Tag Archives: Special

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 It will probably be way outdated by the time you’re old enough to appreciate it (or old enough to be allowed to watch it) but I think you should check it out at some point.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.

 

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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.

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 ;)

The Best Part

5 Nov

Dear Little Man,

After attending my fourth event (and giving my second big speech) at Bethany get-togethers, I finally realized what my favorite part of the events were: after they were over.

First off, I just re-read that and it sounds rude. I promise I don’t mean it as it sounds! The food is always great, the people are amazingly nice, and the information you learn is special and irreplaceable. The only reason the ending is my favorite part is because that’s when people come up to me to tell me how much our story has touched them.

My dream has always been to inspire others — to touch someone’s life in a small way that makes a big difference. Ever since I had you, my new dream is to be great mom, even if I have to do it from a distance sometimes. But hopefully, as we both grow, I’ll inspire you a little bit, too.

But for now, I’ll just play with you at every chance I get and I’ll tell our story until I run out of people to tell it to. Because at the end of every informational meeting or banquet or fundraiser that I’ve spoken at, people catch me as I’m leaving and they say things like this:

 

“Thank you for sharing your story! It was very touching and special.”

“What an incredible journey. It’s so inspiring for those of us who want to adopt.”

“You sound like you have a very special son and adoptive family (*Renee nods her head vigorously*). It was lovely to hear about, it really boosted my spirits.”

And the best one…

“We had never considered open adoption until now. It sounds so beautiful. Thank you for sharing about it!”

 

We may not change the world, but even if our story only touched the lives of these four couples, that’s enough.

Actually, even if I just touch your life and inspire you, that will be enough for me :)

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 :)

My Little Halloween Hater

24 Feb

You hate Halloween. I expect that to change not too far down the road, but for the two Halloweens you’ve had so far, you haven’t been too happy. Of course, you looked adorable. For your first Halloween you were a little over three months old and you were a pumpkin. This past October you were a giraffe. Apparently, you cried until the pumpkin outfit was removed that first year, and if the face you were making in the picture J sent me this year was any indication, you had similar feelings about your giraffe outfit. You may not like it now, but once the concept of free candy kicks in, I think you’ll change your mind about the whole ordeal.

My favorite holiday was always Christmas. Lights, decorations, presents, time off from school, the music, the food, the smell…nothing smells better than Christmas. Everything is warm and cozy and I stay in my pajamas all day (it’s a rule in our house – Pop-Pop 3 and Grandma M do it with me). I used to wait year round for it. I still love it.

I have a new favorite holiday though. It’s called Mother’s Day. Even before it applied to me, it always seemed like a bright and sunny holiday, probably because it’s smack-dab in the middle of Spring. But recently, my perspective on it has changed, as you may have guessed. I actually got a Mother’s Day card from your Aunt S when I was pregnant. It was really neat, but also really strange – I was going to be a mom. I feel like every parent probably has the Mother’s Day/Father’s Day moment when they suddenly realize that that applies to them now. Even though you know you’re going to be a parent, it still takes you off guard a little.

I used to worry about it. I used to wonder whether it was going to be weird. How do you celebrate a holiday like that when you are mom but at the same time…you’re not? I was a little nervous about the first one, but it was all for nothing, as usual. The B’s invited me down for the weekend so I could spend the day with you. J and I got each other cards and stayed up late talking (we do that every time I stay the night…when we’re not too tired). The next day we went to a women’s luncheon with Grandma M and talked about how thankful we were for you and for each other.

Personally, I’m looking forward to the days when you start making Mother’s Day school crafts – hand-made cards, painted flower vases, drawings that are just scribbles but still mean the world to the person who receives them. I know most of them will be for J but hopefully you’ll save one for me. But I don’t love Mother’s Day because I want anything from you, or anyone else – I love it because I am reminded of how much extra love I have in my life because of you. I hope you never underestimate how special you are, because you have connected so many people and enriched so many lives. I know I’ll tell you how special you are all the time, but I will never be able to tell you enough – you’ve changed my life for the better in so many ways, if I started listing them now, I’d die of old age before I finished.

