Tag Archives: Missing you

It’s Been A While

22 Jun

Dear Little Man,

I haven’t written you in close to a year, give or take a month or two. Luckily, I’ve seen you — many, many more times than I’ve written to you. Up until a few weeks ago, I had four jobs and everything was busy, and I guess life just got in the way. It’s funny how we say that, if you think about it, because life can’t really get in the way of itself. It just is and you just are and things just happen. Anyhow, I’m sorry I’m behind on our documentation. I’ve missed it.

Since my last post (last August…yes I know, I’m bad at keeping up with the times) many things have happened with you.

 

    • You went to pre-school
    • You started to actually understand fantasy football (a little)
    • You taught me about Despicable Me
    • You displayed the best impression of “purple minions” I’ve ever seen
    • You had your first school picture taken (yes, I cried, and yes, it’s still on my fridge)
    • You got a fish…and decided that “feeding it” meant “dumping an entire container of fish food in the tank all at once”
    • We went apple picking together again!
    • You started talking a LOT more and I love hearing absolutely everything you have to say
    • You came over before Christmas and you and I spent 45 minutes on our own, opening up invisible presents and getting really excited about them. I would “unwrap” one and you would ask me what it was. I would say “a soccer ball!” or “a train!” or something else I thought you’d like, and you would get really excited and (coincidentally) open up the exact same invisible present. I don’t think I’ve ever had as much fun with fake presents as I did that day
    • You got to play in your first big snow, bundled up like an Eskimo
    • You went out West (before me…so jealous). Arizona has never looked cuter ;)
    • We celebrated our 3rd Mother’s Day with J (4th if you count the year you were hanging out in my belly)
    • You graduated pre-school
    • You tried to jump into a pool backwards and missed. You ended up jamming your front tooth into your gums and now you look toothless. Luckily it’s only a baby tooth anyway. But even more luckily,  J called to tell me about it the day after it happened. It made me think of how lucky I was to have found adoptive parents who know how much I care and how much I would have wanted to know something like that
    • You learned how to fish at the Outer Banks
    • You’re about to turn four

 

Lots of things have happened with me, too. They just weren’t as cute, or tiny, or blonde.

 

    • I got my first professional job tutoring children with Autism Spectrum Disorders, even though I only went in to interview for an intern position
    • The Boyfriend became The Ex. It was sad and then it was normal. Then it was freeing and now, I’m happier than ever. So is he, I hope
    • I applied to graduate school
    • My tutoring job earned me a LOT of clients because it turns out, I’m not as bad with kids as I thought I was
    • I got into graduate school everywhere I applied. And subsequently, spent a solid month trying to decide between programs
    • I wrote my first article that went viral on the internet (yay Buzzfeed!)
    • After a year with my tutoring job, I quit because I was working 70 hours a week. This was the year that I realized that no matter what cause you’re working for, there are things in life that are more important than a job
    • I cried on my last day with every client I had, because each and every one of them was incredible, and they all taught me something about life, but also about myself
    • I moved out of the first apartment I ever had on my own. I’m not going to say I teared up on my last day moving out, but I’m not prepared to deny it either
    • I celebrated my one year anniversary of graduating from college
    • I turned 23 and experienced the first surprise party that truly surprised me
    • I chose Appalachian State University for grad school. I start this August!
    • I’ve missed you every day I’m not with you. Although I suppose that’s not a new development

You turn four in a month, exactly. The changes that have occurred in the last year are a little mind blowing, so the changes that have occurred in the past four aren’t even thinkable, so I won’t even start. You are an incredible kid — with your missing teeth and zealous enthusiasm for invisible presents and preschool genius. I am lucky to call you mine. I am lucky to call you ours. And I can’t wait until I see you next.

Thinking about you always.

I love you,
Nay Nay

This past November when you came up after Thanksgiving :)

This past November when you came up after Thanksgiving :)

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Christmas Card Worthy

23 Dec

Christmas Photo Shoot

I took a little photo shoot during our Christmas visit the other day. If I sent out Christmas cards, these are the photos I would choose. I think we’re awfully good looking, don’t you?

