If you can force your heart and nerve and sinew, To serve your turn long after they are gone, And so hold on when there is nothing in you, Except the Will which says to them: ‘Hold on!’

longroad

 

 

Oh sweet baby. Mothers Day is Sunday, and to say that I’m not taking it well is an understatement.

 

Part of me wants to scream.  I want to scream out to the world to get them to understand that this isn’t right. How they can keep on moving when my world has been shattered so much? I want to scream until there isn’t a single breath left in my lungs, until they sting with the energy I’ve expended and my words hang in the air for all to hear. I should be a Mom by now. It was my turn. It’s been my turn so many times….and yet here I am, at this junction again- a childless Mother on Most Definitely Not a Mothers Day.

The part of me that doesn’t want to scream wants to curl up into a ball and pretend this isn’t happening. I was supposed to have not one, but two bouncing babies on my lap this year. This year was supposed to be different, it was supposed to be my first mothers day.

 

And to be honest, this holiday is not just full of sadness this year- but it’s also full of fear.

The fear that I will never be a mother hangs over my head like a storm cloud following me around. It’s the little voice whispering in my ear when I’m searching the greeting card aisle, taunting me, “will you ever get one of these cards?” It’s the lump in my throat that chokes on the tears whenever I hear another pregnancy announcement or adoption match announcement, not because I’m not happy for them or excited, but because I wonder- again- if I will ever get to be in their shoes. Will I ever get to be a mother? Will I ever find you?

It’s the disdain for every greeting card, every TV commercial, every restaurant promotion, every radio ad, every magazine cover… all of these reminders that I am not, in fact, not a mother. That I failed. That what has come so easy to so many others is still an every day battle for me. That I don’t have my precious baby to spend this holiday with, that I am once again knocked down, because I let my hopes get so incredibly high.

 

It’s the reminder that another year has passed without you here.

That hurts most of all.

 

I know that it will all be worth it. You mean more to me than any holiday, any time table and every heartache we’ve endured. I know that this is just part of the journey to get to that elusive finish line, that even if I cannot see it, I feel that it’s there somewhere in the distance.

 

The other day I reread one of my most favorite poems, If by Rudyard Kipling. A lot of the words spoke to me now more than ever:

If you can keep your head when all about you
Are losing theirs and blaming it on you,
If you can trust yourself when all men doubt you,
But make allowance for their doubting too;
If you can wait and not be tired by waiting,
Or being lied about, don’t deal in lies,
Or being hated, don’t give way to hating,
And yet don’t look too good, nor talk too wise:

If you can dream – and not make dreams your master;
If you can think – and not make thoughts your aim;
If you can meet with Triumph and Disaster
And treat those two impostors just the same;
If you can bear to hear the truth you’ve spoken
Twisted by knaves to make a trap for fools,
Or watch the things you gave your life to, broken,
And stoop and build ‘em up with worn-out tools:

If you can make one heap of all your winnings
And risk it on one turn of pitch-and-toss,
And lose, and start again at your beginnings
And never breathe a word about your loss;
If you can force your heart and nerve and sinew
To serve your turn long after they are gone,
And so hold on when there is nothing in you
Except the Will which says to them: ‘Hold on!

If you can talk with crowds and keep your virtue,
‘ Or walk with Kings – nor lose the common touch,
if neither foes nor loving friends can hurt you,
If all men count with you, but none too much;
If you can fill the unforgiving minute
With sixty seconds’ worth of distance run,
Yours is the Earth and everything that’s in it,
And – which is more – you’ll be a Man, my son!

 

Right now, there is nothing in me but the will to be your Mother. That is my will telling me to hold on, to not get caught up in the loss and get tired of waiting. I refuse to sink, because sinking means not getting to you- not being your mother. I refuse.

So I’ve been thinking of my own If’s for this Mothers Day.

