Tweaking Us

Holden successfully completed his first year of college and arrived home sicker than a dog. His temp spiking as his body sought to recover from the enormous lack of sleep, poor food choices and long hours of studying for finals. He looked haggard, and it was difficult to understand him because his voice was almost gone. As soon as Holden was in his own bed, the sleep that eluded him came fast. He slept like a baby and became healthy again.

He arrived home sans his vast collection of nasty looking high tops. Also missing were the all-too-low-riding jeans, shorts and pants (“saggers”). During his first year of college he morphed into a prepster and now wears items like whales on his ties, sailboat adorned red shorts, slim above-the-butt properly fitting brightly colored pants, polos, and Sperrys. My, my, my…

When we left him at college last August Holden was madly in love with rap and hip-hop. His musical tastes broadened; he became a raving country fan. He attended the Brad Paisley concert the other night.

It’s cool. We’ve been preppy. We enjoy country.

Holden has been fortunate to secure fulltime summer employment (achieved when home during spring break). The hours are long, but the pay is fair. With driving, he’s gone for twelve hours long, so I don’t see him much. The “missing” I felt while he was away at college hasn’t fully abated.

Warned, I was ready for his newly expanded independence. Well, I thought I was.

Really.

How wrong I was.

Having a child home after they’ve been away for an extended time is an adjustment, for everyone. We have to become used to being physically together again and work through and come to an agreement about the expectations, rules and checking-in that are part of being a cohesive, connected and thoughtful family unit.

We’re tweaking us as the family dynamics change. When to step up, when to step back. The “dance” has changed. I still get to do Holden’s laundry and make his lunch. So far, so good…

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Filed under Epiphiany, Family, Growing Tweens & Teens, Rite of Passage, The International Mom

Afterthoughts on Afterglow

Listen To Your Mother…  It’s a wrap. However, the experience has left me with deeper appreciation—new perspectives and lasting impressions about who I am and what I can be for myself and for others, of how the threads of love, loss, joy, and fear weave all of us together in this beautiful, complex mosaic of fabric we coin humanity. From the audition through rehearsals and the sold out show I spoke, shared, cried, laughed, listened, held my breath, exhaled, and learned. I connected.

We walk such unique paths on our journeys from birth until death, nevertheless we have so much in common, and we begin to understand this when we “stop” and listen and are present and open and non-judgmental of each other. We have the capability to help heal instead of inflict hurt.

I shouldn’t have been so surprised when one of my “sisters” that I first sponsored through Women For Women International over a decade ago ago sent me a friend request via Facebook and a beautiful Mother’s Day message. I was profoundly touched to hear from her again, and to know she is safe and doing so well.

Listen To Your Mother was the perfect entrée to celebrating Mother’s Day. A reminder that we women are so powerful and can affect positive change and growth. A reminder that:

  • We need to honor ourselves.
  • We need to honor the women who have raised, nurtured, taught, and mentored us.
  • By honoring ourselves we give to our children, spouses, loved ones, and to others in need.
  • By using our voices we empower ourselves and model the importance of being heard, especially for the next generation of upcoming women.

Sharing stories is important. They are gifts of wisdom, insight and the true nature of ourselves.

My profound thanks to the brave women who shared their vulnerability up on that stage: Stephanie Precourt,  Liz Chatwell, Brenda Magnetti Erickson, Beth Fletcher, Alice Harrington, Stephanie Hauser, Katy Hoagland, Julia Huisman, Jen Mitchell, Heather Curlee Novak, June Saavedra, Liz Self, Carrie Steinweg, and Megan Summers. I was proud to be in your company.

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Filed under Events, Parenting, The International Mom

Honoring the Maternal Bonds of All Mothers

Mother’s Day. A day I share with millions of women all over the globe, although they may not be celebrating it. More  importantly I also share Mother’s Day with three other exceptionally special women I’ve never met. However, I know them quite well because they reside in and share my daily life.

These women and I hug in the mornings and evenings. And on the other days we’re together—“gifts” of extra time, like weekends and vacations, the hugs pile up into a yummy concoction of sweet feelings that last long after the physical closeness ceases.

These women engage me in wonderful, and often enlightening, conversation. They share their deepest wishes, wildest dreams, emotional injuries and profound pain, happiest moments, imaginative and silly stories, fantasized and real fears, and simple hopes.

We laugh together. We cry together. We learn together.

We love together.

We grow together.

These women, my children’s birth mothers, share the sacredness of their essence through their children. Through my children.

Through our children.

I want to wish a Happy Mother’s Day to my children’s birth mothers, from me. Our children think of you and we talk about you. They know, love and respect you. Our children are doing well. They are safe. They are thriving. They are loved beyond what words can express. We wish you health, love and happiness.

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Filed under Adoptive Mom's Perspective, China, Grief, Growing Tweens & Teens, Guatemala, Loss, The International Mom