I love you, my little partner in crime. There’s nothing quite as fun as being goofy with you :)

Beauty in the Breakdown

18 Dec

Dear Little Man,

One thing that you will someday learn — as unfortunate as that may be — is that news of a tragedy spreads like wildfire. With today’s social media craze, it takes milliseconds to share news of any kind. I heard about a recent tragedy around midday last Friday, December 14th. I logged onto Facebook for fun, read a few vague but concerning posts and gathered enough info to learn that it had been a school shooting. A quick Google search told me the rest. Shooting at an elementary school in Connecticut. Twenty-six dead, twenty of them children. All of those children were younger than Sports Man is now.

And then, I did what every other parent in the country did: I thought of my own child.  The light of my life, the sunshine in my heart, the force behind my continued existence. I thought of you, Liam. Without you, I would have nothing. That’s the magic (and the terror) behind having kids…you’ve lived your entire life without them and as soon as you have one, you’re not sure how you ever functioned before they were around.

There is a quote that I thought of in the aftermath of that sad, sad day. It goes like this:

“Making the decision to have a child is momentous. It is to decide forever to have your heart go walking around outside your body.”

Right now, there are 20 sets of parents in Connecticut who have lost their hearts, and the hearts of people around the world break for them. I know mine did. My heart broke for those poor parents because I thought of you, and I wondered how in the world I could be expected to go on living if you couldn’t. In all of the details and press releases I’ve read about the children who died, it’s been mostly aunts or uncles or grandparents who comment. I can’t help but think that’s because the parents just don’t have the words yet. How could they? It can’t seem possible yet.

All of those Connecticut parents — or any parent who has survived the loss of a child — is a miraculous sort of hero to me. I imagine that they possess a type of strength that is simply indescribable in its vastness and its depth.  It must be, to be able to survive something like that.

Without you, my beautiful boy, I would disintegrate, and nothing would console me. Everyone always says, “Our hearts go out to the victims,” but what does that even mean? In all honesty, it probably doesn’t mean much at this point. Those 20 sets of parents, that entire town is so enveloped in grief, it must be hard to see outside of it. But now I know what it means, because if I could give part of my heart to another mother who has lost her own, I would. I wish I could.

But you are my heart. You are walking around outside my body and it has never been scarier than it is right now. I have never imagined losing you and suddenly, that fear is not only haunting my nightmares, but my news-feed as well. That Friday, I read about those poor children and the teachers who died to protect them, and I cried. Being separated from you hadn’t hurt that much since the first few months after you were born. For the first time in a long time, I hated that you were two hours away. It usually seems so short but last Friday, it felt like too much distance to bear.

So I texted J. I texted her and I told her to give you extra kisses and hugs from me, from your Nay-Nay. And then she sent me this:

Sleeping Baby

You were sleeping peacefully in your car seat, tired after a morning of Christmas shopping. I have never been so grateful to see a picture of you. I just needed to see you, to look at your face, and somehow, J knew that. I ended up telling her about the Connecticut tragedy shortly after (she hadn’t heard yet). I have no doubt that her heart was heavy with prayers as she sent Sports Man off to school yesterday morning.

Not truly being able to “raise” you, I’ve never thought of myself as the “traditional parent,” though I certainly think of myself as a mother. But this past Friday, I joined the ranks of parents all over the world, as our thoughts immediately went to our sons and daughters, no matter their age. Last Friday, we cried for our own children, along with the 20 that were lost that day…their light, love and potential taken so much sooner than it should have been.

I know I’ve said it a million times, but I’m going to say it a billion more, including now: I love you, Liam Hudson. I love you with my whole heart, with my whole soul, with everything I have. Your life will forever mean more to me than my own. I could not be more grateful for your existence or for the wonderful family you that surrounds you.

I’ll love you forever,
I’ll like you for always,
As long as I’m living,
My baby you’ll be.”

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.

Adoption is Everywhere

13 Nov

Dear Little Man,

I’m going to share a secret of mine with you. That secret is that I dream about being pregnant again someday.

In my actual dreams, I’m generally terrified of pregnancy and, in dream world, I find myself thinking, “I’m pregnant again? Oh my, I wonder if The B’s will raise this one for me, like they did Liam…” So, so, so weird. I’m generally thrilled to wake up and realize it was a dream because I has such a difficult time going through with placing you…I’m not sure I could do it again.

