Monday, December 17, 2012

This is not about Gun Control

This isn't about gun control.
But, it is.

This isn't about mental health, health care, or stigma.
But, it is.

This isn't about God not being allowed in schools.
Because, of course, she is there.

A friend once told me about her middle school experience. Apparently one of the students was dealing drugs in the school. He kept the drugs hidden in his hat. Once he was caught, there was uproar. Demands that something be done! Keep our children SAFE! NO DRUGS.

So now, kids can't wear hats in school.

It's not about hats.
It's really not.

One fool tries to blow up his shoe on a plane. Although we whine and mutter about it, each of us remembers and knows why. We 'know' this ridiculous stocking feet routine is at least 'doing something'.

It's not about shoes. Or even bombs in our shoes.
It's really not.

Drugs are in our schools. They are. Outlawing hats does not address the problem. Plans are being made to blow up planes. Some will succeed. They will. Doesn't matter how many of our shoes are x-ray'ed or how many of us are felt up during TSA checks. It makes 'us' feel as if we are in control. "We are 'doing something' about it."  But are we?

We fight because we feel powerless. We fight to get that power 'back'. We think, that will somehow make us feel safe once again. Truth is, we never had it. It is always just a facade.

If we really are, there should be no reason to fear, right? Now that there are police at school drop off. To 'feel' like we are doing something. Do we suddenly feel safer, and have no twinge of fear at that wave goodbye and blown kiss.

The stigma of Mental health needs to be addressed. Promptly. Respectfully. Immediately. Help for children with mental illness. YES!

The stigma of MEN seeking medical help for any health issue needs to be addressed. Promptly. Respectfully. Immediately. Personally I think there  find a vast difference in how men and women perceive illness and thus seeking medical care. This is also true for other demographic sets and, YES needs to be addressed.

Gun control. Oh my freaking word. YES. You can spout 2nd amendment to me all day. This is what I see in that particular amendment. I see family men who remember living in fear, of their families being threatened and those men, in turn, made ... perhaps the first documented error of "fighting for control" where perhaps that wasn't really the issue. The issue was independence and right to protect their property. It's perhaps possible that is EXACTLY what the forefathers intended. Own a gun in your home. Protect your family if invaded. GUN CONTROL YES! And this from a constitutional conservative. (note: not political one... big giant difference. )

This isn't a post about all the answers. I think the problem is, we are jumping to answers, without really asking all the questions. I don't think, mental health, health care or gun control are going to fix this. This is not a 3 prong issue.

If someone wants to shoot up a school, blow up a plane, or sell drugs to kids...  Here's what I know. If they are determined enough and smart enough-- they will. It doesn't matter how many doors are locked. How many police are in the building. How many items of clothing you are wearing or need to strip off. Bad shit happens.  Shitty people do shitty things. Mean people are mean. Crazy people are crazy. Bombers bomb. Dopers dope.

I want more questions. Not necessarily more answers. Its starts at home. What am I? Who am I when the bad shit flies? Who are we raising our children to be?  I don't know the answers. I suspect, we haven't found them yet. I'm scared. I'm nervous. And having gun wearing officers at an elementary school does not alleviate that fear. My biggest fear, is that we'll screw up school, learning, children... by 'doing something'.

Oh- and THIS! Yes. This.

Friday, October 19, 2012


I see the smiling faces peering at new photos.
I see the littlest ones joyful smile, just peeking in at the corner of the photo. Familiar. Reminiscent of her brothers.
I see bright, seemingly new clothing!
... and then I recognize...
Recognize that clothing from years past, had been drying on tree branches. They were.... Sunday clothes.
Recognize everyday shirts and pants show beneath these special day clothes.
Recognize those everyday clothes are the same from last year. And the one before. More weathered, faded, worn.

I notice the feet. Are they a pathway for parasite and disease?
I notice growth and lack of. A brother of ten as tall as the five?
I notice the the frailty. Frailty has returned and taken over another. Skeletal shadows show, again.
Sickness in time of harvest.
Fucking mosquitoes.

My privilege reads debates on "Access and Affordability". Seriously? Are you fucking kidding?

Heart sick.
It's familiar.
This knowing and not knowing.
This heart in another place.

I have to find a new stable. A new stable point of this knowing/unknowing of being the new normal. Of being in this privileged America and having family... not. Privilege is not transferable. My heart is unsettled.

Sunday, October 7, 2012

We are here

We are here. Somewhere. We've been many places since the middle of June.

We sold our house. For the first time in 100's of years, that back yard belongs to someone outside my family.

