Archive | April, 2012

Mi Hijo, Te Quiero

30 Apr

At the end of last week, I had a final in my Spanish class. Now I have always loved Spanish. Loved it. I took it for years in elementary school and then a few semesters in high school. At one point I actually considered minoring in it once I got to college.

Until this semester.

The spanish class that I took this semester (as an elective…I didn’t even need it) has been the most difficult, frustrating class I’ve ever taken in my life. It is the one and only time that hard work has never paid off for me. Actually, the harder I studied, the worse I seemed to do, especially when it came to tests. With every bad grade, I would study more or study harder or longer and the grade that came back as a result was always worse. See? Frustrating. I know hate is a strong word and you will be taught not to use it, so I just want to say that I strongly, strongly disliked this class.

Anyhow, I took the final on Friday. It was horrible. My heart sank with every question I answered, knowing that I was probably getting at least every other one wrong somehow. What’s worse is that it was an online test – with written tests, at least professors can give you partial credit if you miss an accent mark or something. Not online. Miss a letter or an accent and the whole question is wrong. I have never left a test feeling worse that I did leaving this one on Friday. Needless to say, I will never, ever take another Spanish class. All of my Spanish from here on out will be self-taught (because I still love the language and professor with his frustrating class will NOT ruin it for me).

I posted on Facebook about how horribly bad I felt after that test, and J happened to see it. Next thing I know, I get this on my phone:

I laughed so hard. The glasses killed me! J captioned it with a whole bunch of spanish (most of which I understood, so at least I’m not a total loss) that basically said, “Hello, I’m Professor Liam and I would have given you an A!” That picture is the new background to my phone now. I smile every time I look at it. I think that is a special power you will never lose – the ability to make me happy no matter what is going wrong. You make my life better in the smallest of ways but they make the biggest difference. I can’t tell you how much I appreciate you to that, or even for silly things like this. You can truly make my day.

I have no idea what I got on that final. I’ll find out later this week, but I won’t look until Saturday or Sunday because this week, I’m going to the beach with my beautiful extended family and my amazing son whom I love more than anything else in the whole wide world. I get to see you tomorrow and I don’t have to let go for four whole days. I hope you’re ready to be smothered with love, because I’m definitely bringing it.

Thank you for being you. That’s all it really takes to make me happy. See you tomorrow, mi hijo. Te quiero (my son, I love you) :)

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Sibling Rivalry

25 Apr

This picture makes me laugh every time I see it. It was an accidental photo – I was trying to get one of you and Sports Man smiling at each other but I snapped a photo just a little too late and I ended up with this. I call it The Face Off.

The two of you get along great. Hopefully you’ll be the kind of siblings that end up being each other’s best friend. I know there will be fights and arguments and rough-housing and what not, but other than the normal, occasional sibling rivalry, I feel like the two of you are going to be wonderful friends.

But during the times you’re not, I think this picture is a hilarious way to sum it up. I mean, really…these faces are too perfect.

Love you, Little Man :) And your big brother too!

Adoption and Christmas Morning

24 Apr

I’m pretty sure this is the first picture The B’s ever saw of you. I took it with my phone the day after you were born and sent it to E’s phone. J said your chin was one of the first things she noticed too.

I really wish I could have been there to see them get that photo. It’s kind of like Christmas – you like getting presents, but you’re almost more excited to see the reactions of the people you bought presents for. I would have loved to have seen their first glimpse at you. But I got to be there the first time they saw you in person, and it was very cool. I got most of that day on film.

My excitement over sending them this picture reminds me of the beautiful side of adoption. Of course, the beautiful side is the side I have always seen, but there were times when the thought of adoption would make me cry, just at the thought of losing you. But I never did lose you. I never will, thanks to The B’s.

The side of adoption this picture reminds me of is the giving side. Babies and children that go up for adoption are these beautiful, angelic answered prayers. They aren’t” just babies” or “just kids.” They are miracles. 

I spoke at an adoption convention for Bethany Christian Services a little less than a year after you were born. I was the only birth mother on a panel of adoptive parents and we were all asked to share our stories. Every single adoptive mother, father and family cried telling their stories. They cried because they were so grateful. They were so happy and felt so blessed to have their adopted children in their lives. These children were dreams come true for them and their happiness was so uncontainable, it couldn’t possibly fit into words. No matter what these parents had to do – no matter how long they had to wait or how much pain or sadness they had to endure, they stuck it out. Because to them, miracles such as yourself are worth more than all the pain in the world.

