I’ve got Bowie rattling around in my head this morning…oh heck, all the past week.  It’s an odd new year of change for me/us round here.

One of the big huge changes for me/us in the coffeehouse: I brought my baby Gabey (who is NO baby…ahem) home to learn yesterday.  By which I mean, to  homeschool.  It was a tough decision, we all LOVE his teacher!  But, I’ve been stewing over this one a lot, haven’t been able to let the idea of it go.  Up til now, January, he’s LOVED every bit of school.  He’s asked “Is it a school day?” with eagerness and anticipation in his voice.  When he got his little kindergarden worksheet packet on Monday’s, he’d insist on drilling through the entire thing in one setting (to my amazement and glee, for a change, a kid who likes homework!).  He wasn’t jealous of his big bro being home for school with me, it was all “See ya later, let’s go!”  I’m not sure what changed.  I think, developmentally, we are in one of the downswings of that attachment cycle: you know, stable/secure/confident then swinging down to insecure/shame/clingy-fussy-angry.  Well, no learning can take place while a kid is fearful or angry.  Combine that with the reports from his teacher, corroborating what I saw here and worried about, that he is shutting down in class. Skills that he zipped through before the break, are now being woven together and he’s hit his readiness limit.  Seeing that it’s not clicking, he shuts down; an unhappy boy, waiting for them to move on.  He comes home angry and begs, clinging, to stay with me.  When he does stay here, he’s his loud lively cheery self, but with added hugs and snuggles for me.

So, the decision which seemed so tough for a month or so…is not so tough after all.  And it’s done.  He’s home for now.  Where he can work through this uptick of those deep worries on security and his value and place in his family.  He can do this deep work on his own time, in his own way and through play.  He’s home where he can move at his own natural pace to be ready to really read and have the time and space to sing loudly all day (his current mode) and to think whatever thoughts he wants or need to think.  Big brother is pretty happy about this new shift, mostly, there will be some spikes of jealousy here and there, and also more chances for them to work out the skills of taking turns and negotiating and patience.

Little Man is back to himself in the most literal way.  He is off any and all adhd meds and that has brought his sweetness back.  Annnd, it has brought his hyper energy and impulses back like a Tasmanian Devil…whirling and leaping all through the house, most all the time.  He has the attention span of a squirrel, fascinated by any and all things that flit through his peripheral vision or notice.  But he is a happy wild, rather than an angry wild.  So, it’s a huge wonderful shift for us, even as I have to totally rethink  my approach to him and his learning.

As for me, it all is part of this tide of change.  I’m adjusting to my “new ears.” I’m liking them a lot! Heck, just to cut down the number of hours a day I hear that infernal ringing/tinnitis…these things are a godsend!  I am switching to contacts, and might have found some that work with the  new mulitfocal technology (science can be so cool!); because the space behind my ears for glasses AND aids is just too dang small.  Wearing both at the same time hurts.  Contacts are kind of wonderful, liberating.  And I feel like myself from years ago in a way, even though I keep trying to push my glasses up on my nose when they aren’t there.

This  year is beginning with a bang.  For me to know that I need, and in a way, want, to bring my little boys home to learn? Whoa, that’s a sea change.  And, truthfully, not without me dragging my heels.  My selfishness knows no bounds and I am sort of wincing at the extra work and doing and lack of privacy/my time and such.  It’s why Gabe didn’t get pulled out a few weeks ago. Why yes, I AM that selfish, indeed.  Took me a bit to kowtow to the need of it.  Shocked? Well, see, I had considered myself to be done, Done, DONE with homeschool.  But, never say never, even when you’re old, eh?  I’ve got some other big changes that I’m pondering for the blog too…but that’s another post, closer to Lent, I think….

So, for now, here we are.  My little boys are home.  I have to approach this a whole new way because they are totally different kinds of kids than the big kids, when I home-schooled them.  I’m hoping for a more relaxed approach, a trust in their ability and desire to learn. They certainly have that whole CURIOUS, investigative, always into something, part down.   So, I think we will be alright.  The trick is for me to roll with it: the changes, the new mode, the mess, the noise, the mess, the ACTIVE-ity.    But I’ve got new eyes to see and new ears to hear.  Literally.  Ha!  So, I”m all in.  Me and my boys…..

rainy sunday

Sound Tsunami

Day two.

Day two of trying on newbie hearing aids. To my surprise, really, it’s something of a sound tsunami.  Really.  They warned me about this, the audiologist did, the net/google searches did.  But did I believe them? Nah.  I thought they were talking about people with different kinds of hearing issues, like profound loss.  Evidently, they were talking about me too!  Seems that my old brain has gotten quite used to not hearing a lot of the background sounds and now those same sounds…..are SO loud! And there are so many!  I mean, my house is a ridiculously loud place!  No wonder I managed for so many years, not realizing I was missing stuff, because there is just SO much to hear, here.  Seriously, little boys, dogs, machines, beeping of ovens and dishwashers and microwaves and alarms, little wild boys, teen girls, dryers, washing machines, faxes, little hollering boys, snoring dogs, and oh my goodness, smoke alarms when grilled cheese sandwiches are attmpted by an almost 9 year old, dishes in the sink.  Oh my! Dishes clanking and clattering in the sink like machine guns next to my head.  Duck!

It’s a tsunami of sound. I’m trusting that my brain is still quite agile enough to sort through it all and start ignoring the inconsequential bits and ratchet up the important parts: boys sneaking about, oven timers, muffled ponderings from the back seat, teens needing a heart to heart.

And, so far, truly, despite the wall of sounds….I DID hear my Gabey ask me a great question from the back seat of my gigantic car yesterday (with no one needing to repeat it to me), and I did have a private quick convo with my eldest girl that was actually, um, private and in low tones.  Whoa.  So, I can see some possibility of benefit here…..

So, for now, I’m aurally surfing the tsunami as best I can.


It’s weird, wild and, just maybe, a little wonderful.

Bionic Ears.


So, today is the day, the day I ‘test drive’ a set of hearing aids.

I’m excited, nervous, hopeful and a little conflicted.  I wrote about the whole genetic kooky glitch, here.  See, I told my dad about it the other day; that I was about to try ’em out.  And he was kind of surprised and not sure about it…because, of course, he never did.  Get aids, that is.  And, so, what with it being him and all…by which I mean the stoic, stick it out kind of ‘tough old bird’ kind of guy…. he’s not impressed with the idea.  It seems.  He wasn’t negative, really.  But, in his life, he doesn’t feel the need.  I get that.  But his life is quite quiet.  Mine.  Quite not.