After bouncing around a bit we've found a soft place to land. For a bit anyway. I'm having some feelings about it all. But we are together. Thriving. Trusting. Some days more than others.

I hope to be back here, writing again. Listening. Asking questions. It's not always about having 'my voice' heard. Mostly its about asking questions and processing the information. Sometimes- it's too important not to add your voice. Everyone's voice matters. It's powerful. It an be costly too.

Tuesday, June 12, 2012

Puddles. Quack.

Making the best of what's before us! All joy. All joy.

Wednesday, May 30, 2012

Then. Now. Future...

It won't be like this for long. This I know. Right now they still play well together, mostly. They are close in size, but their formerly defined roles are beginning to be challenged. The differences on how they are being raised, will begin to be even more challenging as they begin school. It's been a good 2 years for these two. Bumpy times are beginning. More will come. But such is the life as cousins. It is the way it has always been.

Monday, May 21, 2012

Lanky Ethiopian

Strong. Lanky. Golfing. Ethiopian. Love. Him. Beyond. Words. Heart. Bursting.

Friday, May 11, 2012

We have lift off!!!

Flight!!  Do you see it?

Let me make it easier...

YES YES YES!! FLIGHT PHASE!!!  For those unaware:  'running' actually must have a flight phase, a point in the motion where neither feet (nor any other part of body, obviously) are touching the ground.

Actual running. Oh how he shines. My heart is full full full. This is but one little teeny tiny thing of the hundreds of things filling my cup these days. Hundreds. Thousands? Millions? Maybe!! This little tiny physical triumph is just a reflection of much healing in our family.

God is so gooooooood.

Tuesday, May 8, 2012

A note to mom's...

Words and actions, tell.

If you tell your young children ...
  • the magnificent treasure they found is disgusting;
  • the people they enjoy are not worthy;
  • their game is stupid;
they will grow internalizing disgusting, no worth and stupid.

As your children mature, and have children of their own...
  • They will wonder, what kind of parent tells their child they are disgusting?
  • When they wrestle with their Lord, to show them how to love their enemies- you can rest assured, it is you, they are struggling to love.

The best case scenario, is that eventually, the child you call disgusting will begin to wonder, if it's been a mirror you spoke to all along. 
Just sayin..... 

Friday, April 27, 2012

Sunday, April 22, 2012

Quite Good, Actually.

Other than linking up with Claudia, snarky self deprecating duct tape commentary, and belittling my parenting publicly (which seems to be a general theme of this blog) I haven't recently published much here.

Some have asked, so I'll answer quickly. Yes. We are actually doing good. Really good. (jinx. punchbuggy. no backsees!)

"Dandyflowers" preferred over the Daffodils

The weather has turned blue. The good blue. Not sad blue. What that means is, it is not likely we'll see snow again till at least October (although an hour north saw 3-4 inches today, so... jinx. punchbuggy. no backsees!). We're experiencing lots of outdoor movement and all the intrinsic therapies and exhaustions included. We're soothed sleepy by the frog and cricket lullabies. We're pausing, breathing, eyes closed, face into the sun. Feeling the thaw slowly leave our souls.

I'm taking stock. Literally and figuratively. Purging our access from our home and this blog space. Lightening the load so to speak. Giving us clear exit passage onto new adventures. What those are? Who knows. I really really don't. But I'm pretty sure this is what I need to do. It feels honoring, respectfully being a good steward to all that has been given to us.

I'll write someday about the difference in trusting in God when I know really what 'will be'. It's only a matter of "WHEN"??? that I fought to control so long. During the fight to become a family, especially. It was a fight. Looking back. Yes. It was.

An then there is now. I'm here trying to trust- but I really do not know 'what for'?? I really do feel lost in some ways.  I simply remind myself, I am not alone, and in hindsight I'll see he carried me all along.

There have been some knee dropping generous merciful people in my life. Strangely- a few have been here all along, perhaps I didn't see as clearly. It isn't their tangible gifts that move me the most (although trust me- it's been tear jerk uncomfortable accepting generous), its the fact that, these people, think of us. Thought of us, through all the crap and BS of their own lives (don't we all have a load!) to actually think and act for us. Perhaps, that is God's subtle reminder that we are not alone after all.  Anyway, its taken a bit of the edge off and bought us a couple months.

The stress has lessened a bit. A smidge. I'm keeping sugar and caffeine lower and taking vitamins regularly. Still have to work on water intake and eating at regular intervals. Thanks to my friend over a Zalalaland, I will, in fact, be calling the docs office for a full and complete check up of my health this week.