I know that you are an answered prayer for so many people in so many different ways. You are a gift. You came into this world destined to bring love not just to me, but to so many others. And to me, that is the beauty of adoption, especially an open one like ours. Love is spread. Dreams are realized. Prayers are answered. All because of one, tiny person that one brave woman was willing to share. I’m so glad I did, too. You were – and are – much too special to have kept all to myself.

If it were possible to thank the actual concept of adoption, I would thank it for allowing love to be spread like that. But most of my thanks is to you, for bringing joy to the lives of many, for being a ray of hope and happiness to all of your families.

You’ll have to ask your parents about that picture one day, and their thoughts and reactions when they first saw it. I’m sure it really was just like Christmas morning :)

Have No Fear

23 Apr

There are not many times when I wish I was a little kid again. I am enjoying “emerging adulthood” as they call people my age. The independence, the self-sufficiency, the in-between state where you get to be on your own but don’t have too many responsibilities just yet. The only time I tend to wish for childhood is when I am assigned my “college homework.” I miss elementary school homework more than you know.

But today I thought of you and I realized that there is another time when I wish I was little. It’s when I’m scared.

You are a fearless little guy. You run head first into everything: new experiences, new places, new things. You love all things new – they’re exciting to you. There is nothing scary to my Little Man because you’re just ready to take it all on. Right now, that is scary to me because there are certain things you should be afraid of, like climbing on top of counters or jumping in swimming pools. Those things could actually hurt you (since you don’t know how to properly balance or swim yet) and I really would rather you be afraid of those sometimes.

But as I thought of you and your fearlessness today, I realized I wished I was like that too. I wish I was just like my little boy. Running head first, throwing caution to wind, taking a chance, and all of the other clichés that basically say, “Don’t be afraid to jump.”

You see, as you get older and you learn and experience more things, sometimes you become afraid. Afraid of getting hurt, afraid of being sad, afraid of losing things. In that blissful period of childhood that you are experiencing now, none of those things matter. Pain is temporary, sadness is curable and the things you lose are all but forgotten after a few days. But us adults don’t tend to see things that way. As we get older, we learn that we are fragile, breakable. And the pain may be temporary, but even so, we’re afraid of being left with the memory of it.

You are different. I don’t see a child-like fearlessness in you – you know, the kind that will fade as you get older. I see in you the kind of bravery that will persevere throughout your life. You are a “go for it” kind of kid, and I’m so proud of you for it. I would love to believe that you got that from me, and maybe you did, but I have come to the startling conclusion that I get scared sometimes too. I learned a few years ago that I was not, in fact, as invincible as I believed myself to be. Your mommy dearest has a heart that breaks, as it turns out. Saying it that way sounds so “wishy-washy” to me, so I kind of hate admitting it. But being scared isn’t anything I ever want you to be ashamed of, so I will admit it to you. If there’s one thing I don’t like to be, it’s a hypocrite.

So here’s the truth: sometimes, I get scared. I get scared of failing. I get scared of letting people down. I get scared of letting people in. I get scared of broken hearts, having had one before. And though I have learned there are things to be scared of, I have also learned that maybe it’s not the worst thing in the world. I once heard that being afraid means you have something or someone to lose, and that can be worth a lot more than the fear itself. And as you may have been able to tell, I survived. I braved the storm. I toughed it out, and though I have changed, I’m better for all of it.

And now, when I get scared, I think of you. I think of my beautiful baby boy and all of the happiness you’ve brought me. I think of The B’s who would let me cry on their shoulders anytime my fears proved correct. I think of your adorable laugh and how you call me Nay-Nay and I find that I’m a little less afraid. You inspire me. After all of my tough-talk, here I sit, admiring my two-year-old for his moxy. It’s one of the many, many ways you make my life better. Hopefully one day we’ll come full circle – your youthful fearlessness will inspire my grown-up fearlessness, so when you grow up and start to doubt, I will be there to hold your hand and remind you of the brave boy you’ve always been. I owe you one, after all :)

All Twisted Up

20 Apr

I remember reading somewhere that a cute idea is for moms to let their kids pick their outfits and then pin a little badge to their shirt that says, “I dressed myself today!” I always thought that would be an adorable idea for you – the I-can-dress-myself phase of toddler-hood is always a fun one to witness. You are no exception, but in a very unique way…

I quite honestly have no idea how you do this, but the other day I realized that I have a series of photos of you in this little mix up. Somehow you either seem to get your arm twisted in the shirt or you just leave one arm out of your shirt altogether. It actually looks like it might take skill to get yourself in that situation. I couldn’t be prouder :)

I love how you make me laugh, Little Man. Not only are you the love of my life, but you provide the entertainment for it as well. That makes me one lucky girl!