So, I feel that by at least giving it a go I’m trying, at the very least, to be fair to my kids, to my family.  I’m trying to at least satisfy my perfectionist curiosity….and see if they can make a difference.  I’m hopeful.  In the best case scenario, they’ll make a marked and better difference for my hearing and responsiveness.  In the worst case, they will be useless or just make everything worse.  Yeah, because my household is SO loud that maybe having hearing assist is actually NOT the thing I’m really wanting, eh?  Maybe there is a certain bliss in not hearing it all.  I could make that argument and run with it.  Ignorance might well be, often, bliss.

But, here I sit.  Now.  Typing at you and with my little high tech computers tucked up behind my ears.  And I have had them on for a few hours now.  And man, is it LOUD here!  I’m getting tired, actually.  The audiologist warned me that I might be so.  That it might be just TOO MUCH SOUND at first.  I psshawed; thinking, “No way.  I hear most everything, it’s just I can’t understand some of it.”  But. Oh my goodness.  She was right.  Just the “Bing” on my cell phone that alerts me, you know, “you’ve got mail“….SO loud.  I asked her if it sounded LOUD to her? She smiled.  Said, um, no, normal.  Oh.  Me, my voice…I sound like a loud Minnie Mouse.  That’s unfortunate.  At first, as we twiddled with settings, every turn of my head crackled in my ears, oh dear.  She fixed that, hurrah.  At first, it sounded like we were both in barrels, then holding a microphone, really close.  Fixed, hurrah.  After a while, we got it leveled out, we hope.  So, with some instruction, she sent me out.

I went to the  market.  Because I’m a european by my habits, I suppose, and find I have to go most every day (meaning, the kids are still eating me out of house and home and produce doesn’t keep, nor does it get the chance to and oh my goodness how many clementines and bananas can one family go through in a week?????).  Anyhow, it was my first real test drive.  It was…ok.  It was NOT like putting on a new glasses rx and feeling a biblical relief.  “I can SEE!”  It was not like I had superwoman hearing and could hear the bagger gossip across the store (not that they DO….).  It was just kind of like, more, somehow.  Not only amplified either.  Just kind of like more sounds altogether with some standing out, sharply.  She warned me that it would take my brain time to adjust but it would.

So, at this point, I’m waiting.  I might take them off for a while, just to take a break.  But, as my college boy points out….I’m quieter too.  My voice is.  Aw….. I know!  But that right there might contribute to lowering the overall sound volume in the house, soon.  Now, it feels very loud.  My goodness those small boys are noisy.  I suddenly feel rather old….  So… opinion on these hearing aids is on hold.  It’s just a test drive, after all.  I want to love them.  I’m not sure, yet.  But it’s day one.  If I DO love them, I’m gonna get em in a REAL color instead of the basic tech gray.  I figure if they help me out and cost the big bucks…I’m not gonna try to pretend they don’t exist (but also not gonna put a neon sign on either…it’s all balance, right?).

So, there it is.  I have ear helps.  I’m not sure yet if they are – helps.  I suspect they might be.  But am not sure. I’m hopeful.  Uncertain.  And…a little tired. They still feel a little weird, physically.  I cannot imagine having the little ones INSIDE the ear canal, yikes.  But I trust that I’ll stop being so conscious of them, soon.  At any rate, maybe this will help me not feel like I need to shout so much, right?  Maybe it will help me be a stealth ninja mom and sneak up on my kids who are sneaking…..ok.  Maybe not.  But, for today, for this month, I’m test driving some baby bionics.  Some teensy weensy mini computers on both my ears….too bad they don’t vacuum and make cappucino’s too……

A Different Kind of Cookie Bite


“What’s that you say? How’s that? Come again? Excuse me? Say it again?

Yeah, how about that for the top expressions you don’t want to have on your short list? But, they are mine.

Because I’m losing my hearing a bit. Yeah. It bugs me like crazy.

And, I feel old. I’d like to say that this was just another piece of the hit list that is turning fifty. But I fear that I have that more genetic loss: the “cookie bite.” (I know, so apropos of my sweet tooth, you’d think it was tailor made for me. Oh, it’s genetic, I guess it was….)

But, I’ve noticed this loss for years. In fact, the doc has called me at home after my hearing test for years to say, “You’d really benefit from a hearing aid.” I’ve dismissed it. Pssssh. Moi? Nah. Who’s got time for the fiddle factor? I don’t need to another gadget to have to fool with. And, since my ears already ring a great lot of the time and I don’t need to add hissing or squeaking to the mix. I’ve already got enough of THOSE sounds from the children.

But, I’m starting, after years and years, to finally consider it. I’m even past the point of caring much what it looks like; though I feel bad that poor Tom would have a wife that looks like a senior citizen. I have the hardest time hearing Gabey. He can be my loudest child, to be sure, but when he’s just talking, he can have a voice that sounds muffled, even if he’s talking in english versus Gabelish. I have to ask him all the time, daily, “What? Say it again.” The girls will come down and tell me that the timer on the oven is ringing or that Anthony is calling me. I can’t hear the kids from the far back seat, though, granted, my car is like an ocean liner it’s so big. Don’t even get me started about talking on the phone, it makes me nuts and is making me feel stupid. In fact, lately I feel stupid all the time. I will often guess what is being said, but frequently I’m wrong. Or I will nod and make polite listening sounds. It works pretty well, unless someone actually is talking about something that I’m supposed to respond to, say at a large table dinner at a gala or event. Then, forget it…I usually get up and cruise the room or go refill my drink (Soda, people! Ok, the OCCASIONAL vodka soda…..Gee whiz….)

It’s not that I can’t hear anything, it’s that the hearing is all wonky. Often sounds physically hurt. The TV and radio is usually just WAY too loud. Movies hurt. Unless, they are too low and then I can’t make the voices out. I can hear tiny beeps, sometimes, that others cannot. I can hear footsteps up the stairs. I sometimes have freaky ninja hearing. But I can’t hear the oven timer. I can’t hear my washer spinning though I can feel it. Erratic speaker microphones are brutal. The priests homilies are often a muffle. It’s erratic. It’s annoying, or even crazymaking, to me and to my family.

On the other hand. It might be more peaceful this way, ha! I cope. I compensate. I can’t tell if it’s pretty bad or if I’m just a perfectionist. I KNOW I’m a perfectionist. (except in housekeeping…and fashion…) But, I don’t know if I’m just a perfectionist whiner (sshhh, I know. I am.) or if this is actually a real problem that would be helped with a hearing aid. I suspect it might be. I read an article about the increase in dementia in people with untreated hearing loss. WHAT?! So, that’s a brick on my head. I’ll take the senior style look of a hearing aid over memory loss in a heartbeat!

