Sunday, November 28, 2010

.... and don't forget to hang up your sock.

Thanksgiving was very good. Chaotic, but good. I have much to be thankful for everyday, and I love honoring it all in an extra special way on Thanksgiving. It's actually my favorite holiday. I love that it doesn't have the stress of Christmas, and it's more about family, food and football.

And now it's officially The Christmas Season. I've had a harder time getting into the spirit this year than last. Man, was I loving every minute of the Christmas Season last year. I was so looking forward to a repeat experience, and I'm dragging my feet admitting I'm not quite there this year. I am loving the music, and so looking forward to our family traditions, but underneath the excitement is a big giant feeling of tired. I feel like I'm standing at the base of a mountain, looking up. I know I'll enjoy the hike once I get going, but I am totally overwhelmed looking at the darn mountain. I have exactly 2 weekends off between now and Christmas, and a few weekdays off. In that time, I have to:

1 throw a birthday party
2 buy and finish Christmas cards
3 shop for everybody
4 wrap everything
5 bake 6 dozen cookies for a cookie-trading-thing at work
6 get a Christmas tree
7 decorate the tree/house/ect
8 work more than I want to
9 all the other regular shit that has to get done in a household

I don't remember feeling as overwhelmed last year, but my list was essentially the same. I am looking forward to doing each individual thing on my list (except maybe numbers 8 & 9). I am super excited about Jeb's birthday, obviously. I love writing and sending Christmas cards. My gift-list is almost complete, so the shopping really won't be that tough. I enjoy wrapping presents. I enjoy baking, especially with Jeb. I LOVE putting up the Christmas tree, however finding a spot to put the toy box temporarily will be a challenge. Each activity is fun, but all together? Overwhelm. I'm disappointed in myself for not feeling more gung-ho.

It's probably just a matter of inertia, and once I get going I'll be more excited.

Thursday, November 18, 2010

Just a small, but huge moment.

Jeb is currently upstairs playing alone in his bedroom.

Just in case you didn't read that right, or understand the magnitude, I'll say it again: JEB IS CURRENTLY UPSTAIRS PLAYING ALONE IN HIS BEDROOM.

He is chattering to himself, playing with toys, drawing on his whiteboard, and generally occupying himself. This is amazing. And very new.

I'm thrilled. Not just for the spontaneous precious down time for me, that's only about 10% of why I'm happy. I'm so happy for him. He's a mama's boy, a clingy kind of kid, he stays close. For him to be alone, and happy, and to do this voluntarily, is HUGE. I am so excited for him to develop this skill, this ability to be alone but not lonely.

It seems so small, but this is so big for my boy. I am so happy for him :)

(*eta, so in my extra down time I started to play around with my template, but am now called away, and I don't think I like it yet. work in progress.....)

Monday, November 8, 2010

Pretty Boring

The boys are both asleep, and I should be too, but the quiet and stillness of the house is too much to resist.

So, I blog.

I'm closing in on 1 year of blogging (!), and I've so enjoyed looking back on my own "recordings". I love reading old posts, and remembering. I love that adoption issues are certainly present in my posts, but not dominant. I feel like I've integrated my experience as a birthmom into my life, and I think the blog definitely reflects that it is Just One Hat.

So, in that vein, here are some average, boring, glimpses into life this week:

Husband's business is doing well, but he is overwhelmed and stressed with figuring out the "plan" to execute the snow removal contracts he has for this winter. We had sleet/rain/snow/slush last night, which left him frantic today. It will all come together, but these are tough days for him. I try to be supportive and positive, but there is so much of the business I don't understand, so I wind up giving very cliche, very lame "advice". I couldn't be LESS stressed about it, because no matter what? It won't be as bad as last year, aka his FIRST year.

My job is lame. I don't hate it, because it's easy and at this point in my life I'm not looking for a challenge when it comes to my work. What I hate is the schedule. And I have a pretty decent schedule! I hate being stretched so thin. I hate taking anything away from my household. I sometimes joke to husband that gender equality is oppressive! I should really shut up, because my job has allowed us to start husband's business, and I'm lucky enough to have a job, BUT BUT BUT being a working mom is fucking hard.

