Twice a year is not bad…

I’m back. I find myself drawn to this space once every few months-but then I freeze before ever writing a word. I’m struggling with the privacy of all I want to say. And the blandness of what is left once I sort through it all. And yet, here I am. Mother of 3. Wife. Social worker. Daughter. Person. 
I am still soaking things in. I smell this baby on the regular because I simply can’t get enough. He reminds me to hold the other two a little tighter. I remind myself that today is the most important day. I try to say yes more, but fail often. I try to approach the monotonous tasks of housework with a perspective of gratitude. But fail there too. But not always. I try to look in their eyes instead of my phone. But sometimes I forget. And sometimes I’m just tired. But sometimes I’m not. And we laugh and love and connect.
I am still overwhelmed with the sense of time never stopping. It’s too fast. I want to hold on to this day for as long as possible:

Home

It has been 6 months since I have written anything here.  Partly because I have lost my definition of this space.  It started as a way to share the antics of my children with our family.  Facebook now fills that need.  Also my kids are older and have a desire for privacy.  I no longer write about many of their antics.  They seem to frown upon it.  So that just leaves me—and in all honesty I am not very comfortable writing much about me.  And I am not sure how much of me exists outside of our kids.

And yet… Here I am.  Tonight I had a desire to come here and just be in this space.  It reminds me of when my kids were little.  It reminds me of the time before Facebook.  It feels safe and warm and cozy.  I am not sure I can ever abandon it forever.

A lot has happened in the past 6 months.  The biggest of which is that we adopted again.  We now have a newborn and are soaking in every second with him.  This time around we registered with the National Down Syndrome Adoption Network.  Maybe I will say more about the journey later.  But for now I will just say that my heart is full.  I am completely in love, not just with this baby, but with my entire family.  I could never have imagined this amazing life.  When I find myself frozen in fear with the realization that I only get to do this life once I stop and look around.  While I doubt myself on an hourly basis, somehow I have no doubts when it comes to our family.  I am working on being present in order to soak in every moment of childhood with each of these amazing humans.

Perhaps I will come here more often as this journey continues.  Perhaps not, kids keep you busy.  Either way it helps me to know it is here.  It, too, has become a part of my time in this place.

Age

36.  It’s just a number.  Just a year.  It shall not defeat me.  But it has tried to.  This year has included a ridiculous increase in the amount of gray hair, sudden sun spots on my face and legs, the appearance of varicose veins, and an end to getting carded.  

I haven’t found a good antidote yet, but I’m working on it.  

I bought some wine.

And 36 ends in 3 weeks.  I raise a toast to 37, may you treat me kindly.

Fear

Over the past year I have become increasingly fearful.  Of a lot of things but mostly the state of things.  But over the past two weeks I have begun to realize that many of the people I fear are also operating from a place of fear.  

Fear is a powerful emotion.  When you are neck deep and sinking you begin to grab at others to pull yourself up.  That is what is happening.  And I, too, am guilty.  When you are afraid it is easy to make assumptions, use labels, call names, all to keep from sinking.

But in the end it doesn’t work.  Everyone drowns.  

Today I am choosing to relax and float for a second.  Get some rest so I can swim stronger.  You see I have these children at home I have to protect and I need to be strong for that.  I need to make them strong.  Because people will pull them down and they must be strong enough to resist without retaliating.  That is my job.  

Today I did two absolutely amazing things.  I stopped and just stood in complete appreciation of this Earth.  This overwhelming rebirth that is spring.

Then, I did something that leaves me choked up every time I do it.  I voted.  Despite all of our differences—-despite all of our FEAR—we walked into a polling place and voted.  AND we were respectful to each other, greeted by the sweet poll workers, and we all did what we have been blessed with the opportunity to do.  We participated.

  

I hate making decisions.