So, I have a Cookie Bite hearing loss. It’s genetic. I might just be ready and willing to take advantage of modern technology and see if I can hear better. But……my dad has this very same loss pattern too, and he never has gotten a hearing aid. He’s made it to 80 and is still sharp and gets along fine. So, he has been my role model. My measuring stick. I wonder if I should just suck it up and deal like he has. But, I wonder….he didn’t do the hands on, 24/7 mom-raising of 8 kids.

I don’t want to jump the gun if it can’t help or if it’s just me being a drama queen. But, I don’t want to blow it, because I’d see and live with the fallout, even if I couldn’t hear it.


50 for 50

So, it’s my 50th birthday today.  Yeh, I can hardly believe it myself. I surprise myself every time I catch a glance in a passing window, wondering why my mom is tagging along.  Oh wait…..

But, instead of focusing on some of the mournful aspects of turning officially 50 (body changes oh my…)…..I want to mark this day with my own personal list of 50 things for which I am grateful.  I want to put up this list for me (to mark as my memory goes, sooner I fear rather than later); it is not anywhere close to all encompassing, it will not list every person because that list would probably be endless and my memory is going so I wouldn’t remember the names and then I’d get all stressed out and, well, you get the idea…..

It’s my birthday and I’ll list as I want to.  No particular order or relevance or profundity – mundane and inane and momentous included.  It’s barely a scratch of the surface of the goodness in my blessed life.  Just as with people, impossible to list every thing to be thankful for.  Comments will be closed because this post/list, really, it’s for me to officially recognize all the bounty of goodness and wonder in my life.  

Now, today at 50, here we go….

50 for 50:

  1. My family: husband, each and all my kids.
  2. My mom and dad and sister and brothers;  my nieces and nephews.
  3. My Godchildren.
  4. My faith and my church, the Catholic Church and all that comes with it: the saints, the smells the bells the big perpetual global prayer that unites us all, the eucharist and the simplicity and beauty of this mind blowing truest thing.
  5. my friends, old, new, virtual and in real life….don’t know what I’d do without them/you. close ones far ones near and dear and darn ones……
  6. raspberries and blackberries
  7. coffee, espresso, iced coffee
  8. Vanilla almond milk for my iced coffee
  9. the warm soft early summer air in the south before the air turns heavy dripping with humidity later
  10. the beach, any and all
  11. Carlsbad, perhaps my favorite place, anywhere
  12. novenas
  13. the rosary
  14. the Dominican Provence of St Joseph
  15. my bulldog sitting next to me as I read
  16. spending much of my childhood riding my horse all over
  17. horseback rides with my dad, both the long trail rides through the desert and the local walkabouts around the neighborhoods
  18. sitting out in the ocean, beyond the breakers waiting for the next set on the boogie board as a teen
  19. yakking in the sun with girlfriends who are (still) like sisters as we waited and teased each other (or they teased me) for being scared for the next set of waves
  20. figuring out, finally, how to make really good homemade bread/boule with a crunchy crust and a soft airy inside
  21. watching my kids, especially my big boys, devour the bread I make
  22. singing badly in the car to old songs just to aggravate the kids, as needed
  23. having run a few marathons, having loved running a few half marathons
  24. college. grad school. all of it.
  25. reading, forever my favorite thing
  26. electronics and our convenient world; the net, iphones, email
  27. e-readers, the kindle and ipad for the liberating ease of use and portability
  28. routines of stretching for helping my body age and transition
  29. girls night out, especially when it involves my sister
  30. wine and lemon drop martinis
  31. the “love letters” my son makes me: books and songs and pictures
  32. saturday night standing date night with my tom
  33. movies, especially going OUT to movies
  34. hearing my kids play music and sing
  35. listening to my kids play the music and sing downstairs in the living room as I lie above them drifting to sleep in bed
  36. late afternoons at the beach as the sun starts sinking lower and the crowds fade off and the sand starts to cool but the last bites of conversation or being are still being savored
  37. late afternoons at the pool watching my kids swim and reading as the heat of the day ebbs away
  38. prepping and making a sunday dinner as tom takes the kids out on boat and the house gets quiet and I can prepare a simple ‘feast’ to mark the best day of the week
  39. sundays
  40.  my family still being connected despite all of us being different and in different places, we are and will be there for each other
  41. watching my nephews graduate from college with my sister
  42. a baby, especially my babies, falling asleep on my chest
  43. the difficult events in my life that have scared me, tested me, indeed darn near or indeed broken me…because I healed stronger.
  44. being able to give an assist, however small, to others who’ve found themselves struggling with the same or similar events or issues
  45. the Liturgy of the Hours
  46. telling my kids jokes that only their dad and I get, sharing the high fives with him
  47. making sure my kids know I’m a laugh riot
  48. the smell of tom’s neck and his arms around me
  49. bubbly water, bubbly anything
  50. waking up to face this next era, knowing that life is beautiful, challenging, and all gift.


My dinner with Buzzi….OR, Notes to a waiter…

Ruth Buzzi, that is….

Ruth Buzzi in her famous "Old Lady" character....

You see, last night Coffeedoc and I got all gussied up and drove downtown to a lovely  fancy restaurant.  We were celebrating our 25th Anniversary and we were just happy to be out of the house and be able to have an uninterrupted conversation and enjoy some a nice delish quiet dinner.

And so we did…we arrived a bit late, per usual, and we were escorted to a quiet corner table.  As we perused the menu and wine list, it happened.  The server said to me, upon pouring some water, “Here you are Young Lady.”  Really.  No big deal, right?  Hmmm.  But then, he brought my wine…and said it again!  Now, I’ll let that go, if the speaker is older than me…say, someone around the age of my father (who is now 80).  I immediately looked over at Tom, who was seemingly captivated by the menu.  So, I shrugged it off.  But, and this is the part where I must have unwittingly morphed into Ruth Buzzi… this waiter began to use that phrase with almost every turn of attention to us.  Truly.  And of course, only to  me.  Because somehow this young pup (I am now pulling out all of my old fogey lingo since I am old enough to have perfect strangers patronize me) thought that it was somehow charming to continue to refer to me as “young lady.”

Now, many of you might think, “Gee, what’s her problem? That’s not so bad, don’t get your panties in a knot…”  But, if you are thinking that, I’d lay dollars to donuts (another fogey phrase…) that you’re YOUNG!  And while I may very well be staring down the barrel of fifty (that’s the rumour at any rate…), I haven’t yet really started considering myself officially, really, OLD.

