is like four miles.
Beatrice is still up to her crazy antics…the other night I came home to find that she had been hanging out at our neighbors house for a couple hours. ADULTS!! I asked her what on earth did she talk about with them and she said their kids (who are in their 20s)…then there was last Thursday where I came in from work and started setting up dinner when I realized there was a kid just hanging in our living room that I had never seen before. Beatrice was like oh mom, this is Abby…we were like um Abby do your parents know where you are at 630 on a Thursday?
Joe is the cool cat now…the big middle schooler…I read his text messages and I think I may just stop…first off I have no idea what the girls are saying due to the short hand they all use and second Joe just answers everyone with two word answers.
So, I was thinking it would be cool to start wearing a camera on my head and just uploading the daily clips of crazy…but I think that anyone watching should be sent a sedative in advance of screening my life…or at least put a long disclaimer…something like living this way is only for experts or long term exposure to this kind of crazy life may cause rapid heartbeat, hair loss and an overall feeling that you live at an amusement park or the more simple…watch at your own risk might do the trick.
“Mom, if I have a baby when I am twelve will you breast feed it for me?”
This was from Beatrice. It sparked me to write a poem because no one would believe the types of questions being fired at me through out the day. It isn’t just B. We still have the girls with us and they have really started to mesh with our family. Lou is now three and if I can keep him from picking locks then maybe I will actually be able to have sex with my husband in someplace other than a back closet. Ok, TMI, I know…but as you can see from my inconsistent blog entries, I barely have time to breath these days.
I do love it. I mean I love it on the days when I am not locked in my FINALLY renovated bathroom drinking a Corona and praying that our two year old will stop banging on the door.
What update could I have? Hmmmm work is cool, school is cool, the kids are cool three days of the week and never all at once. Although, the weekends are just awesome. The best parts of my life right now are when the seven of us (did I just say seven) are all lounged around in the livingroom, the fireplace going, the lights down as we watch a movie or play games. Yes, its so very idealistic. But who gives a shit. When you spend days answering questions about breast feeding for your 12 year old because her boobs may be too small or talking with the mom of the two girls about how she can’t get the 7 other people who share her one bedroom apartment to move out or trying to keep your 2 and 3 year olds from pretty much destroying everything in the house bc they are this tag team of thief/pick pocket and ambushers that seem to come flying at us from all corners…well give me some Thomas Kincade moments…I deserve it. And more scary…I want it?
I never really paid close attention to MLK day…
My family was as white as they come until recently. We just added to our family and he is African American or black, both adjectives apparently acceptable. I know this because I have asked other African Americans, the adjective that I prefer. Today has taken on an entirely different meaning to our family. Today I actually paid attention to what happened, what it meant to be African American in our country now and in the past. I mean don’t misunderstand me, I have always been aware. I know history. I fancy myself open minded and liberal and non-judgmental, but when you have a child that will understand something better then you ever, ever will, well, you sit up and you listen. You listen with all your heart and when you realize the intensity of this fact, you pray to God that you never let him down. You know that you have a huge responsibility to him and it involves conversations and experiences that are most unpredictable. I find it scary and exciting, a gift and an honor.
It has been only a few months since we were blessed with his presence. I stare at his tiny, precious hand wrapped around my finger and I forget that he and I look differently and then I remember as I stare and I wonder what this will mean and then he looks deep into my eyes, his beautiful deep brown eyes just stare right into my blue ones. I wonder if he knows that I am abnormally white. I wonder if it will be a joke one day for him…will that be a bad thing. I suddenly don’t care as he locks in on me and gives me his grin, this grin that I know will break hearts. I wonder what color those hearts will be and I hope it won’t matter…after all inside everyone looks the same.
This was a post from the first MLK day after Louis came to our home. I have since read the writings of everyone from Phyllis Wheatly to Nikki Giovanni (although I have always been a Nikki fan) and I learned that my “new understanding” was such because of something called white privilege. Basically, I never had to think about it bc we live in a white world. Powerful stuff that I will continue to explore.
I spent the past eight days on a college campus, as a student. I am in grad school for writing and as a result have to spend five total (four to go) residency on the college campus. I LOVED IT! I felt an exhaustion that I have not felt in years and possible have never felt given my under grad track record. I could feel the dust blowing off parts of my brain that haven’t lit up in decades. It was both painful and exhilarating as I found myself surrounded by people young and old from all walks of life, who were much smarter than myself. I was in that I don’t know what I don’t know zone.
