Sunday, April 29, 2007


As I mentioned in the Ash Wednesday post, I observed Lent this year by giving something up - the same thing I've been giving up since voluntarily observing Lent for the first time in 2004. (I didn't observe in 2006 since I was overwhelmed with parenting an infant.)

It was really hard this time - not in the sense that I craved what I temporarily gave up, but that I just felt really, really out of sorts. And it ended the moment Lent did and I allowed myself to consume again what I had fasted from for 40 days.

I couldn't figure out why I felt so odd. Today I have an idea, though. I am just not very good to myself and this thing that I partake in every day (except during Lent) is my one treat. (And no, it's not chocolate.) So by taking that away, I took away the one thing that doesn't serve a strictly utilitarian purpose in my everyday life. I've realized how many stupid self-sacrificing restrictions I've put on myself and my life.

So what Lent taught me is I need to be better to myself. I think I already started that process, at least in my mind, very recently - starting to acknowledge things I enjoy, things I want to do, things I need to go ahead and start doing because tomorrow IS today. There's never going to be a day that just arrives and says, "Okay, today is the day you can have cream in your coffee instead of non-dairy creamer." I am the one who can make that day be today. I just gotta let go a little, notice the world doesn't end by doing so, and live.

Thursday, April 26, 2007

Life Change

I've had the same job for 7+ years. I've held different positions, so it's not been the same exact job, but there's still the continuity, the stability, the known evil of familiarity. I've been trying to find a new job since 2003 but once I make it to the interview stage I am inevitably one of two finalists who gets edged out by someone with just the right extra kind of experience.

My daughter's original daycare provider took a "real job" in January and I had to find new daycare. The situation she is in now allowed me to basically work four full-time days and one partial day from home as opposed to the flying-by-the-seat-of-my-pants-flex schedule I had from the time she was three weeks old. Well, I noticed almost immediately that I hated this new lifestyle. I don't get enough reward out of my job to be away from her that much, to have so much time wrapped up in working or getting to or from work because there's still so much else to get done: grocery shopping, cooking, cleaning, etc. The one day a week I get to work from home isn't enough since weather or something else usually prevents any quality time outdoors with her (on a walk, at the park, in the backyard), plus her local grandmother wants to spend time with her so usually I wind up working from home while she is either at her grandmother's or taking her nap.

An opportunity has arisen whereby I can work part-time at a local office. I think I'm going to take it. And I think I am also going to go back to school and pursue my Master's degree. And you know what, I'm excited about it! Sure, it will be less money (I've been saving just in case I decided to be brave enough to do something like this) and I have to figure out something for health insurance, but this decision is about quality of life.

For the past week I really doubted myself because *gasp* what if I'm wrong? Well, dammit, what if I'm right? I'm not winning any awards in cubicle-land and years from now I will regret the memories I missed making because I didn't spend more time with my daughter, showing her how to bake brownies, listening to her delighted giggle as she goes down a slide, etc. I won't, however, find myself saying, gee, I wish I could've worked 8 more hours that week back in June of 2007.

So we'll see if they call with an offer. I'm still not quite ready to get fully excited until they do.

Wednesday, April 25, 2007


For the first time in more than two years I started exercising. Sure, I've been walking almost every opportunity I get and there's an awful lot of movement that comes with parenting - lots of extra laundry (mine as well as hers since her food, slobber, etc. winds up on me, too), picking up toys, running after her, etc. so I didn't have a problem getting to my pre-pregnancy weight, especially with nursing. With the end of nursing, however, I noticed my clothes getting a little less comfortable so I thought, hey, now might be a good time to start formally exercising again.

It's been great and I've been three times now. It is strange, though, finding out what I can and can't do very easily. It's like I am rediscovering my body even though I am more than 18 months post-partum. I guess I thought by now everything (muscles, etc.) would be back to normal. It dawned on me last night as I was doing crunches that after my son's birth, my return to exercise was immediate (well within a couple of weeks), that the "adoption kool-aid" mentality was all about looking and feeling like I'd never had a baby, to get back to "normal" as soon as possible. As I lay there on the mat last night, it was like I had a brief time travel warp/flashback to the girl I was at 20. The clarity was much different from when I purposely try to remember the person I was, and it was like I had a brief connection with her, a person in many ways very different from who I am now and it made me wonder.