But now, thanks to this young waiter….I feel like a rickety old crone.  I know it shouldn’t make me feel so, but, it does a little bit.  Gee willikers.  Maybe we old gals are touchy….  Now, we still had a really lovely romantic dinner.  My sweet Tom helped distract me from the patronizing waiter.  I only mentioned wanting to deck they guy once, I think.  But I have to say, to all you servers out there (and I can say this because I DID wait tables for years in college) if you want to keep your customers in a good mood….don’t try out some faux debonair “young lady” comments on anyone older than  you.  It just doesn’t play like you think it does.  Not suave, not cute.  Really.  Makes us old gals a little hostile, even…or at least THIS old gal.  Ahem.  He still got a good tip, because it was our anniversary.  But if it wasn’t…… I’m not deft with the quick comeback.  I so wish I was, because today I have a number of them.  But, since I’m now officially an old doddering crone….I’ll probably forget them.

I’m off to buy a hairnet…..

Landing in Kona...we OLD GALS get around!

Forget that…I”m going back to Hawaii…

Roundup: Third Birthday at Fifteen

So, I just have to put up a little post bday roundup…..indulge me.  Big news: the big bday bash was a success.  The day, all day long, was a success.  By which I mean, it was happy, joyful  and full of laughter. By which I mean, it did NOT tip over into any sulks or tantrums or trigger rage or grief or nasty ungrateful gimmie’s.  It didn’t dwell in the land of attachment/adjustment issues, nor did it fall into the developmental zone of three year old pouts and melt downs, or just mundane teen age drama and angst (if that is ever mundane…).  It could’a.  But it didn’t.  It was her third birthday ever celebrated, officially.  And it was her fifteenth, in chrono time.

So, it was a double helix of timing, converging into one sugar coated tiara of a day.

This birthday was simpler in many ways than the previous two, and thus, it was a gift to us as well.  This birthday was kinda cool, actually…it was so much a “three year” birthday…but without the typically attendent birthday-itis of most three year olds.  And without the attitude of a teen as well.  All the gifts, big or small, were received with simple surprise and glee.

Every one.  From the zany princess crown from a friend at school – worn all day  with great pride – to the gummy bears and candy sour worms, to the coveted “cow boots” and “cow hat”….all were received with open mouthed delight and laughter and hugs and claps of joy.

Honestly, it was delightful to watch.

What was even more delightful, for me (because, as ever, it’s all about me me me), was the simple ease and joy of this birthday.  It could’a gone either way.  Holidays and big events are loaded, triggers often.  But this one went off without a hitch; and to see that ability to just be happy and enjoy, in a happy revelry…well, it made me grin with delight too.  I am gonna take it as a sign of healing and stepping forward, even if it’s a baby step.  And yeah, I know, that part of this is just dumb luck and that fact that cupcakes and cakes were liberally sprinkled throughout the day (Thanks Teach! Thanks Coach!)….but even so it was marked progress from the past two years of birthday celebrations.

We had no tension, only glee.  She got to do her favorite things in the world: be at school, say hello to all her friends and everyone she passed at school (wearing her crown), and then go to basketball practice to boot (again, with surprise cupcakes).  Then home to her favorite, chosen, meal and dessert, presents and more songs and attention.

Overkill? Maybe. You might think so.  But then again, maybe not.  She has a lot of birthdays missed to make up for.  Did she kind of wear us out leading up to it? Did we just start giggling at watching her be so over the moon over every tiny thing? Oh, yeah, surely yes to both.  But…….Why not milk it for every single bright blingy sweet moment she can?  Why not let her simply relish every last drop of it? It’s a goodness and an attention that any one of us, in our deepest heart of hearts, really maybe craves.  So, we are happy for her to have it.  Not every day, no.  But one day, or a third time in fifteen years?  Oh yeah, you betcha.

It was a very good day for that birthday girl.

This might be my favorite pic of the night, makes me grin to see it...that's a happy laughing girl!

Almost Wordless Wednesday

Just had a birthday, right? Another day older…um, ok, year.

Which means I’m a risk taker now…that happens when you look down the barrel of fifty….

Which also explains why I have wrinkles on my ankles.  Sigh.

For more Wordless Wednesday, click here.

>Tattoo You


That’s right, once again I have stepped into my own personal quicksand and emotional bear trap.
I was joking with a girlfriend that I need to tattoo this on my forehead, so I’ll see it every single time I brush my teeth:

It’s not about me.
Right here.  That’s where it needs to go…

Yuh…see, because, it always so is, I make it so (Just like Jean Luc Picard! But not so elegantly. Not near….).  And, yeah, by posting I’m continuing the cycle..I know I know…you see how I get stuck?!
But I need to remember it, chant it, memorize, do homeschool copy work:

it’s not about me its not about me its not about me its not about me it’s not about me its not about me its not about me its not about me it’s not about me its not about me its not about me its not about me it’s not about me its not about me its not about me its not about me it’s not about me its not about me its not about me its not about me it’s not about me its not about me its not about me its not about me it’s not about me its not about me its not about me its not about me it’s not about me its not about me its not about me its not about me it’s not about me its not about me its not about me its not about me...

Anyhow, you get the idea.  One of my favorite mama trauma bloggers had a post all too similar up like this, except hers really wasn’t about her, it was about someone else who was terrific and a link to their post.  I am sure I’ve stolen it in some lesser form out of my tortured memory today….See, still, not good.  Go read her blog tho, if you want insight or profundity or just a breather from some of the tough time in parenting land….

Because, no, it’s not about me.  So if it’s not….why can’t I step out of it all, parent more SIMPLY, take the breather that the concept offers…and stop the hard and hurt of it all on the bad days? Parent the behavior and not the emotions.
Why can’t I just let go?
Simple huh?
Apparently…not so much.

Tattoos….looking better all the time.

>Competing mamas

>There are so many layers to older child adoption.
Well, ok, there are so many layers to ANY kind of adoption.
One of the layers that is there in any kind of adoption is “The Mama Thing.”
This whole mama thing is something that is SO obvious that it’s so easy to brush past it, or through it, or ignore it, or presume you know it all.
It’s especially easy to do that if your adoption seems to be one of the “simple” ones: of a tiny new infant, or one that has lost, to death, both parents, and so on.
But I want to remind you, because I think we all need reminding and I was reminded ALL too clearly this past weekend, that it is never simple.
Domestic adoption or International, newborn or older, relinquished, abandoned, orphaned; it’s never simple.  
I repeat: It’s NEVER simple.
And in so many ways and on so many levels it comes back to this; always the mama thing.

I know, another vague lead in. Forgive me, you should know by now I do stream of consciousness typing.  This is my cheap therapy and scrapbook, and  my very lifeline some times.  So, bear with me, this is all so tangled in my head and heart. I get glimmers of full grasp of it all and then, it floats just out of reach again.

Doesn’t she just look like she was crowned mom of the year?