Parenting is intense. We are right where I kinda sorta expected (jinx. punchbuggy. no backsees!) We've been around this mountain before. This time through, I'm having an easier time taking a different approach. bare with me....

I think, in retrospect, I'd sniff out, see, recognize an 'oncoming issue' and tackle the sucker to the ground. Wrestle it. Beat it bloody. Somehow trying to make it 'go away' or just get my hands around it's neck and shake it from my son and our lives.

Now.... or at least today, it feels as if I've been given the gift of time and perspective. I see these issues as... just part of who we are. Who he is. Now I still sniff out these suckers. In fact sometimes I can sniff 'em out miles away (jinx. punch... oh forget it). My legs under me, a bit more seasoned. Eyes that can actually honor perspective (and history!). We walk together through it. Cry through the pain. Rock it asleep (no kidding. HUGE!). Get angry together. Screw up. Ask forgiveness. And LIVE THROUGH IT! (jinx.... you know the drill...)

It's early in this season. And yes. It is still overwhelmingly exhausting. We have a few months to go- July 1 if history is any indicator. Today I can say, I'm looking forward to tomorrow. I'm not exhausted by the thought. Tomorrow early wake up may be another thought... but I'll rebound quickly when I see his smiling face.  No jinx necessary.

Friday, April 20, 2012

Flashback Friday

April 2010
April 2011

April 2012

Thursday, April 19, 2012

Momma, What's "working" Mean?

I'm late posting this because... well, I'm late to most everything. She asked. "Claudia". What's working right now?

There is a large answer that is not real tangible. More esoteric in nature. Philosophical, maybe. It's one I'm keenly aware, is only available, through our gift of time. Mired in the deep thick brush with no machete was/is intense. For so long, I felt so deep into the acute critical nature of parenting was simply the same skills necessary keeping us afloat, and not drowning.  Now, we can both swim. And we've got tools, supplies, float gear, and some water toys to enjoy this river together. There are rough patches of some class rapids. Yet, time has allowed me to scout these waters. Very little is new. We have significant traumaversary times here- but--- we've been here before. I'm prepared. And have some insight into how this is going to play out. We are able to work through the tough stuff as a team (most of the time). Momma is learning to take the lead. Momma is learning to leave behind the stuff that doesn't work. (Lawdy Lawdy. Can you imagine the chaos and server crashes all over the world had she asked "what is NOT working?") Momma is learning to be a parent. Momma is learning how to really give her child what he needs.

For some other concrete, more tangible examples....

I read back through some very old posts and found one from about 18 months ago. Those words still are true....
  •  1- Being outside helps us. Setting boundaries and staying respectful of them helps. Learning the best way to eat, helps. Laughing helps. Not teaching too many lessons in a day helps. Learning new words each day helps. Regular sleeping patterns help. Saying things I want him to know helps. Praying helps. Holding hands helps. Not freaking out when he poops in the tub (or insert any number of messy catastrophe's) helps. Getting breaks, helps. Getting help, helps. Doing things together helps. Learning to play on his own helps. Having hope, helps.
  • 2- Ditched Facetimesuckholebook for a while. It may have been the smartest move ever. It may have sucked me back into it's inescapable gravitational hold. Time will tell. But for Lent- leaving it behind proved to be a really good thing for our family. Then again, my support system is partially built into that over powering server. There is good work going on in that space. Some really really really good work. I'm a good works person. Yet... that's been missing for some time and I've only been able to be a voyeur. perhaps... someday... I pick up that piece of me again. And THAT will definitely be something that is working for us!
  • 3- Dressing him: Ya. I know what the books say.  "Give them choices over stuff that doesn't matter" blah blah blah. Mostly, that works for us, just not in certain seasons. Right now? Long story short: It ends up in me losing my shit and reinforcing his shameful depraved view of himself, therefor eliminating whatever the reason was to give him 'choices' to begin with. Sometimes, folks- kids (and their parents) got a lot going on and just can't handle the choices. It really can be too hard. On days he wants/needs to make the choice- fine. "Yay for using your voice! OK. Go get that shirt." He does. And he returns happy and proud of his accomplishment. 
  •  4- Hair. It was a security trigger for him somehow. We needed to find a way to support what he was comfortable with and also make it maintainable. I think I've done that. I think? Long story short: He likes his curls "HUGE"(his word).  I like it not matting and not having to spend 6 hours de-tangling and shedding every week.  So we "stretch" it at night (big rope twists) with sleeping cap. Take the out in the morning. 10 minutes at night. 10 min in am. Both happy and almost to school on time.
  • 5- Letting "it" go. Again- This sounds so esoteric or intangible. For me. It's like cutting off an arm.... and it feels good. Family. They can support you, raise you up be your breath when you are drowning. And they can crush you, smother you, manipulate and condescend. I have both of that going on right in my immediate family. I'm learning, rather than 'lean' on those who are raising me up, to reach higher because of them. I'm learning to offer mercy and seek peace in my heart, rather than reacting to judgment and condescension by justifying my actions. (some of what is written here is a 'work in progress'... I'll let you guess which part.)