We are nearing another pivotal point in both our lives and the lives of our children.  The school they currently attend ends at 6th grade.  8 years ago we visited several schools and after much worry and debate made the decision to send them to an independent private school.  Mostly because it was the most amazing place I’ve ever visited.  Seriously—this place is freaking magical. This decision meant a lot of things.  It meant I would have to work full time. It meant we would not be getting new cars unless ours were completely dead to the world.  It meant we would have to get creative if we were going to do any vacations.  It meant a LOT of time would be spent in the car.   I do not love these things.  I have tried to find the silver lining in most of them but honestly—life would be easier in a lot of ways if we had made a different decision.  

But I regret absolutely nothing.  Because it also meant our children would be completely in love with school.  It meant they would experience joyful learning from day one.  It meant they would learn to creatively solve problems and to do so with grit and teamwork.  It meant they would learn compassion.  They have discussed topics that adults struggle to discuss without it becoming a yelling match.  They have learned empathy.  And not just empathy for those who closely resemble themselves. They have learned to value ALL people.  They have learned to question the majority and to think for themselves. And they have done all of that in a safe supportive space.

So now what?  It is time to decide once again…  Do we move and send them to an amazing public school.  One with a billion class and activity options where they can meet so many new people.  The school is diverse, it performs well.  We walked the halls and the kids seemed like good kids.  They would have friends who lived in the same town and we would certainly have more money than we are used to.  We could take cool vacations.  We would not be spending an hour of each day in the car…  

But it is also HUGE.  What if they fall through the cracks?  Get lost in the bureaucratic shuffle?  I know we will be on top of it, but would the school back us up?

We also visited another private school.  Once again I saw students who were being pushed both cognitively and creatively.  Who were coming up with solutions to problems adults are struggling with.  Who are learning some serious ethics and what that means in all aspects of life.  Who were allowed to come up with their own projects and see them through with support.  It was amazing.  And by amazing I mean these kids are going to be world changers. 

But it comes at a cost.  An astronomical cost, in fact.  Which would mean all the sacrifices we are making already plus more.  I am not sure we have any more to sacrifice… 

So here we are.  One year and two months away from a life change.  And we are not sure what that change will look like yet.  I will be sitting in this discomfort that entire time.  But I will not forget how blessed we are to have this decision to make in the first place.

Pain sponge

I am currently listening to “What is the What” in my car as I drive to work and school and dance and wherever else my life takes me.  I am finding myself easily lost in and completely overwhelmed by this story.  I have cried I am not sure how many times and I am not even halfway through.  But I can’t stop.  And as I think about that fact I realize that I do this all the time.  I am drawn to heartbreak and pain. Not because I enjoy it. Not because I can fix it. I don’t think it’s a sub conscience effort to punish myself.  But maybe it is. Would I be able to recognize that if it’s sub conscience?

Whatever the reason I surround myself with the stories of people.  And sometimes actual people.  And I listen to their story.  And I feel their pain.  I listen to the pain of Sudanese boys in a civil war, then listen to the pain of American middle schoolers who are sometimes struggling to meet their basic needs.  The suffering is different but it is still suffering.  And I feel it. Each time.

Maybe I do it out of privileged guilt?

Maybe it is because of my ability to isolate myself in my own suffering once upon a time and my realization that NO ONE should do that.  We must have a hand to hold. Maybe I can be that hand?

But I am not holding any hands of the now grown adults from Sudan.  I am just listening to their pain.  Maybe the purpose of that is to carry the story and make sure it is not forgotten?  Perhaps there is no purpose.
Either way I will not stop.  

Thanks—I think…

Boomer:  Who is the most awesome person you know?

Me:  Me!   I am awesome!

Boomer:  You are awesome.  Because you do the most cooking, then the dishes, then clean the house.

Me:  But I’m actually just a regular person—I’m not actually good at any of those things.

Boomer:  But that’s what makes you unique.  You are not good at them but you keep doing them anyway—you have grit!!!

Mom:  Thanks?

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