Tag Archives: Happy

Happy Mother’s Day!

12 May

Dear Little Man,

I know it’s been a while, but I could think of no better day than Mother’s Day to reconnect with you and Letters to Little Man. Yesterday, after a crazy busy school year (as you might have noticed due to your lack of letters) I graduated from college with a Bachelor’s degree and you and The B’s were there to cheer me on (more on that later!). I spent the rest of the day goofing around with you, watching you play, listening to you laugh, feeding you strawberries and giving you hugs and kisses and high fives. Just in time for Mother’s Day :)

I hope you know that nothing has made me happier in life (not even my brand new Bachelor’s Degree) than bringing you into this world. You are and will forever be the best thing I have ever done. It may be Mother’s Day, but you’re the one I’m celebrating. I love you, Liam. You will be my Little Man forever and always.

My Main Man

Laughing!

Goof Ball

Silly Boy, Grad Cap

Cute Couple

Cute couple, huh? :)

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Dirt for Dinner?

26 Nov

Dear Little Man,

I hope you had a wonderful holiday! This past Thursday was Thanksgiving, and on that lovely holiday I reminisced on how thankful I was for you. Your existence was and always will be my own little miracle. Though I’m thankful for you every day I was reallllly thankful this past Friday because I got to see you!

You and The B’s came down to The Boyfriend’s farm in North Carolina and our families spent the day together. There was a tractor so you were all set for most of the visit, but I was able to tear you away to play catch with one of the dogs when you first got there. You actually spent most of the day with Pop Pop, and if you weren’t with him, you were asking for him. He was definitely the favorite on this trip. You wanted him around for everything. It was actually pretty adorable.

However, during the few minutes I was able to get you off the tractor, The Boyfriend and I took you to play in some dirt flats out by their driveway. You had a ball — you were picking up the dirt and watching it sift through your fingers, totally fascinated by how it felt, your little face screwed up in concentration as you tried to figure out why you couldn’t keep a hold of it. It was one of those “little kid moments” that adults witness and it makes them pause for a minute. And as we watch how filled with wonder our children are at the small things in life, we smile and realize how the small things really are what matter the most sometimes and how the world is filled with magic in places that we’ve forgotten to look as we’ve aged. I was having one of those moments as I wanted you dig your little hands into the dirt.

And then you ate it.

The magic was pretty much gone after that, but it was replaced by laughter and a familiar fondness that I’ve always had for your adorable quirks. You seemed pretty surprised that the dirt tasted bad…or maybe it tasted great and it was just the texture that threw you off. Either way, you made one of your ever entertaining funny faces and The Boyfriend helped you get the dirt out of your mouth.

I fed you some ham later. You had a better reaction to eating that.

But I just wanted to remind you that I am always, always, always thankful for you and your existence. You are the smile on my face and the warmth in my heart and I am thankful every day that I get to write letters to someone I love as much as you.

xoxoxo

The One with the Lucky Baby

19 Nov

Dear Little Man,

One of my favorite TV shows when I was growing up (and now) is called Friends. Recently I got my hands on the DVD seasons (it ended in 2004) and I’m re-watching them all. It’s a funny sitcom-type show about six friends (three boys, three girls) who go through all of their ups and downs together, but no matter what, they are always there for one another.

Now — following that description — it is a sweet show with some truly tender, genuine moments…but mostly it’s just really, really funny. It will probably be way outdated by the time you’re old enough to appreciate it (or old enough to be allowed to watch it) but I think you should check it out at some point. If you turn out to be anything like me, you’ll certainly relate to the humor :)

Now in the first season of Friends, there’s a weird dynamic between Ross (one of the main characters) and his ex-wife Carol. As it turns out, Carol’s romantic interests were not…how should I put this…male-oriented. However, before Carol discovered this, she and Ross created a baby boy. By the time the baby was born, Carol was with her new life partner, Susan.

But Susan and Ross didn’t get along so well, especially when it came to the baby. Ross was technically the father, but Susan wanted the baby to recognize her as a parent as well. She and Ross would argue all the time about who would get to see the baby more and hold the baby more and love the baby more. Finally, at the hospital on the day that the baby was born, Ross’s friend Phoebe was listening to Ross and Susan fight over this little guy, when Phoebe said this:

“When I was growing up, my dad left and my mother died and my stepfather went to jail, so I barely had enough pieces of parents to make one whole one. But here’s this little baby who has three whole parents who care about it so much, they’re fighting over who gets to love it the most, and it’s not even born yet. It’s the luckiest baby in the whole world.”