If I can wade through the greeting card aisle, and focus on the positives, like having my own mother and mother in law who support and love us every step of the way.  If I can hold my head up, and count my blessings. If I can believe, really believe that you’ll be here soon. If I can pick myself up ten times after getting knocked down nine. If I can tie a knot and hold on with everything that is in me. If I can keep preparing, keeping moving in the direction of our dreams. If I can let myself feel that deep down, this waiting and heartache will end.  If I can let myself let go of the pain, let go of what was supposed to be and what isn’t and prepare myself body and soul for the goodness that is coming down the road if I just keep on walking.

If I don’t give up.

 

Then mine is the earth and everything that’s in it,

And- which is true – that is you, my daughter or son! 

 

And if you’re not here next year, I will just keep trying. I will never give up on you, on us being a family. I will push through all the hurt and pain and glaring reminders. I will silence that little voice of doubt in the back of my head, and replace the if’s of doubt with the if’s of reassurance.

 

I will be a mother. I will find you, sweet baby.

No if’s, ands or buts.

 

Waiting for the earth and everything that’s in it, 

With love and unwavering hope this Not Yet a Mothers Day,

Love,

Mom

 

 

Keep your face to the sunshine and you cannot see the shadow. It’s what sunflowers do.

Sunflower fields forever

Little One, when I was little I had trouble sleeping. I attribute it to having multiple surgeries at a very young age- I would go in to the hospital, and wake up unable to move. I was terrified to go to sleep for fear that I’d wake up in the hospital. So when my Mom worked nights as a nurse, my Dad struggled to get me to drift off to sleep. He’d kneel down next to my bed, stroke my hair and try to get me to relax. One of our nightly rituals was him talking me to sleep, and often times he used (what I didn’t know at the time what it was, but with adult eyes I now know) meditation.

He would push my hair out of my face, and whisper to me, “Imagine you’re in a sunflower field. All the bright sunny flowers are everywhere – as far as the eye can see. The breeze gently sweeps through the field and the sunflowers wiggle, and the wind blows your hair. The sky is big and blue, the clouds are fluffy enough to sleep on.”  It would go on for hours and hours. Eventually, my mind would be fully immersed in that sunflower field, and I would feel relaxed enough to give in to sleep.

I cherish that memory, Lo.

This week was a rough one, sweet baby.

 

We thought we were so much closer. We had a lead. We met her in person. It all seemed so perfect..until her name glared on one of the scam boards.

An emotional scammer- not looking for money, just craving attention- had us sucked in and made us more hopeful than we’d been in a long time. We were all excited at the possibility of having you here by October, the due date she gave us. She sent us sonogram pictures. She told us we were chosen. And then it all came crashing down.

And I feel like ever since that fateful email that it was all a sham- that all our dreams were false- I feel a bit numb. I feel like I can’t even cry. I feel like it’s going to take a lot for me to trust that this will work, to trust another contact or lead. We’ve had our hearts broken twice now, once with a fall through and once with a scam. The scam hurt far, far worse. The fall through was meant to be, it was fate. The scam was all smoke and mirrors (we don’t even believe she was actually pregnant) and for no purpose other than someone elses selfishness. How could anyone do that? How could someone be so mean and hurtful? And she was not only scamming us, but at least six other hopefuly adoptive couples. Why would someone do that?

Because they are hurting, too. Badly.

It’s sad, and I feel terribly bad for this person. She needs help that we cannot provide for her. She needs to find peace.

And it hurt. A lot. Depths of your soul, how am I going to make it through this alive kind of pain. But for you sweet baby, for you I refuse to let it overcome us. I’m a fighter when it comes to you. I won’t give up. Not now, not ever.

Your Dad and I went to a local sunflower field on Saturday. After this week of the highest of ups and the lowest of downs, we needed to step off the rollercoaster and plant our feet somewhere familiar. To us, the most familiar place is nature. 

Driving up the road, out of nowhere we saw it, a gold mine- a sea of yellow beauty. The kind of beauty that only comes from nature, or God, or whatever diety you believe in. It’s not beauty from a photoshopped magazine. It’s beauty one rarely sees with their naked eye.

It gave me hope, that beauty still exists in this world. That faith, hope, and love are alive and well and on their way back into our lives.

