Monthly Archives: April 2012

Listen to Me!

Occasionally I do other activities besides mommying, writing and teaching. Sometimes I write and micro-publish an internationally selling book. Sometimes I get to speak and conduct workshops—about parenting, adoption and writing. Sometimes I’m invited to do radio or live streaming shows—about parenting or adoption. Sometimes my expertise is requested for national parenting publications or well-respected newspapers.

Sometimes I get to do something completely new and so special. Such is the case in a week and a half, when I’ll be reading one of my favorite personal essays in Listen To Your Mother—a show dedicated to mothers and motherhood. My whole crew will be in the looks-to-be-a-sold-out-audience to hear me and thirteen other remarkable women read.

I will be honored to share G’s story, not his story of course, because that is his to share, but the one of how we knew of him. He’s heard it, but not in this way. I hope this will be further affirmation for him… That he is where he is supposed to be. That he is indeed loved beyond what this fallible human mother can express. And that the fact that he was adopted, and the circumstances of his story, enriches this love. I hope he’ll really hear me and begin to understand the significance of what I will share.

Listen To Your Mother, a national series of live readings by local writers in ten cities across the U.S., kicked last night (Sunday, April 29th) with shows in Austin and Northwest Arkansas. Born of the creative work of mothers who publish online (and elsewhere, in my case…) each production is directed, produced and performed by local communities for local communities. I’m thrilled to be part of the Northwest Indiana cast.

From the Listen To Your Mother Northwest Indiana site:

Listen To Your Mother is…

“Vulnerable and beautiful stories about mothers and motherhood shared from unique and powerful perspectives.”– Judy Miller

It was the night of our first cast reading. We gathered together in an art room in the back of rTrail Collective Edge in downtown Valparaiso. Brenda had planned an awesome spread from Meditrina Market Cafe, and wine, which really helped any jitters and nerves we all had; most of the cast was meeting for the first time.

We put our chairs in a circle and read, and there were laughs… oh, were there laughs. And there was quiet and awe. There were tears and understanding, and it was magnificent.

“What an incredible and diverse group of women, each with a unique story to share!” – Carrie Steinweg

“With every reading, I was captivated from start to finish.” – Julia Huisman

 “Listening to each person…we were all mothers or daughters…different times and different lives…laughing and crying.  Different, yet all the same. ” – Alice Harrington

If you are in the region I hope you will consider joining us at the historical Memorial Opera House in Valparaiso, IN on Thursday May 10th at 7PM and be a part of one very spectacular and unforgettable evening. At this posting there are still some tickets available for our show.

Part of LTYM’s mission is for each show to contribute financially to non-profit organizations supporting families in need.  This year LTYM: Northwest Indiana is proud to give 10% of our ticket proceeds to The Caring Place, a service and shelter for families and victims of domestic violence and sexual assault. Through education and awareness, The Caring Place hopes to empower all members of the Northwest Indiana community to live in peace.

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Filed under Adoptive Mom's Perspective, Claiming, Epiphiany, Events, Guatemala, Multicultural Families, Parenting, The International Mom, Writing

Time for Me

I need to connect with myself. As a young child I did this many summer mornings, lying on the still dewy ground among the aromatic wild grasses and flowers in the meadow close to home. The soft rustling of the plants in the humid breeze and the hum of birds and insects cavorting around me registered, but I was lost with my imagination as I watched the clouds form pictures in the skies overhead.

As a young adult I re-embraced my love of horses, purchasing two and riding almost daily—for hours. I found that the time spent grooming, training and riding my horses brought quiet contentment after the relentless grind of selling diagnostic equipment to labs and hospitals. I loved mashing my face into and breathing in the fragrant coat of my horse, before and after riding, storing that unique scent within my being, along with the rhythm of riding. And I called on those memories when I was unable ride due to weather or my schedule.

Upon becoming a mother, my outlets to center myself began to disappear. After J arrived home I sold Spencer (my gelding). I soon followed with the sale of Persephone—my mare, who I had raised and trained from foalhood. Although joyously vested in parenting my two, and soon welcoming A, and then G home, I felt disconnected from me.

I guess my hubby knew me better than I knew myself. He sensed the disconnect within me and encouraged me to write, and so I did. And after getting over my fear I discovered that writing “centers” me, similar to when I use to ride and watch the heavens. I also realized that writing gave me a voice.

It is challenging to find the time to write for any concentrated time, so I have to schedule it.  I was fortunate to have four days of concentrated writing in Austin at the Stories from The Heart conference, created by Story Circle Network for the purpose of women sharing stories through reading and writing. My proposal was accepted, so I taught a workshop on blogging. I also coached other writers, wrote in other sessions, connected with old friends and met new ones, cried and laughed with “sisters,” and read at open mike night. Despite the delayed and bumpy flight home, I arrived home kinda “noodley,” feeling inspired, creative, and renewed. Connected to myself. Centered.

Connecting with self is important. We need to replenish. We need to center. What “does it” for you? Schedule some time. For yourself. Soon.

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Filed under Events, The International Mom, Writing

Not What We’re Used To

Spring break and the kiddos get restless, so we figured we’d hightail it up to Chicago for a few days, with an overnight stop in Valparaiso so that I could attend my first rehearsal with the other cast members of Listen To Your Mother (You really should come if you live in the region; it’s going to be amazing! More on this soon, I promise.)

We spent the day at the Indiana Dunes; it was sunny, but cold and brisk. We picnicked anyway, enjoying the sounds and sight of Lake Michigan from another perspective.  The kids burned off some energy running and then summersaulting down Devil’s Slide and trekking back up only to do it again and again.

On Friday we headed into Chicago, to explore some venues we hadn’t visited for some time—the Field and Lincoln Park Zoo. When we’re out as a group, we’re used to the myriad of looks and stares, and sometimes comments. We experience this less in a city the size of Chicago where diversity abounds, and perhaps that’s some of the comfort of why my kids love the city so much.

Invariably when out for any length of time, Mother Nature “calls.” We’ve always had a rule: young boys NEVER go into the bathroom unattended. It may appear that I feel this way because I don’t trust my sons to do their business and come out. Not at all. My (our) concern is the about who is in that men’s public bathroom—might he be a peeper, or someone who exposes himself to or molests young boys in bathrooms? It happens. More than we want to admit.

So, of course G had to use the restroom at the zoo, and Mark accompanied him. A maintenance guy, about Mark’s age, was in there cleaning and turned around after G had locked the stall door. Mark stood in the doorway, while G attended to his business.

Maintenance Dude: (pausing in his work) “Can I help you?”

Mark: “I’m just waiting.”

Maintenance Dude:  “Who are you waiting for?”

Mark: “Him.” (And motions to the stall.)

Maintenance Dude: “Oh, your grandson.”

Mark: “No, my son.”

Maintenance  Dude: (Nodding, with a huge smile and the “manly,” “he-he-he,” slap-on-the-back kind of approval) “You’re not shooting blanks! Good for you!”

I guess he kinda missed the obvious…

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Filed under Family, Growing Tweens & Teens, Parenting, The International Mom