That quote had me riveted. Of course, years ago when I first saw this episode it didn’t mean much to me, but now that I’m older…and now that I have you…I have a new appreciation for what Phoebe said. While no one has ever fought over who gets to love you the most — I think The B’s and I (along with my family and friends) share that job incredibly well — I hope that one day, you feel like the luckiest kid in the world. The baby in Friends (who they ended up naming Ben, by the way) had the love of three parents. But you have four — two moms, two dads, not to mention four sets of grandparents, and I don’t even want to go into how many aunts, uncles and cousins you have.

But I can tell you right now that, just like Baby Ben, we were all madly in love with you before you were even born. And our love grows as you do…it just keeps getting bigger and bigger every single day.

 

Mama, Her iPhone and Her Man

16 Nov

Yesterday, I finally got an iPhone! We’ll probably be on the iPhone 18 or 19 by the time you’re old enough to own a cell phone, but as of right now, I’m super pumped.

But more importantly, I just wanted you to see my background photo:

Or more clearly…

My handsome man!  It’s a wonderful photo to see on a daily basis, don’t you think? :)

It’s Just You & Me, Kid

14 Nov

Dear Little Man,

Now quite obviously, it’s not just you and me. Even when I was pregnant and it really was just you and me, it was also you, me and my gynecologist. Then it was you, me and the ultrasound tech (who got to know me realllly well). Then it was you, me and an entire medical team on the maternity ward.

Then it was you, me and The B’s, and the rest is history!

However, a few days ago I was revamping my Letters to Little Man site. There were places where it still said I was 20 and I was boasting about how you could recite the ABC’s. I turned 21 in May and you can practically read now, so yes…updating was needed. So I changed some descriptions, added a few things here and there and lastly, I changed the pictures. You especially have a tendency to change rapidly as you grow, but luckily, J is on top of taking pictures as always, so there’s no excuse to have a photo of you that is a year old.

I went to change my photo too. Though I don’t change as much or as frequently as you do (wait, that’s a lie. I just got bangs for the first time in 3 years), I figured it couldn’t hurt to update my photo as well. So off I went, hunting through my most recent Facebook pictures for one that would be suitable for the blogosphere.

Though I wanted one of just me for the “Meet Renee” section, I also thought it would be super neat to have a few pictures of us together. I began the Facebook hunt again. Only this time, I found photo and photo after photo of you and I together. I’m generally so preoccupied with getting great shots of just you, that I truly failed to realize that there are a lot of pictures of us.

So alllll of those photos, paired with my natural inability to make decisions, has resulted in way too many pictures to post in the Meet Renee section. However, there is no such thing as too many photos for a letter to my Little Man :)

Technically one of our first pictures together. Technically.

Definitely our first picture together. You look so happy…

One of my favorite hospital shots!

A little over a week old. This was at Bethany during the interim period.

Exactly one month old! Oh, I miss your itsy bitsy days…

This was on a trip we took to an apple orchard with The B’s when you were 2 months old. Hey there, chunky legs ;)

At Sports Man’s 7th birthday party. You fell asleep in my arms. Then, you started falling OUT of my arms.

And so the hilarity of your expressions begins…

I could never resist giving you kisses. It’s a good thing too because now you’re moving too fast for me to even catch you to give you one!

You and I around your six-month birthday!

A Valentine’s Day visit at Grandma M and Pop-Pop’s house!

This was around the time you discovered you had a tongue. Apparently it was fascinating.

You were suuuper sick this day, but we still smiled together :)

Smoochin’ on you before our first Mother’s Day!

A perfect display of how happy you make me :) This photo is in your nursery!

This was the morning of our first Mother’s Day! J and I went to a “girls” luncheon to celebrate together. I’ll remember that day forever.

A month or so before your first birthday. This was probably the last time you ever sat still for a picture ;)

Little Man turns ONE! This was taken at your “little man themed” party. I got to celebrate the whole weekend with you!