So even though on Mother’s Day, children are supposed to spend the day appreciating their moms, it’s actually a day that we spend appreciating you.

But that definitely doesn’t mean that we would turn down breakfast in bed. Not trying to hint or anything.

In Case of Spontaneous Memory Loss

21 Feb

When I turned 14, my parents birthday present to me were my baby videos on VHS (I got a cell phone too, but that’s not the moral of the story). I know it sounds anti-climactic for a teenager’s birthday present, but I was thrilled with the videos. I had only known the older me, the me I was then – I had always wanted to know what I was like as a kid. Of course, Grandma M and Pop-Pop 3 had kept very detailed photo albums, but videos are different. You get to see yourself in action, you get to witness your personality instead of hearing about it second-hand.

In my first baby video, I threw up. Everywhere. It wasn’t exactly the romantic notion of my “adorable” baby videos like I had imagined. But luckily, that one was followed by cuter ones – I remember one of me laughing in my old bedroom, and it reminds me so much of you, just laughing at absolutely nothing but finding it hilarious nonetheless. The other one I remember really well is of me using myownbaby walker (like the one I got you) to run away from my dad. I remember that Pop-Pop 3 talked to me in every video, like he was narrating my life for me since I couldn’t do it yet.

Now, since J is a photographer and E is like lightning with the video camera and I play around with both of those mediums, you are going to have a very well documented childhood. But just in case you get the “what was I like then” bug and don’t want to wait for all of us to gather the mass media we have on you, here’s the abridged version of you as a baby, my Little Man.

You’re not afraid of anything. Not dogs or stairs or falling down. You dive head-first into everything.

You’re tough. You get right back up when you take a tumble.

You’re adventurous. Everything you see that you want to know about, you find out about.

You’re a quick learner. It doesn’t take you long to pick up on something once you’ve seen or heard someone do it.

You’ve been incredibly observational since you were a baby. I used to just walk around the house with you and you’d stare wide-eyed at everything we passed, like you were just taking it all in.

You’re mischievous. You’ve got the perfect I’m-up-to-something-I-shouldn’t-be smile.

You’re the world’s biggest daddy’s boy. If E is within a mile of you, he’d better be right next to you…or else.

You’re cranky after you wake-up from a nap. I still love you, though :)

Everything Sports Man does, you want to do. It’s cute to watch. You adore him.

You want what you want. I suppose that’s a universal toddler trait, but either way – when you want something, no one is going to stop you from getting it. That’ll come in handy later on in life.

Overall, you are and always have been a very smiley little guy.

You say “cheese” whenever someone points a camera or an iPhone at you.

You blow kisses every time you say goodbye.

You can outrun me when you have the element of surprise on your side, and I jog regularly. Not okay.

You love being around people.

When you accomplish something you’ve been working at, no matter how small it is, you smile the world’s biggest smile at whoever is closest to you. Sometimes you say “yay!”

Until you started walking, you loved being held. It might have had something to do with the fact that you were never put down (I remember J saying she had to vacuum with you strapped to her chest in the Baby Bjorn), but you’ve always been incredibly huggable so that’s not our fault.

If you’ve been sitting or after you fall down, the way you stand back up is by getting on all fours, walking your hands to your feet and sticking your tiny butt straight up in the air to regain your balance before you stand again. It’s the cutest thing ever.

You’ve always had my eyes and C’s mouth. The rest of you is just…you. 100% unique.

Everyone loves your chin. I have a feeling it will remain very popular.

You exclaim, “Doggy!” anytime a dog walks past you. Even if it’s walked past you a hundred times in five minutes.

You sleep with a “lovey” at night. It’s a type of blanket. If you wake up without it, you cry.

You stick out your bottom lip when you cry really hard.

You’ve definitely got your own personality. The grins (from the cute to the mischievous), the Liam laugh, the “come and get me” looks, even the cries – they’re all one of a kind.

And one last thing you may not know about yourself, but is undoubtedly true – you are special. To so many people in so many ways, and I feel very lucky to be able to know all of the things about you that I do. I promise to continue making videos of the things I see and memories of all of the things in between.

And if you ever get a girlfriend, I reserve the right to show, read and tell her every last one.

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