But, I think the bottom line is that we, as adoptive parents, often, unwillingly and unwittingly either step into or are placed into a “mama competition.”
{Putting on my hazmat suit now, give me a minute to zip up…..}
What I mean by that is this: it is easy to somehow, unconsciously want to be “the BEST mama” for this new child (or older child).
That’s all well and good, that impulse, that natural instinct.
God help us all if we don’t have it.

But, the mirror trick and the trap is that all too often, again, unconsciously and/or unwittingly, that means that we somehow either place ourselves into a sort of weird unrecognized competition with the first mom, or the child does….or both. 
Now hold on, put those blowtorches on “pause,” I am in NO way saying that we all don’t do our darnedest to honor and remember those first mothers.  I KNOW we do. I know only very few who don’t.
But I am saying that in our efforts to connect with this child, we can forget that they have this humungous truly unfathomable primary loss of their FIRST mom.  We can easily sorta forget the immeasurable depth of that loss in the day to day fluff and dross, because it is not ours.  That loss is not our own.  And really, frankly, if it’s not about me, really, it’s kinda hard to keep it on the front burner.  Because yeah, I am just precisely THAT selfish.
I can read and study, I can post and write, I can pray and talk and identify.
But my child(ren’s) loss is not mine.
Only in the furthest reach is it even tangentially connected to me.  It it theirs.  Not mine.
Not this one.
I cannot, ever, fully, experience or appreciate that loss the way the child does.
Because it is theirs and I can’t fix it. 

But, in bringing this child into our home, our family, and our  hearts, we naturally want to be the best we can for this child.
But you know what it is so easy to forget and that we never should?
We/I will never be the BEST mom for this child.
Our very very BEST, my very very BEST, is second best, period.
I am the second best mom for five of my kids.
Just because I’m the one in place does not, in any way, mean that I’m the best mom for them.
Because I’m not.
I lost that competition (“Who’s the best?”) before it ever started, and that is right and proper and bottom line truth.

This was brought home to me this weekend, with my Marta.
My very best still isn’t good enough, and can’t be.
She told me so herself.  After fussing between us, miscued, misread, by both of the after time…She told me, “Every day mom-hard.”
Ow.  I mean….OW! I was bowled over, almost literally.
My type A, defensive self started instantly charting in my mind all the effort all the work, COUNTING the cost of bringing this child into my heart.  Stung, immediately I thought to start scouring my attachment books once again, find a therapist, set up appointments.  (Yes, this is why this post has to be labeled “all about me me me”…..pathetic but there it is)
It was plain to me, though: Massive Mom Fail.
I cried, hurt and overwhelmed by the bigness of it.

But she is right.
Every day IS hard.  
For her, it MUST be.

I cannot give her what she had and lost. 
I cannot give her the life she had and loved and knew and grieves, with her first mom.
I cannot be what her first mom was to her.
I cannot look smell feel touch talk soothe sing discipline feed hug gaze or even sit with her, the same as her first mom. 
I can’t be a mom of an only child, her.
All of her life with her first mom wasn’t a picnic.  There were some ridiculously hard unspeakable things.  Those things may not even be known, or remembered in her grief, or fully understood by my daughter. 
Even so.
That life, the loss of that relationship and life is deeply, daily, still, grieved by my daughter.
And maybe it should be.
And I can’t prescribe or know when that grieving should be done or if it ever will be.
As a dear friend and social worker tells me, the “idea of forgetting is scarier than being angry and being in pain.”  

So, what’s a mom, the SECOND mom, to do with that truth?
Well, THIS  mom, spent a hard emotional Sunday feeling like her insides  had been scraped out and feeling a bit despairing over it all. 

But, after much processing, praying, talking with Tom (Who, yeah, I was feeling kinda resentful about because he didn’t have to measure up this way, or fail to, etc etc etc – why yes, I am that childish why are you surprised?), and to my dear best pal here who brought me coffee and sat sifting through my teary words of tired hurt…..I realize once again what I have known both in my head and heart for so many years:  I am not good enough.
My Type A self has to learn to live with that.  I had thought I had been learning that lesson for the last twelve years.  Oh, no, not at all.  
I will never measure up to the fantasy of the mother that wasn’t known, nor will I measure up to the mother that is remembered and grieved.
Nor should I.
Each one of my kids has the inborn right to honor and revere and put that first mom on a pedestal. 

I am not competing with that first mom.
There is NO mama competition.
I am the second best mama for these kids.
I promised to love them with my whole heart, intellect, and ability, to give them safety, to raise them as best as possible to be the best person they can be. 
That’s the bottom line.
It was never conditional based on their loving me back or thinking I was the bee’s knee’s.   
They never did promise to love me back; they weren’t even asked their opinion.
So, I lost any “all that” crown before I ever started.

But in that loss, I think, I gain.
Because I learn, really, the hard painful lesson, again and again and again, to let go.
I learn to let go.
Because what is so hard to learn and really accept; is that they were never ours to begin with.
First they were their first mamas, but before that and ever, they are their own and God’s.
I’m just a caretaker along the way.
An opinionated passionate fussy moody gal who stands in the kitchen, all-in, with open hands (on the good days). 
I can do that; with prayer and the help of my dear ones, and a whole lotta Grace….I will.

I’m second.
I’m so grateful for that.

>Who’da thunk it? Published!

>Ok, I wasn’t sure it was true but I guess it’s out now and so it is.
Now I have to head to the market and go buy a copy to see it in my own hands…
I have a tiny piece in this month’s issue of Adoptive Families Magazine!
Whod’a thunk it?
Not me. (Ok, they told me about it but still, ya never know till ya know, ya know?)

But of course I want you all to go out and buy copies too so that they will know that people want to read about all this stuff…I’m on p. 17 under my real name, Michele Gautsch, and it’s just a little thing which is good so I don’t get the big head.  But even so.  It’s real and my first and only real world writing.
Best not to make a habit of that….I”m sure.
But go get a copy, ok!?
Fun way to start the week.

>Missing Monday

>So, it’s Monday again, already and I guess I’m not quite ready for it.

Dragging myself into the dawn and the day. 
I don’t know if it’s the gloom of the incoming rain or if it’s the lingering of the bugs in the house or just my old age and moody nature, but this morning I’m dragging and moody.

I miss my boys.

So, what I do, and even coffeedoc does, when we miss our boys is torture ourselves somewhat by listening to their music.  Sometimes.  Sometimes I can’t even bring  myself to do it.
But today, I want to hear Chris sing.
So you get to as well.

This was from a year or so ago, my Chris is on the keyboard, his pals are terrific too.
A bit melancholy Monday….