But during my waking hours, sometimes I think about having a baby when I’m ready for one. I love you so very much…in that “beyond words” kind of way…and I hope to be able to someday have a little half-brother or -sister for you to meet, that I can love just as much. I never thought I wanted kids, but once I discovered I was carrying you, I realized that I wanted nothing more than to be the best mother I possibly could. Hopefully I will be able to be that mother someday. Hopefully you think I am that mother today.

Yesterday evening, Miss Manhattan (one of your many aunts, a fellow blogger with a wonderful site, and one of my oldest friends) sent me a link to a blog called Arielle Elise. This blog is mostly (beautiful!) photography, but this particular post was about a couple going through an adoption in Uganda.

In my many talks/discussions/speeches given at Bethany functions, I have heard a few stories of international adoption, though most of the ones I’ve heard have been from Asia. Though I don’t know much about international adoption (I am studying it!), I still love that adoption spreads its influence so widely. The love that adoption encompasses can span oceans…how beautiful is that?

The couple featured in the Arielle Elise post are twenty-somethings, married for 5+ years and in the process of adopting their own Little Man from Africa. Their photos are all about them and love and how love creates family (oh how I can attest to that!) Their blog, This Beautiful Truth, follows an incredible, emotional journey through adoption and their daily lives. Like one of my favorite bloggers, Infertility Awakening, these journeys fascinate me. People who have the hearts and souls for adoption never fail to astound me with their openness and their love. I always find them to be very brave, courageous people who have decided to open their hearts and look on the bright side of life…just like The B’s!

I love sharing stories of people like this, mostly because I feel that somehow, we’re all connected through this adoption experience. Birth mothers, adoptive families, adopted children…though we’re all different a spread far and wide, I somehow feel like we’re all connected at the core. I get to share our story and other couples and birth mothers get to share theirs and together, we form this network, this collaboration of people who want nothing more than to love their children and families as much as humanly possible.

And I understand. Though I am the birth mother rather than the adoptive mother, I think I get it, or part of it at least. I understand that longing to be a mother, to create a family, to want to share your love with a child you have the privilege of calling your own. Though I certainly can’t empathize with the frustrating, upsetting, sometimes devastating effects of infertility, I think I realize the desire that drives it. The desire to hear someone call you “mom.” It sounds like a small thing, but it means something so much bigger to so many people.

And that’s why I still have my dream. My dream of being “mom.” That’s why. someday, I’d like to give you those half-sibling(s) that call me “mother.” It’s a small thing, but that tiny act of love can fill a heart to the point of bursting. I would know. That’s what I feel every time you call me “Nay-Nay.” It may not be “mom” outright, but I cherish it as though it were. Because though you may not call me your mother, I will forever call you my son and I will be proud. That’s just how love works.

So enjoy this tiny piece of your expansive network, Little Man. I hope you enjoy reading the stories of this family as much as I enjoy telling the stories of my own little boy, my shining star, my bright light at the end of all of my dark tunnels.

That would be YOU, in case you were wondering ;)

Funny Faces

1 Nov

 

You make some great faces. Ever since day one, you have been Mr. Personality and you’ve never been afraid to show it. But on this monumental day, I have to say a new face has taken first place in my book: this one!

I love this face because it’s funny. I love it because it has attitude. I love it because it’s so you. But I also love it because it’s my face. Literally days before J took and posted this picture, I was talking to The Boyfriend about how I make that face. When I make it, it’s generally saying, “Seriously?” or “I’m humoring you but also rolling my eyes just a little bit.” I’m guessing your face is saying, “I’m busy strutting my stuff in this pumpkin patch and I don’t have time for your shenanigans.”

Someday, I’m sure you’ll make this face to me. Maybe I’ll make it right back at you, but it’s more likely that I’ll think back to this moment and laugh. Partially because it’s just funny to see this much attitude coming from a two-year-old, but also because it is one of the first times I’ve truly seen my face in yours.

Gotcha Day

3 Aug

Two years ago today, you were adopted. The B’s call it Gotcha Day. I think that’s adorable.

The day itself wasn’t as bad as I thought it would be. There was an official ceremony at the adoption agency and everyone was there — me, Pop Pop, Grandma M, Aunt S, The B’s (I finally got to meet Sports Man that day — Happy Second Anniversary of Knowing You, Sports Man!) and your foster family whom we all still love dearly and talk to frequently. There was also cake (not a terribly important detail, but it was delicious). The B’s had to sign their half of the paperwork and that day, you became theirs.

