To Gray on Your Ninth Birthday

The boy who made me a mama is nine today. I’ve written many letters to my kids over the years. I think I’ll share a few here. . .


Dear Gray,

You have been a big kid with a big personality since the moment we met you. When Dr. Ryan delivered you, he shouted to the operating room, “Somebody get this kid a cheeseburger!” When he put you on the scale and you weighed over twelve pounds, Mom thought she was hallucinating! Dr. Ryan must be some kind of a prophet, because you really do LOVE cheeseburgers, don’t you?

Mom and Dad have enjoyed watching you grow into the terrific guy you were created to be. We admire many things about you, but here are some of our favorites: Continue reading

Grace, Anywhere

A sweet friend took me out on the town last night. We dined at the only fancy-ish restaurant in our small city, swooning over Greek Bruschetta and perfectly roasted artichokes before scurrying to the theater to support friends in a local production of Rent.

Another friend met us at the show where our three mouths hung agape over the showcase of local talent. (“Wow, that girl can WAIL! Where do these people COME from? Do they LIVE here?”) After the performance, we chatted in the street beside my friend’s ginormous SUV, wishing there was somewhere we could grab coffee.

“There’s always McDonald’s,” someone offered timidly, more like a question than a suggestion. . .

***

We rolled into Mickey-D’s at 10:15, settling in between the giggling high school crowd in the back and the cat-vibes lady with the pink sequined scarf up front.

Four hours later, we were still in the booth. Our conversation had rambled through the territories of foster care, intercessory prayer, seasonal depression, religion-based shame, Kindergarten crushes, self-love, gluten farts, and the most absorbent mom-bladder pantyliner. Continue reading

Written on Our Hearts: Parting with a Foster Child

In March of last year, my dear friend and fellow foster mama left me a voicemail one evening explaining that she had a new placement and was wondering if I could care for the child for a few hours the next day while she was at work. I called her back and accepted with a flutter of excitement and nervousness in my belly, then I lay awake into the night anticipating meeting this baby in the morning.

My husband and I were new foster parents; we were just licensed the month before and had not yet had any placement requests. Despite our training, we had little idea how the system worked or what to really expect as we became involved with caring for foster children. Continue reading

Broken Places

This is the view from my recovery recliner – my view for the past month.

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NKOTB blanket circa 1987

It’s the best time of year here in Michigan and I thought for sure I would miss it.

I would miss my walks beneath the wooded canopy of Fumee Lake, calico leaves swooshing underfoot.

I would miss the apple orchard and the pumpkin patch, cornstalks rustling as kids dart in and out of rows.

I would miss cinnamon and nutmeg, spicy Chai, the flavors and smells of my autumn kitchen.

I’d miss it all because I’d be stuck in this stupid chair with these stupid crutches and this stupid aching hip.

Somehow, that’s not how it went at all. Somehow, I didn’t miss it.

Continue reading

A Swell Day

Dear Friends,

I was draggin’ my wagon after last week’s hip surgery, but I think I may have turned the corner this morning.

I’ve already. . .

Cleaned my eyeglasses.

Color-code highlighted my appointment calendar.

Soaked my feet in Epsom salts.

Swatted four houseflies from my recliner.

Took my blood pressure three times.

Cleaned and oiled the foam pads of my crutches.

Clipped coupons from the grocery store flier. You wouldn’t believe the prices they’re offering on Ensure and Metamucil! (I wonder if they deliver…)  Continue reading

On (Re)naming an Adopted Child

The boys have been talking about what their names would have been had they been girls. Gray would have been Ana (these were pre-Frozen times, people). Reed would have been Fern. And Miles would have been Brooke. Funny how, even though they are boys, those other names still seem to suit them. Or maybe mother dreams just have a way of sticking.

I’ve thought about names a lot lately. We submitted our last piece of adoption assessment paperwork last week. (By this point, I feel we should be cleared for jobs with the FBI or CIA — we have been fingerprinted NINE combined times and evaluated from angles I didn’t know we had. Wondering why I haven’t been writing much? My hand is still cramped up from recording my relationship history from the 90s to the present day on more than one form. But I digress.) 

Continue reading

I Almost Said No

It has been rainy for the better part of two weeks around here, and while we’re grateful the river is high and the green beans are watered, we’re just a little bit over cloudy skies and 60 degree temps.

Yesterday, during a downpour, my six-year-old approached me with a handful of fishing lures (no hooks) and asked for a bowl of water.

I almost said no. I was in my mess of a basement packing away winter coats (finally) and trying to figure out which water shoes from storage will fit my third son (and going blind doing it because all the size labels are worn off). I wasn’t sure I could navigate through my fortress of plastic totes to the stairs if I wanted to.

And honestly, I didn’t want to deal with the request. I didn’t want to stop what I was doing to go upstairs for a bucket and a towel. I didn’t want to clean up water messes or hear the post-water-play whining about wet shirt sleeves. I wanted the boys to find something quiet and orderly to do while I got stuff done. Something like Latin flash cards. Or piano chords.

Ha. Continue reading

I Used to Know Things (But Then I Became a Parent)

It is too perfect that Her View from Home published my newest post on a day where the boys and I had to go into SEVERAL public places on errands. There were whoopie cushions sounded at the dollar store, ice cream spilled THREE times at DQ, and bully stick butt-poking wars at the feed mill. If you don’t know what a bully stick is, you should probably Google that.

You’re welcome…

Read full post at Her View from Home –>


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Stacy

The Cusp

The bald eagle circles the river basin and returns to her nest at the top of the pine. The hungry eaglets chatter to her. Their squawks and squeals echo across the water.

Daylight is growing longer. My dog trots along beside me, sniffing the deer trails, lunging at the disappearing flash of rabbit tail. He’s just a year old, springy and deft – and today he is more attuned than usual, picking up on the new action and songs of the wild.

Back at home, the first green shoots of tulips are showing themselves along the path between my house and garage. They’ll be dusted in snow another time or two before stubborn winter gives way and spring bursts into full glory — but that’s not stopping us from dragging dusty lawn chairs from storage and setting them up in that patch of sun in the driveway where we’ll page through seed catalogs and dream about kneeling in a jungly July garden. Continue reading

Where I’ve Been

Yesterday, I ran into a friend I haven’t seen in a while, and she asked me where I’ve been. I tried replying, but I’m not sure I even knew the answer.

If this post had a subtitle, maybe it would read “That Time I Tried Working Two Part-Time Jobs While Homeschooling My Children, Supporting My Husband Through a Career Change, Becoming Foster-to-Adopt Licensed, and Why Not Throw in a Trip to Disney World Followed Closely by Influenza, a Stomach Virus, and Two Minor Household Floods.” Continue reading