And don’t worry about the shirt thing. Sports Man will teach you how to do it correctly one day, I’m sure. What are big brothers for? :)

First Fair, Last Visit

19 Apr

Five days before you were born, The B’s came into town. This was the third time we had gotten together, including the first time I met them. They asked if they could come down and we could all do something together. They had met my parents – Pop-pop 3 and Grandma M – during their last visit, so this one was just purely for fun and to continue to get to know each other.

We started out this visit by getting pizza at a local (and very eclectic) pizza joint downtown, and then we continued to an indoor craft fair. My hometown is very artsy so anytime there is an art or craft fair of any kind, you are bound to come across some very beautiful and unique things. You know how creative J is – looking back, this was probably the perfect outing for her!

We all walked around the indoor fair for a couple of hours. I kept getting comments on my stomach – people asking me how far along I was, enduring multiple “you look like you’re about to ‘pop!’” comments, etc. Of course, I had no idea on that Saturday that you would be here by Thursday – I kept telling people I had over a week to go (you were 11 days early from the due date the doctors gave me. I’d say they got that one wrong).

I remember walking around and looking at the crafts with J and E. We pointed out the things we liked and the things we didn’t; J and I looked at a lot of jewelry, E was impressed by some creative woodwork and cabinetry, and Grandma M looked at a little bit of everything. As we went J talked about ideas she had for the nursery, crafts she liked to make, and things she thought I could make to decorate your bedroom with. That was they day I learned how crafty she was – she had some really cute ideas, knew of at least half a dozen great craft websites and we actually liked a lot of the same things. I took that as a good sign.

By the time we got to the downstairs of the exhibit, I had to sit down at least every ten minutes. You were a perfectly average sized baby when you were born (7 lbs, 6 oz), but my lower back just wasn’t having it by that last week. Luckily the downstairs was where a lot of the woodwork was done so I found a lot of benches to sit on. I remember that the handmade musical instruments were downstairs too. E knew quite a bit about them and that was when I learned about his avid love for music.

After the art fair, we went back to Grandma M and Pop-pop 3’s house. When we got there, we ate a little bit and then J took our first family photo (minus Sports Man – you were a surprise for him, so he didn’t know about me OR you then)! The photo was followed by E showing me the first videos I ever saw of Sports Man. It reminds me of what I do with you now – showing off pictures, incredibly proud of videos, bragging as much as I can because I love you so much. There were videos of him reading (he’s the original child prodigy), playing basketball, receiving trophies, and a couple more. I think that when I made my most important realization of the day: I saw how much The B’s loved him and I realized that that was how much they would love you. I saw how much love they had to give and would give to my Little Man. And I was not wrong – they do love you more than words can say. They have from day one.

It was a wonderful visit. I love pizza and art fairs in my hometown all the time, but this day was particularly special. I had met The B’s twice and learned more and more about them every time, but I realized that I could truly love them like family that day, because that was when I discovered just how much love they had to give. Or more aptly, how much love they wanted to give. You are part of one of the most loving families I’ve ever met, and I wouldn’t have it any other way, partly because I get to share it too.

I’ve been to at least one craft fair with J since then. She actually makes and sells her own crafts now, and I love them. And since I’m family, I tend to get free samples :) But with every art fair I go to – with The B’s or with someone else – I’m reminded of that first one. And when J and I talk about it, we always mention how cool it is to see how much we’ve grown as a family, and how much we know and share now versus the uncertainty of “then.”

And personally, I have to say, I’m loving the “now.”

Our first family photo. I had gained water weight. We will never mention it.

There’s a Toddler In My Econ Class

18 Apr

I had a crazy dream about you last night.

You were the same size and the same age, but you could talk and you were wearing glasses. Actually, I’m pretty sure you had an Irish accent. Either way you were talking about politics and I was frantically trying to take notes because I knew I was going to be tested on it. I remember thinking what a horrible mother I would be if I failed a test on material you had taught me. Right about that time, my pen ran out of ink. I didn’t want to interrupt you but you were still talking about politics or the economy or something else important, and I couldn’t take notes anymore. I started to panic a little. Without notes, I wouldn’t be able to remember anything and then I would fail the test and let you down.

After there it gets a little blurry. I vaguely remember going into some sort of kitchen looking for crayons to write with, but then I might have gone outside. Who knows? My dreams have always been wacky – I love to retell them the next day because they’re generally so ridiculous. You can ask any of your Aunts – I have the strangest dreams they’ve ever heard.