The wonderful thing? That was the day I became theirs too :)

We all became each others family. It’s been two years of tears and adjusting and overwhelming love and getting to know each other and learning new things and becoming sisters and brothers and daughters and mothers and friends. If it were possible for me to be any more thankful, I might try. But I feel so fulfilled, I truly don’t believe it could be any better than it is.

All because of you, Little Man. All of this — this family, this love, these lives that you have completed — is all because you exist. You are beautiful. You are incredible. You are a miracle. You are everything everyone needed. You brought us together. You are my angel for that, and so many other reasons.

So Happy Gotcha Day!

Happy Family Day

Happy Anniversary

Happy Day-You-Met-The-B’s

Happy Day-Renee-Got-the-Sister-She’d-Always-Wanted

Happy You-Are-Not-Alone Day

Happy Day-We-Started-The-Best-Adventure

Happy Beginning-of-a-Wonderful-Journey-Day

Happy First-Day-of-the-Rest-of-My-Life

Happy, happy, happy day. What a beautiful thing it’s turned out to be.

My Family. I Gotcha <3

Mama’s Makin’ a Change

30 Jul

This summer, I’ve been interning. It’s one of those lovely things you do to try to integrate yourself from college-world to real-world (not MTV style. Also while, we’re on the subject, never watch The Real World. Ever.)

During this wonderful, amazing, incredible experience of interning, I’ve been doing a lot of research — one of the many tasks I’ve been given. And the cool thing about this research is that a lot of it is researching blogs. Lots of parenting blogs to be exact. It’s been eye opening, let me tell you. Everyone has a different style. Everyone has a different voice.  Lots of people have some seriously cool photos. Some people have interesting advice while others have humorous anecdotes. But all of the blogs are about the people who write them, the people they love and the people who read them.

That last sentence probably shouldn’t be an earth-shattering realization. But it kind of was (no judging my slow uptake…you may seem on top of things at the age of two, but you probably inherited it). So, after coming to my not-so-novel conclusion, I’ve decided that I’m going to be adding something to your letters — a little bit more of me.

I started these letters because I didn’t want you to go through a single day wondering whether or not I loved you. It’s a common birth mom fear…that as you grow, our choice will seem less like a sacrifice (which it is…wow, let me tell you) and more like “giving up.” And the last thing I would ever want you — my sweet, gorgeous, incredible baby boy — to think is that I gave up on you. I never have and I never, ever will. I love you entirely too much. While you may no longer be literally linked to me, my lifeline is intertwined with yours; what hurts you, hurts me and what makes you smile, makes me the happiest girl in the world.

But I also want you to know me. And every now and then, I just want to talk to you about what’s going on and what I’m doing and how I feel and why it makes me think of you, or how I wish you were here to see something I really want to show you. But I generally don’t, because I think to myself, “That’s not the point of the letters. These are about him, not you.”

But then I realized you are 50% me, and that maybe one day — if I’m lucky — you’d really want to know me.

I also realized that I am the writer, and you are who I love and the people who read about us are the people that love and adore us both (well, maybe just you. You’re more photogenic and you’ve got the whole “I’m-a-baby-and-therefore-automatically-adorable” thing going for you). And since these are my letters to you, I can put in them whatever I’d like. And what I’d like is for you to really know me, as deeply and as much as you can, because that’s how I plan on knowing you: wholly, completely, entirely, truly.

So just a heads up, you’re going to get to know me very well. I’m determined. I’m also very talkative and thoroughly enjoy talking to people who have yet to develop the ability to tell me to shush.

A.k.a you :)

I love you. Thinking of you always.

Why yes, I’d love to hold you :) anytime.

We’re so gonna be BFFs. I can tell.

You got a kick out of spraying me with water. It was adorable. Also, when did you learn how to aim accurately?

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

I’m a Comin’!

16 Jul

The official statistics are in. It’s been

– 73 days since I saw you last (Boo!)

 

Which is

– 73 days longer than I like to go without seeing you

 

But now we have

– Six days until your second birthday

Four days until I see you

– Three days until I fly down there

 

Not that I’m counting.

 

But maybe I’m not the only impatient one…

So I have decided that this video (thank you E!) means that you’ve just been missing me like crazy and you can’t wait to see me again. Don’t worry buddy…I understand the feeling :)

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