Monday, April 16, 2012

I dare you...

Those of you that are familiar with Pinterest, are well aware of the dichotomy of popular thinking.
Entire boards dedicated to the running, svelte, strong, early dawn photos with 'motivating' captions...
along side your equally full boards dedicated to cupcakes.

There are also the Home design ones. Ones that look like everyone in the world has a 'school room' specifically to inspire creative thinking expression in their littles. Of course, the room is spotless, all glitter accounted for, marker tops firmly attached and held in its assigned spot (somehow not rolling off the upcycled architects desk refashioned into a childs desk.. uh right?!) and previous artistic masterpieces  perfectly centered on a wall mounted in a manner suited for the budding Jackson Pollack.

I provide the polar opposite in this house. We aim high. Very high. Up where the ducks fly. Ducks. Ducts. Either way. Ladies and gentleman, I give you- Duct tape.

Sunday, April 15, 2012

Soaring Sunday


There is actual flight phase.  Air between foot and ground. 

My babe is gonna reach the sky.
mmm hmmm

Saturday, April 7, 2012


Being sick doesn't erase the sensory drive.


Repeat x 2,000

Tuesday, April 3, 2012

Speaking Truth. Acting in Truth.

His feelings are important.
His needs are important.
He can count on me.

The other day I read this post by dear Meg.  It moved me. I suppose it will move many of us in different ways as it is so personally adaptive to our lives as parents.

I read that post after have 2 days of struggling with my son. Struggling with LOTS of things in LOTS of areas. Sometimes my role in the process can make it better. Sometimes I make it harder. Sometimes, in an attempt to make things easier, I forget to convey important truths to his heart and our family.

His feelings are important.
His needs are important.
He can count on me.

We'd spent considerable time 'doing hair' over the course of 3 days. He likes it long. Does NOT want it cut or buzzed. Has great fear about it really. Which means that I have to take care that it doesn't mat and get too tangled. I'm not complaining. I like doing it. I love learning. I love the time we spend doing it. It suits his personality. That isn't said to discount the effort, energy and time invested.


On Tuesday, heading into school, he wanted to wear a hat or hood. He curled up in a ball, into my lap begging, "please." He clung to me, burying his head, "Please, momma." Finally convinced it was time to join his class, he did so demurely. Quietly.

This is not about a hoodie. This is about a boy, feeling ashamed, nervous, shy of standing out. A boy, who's mother repeats over and over, "different is good" "you are beautiful" "God made you just perfect".

These are truths. But they are words. Words, without action, can not sink into the heart.


Tuesday he was given a very special gift, from his very special grandparents, for a very special boy. We talked about it. In small bites. Here and there. So it would sink in- this special big boy bike.  And still, he received the gift, half hiding, covered as much as he could get away with.

Tuesday night, I read Meg's post. That night, I lay in bed, convicted. Him asleep in the bed next to me, sleeping cap on. Not having had to remind him to use it the past couple nights.  I listened. I heard. I saw.

My own pride was part of the many reasons I insisted on keeping his hair in twists for as long as I planned. I had invested a lot of time. I had worked really hard.

It's not about me.


Speak truth. Show truth in action.

The next morning. Even though we woke late. Even though the rope twists had only been in one day. Even though I had committed to be somewhere at 9am. I finally realized how acting these truths are as important now as they've ever been. I told him these truths.

His feelings are important.
His needs are important.
He can count on me.
... and said...
"if you want, we can take your twists out before school."

We arrived at school an hour and a half late. Circle time already in session. He joined his group promptly and said "Look. My hair is soft today. Do you want to touch it?" And he went around the circle of friends and teachers bending over, proudly offering each one an opportunity to feel his 'soft hair'.  When he'd made the loop, he stood up, tall, looked at me, offered a big small and sat down.

It doesn't matter what I may think it looks like. It isn't about me. It isn't about how long it stays detangled. It's about him. Finding identity. Feeling strength and pride in how he is made. In how he is becoming. In who he is. In who he is becoming.