Of course, it’s no big mystery that this particular dream may have been tinged with a little bit of end-of-the-semester-exam stress, but I just remember the “missing you” part the most. I remember wondering when you grew up so fast and how you got so much smarter than me (which I fully expect to happen at some point anyways, so it’s alright). But honestly, when we go down to the beach in a couple of weeks, if you start teaching me economic theory, I will probably be too stunned to take notes. Even with crayons.

Surprisingly enough, it’s times like these when I am even more thankful for open adoption. If I decided not to go through with adoption, and I was going through finals right now, I would barely have time to say “hello” and “good-bye” to you, and I would hate that. I’ve been feeling horrible that I’ve fallen behind on your letters – I can’t imagine how horrible I’d feel if I fell behind on spending time with you. Thanks to our situation and the ever wonderful B’s, I know that while I’ve been pulling my hair out for the past two weeks, you’ve been happily watching Sesame Street and going to Discovery Kids. So amidst my exam turmoil, I find myself thankful for where you are, even if it means I miss you like crazy all the time. All I want is for you to be happy, and you are.

And also, as you may have been able to tell from my dream, I want you to be proud of me. So I am going to work extra hard on my finals and hopefully, I’ll pull through with A’s. I have the world’s best inspiration and motivation after all – my handsome Little Man. I love you so very much, and I promise to be there in 20-or-so years to call when you’re nervous about your political science or economic theory final.

Just don’t start teaching it to me until you’ve at least made it through your elementary school years. And make sure I’ve got a pen before you get started.

The Light at the End of the Tunnel

16 Apr

Hey Little Man! I hope your having a wonderful day filled with all of the things an almost-two-year-old could dream of. I am alternating between classes and the library on campus, trying desperately to finish 10-page papers, study for finals and turn in all of the other little homework in between. Every now and then I like to sleep and eat too, but those are more luxuries than they are necessities at this point. If you look back at this letter when you’re in college, I have a feeling the sympathizing will come naturally.

I just want you to know that I’m thinking about you now, like I do every day. I’m dreaming of the beach when I get to see you again and spend some real time with you and The B’s – two weeks from tomorrow! It’s the light at the end of the tunnel I like to call Finals Week. You are my light 24/7.

And no matter how many finals or papers or quizzes or exams I have to deal with, not an hour goes by that I don’t think of you and miss you and dream of seeing you. You’re on my mind and in my heart all the time, never forget it.

Wish me luck on this 10-page paper. As soon as you learn how to spell, I’ll be enlisting your help on my grad school papers. Beware.

I love you, handsome :)

My Baby Love, Oh Baby Love

15 Apr

The restaurant at my work has a motto. It goes, “Don’t drink the water at This Restaurant.” Not because there is anything wrong with the water – because ever since I started working there, there has been at least one pregnant girl working at the restaurant. Up until one of the other waitresses had her baby about a month ago, we had three pregnant employees. It’s been like that ever since you and I showed up on the scene at That Restaurant. We can only assume it’s something in the water.

The first girl who had a baby after you were born was your Aunt A, another good friend of mine. She is a total sweetheart – super nice, extraordinarily beautiful and now, one of the best moms I know. Luckily she had a little girl the December after you were born) so we didn’t have to fight over the Cutest Boy Title.

Her little girl, Zoie, is one of the happiest babies I have ever met. She loves smiling, she laughs at everything, she loves exploring, and she has no fear, kind of like you. Not to mention that she is beautiful, just like her mother.

So, I just wanted to let you know that your worries are over! You will never have problems with the ladies because your Aunt A and I have it all worked out – you’ve been promised to Zoie since before she was even born. Many a mom has tried to claim you for her daughter since then, and I tell them all that you’re already taken. Aunt A already calls you her son-in-law, and I’m super excited for Zoie to be my daughter-in-law. Even J approves :)

You finally met Zoie last Thanksgiving. You were down for a visit with The B’s and we had just gone to see some ginger bread houses. Aunt A and Zoie drove over to my parents house and you and Zoie played with a little toy kitchen together. You kept taking her pacifier and putting it in your mouth and you called her “baby” since she was smaller than you. She just kind of looked at you and smiled the whole time. We all joked that you were already a solidified couple – already “swapping spit” and calling each other “baby.” Sounds like a legitimate couple to me!

We’re hoping to get the two of you together someday soon and have J take some pictures, if for no other reason than just because it would be the cutest photo shoot ever. Even if you don’t grow up to be with Zoie, we’ll always have the pictures to make all of your other girlfriends jealous. If you find the right girl, she’ll look at the pictures and laugh and say that you and Zoie made a cute couple.