This probably won’t be the last time you get exasperated with me. It also probably won’t be the last time I find it funny.

I would follow you anywhere :)

This past March, right after St. Patrick’s Day. J brought her camera on a visit and we had a little photo shoot! I think we’re applauding your cuteness ;)

You + Me + The B’s + Grandma M + Pop Pop + Aunt S = BEACH TRIP! We went to the Isle of Palms and hung out together for a few days. We even spent a day in Charleston which was funny because the last time I had been there, I was pregnant with you :)

At your second birthday party (time flies!!). Your hand was alllll the way in that cow’s mouth. All. The. Way. Giving mommy a heart attack? Yes.

The same weekend as you second birthday. You and I played in the hose for a while. We got soaked and it was lovely :)

I love every single photo we get together, but not just because you’re incredibly photogenic. I love our photos for the simple reason that we get to take them together. Adoption didn’t split us up, it didn’t cause me to miss out, it hasn’t separated us in any way except literal distance. The fact that I got to be around for all of this stuff — holding you at Sports Man’s party, spending Mother’s Day with you, giving you kisses and spending birthdays playing with you — it’s the part of adoption that I love the most. It’s part of the reason why I will love and owe The B’s forever, and it’s definitely the reason we will grow up knowing one another.

I cherish these photos. The silly, the blurry, the candid, the posed, the goofy the smiley, the serious and the fun. We’re creating a history together, you and me. And I hope that one day, you cherish them as much as I do.

Your Second Birthday Pictures

12 Nov

Dear Little Man,

Today I realized that in a little over two months, you will be two-and-a-half. Almost half a year has passed since you turned two which is nuts since I feel like you were born yesterday. But what is also nuts is that you turned two in July and it is now November and no practically no birthday pictures have been posted (except for a few from the day after and a few that J took during your birthday safari ride!). And since I’m in a particularly picture-y mood today, I have decided that I am going to remedy that lack of photos riiiiiiight…

NOW. :)

(Forgive the quality…some of these are still shots taken from a video.)

J’s creative genius shining through yet again :)

The cupcakes on the table were delicious. I had two :)
Plus three. Shhh.

Bubble blowing…your favorite :)

Eating the bubble blowing stick…your second favorite.

Running to Pop-Pop at your party. I’m pretty sure it made his day :)

The “B” Air Hockey Team!

You make me giggle :)

Trying to catch the water. Solid effort.

You LOVED that hose. And you also got soaked.

Thirsty? You certainly were… :)

Spraying The Boyfriend after he squirted you with a toy. I am SO proud.

Luckily, you didn’t take revenge on me like you did on The Boyfriend…

E grilling up some burgers…and being a good sport while I filmed him :)

Um, DELICIOUS.

Blowing bubbles with me!

Another reason for your Super Cool Kid status: you fist bump.

Your new “trator” :) you still ride that thing around. Steering is still a mystery, but I think we’re getting there…

Sports Man teaching you how to drive. I see this happening again in about 14 years…

A travel size Little Man. This was my ploy to bring you back to New York with me ;)

You are an awesome high-fiver. The Boyfriend got a kick out of it.

Ohhh, that smile…

You can almost hold an aluminum baseball bat! Sort of…kind of…I love this photo anyways :)

Hitting a baseball with a bat, golf-style. I think I fell even more in love with both of you that day :)

Giving you tips, working on your game, you know…normal “guy talk.”

Again with the world’s best facial expressions…

Giggling with my guy :)

I love this look! And you :)

I can’t wait until our next weekend-long adventure. Although the outdoor water activities might have to wait until the spring. I have no doubt we will find entertainment elsewhere :) Two-and-a-half year olds are surprisingly good at creating entertainment out of nothing…

xoxoxo

 

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Name That Look!

4 Nov

Dear Little Man,

As you may have been able to tell throughout your letters, your facial expressions are famous. And since I post about them regularly, The B’s know that I love your funny faces.

So the other day when E sent me a picture of you, we didn’t just laugh about another famous Little Man face. We turned it into a game :) Check out this conversation…

 

 

E: Can you tell me what this face says?

Me: Haha! It either says “Check out THIS cool kid driving the tractor” or “Excuuuse me, Dad. No taking pictures while I’m operating heavy machinery.”