I'm glad that I am finally taking some time to exercise and gain some of the perspective that exercise (and the resulting endorphins) can give a person. I am enjoying figuring out how my body feels about exercising, learning what muscle groups really need a little more attention, seeing how I physically feel with the exercise, but it certainly brought home a key difference in parenting that most moms know - so much focus is on the baby that you really don't have the time or energy to pay much attention to yourself, and I think that with the chance I have to finally parent, I've not let myself pay much attention to myself because I don't want to miss a moment with my daughter that I don't otherwise have to miss. There are plenty of other moms who go back to exercising much sooner than I have, and I have to not feel guilty about waiting this long to do it because apparently that's a trap I've fallen into - feeling like I should have done something sooner.

As my therapist recently said (I went back after a two year hiatus to deal with the fallout from the Christmas Letter) in regards to something else I brought up, I shouldn't beat myself up about not doing something sooner (in this case it was reading a book that really helped me see certain things in a more healthy way) because I wasn't ready sooner. So that's what I want to start focusing on - embracing myself for who I am rather than who I think others want me to be. When I start telling myself that I should have done this sooner or that sooner, I have to remind myself that I wasn't ready, but I am ready now, that my life is my own unique story.

Sunday, April 22, 2007

Yohane Banda

If what People reports is true, this makes me sad for the bio dad, and sad that Madonna can't be more compassionate and true to her word:

A source at the orphanage tells PEOPLE that "[Banda] was told he would spend some time with his son," but the meeting was canceled.

Banda, an onion and tomato farmer, left the border district of Mchinji early Saturday expecting to reunite with David. But it was not to be. "They had reached the town of Namitete when the executive director got a call from Madonna's people telling her that the meeting had been called off," said the source. "They were not given reasons."

Although several British tabloids have reported that the father-and-son reunion took place Tuesday, orphanage sources say the peasant farmer had been waiting for the meeting.

Thursday, April 19, 2007

Frustration yes; Resentment no

I adore my daughter and I love spending time with her. I read some mommy blogs and from time to time there are tones of what I'll call resentment in some posts. I've assumed that it's only inevitable for that to happen to me, but it hasn't yet. I posted about this once before, too, several months ago.

My daughter is quickly approaching her second birthday and while I get very frustrated at not having enough time with her, at always having so much to do, at running late more often than I'd like, etc., I have never resented her. The few times I have felt a little frustration when she was whining or not cooperating I instantly recognized were due to my own fatigue and I just backed off and realized that she was just as tired as I was (hence the whining and non-cooperation) and took a deep breath - not that I'm some perfect super mommy, because I'm not. I just am not going to take my frustration out on her. I refuse.

It's really kind of weird because under any other kind of situation I do lash out to some degree. For example, I might say something mean to my husband when he has no bearing on the situation that got me frustrated. Towards my daughter, however, it's like I'm another person, something just comes over me and prevents me from targeting her.

I was thinking perhaps I have more patience and love for her than I imagined I would because of placing my son. Today I realized I was wrong about that. One of the reasons I placed my son was my assumption that I would be an angry, frustrated mother - like my own. But my attitude with my daughter is apparently not simply to make up for not parenting him, it comes from the years of being the target of my own mother's resentment. I did not realize how deeply that affected my very being, but apparently it has if I am able to so naturally NOT be resentful towards my daughter and all the demands motherhood does make on me.

It is good to know that the anger and hate that my mother oozed is not going to poison my daughter after all.

Monday, April 16, 2007


One of the reasons I placed my son was so that he would have an extended family. It always bothered me that I had so few aunts, uncles and cousins. Being the oldest child in my family, I knew it would be quite awhile before the baby I was pregnant with in 1991 had any biological cousins.

