Wednesday, May 2, 2018

Mom Life/The Original Gangsta Life/The Greatest Life

Last Saturday was tough.
I mean it was really emotionally and physically exhausting.

Holden’s ball practice came early on that morning. He and I both needing to recover from a busy week. But instead we are running around the house in desperate searches for bats, gloves and the baseball pants.

Those desperate searches. I’m always in one. I think I have it all down and ready. And the I don’t. I’m lost. And I feel the weight of an army on me just to locate the damn batting gloves.
I mean logically I know it’s ridiculous to even stress about. But I’m “Omma”. I can find anything. I’m counted on to do so.

We get to practice five minutes late. I park, the boy runs and I sit down on the chilly metal bleachers. Suddenly longing for some support for my back. I’m watching these kids run drills. One of them does something funny and I feel the urge to make eye contact with another Mom. I want to share a little laugh with her. But I’m the ONLY MOM HERE. It’s just me and the boys/men of summer.

I start to huff and roll my eyes to myself. Why!? Why am I the only woman here? And why are all of these Dads here enjoying a ball practice with their sons and my husband is at work? I don’t like this sausage fest. I feel annoyed and sad.

Halfway through practice Holden is picking up rocks and telling one of the Dads how it looks like a shark tooth. He’s turning his back to the ball. I feel rage build up inside. (Another one of those desperate search moments about to explode). I snap.

“Holden Hubbard! Keep your eyes on the ball! We didn’t get you out here to talk about rocks and pick flowers!”

I turn back around. I mean right Moms?!?!? Oh yeah. I’m talking to myself.

I text my husband that I’m tired and it’s not fun doing this alone. He texts me back...”thanks for being Supermom”.

Then everything changes.

Holden bats his turn. And runs towards me. I’m sure he’s thirsty, so I snatch up his water bottle and hold it out to his grimy little face.

“Are you thirsty buddy?”

“Hey Omma! I am. But did you see my hit? Did you see it!? Maybe you should move over there a little bit so you can see my hits.”

My heart hurts. I feel guilty.

See, even when I have all the balls in the air, only one thing really counts. Where are they all landing?

I have our life organized. I have a few healthy meals on the table each week. I provide clean sheets free of charge. I keep a backpack cleaned out. I pack lunches and sign slips. I can get a dirt stain out in one wash. I know what’s going on day to day at school. I keep this ship sailing. I steer us clear of treacherous waters.

But those many balls I juggle aren’t what my kid truly sees. He doesn’t care where they land. He sees only one.

Am I present in his world? Do I SEE HIM?

I know all of the clean floors, made beds, stacked toys and folded clothes don’t stand a chance against my presence in his world. I know this in my heart.

I reassure him that I did see his hit. And that I am proud. Because I am proud to have this job. I am proud to be his Omma.

I know I’ll get frustrated again. And I’ll falsely believe that Swiffering my floor will somehow make the world a better place. But I ask for grace. I ask for patience. I sometimes need my eyes to pull back the veil of life to see what’s happening right in front of me.

And that’s life. That’s what’s unfolding in his tiny voice.

Did you see me? Did you see my hits?

I did. And, I promise I will.

Thursday, May 11, 2017

On Loving In The Motherland

Sometimes when I walk by his room, I can still smell it.
It's not as potent, not as rich. And, it's changing.

It's losing its sweetness, and morphing into something more intense.

I can still smell it though. Soft and pure. Intoxicatingly unique to him.
And sometimes I stand alone in his empty room and just let it soak in.
Breathing becomes a real treat as his smell floods my heart. Memories upon memories dance in my mind. I sit on his bed, and touch his pillow. It's all here.

But it's changing.

My baby's smell is becoming a boy's scent.

And when things change, I reflect.

He's just six. But his body is growing lean and long. His muscles are showing in his calves and stomach. His face has all but lost it's delicious chubbiness.
And his character is so strong. He is beginning to know himself. His likes, dislikes. His frustrations  and his loves.

And luckily for me, I'm still his love. I'm still his number one. For this moment, I still put all the stars in the sky. In his sky.

But his seasons are changing. And I know it won't happen all at once, but slowly he will pull back. I will have to unweave the heart strings bit by bit to let him move and grow.

It seems strikingly sad to me at first. And I have to take a step back, as I'm sure most mothers do.
And though it aches inside to let go a tiny bit, it's beautiful. And I'm so grateful.

I am watching my child GROW. I get to witness these grand slams and small victories. I get to protect these mini heartbreaks. I am still welcome. I am still desired by his little heart.

So I will allow him room. To move. In and out. And my mother's heart hopes he always finds a place inside to visit.