E: I think more of the latter…”I’m going to be doing this for the next hour at least, so you should find yourself something else to do and leave me alone.”

Me: Haha yes! Well he is awfully busy and important in the tractor world after all…

 

We love you :) so very,very much.

The Audience in Their Underwear

21 Oct

“I feel like I should make one of those ‘imagine-the-audience-in-their-underwear’ jokes, but I feel like that might be mildly inappropriate.”

That is what I opened with at my banquet speech Friday night. That was the first thing I said. Yep. My opening line was about underwear.

When I think about it, I have an image of the real me on stage actually saying it, but I also see an imaginary, invisible me trying to catch the words as they come out of my mouth and shove them back in, silently whispering, “Oh my God! Shut up!”

I’ll defend myself by saying that this banquet hall was packed. One-hundred-and-fifty people, easily, all affiliated with Bethany Christian Services (the adoption agency I worked with), all staring eagerly up at me. I honestly don’t mind speaking in front of people, especially when I’m speaking about a topic that I’m passionate about (like you!), but that doesn’t stop me from getting nervous (and making bad underwear jokes). Likewise, being nervous doesn’t stop me from talking about the things I believe are important — and raising awareness about open adoption is certainly one of those things.

I love telling our story. I love telling the part where it was just you and me and those seven months we spent growing together. I love telling the part where The B’s and I met and how we came together as a family. I even like telling the parts that were difficult for me: having to sign the adoption papers, trudging through those ten days, and missing you all the time.

But my favorite part of telling our story is seeing the looks on the faces of others as I tell them about the relationship I’ve had with The B’s since the adoption became official. They all look a little…stunned. Wide eyes that look a little incredulous, even a few dropped jaws here and there. But they’re stunned in a happy kind of way: Like they didn’t know that adoption stories could turn out that wonderfully, or like they’re thrilled to hear that happy endings aren’t just for the movies.

I love seeing that look because I know that there is one more person out there who knows that adoption has changed people’s lives for the better. When I hear about adoption in my classes at school (if I hear about it at all, which is rare), the only things I hear are negative: negative impacts on the child as they grow up, negative impacts on the birth mother after her child is gone, abuse, neglect…the list goes on. And the sad part is that they’re not entirely wrong. In some cases, things end up that way: bad families, damaged children, etc. But that’s why I feel it is so important to share our story. Because if awareness is raised and optimism is spread, maybe the stigma can be lifted and people can learn about how openness can really change everything.

I know I always say that you are my inspiration, but I really mean it. The reason I love to do these talks and give these speeches and attend these banquets and info meetings and fundraisers is because I have you. You are a miracle, but not just my miracle. You’re a miracle for The B’s and their friends and family, too. Your existence has brought so many people together which, in turn, has spread so much love and happiness…how can anybody not want to share that? Personally, I like to sing your praises from the rooftops (or through social media, the new age “rooftop”) and judging by the great feedback I got on Friday after the rest of my speech, maybe your story will become someone else’s miracle too.

But hopefully, when that person retells the story I told them — about you and me and the wonderful family I found in The B’s and through open adoption — they’ll leave out the part about the underwear.

Riding in Cars with Boys

21 Aug

You soooo don’t want to know this (I have future visions of you plugging your ears and singing, “la la la la la” every time I bring it up), but I’m going to tell you anyways. I’m telling you this info partly in the spirit of full disclosure and partly because it was a highly educational experience.

Mama’s got a boyfriend. He’s caring and respectful and stable and handsome and he makes me ridiculously happy and I’ll stop being gushy now. Let’s put our creative powers to work and call him…The Boyfriend.

You’ve met him twice. He was nervous at first — I kept having to remind him that you were two and probably wouldn’t remember if his first impression totally sucked. But you two took took each other, and the fact that he cared about a toddler’s first impression of him was adorable. He helped you play baseball and tossed the football with you and dunked you in a giant tub of water at Grandma M and Pop Pop’s house. Also, he bought you a “bubble gun” for your birthday. Automatic win, I know.

A few days after I returned from my summer internship in New York with NBC, he took me to the beach. Yaaaay five hour road trip. But I’ve always been a fan of road trips and The Boyfriend has a good CD collection, so I was ready to spend a good ol’ five hours jamming to music (yes, I jam) and talking to my guy. We get along unbelievably well and I figured we’d just talk, talk, talk until the beach showed up on the horizon.