>My Precious


So, you might have been expecting a post about my truest ‘mostest’ precious: my kiddles.
Well, ya, should be maybe, but not today.
Because this post is about another underlying obsession, one that turns me into my own Gollum.
Yeah, that Tolkien, he knew what he was talking about…
See that picture up there? That’s me, perhaps in a truer image, nice to meet you. 

Because “my precious” is my “Control.”  Or, to be more accurate, my desire for control.  In fact my pursuit of my precious and my need to hang onto it makes me bug eyed and screeching all too often.  It makes me angry and resentful, often times of things that haven’t even happened yet.  It makes me snarl in even mere anticipation of somebody or something snatching that control, my precious, away from me.

Even if that thief is a small kiddo with big brown eyes and sticky hands.
Even if that thief is a cute guy with a beard who is a good kisser.
Even if that thief is a hurt kid with a megawatt smile but from hard places.
Perhaps more so, then, because with that one, my precious was wrenched from me long ago….I just didn’t really know or admit it yet.

Sometimes, I think it’s true what Gollum said, “Once it takes hold of us, it never lets go.”
And then I am left to weep and wonder how to proceed, to move on and I know that there is no other way than through that stomach hurting dark and the fear that comes with losing that precious, that control.
I have to let go.

But my Gollum just can’t seem to.
And I snarl and I snap at anyone, sorry Tom, who suggests the same.
No, it’s not pretty.

But the crazy thing is, as all you other moms know, especially those who are parenting hurt kids, you lost that “precious” when you first stepped out to try to parent.
I lost that tarnished ring so long ago I must be crafting my own lame paper mache ring of precious, every day.  So, why do I hold on?
It always comes back to fear:
…fear of being taken places we don’t want to go.
tired fear of being taken places we don’t want to go.

Therein lies the trap of course.
Because when we snarl and grasp and gasp so tightly, trying to hold onto our paper mache ‘precious”… ok, when I gasp and grasp so tightly, trying to avoid being taken back or through another hard place….well, I’m already there.  Too late.

So, this one’s for you honey….I’m gonna try and pitch my my paper mache dented soggy smudgy ripped useless “precious.”
And let go.
But with hope for being able to keep my hands open so that instead of holding onto the poison ring, I can hold, instead, onto the small hand that slips quietly into mine.  

>Older Child Adoption Adjustment: Niches

>You know, this world of older child adoption is weird.  Ok, I guess the world of adoption itself can be strange and ok, ok, the world of parenting in general has it’s oddities.  Ok ok ok….maybe it’s just my kids and our house.  Ok ok ok ok! It’s me!  It’s always me.  Geez!
 I’m weird, and a dorky goofball who has to overthink things and even so Still can’t figure them out to my satisfaction.
Hence, I have to post and blather on so you all can take pity on me and throw me a bone and pitch in some ideas.
So, now that we know what we are dealing with today, are we ready to move forward with today’s post?  Yes?  Ok, then….

I’ve been thinking about how to talk about this…not because it’s all so profound or important, but as you might gather from my disclaimer in the paragraph above, it’s all about me and I’m stewing about this but it’s a delicate subject.  It’s also the same subject that I have a chronic, just-below-the-surface rant simmering.  I’ll spare you that, you can go here for my lead in on that one if you can’t stand the curiosity.
But in the past few days or weeks, I’ve decided that it comes down to niches.

Yup, that’s right: niches.

What I mean by that, is that I think we all want a niche.  We are surely all so doggone quick to slot everyone else into a niche, aren’t we? Well, I sure am…..really I think we all do it all the time, I know I do consciously or not.  Sue me.  It’s true.  It’s kind of how we make sense in a shorthand way of our world…that’s my theory anyhow, today at least, and I’m sticking to it.
Anyhow…..I think this slotting of things and folks into niches is not just the slick snobbery or critique that it seems on the surface.  I think it has a lot to do with the yearning to connect.  I think it is probably socially quite primal.  Us, them, other….and while my thoughts on “other” do factor in here, they are also sometimes a rant and also really too big for this post.  Another post, another day.  Lucky you.  But, today I want to talk about the inclusive side or concept of niches.
Meaning, today I want to talk about one particular niche: older child adoption.
And I’m telling ya: this niche…it’s kinda lonely.
This niche has little sub-niches.  Honestly, being a very visual gal, I see it almost as sort of a cave/niche (yeah, blog) system.  There is this big sheltered cave: adoptive families, and then there are the big warm welcoming cozy caves connected to that: the domestic, the international, the babies, the toddlers caves, the various countries….heck  you’ve already got a nice little cozy cave city to check out and circulate through and set down and stay a spell (as they say here in the south).

But then back in the beyond of these nice cozy lit up niches and caves, carved and polished smooth and well fortified with gleaming information and supports, are some other niches that are smaller, not as many are back there hanging out, and if they are, it’s so busy and so tough or so unique that there isnt’ a whole lotta room, in fact, I’d say they don’t even really see each other too much.
And one of those niches is a newly carved out niche, and it fits a family of ten it seems…..but it’s far from being polished and it’s got rough walls and a few nice smooth spots of support but really, it’s feels kind of empty; kind of smallish.
That’s our niche.
That’s my niche.
It’s the niche of “older international adoption of teen with developmental delays.”

See how fast that niche cleared out? See how all of those who were kind of peeking in quickly withdrew and moved on? Not because they were mean or threatened or uncaring…but just because they instantly saw, um, no common ground there.  Hard to sit down and get comfy and compare notes or stories or tools because they don’t have that toolkit.
When I add in, “and with a background from hard places“….well, that just scares most anyone else off too.  Not everyone….this gal is one of the bravest women I’ve seen in the blogosphere.  I love her.  Her niche is overlapping mine, close enough that I find comfort there too.  Go see.
As one of the gals from our agency put it, when I asked if they had any connections to folks in the same or similar boat…”um, noooo, that’s a pretty singular niche.”
So, that’s why I’m thinking of niches.
Because I want to compare notes with brighter minds who’ve gone before me, who have tools and ideas for this niche and our particular snags that surely would be common if there were others in this niche too.

I want to connect with others who have adopted a teen (preferably internationally so we can talk about language acquisition) who has developmental delays.

Now I can also go off on one of my numbered rants about the loneliness of being in this niche, and not being able to say it out loud.  Having to whisper “developmental delays” out of some sort of weird political correctness just chafes me.  It is what it is.  It’s not a judgement, it’s not a slur.  It’s objective and shouldn’t be a stigma and if you saw her smile you would never think otherwise.  She’s a teen, with all that entails.
She is a moody hormonal teenage girl who has a caring bossy sweet devout selfish intense stubborn sensitive nature.
Like, um, most teenage girls.
She is exhausting and good.
Like most teenage girls.
She is manipulative and wants to get her way and preferably go shopping as often as possible.
Like most teenage girls.
She has developmental delays and we didn’t raise her from birth and thus learn all about this for the past 13+ years, only for the past year, so that is why my map is limited, and my toolbox is sparse.  It’s why it can be lonely for us all, working with that.  It’s frustrating and glorious both on any given day.  Maybe often even at the same time.