And as I trunched through the waist high field of sunflowers, nothing but yellow petals for what felt like miles, I finally felt free.

 

We’re going to focus on the positive. It would be easy to throw our hands up and say, “Well, this is too hard. We’re not good enough for this. It’s just not meant to be. We’ve just been hurt too much already.” But kid, I’m not, nor have I ever been, a fan of easy. Life is hard. Adoption is hard. But the outcome…my God, baby, the outcome is going to be worth every single heartache we’ve ever had. I will not give up on you. Not now, not ever.

I will not give up on everyone else either. Your first Mom is out there. I cannot be doubtful when she comes into our lives. I cannot second guess giving her my love, just because one other sick person misused it. I refuse to let that person win. I will let your first Mom win though. I will love her with everything I am,  for your benefit and your sake. And I will not lose my faith in humanity or the good in people.

Sometimes, sweet baby, people hurt. They don’t know why all the time, but they will try to take it out on you. First of all, you’re better than that. Don’t let it get to you. Secondly, know that it’s not personal. It’s not about you or what you stand for- it’s about their pain and suffering. People that hurt other people are in a bad place, and they need understanding and love more than anyone else in this world. That doesn’t mean that responsibility rests on your shoulders- a lot of times it is outside the realm of what you can give. So my only advice when encountering someone that is in so much pain that they use it against you for no reason is this: respect yourself enough to give them space, and respect them enough to know it’s not about you.

So that is what we’re doing, Lo. We’re letting go of the hard feelings, and looking to the sunshine, just like the sunflowers taught us to.

 

I’m no longer afraid of sleep. My parents helped me get over the fear. And though this experience has been a life lesson, we won’t let it get us down. We won’t be afraid of this proccess- because in the end it means having you here in our lives forever. And that is all that matters.

 

The good thing about faith, Little One, is that the sun always rises tomorrow. It hasn’t let us down yet.

 

With my petals outstretched to the sun, ignoring the shadows but looking for you,

 

Love always,

Mom

 

When you are a mother, you are never really alone in your thoughts. A mother always has to think twice, once for herself and once for her child.

Little One, it’s been a crazy long week! I’ve been in Philadelphia for most of the week for work, and Rick has been home. It’s been tough being away, but it was a good distraction from the impending black cloud of Mothers Day this weekend.

That was until tonight, when your Dad and I made the pilgrimage to look at Mothers Day cards at Target. Pouring through pink envelopes filled with sappy sentiments, cheap jokes and childish poems we found an odd card among the mounds of Mothers Day greetings. A card about waiting. The label actually said it was an adoption card. It even included the phrase, “you can finally bring your little one home.”

And it hit me, Lo. This card was in the Mothers Day section, because I am amother. I’m just a childless mother.

 

It’s a weird predicament not many would understand.

Lately I’ve been thinking a lot about motherhood. What does motherhood mean? How do you define it? When in adoption do you actually become a mother? Am I a mother because this is our decision? Am I a mother when you’re placed in my arms? Am I a mother when the home study is complete? Am I a mother when the final adoption paperwork is signed?

 

I believe it’s all of the above and none of the above. I am your mother now. I put your needs before my own, I think about you night and day, I live and breathe and would take a bullet for you. My every breath is only an effort for me to live to move one step closer to you. For the shot to hold you in my arms. For the chance to be your mother. I’m going through hell in my own head and heart in order to just have a glimmer of hope to be your parent. I love you more than life itself.  

My God, if that isn’t a parent then I don’t know what the hell is.

 

I am a mother. I am expecting you, I just don’t know when. I have to say, maybe selfishly, that takes a bit of the sting off of mothers day. In the past, I didn’t feel like a mother on mothers day, I felt like a woman who was bitter over infertility. There is still that woman inside of me, fighting to come out and hem and haw at mothers day cards and hallmark commercials. But then the adoptive Mother bear in me comes alive and fights that bitter woman down. and roars in her protective voice, “I AM a mother, whether society sees it or not.”

It doesn’t matter that you’re not here yet. Motherhood to me means love, protection, fighting for your children tooth and nail for them to have the best life possible, nurturing, caring, placing the needs of your kid before your own. I do all of that and more already, I am Mom.