So let's fast forward a few years. Now I have my daughter and she has a handful of cousins, but all the ones on my side of the family live far away and we only see them when I make the effort to go to them.

Not exactly the idea of extended family I had in mind and wanted for the child I would raise.

Thursday, April 12, 2007

The Music of My Youth

It's funny how music can invoke thoughts. Okay, it's not funny. And I've seen other people post about the connection between music and memories, too.

When I think about the connection between music and thoughts (emotions really), I always am reminded of Susan Sarandon's character in "Dead Man Walking" who wants to sing a song for Sean Penn's character at his death but is denied because, as the warden says, "music is too emotional". [this is a paraphrase and it may not have been the warden who denied the request]

Anyway ... I was on my way to pick my daughter up at daycare yesterday and some 80's Bruce Hornsby-like song was playing on the radio. And then it occurred to me. When I was pregnant with my son, I was only 3-4 years beyond those 80's songs (with the automatic memories they always generate) ... so essentially he was conceived and born when those songs were still around the first time. The person I was then, the baby he was, and those songs are all pretty intertwined really. But my daughter ... she is too young to even pick out specific words in those songs, to find the tune even vaguely recognizable. For her, these songs will be ancient history, "oldies" if you will.


That makes me feel so disconnected from her, so old and apart. And yet it makes me feel, again, the connection I have with the son I never see but hope to see again someday soon.

I love you young man, out there growing up so fast. You are only four years younger than I was when I had you. Take care. I am so glad you exist, even if I can't see you.

Monday, April 09, 2007


I took Mommela up on her offer to provide some feedback on the letter I am writing to M. After my post the other night, I started to feel angry again and knew I would have trouble sleeping if I didn't just go ahead and write something to M. It helped, but I just shelved it rather than re-writing it on stationery the next morning (and mailing it!) as I had planned and it was a good thing I did, because Mommela had some awesome suggestions - including writing declarative sentences. Wow. What a concept. I am so afraid of M&P taking away what little they provide that I've become this little mouse saying, "oh, but if it's no trouble, please, if you don't mind, well, if you have the time and it's no bother .... "

I wasn't always like this. When I reconnected with the birthfather a few months ago, he showed me a picture from our time together and I could literally see a self-confident young woman and I was shocked! Was that me? Really?

I want to reclaim my self-confidence and sense of worth. I told myself last week that I needed to do two things: write the letter and make an appointment with my therapist (whom I haven't seen in two years). Actually, I knew as soon as I finished reading the letter the first time, on Christmas Day, that I needed to do those two things. I have taken these 3+ months to process my initial emotions and feelings, but I still haven't addressed the underlying crap that has been undermining my self esteem and self image all these years. Writing has helped, as well as reading other blogs, but it's time to visit the therapist again. Reading Mommela's feedback on the letter reinforced the truth that I need other perspectives and input. And I have work to do.

[As a baby step, prior to posting, I edited out several wishy washy words like "perhaps ...".]

Friday, April 06, 2007

Feeling Defeated

You know, I was going to write M an Easter-time letter and enclose it in an Easter card. I was going to attempt to answer the question in her Christmas letter about my long term goals. And I was going to remind her that she had not sent a picture but had promised one. And I was going to ask her to send one before his birthday.

But I didn't. And part of me knew that I wasn't going to do it because I kept coming up with excuses. But I went ahead and bought an Easter card the other day in a lame attempt to encourage myself to write the letter.

But you know what? I am tired of begging. I am tired of asking for something, hoping for something from her. I do it every year at Christmas and it wears me down, wears me out. I do not have the energy to do it more than once a year.

And another thing. While our letters apparently crossed in the mail at Christmas, I would have thought me telling her about my daughter would have at least warranted a card or note of Congratulations. When I'm truthful with myself, I admit that I'm worried, terrified really, that she has taken my daughter's birth as a sign that I have finally "moved on".

She couldn't be further from the truth.

I really need to get the guts up to just write the damn letter to her.