Category Archives: Growing Tweens & Teens

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.


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…


Filed under Epiphiany, Family, Growing Tweens & Teens, Rite of Passage, 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.


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

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…


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