Monday, July 19, 2010

In the Midnight Hour

It's 10:00 or 10:30. The Brewer game has just ended. The movie is over. The news is finished. My husband yawns and says he is heading up to bed.

Bed. I love bed. I am exhausted. My body longs to follow him. My brain knows it's the right thing to do. However, I don't. I say "I'll be up in a few minutes."

Even though I need sleep to reenergize myself for another day of parenting the CEO and the Vampire, I don't go to bed. I stay up.

This is my time. The time when I am completely alone. No one is attached to my hip. No one is asking me for a snack. No one is whining. No one is hitting or biting or crying. No one is doing anything because it is just me.

So I sit in a darkened living room, the flickering TV is my only company. I may check in with my friends on Twitter . I * may* clean or do some laundry. I might read a book.

I could sit out on the porch watching the stillness of the night. I could slink around on cats' paws to watch my children sleep.

I could do anything or I could do nothing. It is my time.

I love Bunny with her freakish genius and her glorious imagination.

I love Lion with his boundless energy and his heart stopping smile.

I love my children for the endless possibilities that they have before them. I am truly happy that I get to play a part in who they become.

But, I love being alone. I love the solitude. I love the quiet. I love the ability to do whatever I want, to remember, to just be me.

So I will continue to wander in the midnight hour, in solitude.

Tuesday, July 13, 2010


Right now my life is pretty much chaos. At any given moment I am running around, chasing various children and yelling.

"No, not for Lion."
"Don't pull the cat's tail.
"Don't eat that."
"Don't lick that."
"Don't hit."
"Don't bite."
"We don't bite our sister."
"Bunny we don't hit our brother."
"I don't care if he bit you, stole your toy or whatever."
"Oh my goodness how did you get up there?"
"What is that smell?"

There are times when I am convinced I did not adopt a boy. Rather I adopted a mogwai who somebody got wet and fed after midnight. There is no other explanation for the amount of destruction he can create, there has to be at least 10 of him running in all different directions. And his teeth are really sharp. He is clearly many, many gremlins.

By the end of the day, I am worn down. I feel beaten. I feel every bit of my 40 years. I sit down and I think "man, I've got to do this again tomorrow." It makes me wonder if I can do it again.

But then there are times, small split seconds, when there is no chaos. Lion will come to me and lay his head on my lap while sucking his finger. It's a momentary pause in his path of destruction but it's there. It lifts my spirits.

Bunny will come to me, sit on my lap and say "I love you momma." Those four words give me the strength, the courage to carry on.

Today we were all in my room while I was getting dressed. I was trying to referee making sure that the two small people in my charge did not kill each other or themselves. Then I heard it, a plaintive wail "Momma, I was sitting in that chair." I calmly explained to her that Lion was calm and quiet in the chair so she should let him sit there.

She looked at me defiantly and climbed in the chair with him. I expected screams. I expected hitting. I expected biting. What I did not expect was calm. I did not expect peace. I did not expect my two children, often mortal enemies, to be sitting in a chair together. I certainly did not expect it to last 10 whole minutes, but it did.

I was overwhelmed. I was so happy. When I told Bunny how proud I was that they were getting along, she smiled "he's not so bad right now."

I thought, "You are so right honey. It's not so bad right now."

Monday, July 5, 2010

Happy Day

Thursday, July 1, 2010

A Rose By Any Other Name

Frink and I have always been in sync when it comes to naming our children. From our earliest days of marriage we would discuss how many children we would have and what there names would be. We didn't argue about it, we just liked the same names.

When our imagined children didn't come and we turned to adoption, the conversation changed. We talked about giving the children family names as another way to link them to our family and its past. I knew that our first daughter would be named after my paternal grandmother. I loved the name, it was old fashioned and unique. I decided on the French rather than the English spelling to make it even better. Once we decided on her name, a nickname flowed from it. It was another beautiful name with meaning, it meant God's Gift in Hebrew. We knew that was it. That was the name our daughter would have.

When we were adopting Bunny, we didn't question our decision to rename her. We knew she had a Chinese name, given to her by the orphanage. We knew we would keep some form of it as her middle name. But she was going to be Bunny, no questions asked. When we found out her Chinese name, which meant Bird's Nest, it went so perfectly with the name we had chosen. We were happy. And when we met her it all made sense. Her name fit her, she was God's Gift to us. She was the reason we were a family.

With Lion, we were even more certain of his name. From the beginning of the process we knew he was going to be named after Frink's paternal grandfather. We loved the name. We loved the idea that there would be another person who had shared his name. The name meant God Heard in Hebrew. It was perfect, the referral of our son would mean that God had heard our prayers.

We told everyone we met that we were adopting a son and what his name would be. Everyone said, "I love that name". We were convinced that this was they way it was going to be. Even after we received our referral, we did not question our decision. He was S. There was no question.

But then we got to Ethiopia and everything changed. We met our son. We met the people who had cared for our son. We met the people who loved our son. We met the man who gave our son life and helped name him.

Our son had had his name for 16 months. It meant something to so many people. Staff members would ask the group who R's parents were. They would tell us what a special boy he was. They repeated his name over and over again. R. R. R. The name floated from their tongues as if it was poetry. R. R. R.

I knew immediately that we could not change his name. It was a part of him. He was R. But I was afraid of broaching the subject with Frink. What would he think? We were naming him after his grandfather, would he be upset? So I said nothing. Then after meeting with Lion's birth father, Frink turned to me and said "We can't change his name. He is R."

I was so happy to hear that, Lion was not S, he was R. He was always meant to be R. His name means He Helped in Amharic. Our Lion, our R, helped us expand our family and our love. It was perfect.