But this niche is lonely…I don’t know anyone else in this niche.
I wish I did.
And yeah, before you get all lofty, we still venture out to all the other niches because our family walks through and fits many many different niches and labels and communities.  We live in them all. Messily.
I don’t even want to leave this niche; I want company.   I want to make this niche beautiful with the companionship and shiny ideas and successes of others who’ve rested here too.
I’m not sure they are out there.
If you are, and you happen upon this blog, please drop me a line and say hello.
Our niche is actually a pretty friendly place.

Actually, I lied up there.  Misspoke, perhaps.  But I would love to leave this niche.  I would love to only have wide open streets with sunshine and walk away from every harder stony niche forever.
But that’s not gonna happen in this life.  Because we create our own niches to define our comfort zones…it’s when the niches are thrust upon us or we into them, alone, unwilling, that we find ourselves, ok, myself, out of sorts and feeling lonely.
So, I think the trick is to stop whispering.
To move that niche if it’s darker or not comfy or lonely.
 Really, I suppose….If it’s my/our niche then we define it and we open it up to company and ideas and other contributions of beauty and support and I learn to see and create the beauty within it.
So I will continue to wish for companions in this niche, but I’m trying to move it to the sun….and maybe, here in the blogosphere someone else will see  a sunny niche where real life is said out loud, not in a hushed whisper, and decide to stop by and stay and visit for a spell.

>To meme the impossible meme

>One word.

Yeah, right.
Jen tagged me and I had to laugh. She’s a good friend, and I love her blog too, go visit.

But……Me, one word? Maybe she’s trying to tell me something. Cmon, you all put her up to it, right? “Get that Coffeemom to pull it down. One word, please!” I know.
So, I”m a good sport. I’ll give it a go. No promises tho.

Besides the news has been so hard, a little lightheartedness is nice to surf.
One word is all you need. Shouldn’t be so hard. Well, here you go. My answers to the questions that required one word answers- more difficult than you think. 🙂

1. Where is your cell phone? desk

2. Your hair? messy

3. Your mother? big-hearted (hypenated words are counted as one, right? ack, see, number three and I’ve already blown it. Sigh)

4. Your father? Loyal

5. Your favorite food? Bread

6. Your dream last night? Unsettling
7. Your favorite drink? Coffee!

8. Your dream / goal? Organization

9. What room are you in? Study

10. Your hobby? Reading

11. Your fear? rats (And opossums, which are essentially large rats.)

12. Where do you want to be in six years? Italy. Ok, no, here.

13. Where were you last night? Bananagrams tourney
14. Something that you aren’t? type B (jen’s. I’m stealing it too)
15. Muffins? Toast
16. Wish list item? Sugar. Always sugar.
17. Where did you grow up? Arizona
18. Last thing you did? emailed
19. What are you wearing? Jeans
20. Your TV? On

21. Your pets? dog, cat

22. Friends? Long-suffering, patient treasures

23. Your life? Unspeakably blessed
24. Your mood? Distracted

25. Missing someone? Sister

26. Vehicle? Yukon XL

27. Something you’re not wearing? warm enough clothes

28. Your favorite store? Bookstore

29. Your favorite color? Indigo

30. What was the last time you laughed? Last night

31. Last time you cried? Yesterday

32. Your best friend? Coffeedoc

33. One place that I could go over and over? Carlsbad

34. One person who emails you regularly? Jen

35. Favorite place to eat? Paris, no Italy, no Boston, no San Fran…..(I can’t pick, I love to eat.)

I’m not passing the award. I mentioned that I wasn’t caffeinated enough yet right? Besides, I know how hard it is…..

>Of Course I’m Interested: Now that’s the kind of news I’m talking about!


So, did ya hear the news?
Did ya hear that now “they” are saying that coffee can help stave off type 2 diabetes?
Yessirree… read that right!  That’s my ‘cup o joe!’ 
No kidding, it was a research study, totally legit, go here for the article and link.

Now, what this inquiring mind really wants to know is if that also applies to pushing back the progression of type 2 diabetes??  Now we’re getting personal.  Because I’ve got that.  And I still feel a tad betrayed by my body.  But…. you all know I’m all about the coffee.  So, this is a bit of news that makes my day.

And even if they don’t specify the benefits of pots of coffee on (already) insulin challenged folks per se…..I’m gonna run with it.  It’s only logical, right? 

Anything to further justify and support my caffiene habit connoisseurship, works for me.

That’s my story and I’m sticking to it.
I’m gonna go pour another cup.

>It’s Time to Limbo!

>Yeah, I’m not talking about the Catholic “Limbo” here, that’s a whole ‘nother discussion.

I’m talking about “How low can you go?” And, of course, as usual, I’m talking about me.

You see, everybody keeps asking me “How is it going?” And I can honestly say that it’s not what I expected, even as it is in so many ways what I expected. Confusing, no? Yes.
This is the most challenging thing I’ve ever done, but not actually because of Marta. Marta, so far (and I am fully aware of the whole “honeymoon” concept, no worries), has been nothing but amazingly sweet, nice, helpful, happy kid. Really, no big demands, no major meltdowns, a few small ones from being scared, nothing. She needs and craves love and affection and knowing she is secure in the family, but that is nothing but a time need. The lack of common language is, well, ridiculous, but that can only improve, right? No choice there.

No, this is the most challenging thing I’ve ever done, all because of me.

You see, this is my own personal limbo contest….just without the cute bikini. (Although I think often about adding the fun libations…..kidding. mostly). The limbo requires strength, balance, coordination, a brave spirit and sense of crazy fun. It also makes most folks fall right down on their fannies.

And, yup, I now get the fun game of seeing just ‘how low can I go?’ Problem is this “low” is not so fun and its a lot more than a simply pratfall from lack of strength and balance…..That is to say, my struggles are internal and honestly, in many ways they are a spiritual battle of my will versus, oh, anyone’s, and my control freak type A nature. It is my falling into the icy grip of fear and a good imagination. To be precise, it is a lack of faith and trust. Period.