It might not be traditional parenting yet. I’m not yet changing your diapers, feeding you a bottle, watching you drift peacefully to sleep in your car seat on a long ride home. But I’m placing fliers up, handing out our business card, cleaning up for social workers, going to adoption seminars. I’m laying the groundwork for the diapers and bottles and car seat naps of the future.

My love for you surpasses everything right now. I love you beyond what a greeting card encompasses.

 

And Hallmark doesn’t make a card for that.

 

Waiting for the Mothers Day card aisle of next year,

Love,

Mom

On Children

Little One, I’ve been in an odd mood lately. I’m not really sure why, but I have this weird longing to go somewhere beautiful, get lost in the woods and read poetry for hours.

Unfortunately, It’s a bit difficult to do such things when you have a job and a mortgage to pay. So instead, I keep getting lost in poetry on my breaks at work. I think maybe this weekend your Dad and I might go for a walk in nature. Whenever I feel my head getting cloudy, I take to the tall trees and infinite water. I hope you love nature too, but even if you’re an indoor person I hope you always see that there is so much beauty to be appreciated all around us.

I found this poem in my travels today, and I think it explains our view on parenting so beautifully and simply.

 

Your children are not your children.
They are the sons and daughters of Life’s longing for itself.
They come through you but not from you,
And though they are with you yet they belong not to you.

You may give them your love but not your thoughts,
For they have their own thoughts.
You may house their bodies but not their souls,
For their souls dwell in the house of tomorrow,
which you cannot visit, not even in your dreams.
You may strive to be like them,
but seek not to make them like you.
For life goes not backward nor tarries with yesterday.

You are the bows from which your children
as living arrows are sent forth.
The archer sees the mark upon the path of the infinite,
and He bends you with His might
that His arrows may go swift and far.
Let your bending in the archer’s hand be for gladness;
For even as He loves the arrow that flies,
so He loves also the bow that is stable.

-Kahlil Gibran, The Prophet

 

Waiting to be your stable bow,

Love,

Mom

We all have our time machines. Some take us back, they’re called memories. Some take us forward, they’re called dreams.

Sunday was one of those days where I wish you were here now, Little One.RB and I went to do some work on our camper, and the car battery ran out from me playing music a little too long with the windows down as we twiddled away at the wires. When we got back in the car, there was the tell-tale sign: the unimpressive drrrnnnk as we turned the key.

This might have bothered some people, but RB and I are pretty laid back about things like this. Especially lately, things have been put into perspective a great deal. It’s a beautiful thing. We took it as a sign: get out of the car and enjoy some more sunshine. It was a beautiful day.

Eventually, the car started. It seemed like magic, “I’ll try it just one more time,” I thought, and with a burst of power the lights flickered on and the engine purred sweetly. As RB finished with the camper wires, I drove in circles in the storage parking lot, each time passing him and shrugging my shoulders, “I guess I just have that magic touch!” I yelled to him from the open window.

To save the battery, we decided to take a drive to nowhere. This is something we used to do a lot when we were dating. We’d drive around, especially at night, talking, listening to music loudly with the windows down, enjoying the open stretch of road that seemed as never ending as our possibilities in life. The starry night sky and the headlights outlining our path were the only illumination, and we’d just relax and enjoy the journey to no real destination. Some of our best conversations were in the car on nights like that, and we fell deeper in love in those long rides at night with nothing but us, the roar of the engine and the stars above.

Nowadays, to take a drive with no purpose is a luxury. The price of gas is so astronomically high we have to conserve every drop, but Sunday was different. We drove to an off-beaten path, saw the water and stopped the car to watch some galloping horses in a field right off the road. We took a minute to just enjoy the journey with no destination: to suck the marrow out of the bone of life.

And I remember on days like Sunday what it felt like to be a child. What it felt like to have no worries, to be carefree and feel secure and to just enjoy the ride.