Jeb is fantastic. He is doing exactly what an almost-3-year-old should be doing. He's wearing me the fuck out. He is calling my bluff right and left and it's both amazingly frustrating and amazingly hilarious. This age is more challenging than any, so far. I've had to be more firm with him than ever, and the phrase "pick your battles" has been whispered from my lips more than ever before. Most days he's in his jammies until 2pm because getting dressed is a complete THROW DOWN. Just like getting in his car seat. And out of his car seat. And eating lunch instead of Halloween candy. And going to bed. And coming up from the basement after we switch the laundry. And not coloring on the walls. And not jumping on my head. Or dumping a bowl of scrambled eggs on the carpet. And NOT playing with my phone, or daddy's phone, or the computer, or a sharp knife, or ... or... or..... and... and ... and....... Thankfully I have the perspective that this is a very appropriate developmental stage, and that at some point my easy going, cooperative, pleasant son will return. It will happen, right?

TTC is not nearly as fun as I'd imagined. I've looked forward to it for so long, but? It's kind of a pain in the ass. I'm in my first cycle actually trying, ever, and well? I was so distracted during our, um, attempts. I was so preoccupied with thoughts of TTC that I forgot to feel close, kwim? Rainbows didn't shoot out of our asses, or anything! Like anything, I guess, reality is different from the fantasy. I'm only 2 dpo, and I'm already looking forward to not-trying-to-make-a-baby-sex. It's way more fun. I'm trying not to obsess, and truthfully, if I'm not pregnant this cycle I'll be disappointed but not wrecked. Next month? I'll likely be wrecked. I've always been sensitive about TTC struggles ( I hope), having been in the adoption community for so long, but I now have a little bit (a teeny tiny very little bit) more understanding? (That's not the right word, and I don't know what is.) Anyhow, I hate that anyone has had to go through this for months and years.

I need to call Colin. I don't call him as often as I should. I think about him all the time, but life gets in the way, and I don't call. It's a bad excuse, but it's all I've got.

I suppose that's all for an average Monday night :) I know I'll enjoy looking back 6 or 12 or 18 months from now :)

Tuesday, November 2, 2010

November will always hold a special place in my heart.

Today Jeb and I were outside, kicking leaves, and I thought of a private journal entry I wrote last year:

November always makes me think of those weeks I waited for Jeb's arrival. He was supposed to be a November baby. Throughout the pregnancy I fantasized about the familiar sights and smells that November brings, thinking they would be the sights and smells of early labor and early newborn-ness. It was not to be (as he was 2 weeks "late"), and now those sights and smells bring me back to a place of w a i t i n g. My boy is now quickly closing in on 2 (eta 3!) , which is too much to think about sometimes.

As Jeb's birthday approaches, I can't help but get transported back in time, and relive the days/weeks/moments of excitement/anticipation/nerves leading up to his birth. The same thing happens as I approach Colin's birthday each year. I'm happy that their births are opposite each other on the calendar. Each May as I remember Colin's beginnings, my thoughts and feelings are drawn to: buds on trees, longer days, new life at every glance, a general feeling of stepping outside and giving new life. Each November (turned December) as I remember Jeb's beginnings, my thoughts and feelings are drawn to: crisp evenings, falling leaves, shorter days, and turning inward to begin mothering. It feels just right.

Welcome, November, it's good to feel you again.

Monday, November 1, 2010

Inspired by Production not Reproduction

Oh, man, you know when you read a blog post and you didn't realize you had so much to say until you read that post? I love when this happens; I love a good spring board.

I just read Production not Reproduction 's post about things "I don't have to think about".

A few really hit home:

Today I don't have to think about how to answer the question "How many children do you have?" Ugh. I have gone through so many phases of comfort with this question. Way before I had Jeb, I was so new in my birthmotherhood that I proudly shouted that I had a child. I told anyone and everyone about open adoption, and about my son. Then, still before I had Jeb, I got a little more private, and would still talk about my experience when the conversation turned to birth (because I just couldn't deny the fact that I'd given birth), and used words/phrases like "not parenting", and "placed in an open adoption", and "future birth siblings", ect. Then, it got harder when I was pregnant with Jeb. Is this your first? "Um, kind of..." was the true-est answer I could come up with. Sometimes I would just say "yes, this is my first", and feel guilty, but you know what? The lady in the grocery store doesn't want to know the whole story. And she shouldn't have to be understanding of the fact that every flipping pregnant woman coming through her line might be sensitive to such a question! I always struggled with whether or not giving the "easy" answer would hurt Colin. I can handle most of the schmudge that is adoption, but I never wanted to "deny" him, my son, my blood, my love. And now--now that I don't have to 'fess up during talks of pregnancy and birth, since everyone I talk to knows I'm parenting Jeb, it's gotten slightly easier. But I'm still more private than I was back in those early days. Just this week Colin came up in conversation with someone who didn't know (it's so hard to remember who knows what, and I'm so comfortable with all of it that I occasionally reference Colin in conversation with people who don't know my story), and I had to explain. I struggled. Well, I didn't struggle in the typical sense, but sometimes I just want to stick a thumbdrive into people so they can get caught up and I don't have to answer the same stupid questions over and over and over; or smile and nod as they tell me how brave and wonderful I was. (And? When I realize someone is just learning that I am a birthmom, all I can think is "oh, here we go, dammit I wish I'd just kept my mouth shut!" Not because I don't want to talk about it, but most people are just so damned ANNOYING about it and DON'T GET IT. An I'm over the education part of this journey. For now, anyway.) This turned into a serious ramble, but the real answer is that it is always tricky to tell people how many kids I have. I want to maintain our collective privacy, without being dishonest, and without denying my son. /end rant.

*deep breath*

Today I don't have to think about a professional treating me differently when I answer their questions about pregnancies and number of children at home. Yes, yes, yes. Remember when I had that ridiculous cyst on my forehead? I accidentally got into an awkward convo with the friggin' dermatologist about my medical history. He was just taking a general history, and Jeb was on my lap, and he asked a very benign question "one child?", (see above), and I answered that no, I've had 2 sons, the other is 12 but I don't parent him. Um, DUH? The derm doesn't really need to know about my reproductive history, and more?!?!?! I didn't have to even bring up that I wasn't parenting!! I could have said that I also have a 12 year old, so as to stay honest on the medical front, but left it at that since he could have just been in school! I was so caught off guard, and for the rest of the appt, I felt weird. "not parenting" could also mean I was an asshole and my parents had to step in and take my kid because I wasn't doing a good job. Blah. This stuff happens more often than you'd think. Colin exists, I gave birth to him, it happened, so when someone asks something that brings him up in my mind, I don't/can't lie. It's not calculated, it's just what happens when someone asks you about something that's real.

Today I don't have to think about people using one of the most painful decisions of my life as ammunition in their debate over abortion. Holy shit, YES. I can't fucking stand the pro-lifers' argument "How about ADOPTION!!" Barf. I can understand many many of the arguments from the pro-life side. But telling women that adoption is such a fantastic, and easy thing to do? And you'll be an angel of life! And there are wonderfully attractive and morally upstanding and infertile couples out there! Don't you just want to make their dreams come true! They even have a nursery!!!! You are denying "good" couples from being parents if you abort!----Disgusting. I have zero regret. I am happy with my choice to carry a pregnancy and then place my baby. But that has nothing to do with ANYONE ELSE'S DECISION. I can't tell you how many people have used my decision to argue their pro life stance. And I'm pro choice!! I don't want to be anyone's poster child. Just because adoption was right for me doesn't mean it's right for anyone else. It's hard. And it sucks sometimes. Being pregnant knowing I wasn't going to parent s.u.c.k.e.d. I wouldn't suggest placing to anyone; it's got to come from within.

So, I'd like to close with a few of my own statements, in the same vein as Production's post, but from a different perspective.

Today I don't have to think about how Jeb's first mother is feeling.

Today I don't have to wonder from whom he got his big brown eyes.

Today I don't have to hear stupid remarks about who is Jeb's "real" mother.

Today I don't have to think about money, or time, or another woman, when I think about growing my family.

To this day, I have never had a Social Worker. I've never had to prove anything to anyone in order to be a mom.

Today, when Jeb had a fit, it didn't cross my mind that it could be something deeper. Whenever he has a hard time in the future I won't have to wonder if there is a sense of loss driving his behavior.

I know this has gotten long, but it was so terrific to see my perspective understood by another member of the triad. My goal is to understand, as much as possible, other members of the triad. Not only to help me understand Colin better, which is obviously my huge goal, but to understand his parents better and my husband's place in it all better, and Jeb's place in it better, and the list goes on.