Happy Mother's Day weekend.

Sunday, February 12, 2017

Elizabeth Jean-A Phenomenal Woman

When I was 10 years old, my parents went on a cruise. They dropped my brother and I off at my maternal grandparents' house before leaving. 
As a young child I had severe anxiety about my parents leaving out of town. There was no rhyme or reason to this, except that it was my personality. 

My grandmother, who we all call "Mimi", was not overly affectionate to us growing up. She left that to my grandfather. Instead she seemed all business. She made sure things got done and she did it effortlessly. She had a plan. 

She made sure we were fed, bathed and in our pajamas at a decent time. 
But my "Popi" played silly games, made us belly laugh and kept us up too late. 
Except on this night, after my parents left, I just couldn't calm myself down. 
I got so worked up, that I could feel my stomach churning as I got ready for bed. 

Laying in bed, I could tell I was going to be sick. I rushed to the bathroom. Scared and sad, I longed for my Mom. And that is when my Mimi showed up. 

She ran into the bathroom, and put one hand around my waist and one on my forehead. She held my hair back. And the embrace felt familiar. It felt better. 
And I realized she was holding me the same way my mother did when I was ill. 
She cleaned me up, and to my surprise, let me sleep in her bed with her. 

I saw a different side of my grandmother that night. It felt so special and I felt loved. 

As a mother myself, I now know she was an old pro at helping sick children. After all she raised seven of them. 
At the tender age of 19 she delivered Richard. Living in Louisville and as a young Mom, she likely learned ways to get by on less, yet live richly in love. 

She had seven children. Which meant she mothered for nearly 20 years straight. 
Which meant she was strong. Which meant she drew the strength of mountains. She could withstand the weathering of the seasons. She had the grace to let the wind and rain shape her. She could stand, freezing cold, in the face of life's winters. And she could let the warmth of summer let her rest as the sun shown against her children's faces. 

My mom, Alice says: 
"When Mom says she loves you, it's like seeing both ends of a rainbow."

I've heard many stories of her resilience. I've witnessed her battle cry. She is the woman who taught me to ALWAYS stand up for what you deserve. She taught us all to never back away from what you believe is right. 

Mimi is the strongest woman I've ever known. 

And now, she is in the evening of her life. She's tired. Her body is growing thin, but her mind prevails. She knows her heart. She always has. 
And when I think of Elizabeth Jean Ward and the woman that she was, and is...I am reminded of one of my favorite poems by Maya Angelou. 

"It's the fire in my eyes,
and the flash of my teeth,
the swing in my waist and 
the joy in my feet. 
I'm a woman. 
Phenomenal woman
That's me." 

We love you Mimi. 

Tuesday, May 17, 2016

There's Always Room to Grow

You are growing.
Every morning I see it.
I see it in your smile. It's wider, shiny with anticipation.
I feel it.
I feel it in the way you hug me tighter, but quicker. Your little hands longing to move on to the next big adventure.
I hear it too.
In your use of words. Big and bold. Beautiful and new.
You are growing.
You are taking risks, challenging us.
You understanding love, showing us.

In one short week, you will graduate preschool.

Three years of learning and discovery wrapped up into a tiny piece of paper tied with a bright bow.
Your chubby cheeks given way to a slender jawline. Your short, baby legs growing strong with the muscle of a boy.

You are growing. And I am proud.

Proud of everything you are. Everything you stand up for, notice and take care of.
Just tonight you opened the door for an older man. He didn't say thank you, but you opened the second door for him too. You opened it anyway.

When we pulled into the driveway, you said: "Omma, the keys? I need to open the door for us!"
And you struggled. Like you usually do to twist the tiny, golden key hard enough.
You pushed and turned. Turned and pulled.
Then click.

And my heart ached longingly for you.

Because you are growing.

And next week you will reach another milestone in the many to come in your lifetime.
And I will be there to see you.
I'm positive a thousand memories will flood my mind. So many memories I've held under the lock and key of my Mommy heart.
I love you so much Holden.

I love watching you grow.

Saturday, August 15, 2015

Saturday mornings

It's Saturday morning and you're laying right next to me. Your black hair is spilling all over my arm and you're still sucking your thumb. Your eye lashes still curl at the ends just like when I first met you. I lean into your cheek, close to your neck and breathe in deeply.    

I just want to smell you. Every Momma knows the smell of her baby. You came home smelling this way, and I will never forget how your skin smells as long as I live. So sweet, and soft with a hint of little boy. And I swear some days when you're not here, I walk by your room and the scent overwhelms me. It's seeps into the mattress, layers the walls. It whispers you. It pulls at my heart with a magnet force. And I wonder how long I'll have to smell this preciousness? How long will I be privy to snuggle up to you on Saturday mornings? How long will you wrap your legs across me, and just be? 

