Tag Archives: Teaching

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 It will probably be way outdated by the time you’re old enough to appreciate it (or old enough to be allowed to watch it) but I think you should check it out at some point.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

15 Nov

When J and I first met, we clicked on a lot of things:

– We both love Jane Austen and LOVE the movie Pride and Prejudice (yes, we’re girls. Indulge us.)

– We both use Jergens Healthy Glow tanning lotion in the summer because J burns and I just like to tell people I spent the summer in Aruba or somewhere exotic

–  We were both pregnancy book nerds — she read What To Expect When You’re Expecting from cover to cover when she was carrying Sports Man, and I hit Barnes and Noble less than a week after I found out about you.

However, one of the other things we discovered we had in common was dance. I played tons of sports in elementary school, but once I got older (and got braces…and terrified Pop Pop by getting hit in the mouth one too many times…), I took up modern dance and ballet instead. I danced all through middle school into high school and once I hit college I took up ballroom dancing and a teeeeny bit of contra dancing. I was never quite as flexible as I wanted to be, but oh it was fun! It was nice to find out that J and I shared such a passion.

But do you know what’s better than finding out we shared that passion? Discovering that we both passed that passion to youAnd thanks to J’s lighting fast iPhone filming skills, we have proof that you will probably hate us for in 10-12 or so years. And may I just say, you have incredible, prodigious skill. It’s overwhelming. You even pose like Michael Jackson. Next time we’ll get you gloves and you can do the moon dance.

But for now, it’s just another thing that J and I can commiserate over :) P.S. — The thing you do with your legs at the end is my favorite.

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 ;)

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?

Dream Come True

6 Jul

 

 

You love Elmo. You love Elmo more than you love me, I’m pretty sure. And I’m okay with that because he’s adorable and he comes up with very creative ways to sing the ABC’s. But the moral of the story is that Elmo is to you what Minnie Mouse was to me when I was little: your animated hero. Just a few weeks ago, you got to go to Sesame Place and meet him! J said you were just giddy with excitement (there’s a video…I’m almost more excited to see it than you were to meet Elmo).

I hope you’re having a wonderful Friday! Exactly two weeks until I see you again! :)

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.

Team Effort: The Boys of The B’s

23 Mar

There are times when you are just so cute, I can hardly stand it. You’ll say something new or do something funny or sweet and I literally won’t know what to do with myself other than break into a huge smile, squeal like a little girl and then tell everyone I know. If there is anyone in the world with the power to make me smile no matter what my mood is, it’s you.

Whenever I’m down, I just go through the many videos I have on you – ones I’ve taken myself, ones I’ve gotten from E, ones J has put on Facebook – and I find myself laughing and happy again. It’s times like that when I feel like I love you so much, it might not be containable. I think it’s the one and only time a heart could explode and it could be a good thing.

Well I found myself laughing and happy this morning when I woke up and checked my e-mails to find that I had received a couple of new videos from E. Apparently, Sports Man took it upon himself to teach you your first shape: the triangle. You seemed to pick up on it pretty fast – you call it a “tangle,” and E had the wonderful presence of mind to capture it on video. It’s adorable. I did my squealing-like-a-little-girl thing this morning and I’m still wearing a huge smile because of it. Now comes the part where I tell everyone I know. Or should I say, show everyone I know.

A big thank you to The Boys of The B’s – you for being you, Sports Man for being a wonderful teacher and E for sharing these fantastic, tiny moments of your life with me. You guys make quite the team :)

The Teacher and the Student

20 Feb

Do you remember me mentioning “The Handbook?” It’s how my parents always used to explain why they did what they did when it came to me…it was “in the parenting handbook.”

Now as we’ve discussed, you did not actually come with a handbook or any other kind of cheat sheet. But before I had you, before I even really considered whether or not I wanted to be a mother someday, I just assumed that it was every parent’s job to teach their children. Of course, what you taught your children could vary, but the fact that it was your job to teach something to them was just set in stone.

This weekend, I got to watch you while The B’s went to a local tourist attraction that we have in my hometown. We watched Elmo ( a lot of Elmo), played with a toy kitchen that I had when I was little, played in the bathroom sink, played the piano and did a lot of other little stuff in between. And I got to teach you some things – how to lock and unlock the door to the porch, how to turn the lights on and off on the lawn mower (Pop-pop 3 helped with that one). True, they’re little things, but we taught them to you and you picked them up pretty fast.

I have known for a while that I have the ability to teach you things –  that thanks to your observational skills, I was a role model to you. But one of the beautiful things about a parent-child relationship, especially ours, is that the learning is not just one-sided. Believe it or not, at the young age of 19 months (as of Wednesday), you have actually taught me quite a few things too.

On a small scale, you’ve taught me a lot of little things. That climbing the stairs – over and over and over again – can be fun (when I’m not terrified for your safety). You’ve taught me that splashing around in the sink can be a rather entertaining activity. You taught me that things that aren’t designed to be play toys (i.e. measuring cups, keys, etc.) can most definitely be play toys. You taught me a new way to say “hot dog” and “tractor” (“dot dog” and “at-too”). You taught me that we should all play now and sleep later. You reminded me that I used to love Sesame Street. You reminded me that when you’re little, every day is truly a new day.

Aside from these things, I’ve also learned quite a few big, life lessons from you.

The first one you taught me was not to be afraid of babies. embarrassing as this is to admit, I was mildly terrified of infants before I had you. I thought they were adorable (like every other woman in the world), but I didn’t like holding them and if I interacted with them, I preferred it to be from a safe distance. They always cried when I got near them, and nothing scared me more than a crying infant. But then there was you and you were mine and it all went away. I learned how to change a diaper. I learned that bouncing you when you cried would calm you down. I learned that if a baby cries when you hold it, it doesn’t mean that the baby hates you or that you somehow harmed it. Even though I read a million books and Googled a million things about how to be a mother, you were the one who actually taught me. You teach me that every time I see you.

The biggest thing I think I’ve learned from having you as my son is that I should take joy in the little things in life. When you were figuring out how to turn on the lawn mower lights, you had to watch Pop-pop 3 do it a couple of times – the first time you did it by yourself, you looked up at me and gave me the biggest smile! And I found myself absolutely thrilled. I was smiling and laughing and just utterly excited…about turning on the lawn mower’s headlights. It sounds silly, but those are the things that you find happiness in.

Everything is new to you – it’s why you do things over and over again, because it’s so exciting to have figured this “new thing” out. So unlike most 20-year olds, I get excited about lawn mower headlights, and turning keys in locks, and walking up and down the stairs. To you, everything is something worth discovering, and that is a kind of magic that can be lost on adults. We forget how fun and exciting the world can be because we assume that given our age and experience, we’ve figured it all out. Seeing the world through your eyes…it’s refreshing and beautiful, in a way. And though it’s humbling, you’ve taught me that maybe I don’t know it all.

As soon as The B’s and I figure out our next rendezvous date, I’ll start counting down my days again. But until then, I’ll just think of you when I use keys or stairs or bathroom sinks. And, most likely, all of the minutes in between.

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