Tag Archives: home

A Little T-Day !!!

The washing machine hasn’t stopped running since Sunday night.

Shoes are piled in a mountain by the front door.

The refrigerator is opened and closed 4, 738 times a day.

The DVR is jam-packed with favorite Disney movies to share with her brothers and every interview involving the new Twilight movie.

A half finished Monopoly game has taken over the breakfast nook with the promise of finishing the Monopoly marathon “soon.” (But that isn’t going to happen as long as they keep trading Boardwalk for “all of your yellow properties” and being “nice” and only charging whatever you can afford – I’m raising a bunch of Democrats! – when you land on someone’s hotel.)

One minute they’re yelling and shouting at each other and the next they’re all snuggled on the couch watching Tangled.

And I wouldn’t have it any other way.

Mess and all.

Because #1daughter is home from college and all of my babies are home under one roof.

Happy Thanksgiving, ya’ll!

I hope you have plenty of !!! in your Thanksgiving, too!

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Filed under family, Holiday

Help! I’m Buried (Under *#$@!) And I Can’t Get Up!

I have decided that should I ever go away and trust the running of my home to anyone else, other than myself — it’s not worth going.

I mean it.

Never again.

If I should have the opportunity to take a trip and leave everyone else at home again? I’m not going.

Ok.

I’ll go.

But everyone else has to leave the house, too.

I took my daughter on a Girls-Only-Mother-Daughter-Extravaganza. We had a blast. And I realized about 2 hours into the trip that this was the first time in 18 years that I’ve gone on a vacation and not had to pack/plan/take care of anyone else but myself. About 12 hours into the trip, I realized, Hey! I’m going to bed. And I just have to brush MY teeth, wash MY face, put on MY pjs and then hop into bed. (My 18-year-old daughter can do all that for herself now. Joy!)

When I woke up the next morning?

Same.

Thing!

I woke up. Got showered and dressed. Grabbed my things and we were out the door.

Heavenly.

I didn’t have to comb anyone else’s hair. I didn’t have to set out clothes for anyone or find missing shoes or tie anyone else’s shoes. I didn’t have to make sure we had all of “our” stuff. I didn’t have to hear “Hun, did you pack my swim suit?” or “Mom? Why can’t we have a maid at home?” (Uh, ya’ do!) I didn’t have to shush anyone 112 times down hotel hallways.

And then?

I came home.

Poof.

My utopia vanished.

And they tricked me! That’s what really gets to me.

About 4 hours from home, I called from the road. In the background, I heard the vacuum cleaner. “We’re getting ready for you to come home,” my mother-in-law said, “Your husband said he wants you to come home to a clean house. Where do you keep the cleaning rags?”

Awwww. I melted. What a gem of a family I have.

So, for the rest of the drive I had visions of gleaming floors, folded laundry, shining bathrooms.

Nope.

Dust bunnies, or should I say tumbleweeds, the size of my head. I’m not kidding. We have a golden retriever and he chose the week I left to shed at least two coats of fur. We could make another dog. When one tumbleweed wafted by as I opened the door I tried to ignore it.

What about the vacuum cleaner I heard?

“#2son knocked over your plant on your bedside table. I hope I got it all out of the carpet,” says sweet husband who insisted on white carpet in our bedroom because it will be our oasis, away from the kids and they’ll never be in there.

Hampers are overflowing. Escaped socks and damp towels are trying to make a break for laundry room.

“I didn’t know how you liked your laundry done,” says sweet mother-in-law.

Clean, I think to myself.

The bathrooms? I’m too embarrassed to even think of a witty description. I’ve tried. I sat here, mouth agape, trying to be clever. Besides my mother-in-law, there were two grown men and two small boys making their presence known, if you get my drift. Disgusting is all that comes to mind.

I’ve been home a week and I’m just now coming up for air.

Nope. It’s decided. Go on a vacation, by myself, and leave my home in someone else’s hands?

Never.

Again.

(Disclaimer: My mother-in-law is, indeed, a gem. She plays with the boys, she takes them on adventures, she cooks and bakes and keeps the kitchen sparkling. The zones described above were, apparently, out of her jurisdiction.)

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Filed under All In A Day's Work

Home. Where Is That Exactly?

I moved to the south 25 years ago. In that time, my blood has thinned, I say “y’all” easily, and sweet tea is my medicine. I crave the heat and humidity. When it starts getting cold (below 70 degrees) I want to hibernate. I discovered a love for the blues, salt water air, shrimp and grits. The slower pace doesn’t bother me in the slightest. 

My husband, who has lived here about 13 years, still thinks of the northeast as “home.” When he criticizes the south, when he gets hung up on stereotypes and generalities, I get defensive. When “The Book” (Midnight in the Garden of Good and Evil) was released, I became fiercely protective of my beloved Savannah. Facebook has reconnected me with former high school  classmates who now live all over. When they find out I’m living in the South they’ll occasionally make  a crack about us crackers.

I am not amused.

When life throws lemons your way, most of us want to run home. But where is that exactly?

As many of you know, the place where I was born doesn’t create an image of comfort for me. I have fond memories of my childhood home, sure. But it isn’t the place I run to. And because I don’t have parental figures who offer a soft place to land, I have no one to run to, either.

It’s been a sad, sad past few days. My sister’s husband suffered much through the course of his illness. His death was scary, uncomfortable and violent. He was very aware in his last moments and my sister witnessed his tragic end. She is “home” and I am here. I can’t hug her. I can only talk to her over the phone. And while I want to be there for her, I dread going back there.

There is not where I find comfort.

I find comfort here, in Georgia, with our crazy sayings, odd fashion sense, yummy collards and cornbread. I much prefer the sweet southern comments by strangers, that a Yankee might perceive as less than genuine. But I don’t care. There is a friendliness here that I don’t find many other places. Fake or not, this little glass-half-full-gal prefers the smiles, friendly questions and terms of endearment at the grocery store.