How many years can I buy of you and me? 

I'd lie, cheat and steal for them. I promise I would. 

You're 4 & 1/2. In my mind there's still so much little boy to go around. God, I sure hope I'm right. 

In the meantime, I will relish in our time together. Just us. When I'm stressed and feel like being alone, I will take a swift breath in over the crown of your head and remember:

~these days are the greatest I'll be given.
~these days are short.
~these days matter the most.

Thursday, November 13, 2014

Leaps of faith

When we first announced we were adopting, we didn't receive cheers and congrats. At least not right away.
Instead, there were questions. Many, many questions. Some you would expect, and some we didn't. Some that made us laugh, and some the broke our hearts.

What we came to learn over the year and a half before we got Holden's referral picture is that 99% of those questions came from fear or ignorance. Fear of the unknown, the new, the unchartered territory. Dare I say, the different?

Adoption was brand new to us, to our families, our friends. It a was a giant leap of faith full of unknowns, uncertainty and no set plan. Pretty much all the things that 5 years ago made me bat shit crazy!

But here is where I'll start with the miracle. The miracle that is adoption, that is my faith, that is my son.

Nearly five years ago, we began our adoption paperwork. Two years ago next Wednesday, we brought our miracle baby home.

And the in between of the then and now is where the magic happened. Where I grew to believe in faith for it's true meaning. To believe when I can't see, feel, touch or know the outcome. I trust in a bigger picture and a reason for things.

In those five years, Travis & I have become less fearful of life. We look at our son, and see our hopes and desires for his soul. We see everything good in ourselves, everything loving we have to offer. A raw, real love that we would do anything for. Absolutely anything.

In our families, we see a relaxed face. No more worries over when the baby will come home. No more sleepless nights praying the baby is being well cared for. No more worrying about whether the baby will "fit" into our family.
We see grandparents who have never once batted an eye at color, race or heritage.
We see grandparents who are head over heels for their grandson. 100% percent in mushy, gushy big love.

In aunts & uncles we see laughter and moments of pure happiness. We hear a lot of 'we love that little guy' & 'he is so great'. We see affection. We know he's loved.

You see, five years ago, there were so many questions, concerns and worry.

Replaced with so much peace, joy and love. Because Holden is ours. I believe in a big picture. I believe he always was.

My heart swells at the sight of him each morning. My arms relax with the weight of him each night. I'll spread the incredible joy that is this boy, the miracle that is adoption for the rest of my life.

Happy almost two years home Holden. You are our everything.

Friday, September 26, 2014

Maybe it's the changing season...

Maybe it's the chill in the morning air.
Maybe it's the feel of a hoodie around my neck.
Maybe it's the sense that everything in nature is about to shift.

But, I have that excitement building in my heart again.
I've had it for the past 30 some years now as Fall slowly approaches, and summer fades.
My favorite season is upon us.

But, leaves and fires and sweaters aren't what makes Fall my heartsong anymore. It's much more than that.

On Nov. 19, Holden has been home for two years. TWO YEARS.

This time two years ago seems like two minutes ago in my mind. Two seconds ago in my heart.

The utter waiting and longing for our adoption agency to give us the green light was excruciating. And, that pain will never be erased. I remember checking my email no less than 10 times a day from Sept through Nov. 3. Waiting. Waiting. Screaming. Crying. Waiting. Simply going crazy.

I remember my friends listening to the same old story.
I remember our parents just loving us.
I remember my boss letting me use her office one too many times. To make phone calls. To cry. To vent.
I remember feeling Grade A crazy. And, then having my adoptive Mom friends remind me that they too were crazy one time. And, it's OK to be when YOUR CHILD is half way across the world.

I remember it all.

And, all we ever wanted was to get on a plane, and pick Holden up, and love him forever.

Eventually, the call came.

I was sick with bronchitis, and Travis was stressed out with everything. But, when our agency said, 'he's ready!'-- every part of me lit up. I was on fire and in love with my baby!

I seriously don't remember finishing our packing or leaving our house. But I remember boarding the first plane. And, I remember how scared I was of flying. And like fog lifts off a sunny horizon, my fear nearly vanished. I didn't need the 10 anti-anxiety pills my doc gave me cause baby, I was high on love. Pure and raw and real. There's nothing like love.

November is just around the corner. And, a two year celebration is near.

Join with us in celebrating love, time, commitment and the ties that bind a family.

Happy Fall too :)