Or you could just marry Zoie and it will never be an issue :)

I love you, baby boy. I hope you’ve had a wonderful day, and I can’t wait to see you in a couple of weeks. I’m counting down!

A Letter from Dad

12 Apr

Yesterday, I got an e-mail from C. He had written me a letter – he told me that he’d been reading the letters I write to you. He reread the ones he’d already looked at, and read the new ones he missed, and they moved him, and he wanted me to know that he loved me for it. It was a nice surprise! Then, he wrote a letter to you.

Funny thing is, I was thinking about C the day before he e-mailed me. I was wondering what he was up to, where he’d been, how he was. I almost called him, but I got caught up in school work and forgot. Then I woke up yesterday morning, and I had e-mail from him. I thought to myself how it interesting it was that we were linked like that. Like I somehow thought of him strongly enough for him to feel it and respond – a cosmic connection of sorts. Then I realized our “link” isn’t so strange – it’s you. I get to keep the first love of my life in my life forever because of you. Not in the same way, but in a way that’s just as good. My first love is now my family. Not many girls get that lucky.

So, Little Man, this is a letter from your dad :)

—-

Dear Little Man…

I have so many things to say to you, so much love to give and so little space to do it all. But first I want to take a second and tell you that if you are close to Renee while reading this, hug her and give her a great big kiss on the cheek. If she’s away, doing whatever amazing things it is she does nowadays, call her and tell her you love her. She loves you more than life itself, as I’m sure you can tell from these letters. And while I know for a fact that you love her, I also know that a hug from you can make any day amazing, and who knows, she may need it today.

With that said I want to tell you I love you, more than I can show. I’m the kind of guy that might have the occasional difficulty with letting the most important people in his life know how important they are, but I never, ever, ever, ever want you to doubt the fact that I love you and am so proud of everything you are and will be.

About three months from the time I’m writing this, you will be two years old. That amazes and blesses me. It blows my mind how much you’ve grown since the first time I saw you when I visited The B’s at their home about a month after you were born. It also amazes me that as little bitty as you were, that’s the first time I remember noticing that you reminded of my Grandaddy, your Great-Grandaddy. And still there is something I see in your eyes every time that makes me think of him. Maybe it’s the way your hair grows out all curly like his, or the fact that I know how much he would love to know you and so loves you now, even though he’s gone. Sometimes I like to think that when he got to heaven, he might have seen you getting ready to come down here and smiled, knowing that you would be an answered prayer and blessing to The B’s, and a blessing in disguise to me and Renee and our families as well. We were both so scared when we found out you were on your way, but through all the tears and mountains of fear, I would never trade the life I get to have watching you grow into the man you will be for anything.

I’ve always had this crazy little dream of being a musician, and until you, that dream was all about me. But when I met you and fell in love with you, it became about you too. I wanted to achieve my dreams more than I ever had before. Maybe because I want you to be as proud that I am a part of your life as I am that you’re a part of mine, or maybe because I want the whole world to hear about you in a song someday. But I want you to know that through all the guitars I play, all the songs I write and all the shows I perform, you are always on my mind. My dream has kind of changed from being a big successful musician to one day hearing that you were riding in the car, on your way to school and you asked J or E (who both have amazing musical tastes by the way) what song that is on the radio, and they were able to say, “That’s C playing for you.” That to me would be more success than any amount of money could ever buy.

About two months ago Renee gave me a Hope Box that she painted and filled with little things. It was supposed to be a present she made for me after she found out about you, but she held on to it until this year :) Well when I got it, it was filled of things that reminded me of my dreams: guitars, big cities and great songs, but it was also filled with things that reminded me of you. I immediately added to it your little hand print from your first Christmas. About a month later you and The B’s came for a visit, and I had this pair of sunglasses that I bought in Nashville and loved. Well as soon as I picked you up to hug you that day what did you reach for? My glasses. They were bent up before anyone could even try to get them away from you, and I have never been happier. You kept giving them to me and getting me to hold them on your face because they were too big for you, and every time they fell off you would laugh that famous laugh you have. I didn’t care about the glasses – you were so happy and having so much fun with them, and so was I :) As soon as I got home that night they went in my box as a little reminder of how amazing it is to see you smile.

Well, it’s late and I have to work in the morning so I believe I’ve rambled long enough. My little “note” has turned into a book I’m afraid. I love you Little Man, more than I love myself, even more than I love music, and nothing in the universe can change that. Ever. Hug and kiss The B’s for me!

With Love Forever and Always,

C

The first time C ever saw you :)

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