Where is home?

Home is where your heart is.

As trite as that sounds, I am home.

My heart is here. With my amazing, loving husband – who sometimes makes me want to tear my hair out. My beautiful three children – who give me a taste of crazy every single day. In a great dream house. In a neighborhood with neighbors who are nice and neighbors who are not so nice. My heart embraces the steamy, hot summers and the snail’s pace. I am fascinated by the number of southern dialects and quaint phrases.

I will visit “home” in a few weeks for my brother-in-law’s memorial service. But where am I complete? Where do I feel most comfortable and wanted? Where is the familiar and the deep-rooted sentiment and love?

Here.

(Thank you, dear sweet readers, for your words of comfort and peace and understanding. Your thoughts mean more to me than you will ever know.)

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Filed under All In A Day's Work, Music, Observations

The Adoption Triangle of Love

When I was searching for ideas for my 100th post my friend, LLCoolJoe, asked about my experience with adoption. First of all, I could probably start a whole new blog and have plenty of material on adoption alone. I can go on and on about how adoption has touched my life. Today I’m going to share with you this nifty little piece of jewelry I found years ago.

It’s called the adoption triangle of love. Just after we adopted our daughter my husband had it made for me from a picture he saw in an adoption magazine. The premise is that each person involved (the birth parents, the adoptive parents and the child) are all joined in love. I loved this idea. I loved wearing this symbol of my part in the adoption process. And then, one day, while teaching my incredible students, one of them asked why I was wearing a Star of David. I laughed. Yes, it did look a bit like the Star of David. But I explained what the symbol meant and he scoffed, “There’s no love in adoption!”

I was stunned. He said, “The only person that gains from adoption is the adoptive parent. The birth parent is just a selfish (fill in the blank) who was too lazy to care for her own child and the child is just another piece of unwanted garbage tossed aside.” I was at a loss for words.

Ever since I was a little girl my mother said I’ve wanted to adopt. She said when I was very young I would say, “I’m going to have one on my own first and then adopt the rest.” I pictured a house full of children. All colors. All genders. All abilities. I have no idea how I created this vision for my life. Fast forward twenty years and I received the news that I was infertile. No big deal, I thought. We’ll just adopt. I’ve never been one of those women who needed to experience pregnancy.

Selfishly, I chose to go the route of international adoption. Selfish because I was not willing to take the risk of a failed adoption here in the U.S. I had heard too many stories of birth fathers suddenly coming into the picture, or the birth mother changing her mind after the baby has been placed. Do you remember the Baby Jessica case back in the 90’s? A 2 1/2-year-old girl, ripped from her adoptive parents arms because the birth mother (who a year after choosing adoption for her baby ended up married to the birth father after all) changed her mind. It was heart wrenching. DNA does not determine who the parent is, in my book. It’s who steps up to the plate to take care of the child.

The mountain of paper work is daunting. The hoops you have to jump through (psychological tests, physical exams, letters of recommendation, fingerprints filed, financial records verified, parenting classes) are many. The expense is a fair amount. And I mean that in every sense of the word. No one gets rich off of adoption – unless, of course, you’re dealing with unscrupulous people. But that can happen in any financial transaction. Once everything is all said and done, the expense (in our experience anyway) was about the amount we’d need for a biological birth. I wasn’t able to be covered for insurance for a birth anyway because of my infertility – so the cost would be the same if I got pregnant. (Which actually happened years later but that’s for another post)

It took a little over a year for us to complete the process. And during that time I’d sit at the OB/GYN for my annual exam and see teenagers complaining about how uncomfortable they were, being 8 months pregnant. Unmarried. Planning on keeping their child  – with grandma’s help, that is. Not that there’s anything wrong with that choice, as long it provides a strong, stable home for the child. But many times, it doesn’t. I would sit there remembering that line from the movie Parenthood; “You know, Mrs. Buckman, you need a license to buy a dog, to drive a car – hell, you even need a license to catch a fish. But they’ll let any butt-reaming asshole be a father.” Or mother, for that matter.

Having been raised Catholic, I struggle with the issue of abortion. For me, hopefully for my daughter, abortion is not an option. But when I see all those protestors lining the streets with their signs outside Planned Parenthood clinics I want to shout, “How many children have you adopted?” It’s easy for me to tell someone else you shouldn’t abort. I have a job. A home. Supportive family and friends. But do I have a plan for her if she chooses to give birth? I haven’t walked a mile in her shoes. I have no idea what her personal struggle is.

But choosing adoption for your child when you know you can’t provide the life your baby deserves? Heroic. Amazing. A decision – especially now that I’ve been able to experience the miracle of birth – that is made completely and totally with love. Absolutely. Without any doubt in my mind. 

I have two children through adoption. Two birth mothers that made the most difficult, yet loving decision for their child. I am incredibly honored that they touched my life by entrusting the care of their biological child with me. They could have chosen an easier route. But they didn’t. They chose the difficult path because that was in the best interest of their child. I believe that God entrusts us, as parents, with children to raise. He loans them to us -through biology or adoption – to care for their needs as only we can do in the physical world. Biological or not, they are children that need shelter and guidance until they are on their own.

But maybe my former student was right. Maybe I am the only one who “gained” anything from the process. From my perspective I have gained so much. I have two beautiful children through adoption that I cherish and love. I’d like to think that they gained something too, having a stable, loving home to be nurtured in until they are ready to take charge of their own lives. And the birth parents of my children dug deep in their hearts to make the most difficult, best choice for their child. An adoption triangle. Complicated. Complex. But definitely connected in love. No doubt in my mind.

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Filed under Be-Causes, children, Soapbox