I know, I know, I have written on this before. But I want to shout, those posts were fine for then, but this is now. Totally different.
Right….{yes I am, it seems, a hypocrite}.
Those posts talked about this struggle and the grip of fear, love as an action not feeling, and the transformation in the struggle and the suffering. But you know, that’s all fine and well AFTER the fact to think those things. It’s another thing to embrace them in the midst of it all now isn’t it? Because you know, struggle, change, even suffering (on any level, even the most minor)….it HURTS. Hence, the term: suffering. Right? And you know, we wimpy folks out there, by which I mean me, we don’t really like to suffer, hurt and so on. I mean, it’s one thing to say, I’m tough and I can take it. But really, when you step on that nail or heck, get that unexpected paper cut, you might just cuss and holler and whine, right? Ok, well, I might. Ok, maybe I do.

A good friend has pointed out that it’s like a little Rumpelstiltskin tantrum. And she’s right. Because it, my struggle these past few weeks, has been all about ME. I just really want things to be ok and normal again; my way, my timing, my ideas of what it should be like, my plan, MY FEELINGS. Me, me, me. My ideas are not playing out in the timing I would like, my body is being knocked back again and again with one variety of illness or migraine or something after another. The order I placed for a smooth transition: good health for all, full of overflowing feelings of bounty and joy, everything clicking into place…..oddly enough hasn’t happened yet. Funny that.
And so I have been having a Rumplestiltskin time. {I am Rumpelstiltskin, old middle aged girl version, maybe I should change my screenname….} And it’s hard and not a fun place.

But this week, I am also seeing something else. Not only have I seen a glimmer (and I don’t even want to THINK about seeing further) about how low I can go….{ Shocking, I tell you. Utterly, heartbreakingly, humbling.}
But I have seen what can happen when you get there. To your, ok my, lowest point. Because, oddly enough, even there, there is a beauty. And once again, that beauty is in the others. And that makes my heart be able to lift up again.

I have found myself laid flat by illness and fear, simply hitting my break point. And I have seen my husband and sons and friends (near and far) reach out to help lift me up. That’s no easy task! But they have all reached out, grabbed me and helped me stand up again – literally and figuratively. And they are still here, helping me, holding on. And they let me see that despite my tantrum of wanting everything just so, on MY time and in MY way, it’s not necessarily about that. And it’s ok to wait for it to play out. And to try to trust.
Simple huh? Sure. But not so much, not for me.

So, if you ask how it’s going I will still say this is one of the hardest things I’ve ever done.
But the gratitude I have for so many is some of my deepest.
So, I guess it’s going just like it’s supposed to.
It’s hard, it hurts, I’m useless on my own.
It’s great, she’s sweet, the kids are amazing.
It’s a huge change.
But I also have helpers.

And I’m grateful. Even as it’s hard, challenging me on so many levels and putting a klieg light on my every failing…for what this brings….I’m grateful.
And I am looking forward to the luau without the limbo…..

>Oasis in the Desert



It’s Laetare Sunday! “Laetare Jerusalem: et conventum facite omnes qui diligitis eam”

“Rejoice, O Jerusalem: and come together all you that love her.”

This, “laetare,” means, literally, “rejoice,” taken from the words that open the Mass today, the entrance. It is a special day in this liturgical season, much akin to Gaudete Sunday in Advent.

It is an oasis in the walk through the desert of Lent. This is a day to encourage all of us in our Lenten efforts, a little breather to help us gather for the second half of a rigorous season and also remind us to look toward the joy of Easter itself. Hoorah, I’ll take it and just in the nick o’ time, if you ask me!
Indeed, “The strictness of the the Lenten Liturgy is interrupted on this Sunday with words that speak to us of joy. … As Holy Week and Easter draw near, so do forgiveness, mercy, divine compassion, and a superabundance of grace.” Francis Fernandez, “In Conversation with God; Lent and Eastertide.”
{You might wonder why I post about these Catholic observances and the theology behind them….or you might not…but just in case you do: I post about them because I think about them and, almost always, find that they are mirroring, on a grand and awesome scale, what is churning about in my own tiny little life. }

We are given flowers on the altar, the vestments change from the penitential color of purple to a lighter shade, a rose. The music is less somber. We are reminded that we can have joy, even in suffering and trials…but it is a joy that is not of the world. It is a joy that is more real and truer, deeper and one of seeming contradiction. It the joy of being united to Christ, even in the cross. As Pope Paul VI points out “Technological society has succeeded in multiplying the occasions of pleasure, but finds great difficulty in giving birth to happiness.” True happiness, joy, can be found in this contradiction of our modern world. Its not the surfeit of stuff that makes us happy, its the surrendering of our very selves, letting them go.

Laetare Sunday is also known as Mothering Sunday, from Gallations which points out our right to be called sons of God as the source of our joy. Which also of course, has, for me, a mom-adoptive connection (I know, a one-note kind of gal. Don’t judge me, I can’t help it. Because, yes, once again, it’s all about me).

So, all the facets of this day kind of converge for me.
As usual, the liturgical rhythm is ever so germane to my own little mundane gerbil mill life……{And, why yes, I have been stewing about how all this jives up. You may look to my last post on roller coasters, just below, to see why}.

And so I think today is a little gift, I take it as one.
Because this was a tough week, and might be a few tough weeks ahead, as my overactive imagination can dream up all the ways this court date and visa issue can go wrong…as I fret and stew even as I determine not to.
This day, today, encourages me to carry this cross, such a meager one as it may be.
To keep stepping forward in faith, no matter what may come…to keep working on trusting instead of doubting and kvetching. Instead it encourages me.
There are too many connections for it not to deeply resonate for me.

So, in order that I will remember them in the coming weeks until Easter, and even more, until our court date (just over one week!), I am going to make a list.
A laetare list, if you will.

Bear with me…Here goes:

Lent, a time of penance, sacrifice and mindfulness of being called to be more than we settle for, for remembering we are called to step out of our comfort zones in faith and hope.
The difficulty of actually following through on these efforts, or any effort really, to step out of our perfectly tufted comfort zones {ok, me}.
The great gift of a little oasis, a break, and encouragement for our body, mind, heart and spirit.
Today as Mothering Sunday…with all that implies, to me: caring feeding nurturing supporting directing healing holding tight.
This is what our faith does.
This is what the eucharist does.
This is what the Church does.
This is what a mom does.
This is what I am being called to do, today, and more, adding to it, hopefully soon.
Lent itself helps prepare us to do this, on all levels.

And more, on the tangible level:
Girls like pink.
Me too.
My new daughter seems to love pink.
She looks beautiful in pink.
I love food of all sorts.
I love to feed people.

I love flowers.
I love breaks, because I am a wuss.

So, we’ve got a liturgical oasis, flowers, pink, snacks, Mothering, rigor, breaks and joy.
What’s not to like?

So, as I sit and wait in prayer and hope for our court date, I will also join this effort to simply wait more closely to Lent the season and this walk. This is perhaps one of my more “lived out” Lents. No wonder it hurts…… but, ah today, is Laetare Sunday. Not today.