My husband was in the I may throw myself down the stairs zone in an attempt to be placed in the hospital given that he rather have been in physical pain verses the kind of pain that comes with being a lone with five children for 8 days. I arrived home to find him with less hair, a broken man, a man who spent this past week part referee, part councilor, part alcoholic…
I have to say that going back to school brought back a surge of those insecure feelings I had, that we all had, during my school days. There were cliques and I found myself wanting to be in the little group of girls and boys who were in deep discussions on the importance of a sestina. I also found myself remembering with intensity that I have always felt like a strange person. Even among the grads who were all writers and all pretty strange…I still felt this deep strangeness in myself…the idea that I was probably never a normal child who processed thoughts in a normal manner. But I was so at home among the motley crew of PHDs and published authors and editors and magazine owners and teachers and professors, poets, playwright and novelist. HEAVEN people!!!
I was late to one of my classes. I was in line at the bookstore buying every sweatshirt, pants, caps and stickers possible and I think the girl just got back from a lesson on bong hits bc she took 30 minutes to ring up five people. I didn’t know what to do…I started to sweat a smell that I had never smelled before as I had full blown anxiety and panic overtake me. In the end it was ok and I am enjoying my oversized navy sweats right this very second.
In the meantime I am totally inspired to redesign/rename and relaunch this blog….more to come in the months ahead! YAY!!!
I always feel this way after the holidays…tired, out of it, unfocused…wondering how it went by so quickly and if I really appreciated it…spent my time appropriately in the moment?
We were five deep this Christmas. The Christmas cards were made and in my hand and for the first time in years, not mailed. I think I may still send them with a note on the back saying better late then never but then the part of me that is so happy to see the holidays behind me, the part of me that demanded we free the house of all things Christmas that following Monday, feels guilt that I our card may momentarily pull someone back into that purchased crazed holiday where I still feel badly that we forgot to get one of our childcare providers a gift card…she was new and only does the afternoon shift…that’s how I justify it…my husband justifies it by saying who gives a shit.
It was a nice Christmas. We spent it with my parents…had to drive two Suburbans…loaded with kids and presents. Yes, two…we are all American now. Although, we managed to stick to our three present rule…something we did after 2005 when we found unopened gifts under Beas bed in the Spring.
But it was my mom who went wild…and you know what…when you love someone and they have cancer even in remission, you could care less what they do because you are so happy they are there to spend that holiday with you…so she got each kid five gifts and really its my dad’s wallet that I feel bad for…
Louis daycare was closed the week between the holidays…CLOSED…and we paid for it still AND the childcare workers had to use vacation for it or not get paid…makes me want to switch him out but we have had too many changes.
The girls are still with us…till June. Its hard work. I had friends say they don’t know how we do it…I have mentioned this before…I just shrug now and say I don’t know either…it just happens. You wake up, they wake up, you all get dressed, eat go to school/work, come home, eat, bath and go to bed…routine, that’s the secret. They still stare at me in wonder…wondering if I am truly crazy as they probably have always suspected…I have my husband so its not like I do it alone and Joe is 12 now…he loves this and is a huge help. We tag team this brood.
I was fast asleep before New Years but Beatrice woke me up out of a drooling coma to ask me where the ball was bc she couldn’t see it dropping. I stumbled downstairs and kissed my husband and Joe and then shoved four brownies into my mouth and went back to bed.
I am crazily reading for my upcoming residency…its cool in theory to be a grad student…in reality…its scary.
Talk to you soon-E
I went from being a Washington, D.C. career woman to alerting my husband via text message that I had quit my job. I sold my Mercedes, fired the nanny, flew off to Nicaragua and found Jesus all in a two week period. Six months later we became an interracial family when we adopted our youngest son. I have gone from staying at home to working mom and back again. My main mission is to keep my kids from becoming strippers and thieves. Spying on Suburbia is my own personal therapy session, my place to feel a bit less insane, as I alternate between accepting and fighting (more fighting) that I live on a cul de sac in vanilla-ville marking the time with each holiday flag I hang from my house.