You see, Little One, when I was young I was very, very sick. At two and a half years old I was diagnosed with Scleroderma, a rare autoimmune disorder. Doctors told my parents time and time again that I was going to die, to plan a funeral and detach themselves. But my parents are fighters, and they refused to listen. They did everything in their power for me to get better and flourish, and I did. Once the doctors stopped telling them I would die, they started telling them I would never be able to walk, that I’d be confined to a wheelchair for the rest of my life. When the insurance company refused to pay for physical therapy for me, my mother stepped in and learned what she could and did it for me at home. I still credit my parents defiance and hard work to me not only being able to walk and run and have a childhood, but also to me even being alive.

I want to be that kind of parent for you.

I want to fight for you to have the best life you can have. To flourish, to feel safe and secure even when I’m scared you’re not, and to be a fighter yourself. I want to educate you with everything I can, to give you the power to be independent and strong like my parents did for me.

Never in my childhood did I feel like I was different. Never did I feel like I was the sick kid, the weird one, the one that was going to die. Even in the years I spent in a leg brace, through the countless surgeries and procedures, the times when I had to be schooled at home because I was too sick to go in: I don’t look back on those memories with hurt or any type of doubt. I look back and think, my God did my parents sacrifice for me. They loved me enough to give me a childhood that this disease tried to take away. They played a tug of war with scleroderma, my childhood being the anchor in the middle, and they fought for so many years and they won.

Of course I remember the hospital stays. I remember the surgeries, the pain, the shots. I remember waking up with fevers and celebrating birthdays in braces or in bed. But they are not the keypoints of my childhood. They are the tiny dots in a timeline littered with great memories of trips, birthday parties and friendships. More than anything I remember a childhood filled with laughter, security and happiness. I can recall with great clarity summers spent on my bike, fishing in the creek, going to museums and Niagra falls and then bragging about them when I got back. Best of all, I remember being eight years old and told I was finally in remission.

I sometimes I get down, Little One, when I think of how easy it is for other people to have a family. It makes me sad at times that other people can just look at someone else and get pregnant- and not even care. They don’t appreciate life, their own or their childs. And it upsets me sometimes when I think about it. When someone new announces a pregnancy on facebook and says, “Oh yeah, I guess we’re just ‘lucky’ to have two kids in two years- yeah right!”  I look at that and think…yeah, you actually are extremely lucky. But then I put things in perspective.

You’re going to have an awesome childhood.

Those other kids whose parents don’t respect or value life don’t understand. They’ve never been on the brink of death. They’ve never had to watch their parents fight and sacrifice to give them what they so easily had- a childhood without worry. When small insignificant things happen, their world implodes like everything is ending. Our family won’t be that family.

Our family will be the pilot light, constantly on ready to ignite the passion we have for life within each other. We’ll make outstanding memories at every corner. We’ll try our hardest to make the hard things in life easier. We’ll learn about everything we can in this world together.

We’ll be on fire with life.

And you will have an amazing childhood, no matter what hurdles we face. I know this because I know the strength I have, the same strength my parents had. It won’t always be easy to be “the adopted kid.” I know that, because it wasn’t it wasn’t always easy to be “the sick kid.” But I also know that RB and I love you more than anything already, and we’ll fight until the bitter end to give you everything you deserve out of a childhood.

You’re going to enjoy the journey to nowhere that makes childhood so great. You’ll feel the security of our arms wrapped around you and the laughter and happiness in our family memories.

 My God, what a beautiful life you’re going to have, I can already see it. I feel like I’m in that car with RB again as a teenager, the road stretched so far in front of us we can’t see where it ends.

Even on days like Sunday: just driving around, stopping to see the beautiful world around us. I wish you could have been there, to have that memory with us. I know I’ve said this often in here but I’m so glad I decided to chronicle the journey getting to you. I’m so glad that even on days where you’re not here yet, you can experience the emotions we felt. In my heart of hearts I know that in the near future, there will be many days spent making wonderful family memories, even if its just a Sunday drive together.

I hope that when you read this when you’re older you’ll realize how much we loved you, each other, and our family.

 

Waiting for Sunday with Love,

Mom