Except for here’s something I learned about riding places with boys for extended periods of time: they don’t talk in cars. Boys are perfectly content with silence. Well, music and silence. After road trips full of girls and chatting and rolling the windows down and more chatting followed by obnoxiously singing along to Prince or “Baby Got Back” (I know every word and I’m really proud), “quiet” was a new concept. One that didn’t last too long either because I decided that this whole “quietly observing the rolling countryside in peace” thing was highly overrated. But there was relative quiet for at least two-ish hours. I mean, I actually twiddled my thumbs in the car at one point. Literal thumb twiddling. Sad face.

Once I brought it up to The Boyfriend when we finally reached the beach, he laughed (because my neuroses are so adorable) and said guys would be guys. And then I tried to dunk him in the ocean. That’s unrelated to the story, but it was fun.

But sometimes I look at The Boyfriend and I think of you. Not because you look alike, but because one day you will be a taller-than-me, probably-still-blonde, hunky 23-year old. You will probably jam out to music and not talk unless spoken to. Maybe you’ll even fall in love when you’re 30…or older…and you’ll take her to the beach. But it’s instances like that with The Boyfriend that remind me just how much I have to learn about boys. It’s a lot. A whoooole lot to learn. I truly know nothing about boys — having you has been a learn-as-you-go experience. I’ve still got a ways to go knowledge-wise, but I have a feeling you’ll be a wonderful teacher.

On the bright side, at least I’ll know that when you and I go on road trips together and it gets quiet, you’re not giving me the silent treatment.

The Boyfriend helping you into the swing!

You are SO my kid.

This photo does a heart-melty thing to me.

The ultimate reason why you like him ;)

The Adoption Papers

24 Jul

Two years ago today, I signed your adoption papers.

It was my last day in the hospital. You were born on a Thursday and I’d spent all day Friday with you, but Saturday, we had to go. My social worker from the adoption agency was there, along with the hospital social worker, the interim care mom, and Pop-Pop and Grandma M.

I’d seen the papers before —  my social worker had shown them to me in one of the many meetings I had with her before you were born. She wanted me to get acquainted with them, read them over, know where I would sign and what exactly I was signing. I hated those papers. It felt like signing a document that said, “Yes, sure, take my child away from me.” In the back of your mind and at the bottom of your heart you know that you’re doing it because it’s what’s best, but at the time, it just feels so wrong.

I hadn’t let you out of my sight since you were born. From the moment I saw you, I never wanted to stop looking at you. You were perfect, this little miracle that I had somehow managed to create, and I was just in awe of you. We had visitors — Aunt S, Uncle J, even your Godmother’s mom stopped in to say hi. Looking back, it’s a miracle they got to hold you. I’m surprised I let you out of my arms even for a second. But out of my sight? Not a chance. If I only had a couple of days where you were 100% completely and truly mine, I was going to keep you with me the whole time. You are an excellent snuggle buddy, by the way.

But when it came time to sign papers and make everything official, I really refused to let you go. I held you the whole time, signing my name where I was supposed to, giving you kisses every spare second I could, mostly crying the whole time. I felt like I was just…letting you go, and it was the worst feeling in the whole world, only rivaled in intensity by the following few days during which I became a total recluse, cried all the time and probably scared the daylights out of The B’s by being totally incommunicado. But it all started with those papers, signed two years ago today. I’ll never forget it.

But the beauty behind all of that pain two years ago is that two days ago, I was busy playing with you. Over the weekend we devised a new game that you call “Rock:” it mostly just involved me rocking your stuffed animals in a glider while you laughed and watched from your crib (did I mention that you are easily entertained?). The beauty is that two years later, you know my name and we play games and we laugh together. The beauty is that I have an entirely new extended family that I love being a part of, a family brought together by your ever-wonderful existence. We’re all intertwined, forever a part of one another’s lives. I hated those papers at the time, but I will be forever thankful for what they brought me.

Especially because they brought me things like this:

Drinking out of the hose with you!

Just takin’ an outdoor shower ;)

With our families on your birthday tractor ride!

Yes, your hand was in that cow’s mouth…

…but you thought it was the coolest thing ever.
Photos by J

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