Sunday, May 12, 2013

Mothers' Day

I found myself unexpectedly emotional today.  Waking up and being a mom on Mothers' Day caught me by surprise.  I sort of expected that I would not feel much.  In my mind, Mothers' Day has always been about my own mother.  The gratitude that I feel towards her has only multiplied since Millie entered my life.  She has been my very best teacher in what it means to be a mother and if I manage to be half the mother to Millie that my mom has been to me, then I will be doing just fine.  So anyway, that was what I thought today would be about.  And in many ways it was.  But it was also so much more.

I thought a lot today about last year on Mothers' Day and I remember being so so sad.  I remember how hard it was to celebrate something that I was so very clearly not.  I remember it being so hard to be around all of the mothers in my life when Carla and I were so frustrated with the adoption process at that point.  And I also thought a lot today about the women, whose stories I have read and continue to read, who are still traveling their roads towards becoming mothers.  I have carved out such a large space in my heart for them and for their families.  And I thought a lot about all of you today.  I know how hard it is to not yet be a mother on Mothers' Day.  I know how awful this day can feel and I can only hope that those of you who are in that position today will hold tightly to the people that you love.  I can only hope that you were good to yourselves today and that you took time to remember that one day this day will be so so good for you. And all that you are going through right now is going to make that day so much sweeter and is going to make you such a strong, incredible, awe-inspring mom.   Last year at this time, I never ever would have thought that by the very next Mothers' Day we, too, would be mothers.  And yet. Here we are.

Today when I looked at Millie, I was overcome with gratitude.  I feel so very lucky to be her mom.  There are still days when it feels too good to be true.  I am not saying that it is always easy, or fun, or that there aren't moments when I look at her and ask her, out loud, why she just won't go to sleep. And, with all of that, I still feel so so lucky to be her mom.  Going through the adoption process, as frustrating as it was, and ending up here feels like a miracle.  And I could never have asked for a more perfect daughter for Carla and me and today I felt that truth in every inch of my being.

Celebrating our moms also felt different today.  It felt bigger.  I felt more gratitude.  I felt more understanding.  Carla and I are so incredibly lucky to have the moms that we have.  We have learned how to love from women who exemplify what that means.  We have learned how to sacrifice from women who would do anything in this world for us.  We have learned how to be strong from two of the strongest women that I have ever known.  We have learned how to be mothers from two women who live their lives as what mothers are supposed to be.  Today I really understood that.  Today I was incredibly thankful.

And part of the emotion for me today was thinking about Millie's birthmother.  My heart swells when I think of her.  We haven't heard from her in a while.  Today, I thought a lot about her.  I don't often share much about her because I have the utmost respect for this woman and I would never ever want to tell any part of her story for her.  But today I can't help but express my love for this woman.  This woman who was, and will always be, Millie's first mother.  I think about what this woman has done for Millie and the love that it took to make the decision she made and I am overwhelmed by it.  I am in awe of her and I admire her so very much.  No matter what, she will be a part of Millie's life because we will tell her about the incredible woman that she is and I know that Millie will learn from the courage and the love that her birth mother possesses.  I know that she would be so happy to see the amount of love that surrounds Millie and to know that Millie is being raised in happiness and in love and in so many good things.  I can't ever pretend to know what she feels when she thinks about us or about Millie, but I have to imagine that her heart hurt a little bit today and that just sends the most intense emotions right through me.  Whatever she is thinking today, whatever she is doing, I hope that she knows that she is, and will always, be a part of Millie's life and heart and a part of this family.

So our first Mothers' Day was good. So so very good.  My heart felt full all day long.  I felt lucky and grateful and intensely content with the life that I am living.  Sometimes it feels as if I am undeserving of so much goodness.  But I am happy to accept it.  Happy to be living it.  And happy to know that there is so much more goodness ahead.

Monday, May 6, 2013

A Blurry Two Weeks...

Well, the last two weeks have passed in quite a blur.  It seems that every time I thought about sitting down to write about it all, sometime else popped up.  I am left with a pretty random string of events to share, none of which are all too exciting.  But here is what I've got (in no particular order).

Sickness.  Today is the first day in over two weeks that I have felt healthy.  And by healthy, I mean that if I continuously take cough medicine, then I manage to make it through the day without having to leave the children to go and cough out in the hallway.  There has been illness traveling around my entire school, my entire extended family, and perhaps the greater metropolitan Chicagoland area.  I am not sure where I got this particular yuck, but it has been awful.  I went a good four days without any voice at all.  As you can imagine, being a fifth grade teacher with no voice was less than enjoyable.  And I just felt awful.  One of the worst days, I picked Millie up from day care and somehow she must have known how awful I felt because she happily sat in her rocker, in front of the fish tank, while I curled in a ball on the floor next to her and apologized for not being able to be a better Mom at the moment.  Yeah. It wasn't pretty.  Luckily, Carla totally stepped it up and took over all the things that I just couldn't manage to do.  As always, she was the reason that I made it through some of those bad days.  Luckily, after a long, long two weeks, I am finally starting to feel like myself again.

Health.  On the opposite end of the wellness spectrum, Millie had her four month check-up last week.  She got a glowing report! No mention at all of any sort of flat spots on her head and she was even a champ and rolled over for the doctor.  She also did a much better job with her shots this time around.  All in all it was a great appointment and it was fun to see how much she has grown since the last time we were there.

Food.  Millie has had her first taste of solid food.  Well, it wasn't at all solid.  Instead, it was a delightfully soupy mixture of avocado and water.  But it was something other than formula and that was exciting.  We have had three separate attempts at eating and while I am not sure how much food has actually made it down her esophagus, she didn't seem at all unhappy about the whole thing.  It is just really exciting to be at this new stage and to be able to think about her eating real food.  We have yet to progress beyond the avocado puree, but I do believe that there is banana in her future.

Party.  I had the most wonderful baby shower with my students.  The two room mothers for my classroom have been wanting to throw a party for Millie ever since I announced that we were bringing her home.  There was no time before I left on maternity leave, so we decided to wait until after.  So this past Friday, Carla and Millie came to school and the room mothers brought in balloons and donuts and the most wonderful, generous, kind, beautiful basket filled with presents for Millie from all of the kids and their families.  It was such a wonderful, wonderful moment and I was so touched at the excitement from my students and from their parents.  This is just the most special group of kids and parents and when we tell Millie all about the story of how we brought her home, these kids and their families will most certainly be a big piece of that story.  I can't say enough about what it means to have this kind of support.  In so many schools, a lesbian teacher would feel the need to hide her family from her students and their families and here I am, not only sharing my family, and not only being accepted and tolerated, but being celebrated in the most beautiful way.  It is overwhelming to think about.  I am deeply, deeply grateful.

Birthday.  This coming weekend is my nephew's second birthday.  I cannot believe that he is going to be two.  His big party is not until the following weekend, but this weekend, there will be cake and ice cream for the family.  I can't tell you how much I love this boy.  He is the most energetic, loving, fun-loving kid and he just makes all of us enjoy life so much more.  He has gotten our family through some tough, tough moments and he is nothing but lovable and wonderful.  He truly has taught me how to love a child in a way that I didn't know was possible.   He was the one person that made me certain that I wanted to be a mom.  I am so in awe of the little guy that he is growing up to be and I can't wait to celebrate with him.

I do believe that is it for now.  Sorry for the very random and not so exciting post.  I just thought I would keep everyone updated on the not so exciting goings-ons of this household!