Another reminder, that I'm still new at this parenting thing. Lessons remain new every day. Pride has no place in parenting.

Sunday, April 1, 2012

Foot in Mouth Incidents...

I love reading mom's recount of questions regarding the make up of their family, hows, whos, whys, etc. Reason being, I haven't really gotten any of the nosey, curious, demanding stranger questions. I remember twice I've had questions from strangers, who specifically were courteous and clearly were sensitive and aware of different family dynamics.

  • At the local park, as we walked by on way to potty, an older woman sitting on a bench said "He's beautiful. How long have you been together as a family?" I gasped. Thanked her for saying it that way. Not sure if I answered her actual question.
  • Holding a yard sale at my brothers, my son and nephew were gallivanting about the yard in mischievous  4yo fun. A young woman holding her young 18 mo stopped by. We talked a while. I helped her find some things as her hands were full with baby. After hearing Teg scream "Momma!" about 400 times in 10 minutes, she also said "He's beautiful. How old is he? Is he your only child?" Then she offered that she had a 6 yo in the car watching a movie. They had adopted him through foster care. We had a wonderful conversation. She stayed for an hour (older child obviously got out of the car and played with the two 4yos). She is now a good friend and supportive person in our lives.

I make these long illustrations to say- most of my rude comments haven't been from strangers. But I read about them on the interwebs and like to think I'm somewhat prepared for when they will occur.

... umm... or maybe I'm just a donkey and am trying to stir up trouble? Case in point. Opining. (and no- none of you that comment here were part of my thinking with that post.

Yesterday at our local grocery store, I was shocked and AMAZED that a beautiful brown skinned man was at the seafood counter. Not initially planning on getting seafood, our plans changed immediately!! (don't forget- we are sooo lily white here- it's practically a transparent state). Teg, pushing the cart, was quite active and vocal as he went a little further to use the hand sanitizer station (those automatic dispensers are like crack for 4yo boys).

The gentleman leaned forward tilted his chin at Teg and said "Helping out today?"

Me: "huh"

You: envying my highly developed conversational nuances

He repeated the chin nod "Helping out today?"

Perhaps I'm hard of hearing. Or perhaps my head was filled with screams of joy that "THERE IS ANOTHER BLACK MAN IN THIS STORE! YAYAYAYAYAY"  Either way, I responded.... 

Me: "Am I helping out? Oh. No. He is my son."

Him: "Yes. Is he helping YOU out? You'll end up with extra things in your cart." (laughing... attempting a joke on kids and grocery stores...)

(Recognizing myself as a jackass. Teg has hollered "Momma" at least 5 times in this 20 second interaction. The man KNOWS he's my son.)

Me: "Oh. Yes. That does happen from time to time."

I'm just calling it as 'practice' for when an ACTUAL inquisitor presents oneself.

And now I have to find a new grocery store.

Saturday, March 31, 2012


I'm really irritated/irate when people say things like:
-"You really got a good one" because he's cute or he's good or... whatever qualifier they add.

I've even heard other adoptive families refer to themselves the same way and it makes me really... ummm...  kinda pissed.

"I really hit the jackpot with this kid. She's so easy."

Somehow it twinges the same nerve when a grown adult repeats the "Why would I give birth again when there are so many kids no one wants. I'd rather just get one of them and save them."

Seriously? Why does it feel like the same snide remark?  "Oh ya. It's all so easy peasy and luck has SOO much to do with family building."

I think its the shallow surface of the sentiment that rubs me wrong. It pisses me off. And this is my blog. So I'm putting it out there.

I hope I never disregard your family, its crisis, its deep hard work, its diligent process, the depth of mourning, and breadth of healing by looking at a snapshot in time and say "Jackpot!" If I have... I am so deeply sorry.

Thursday, March 29, 2012

Wicked Sense of Humor...

Seriously... I'm laughing a mile a minute here. It's that.. or cry.

Wednesday, March 28, 2012

Wednesday. Walk in Woods...

It was a two-fer kind of day...

Sunday, March 25, 2012

Soaring Sunday


Can he? Can I let him? Can I empower him? Can I stop him?

Is it possible to give him the gift of full potential and then hold onto it inside a bullet proof bubble?

How do I teach him to be his full self? A strong, smart, bold black young man. 

At the same time "slow down", "hold back" "be leery of your skin?"

Friday, March 23, 2012

Flashback Friay

First meet Jan 2010

March 2010

March 2011

March 2012