20 Years Ago

Posted November 18, 2013 by ryterrytes
Categories: Uncategorized

Tags: , , , ,

Twenty years ago this month – which happens to be Adoption Month – my husband and I were finally on the same page at the same time in the same frame of mind and submitted an application to begin an international adoption.

Several weeks before we had attended an international adoption forum at a sort of local hotel where six different adoption agencies were represented.  It was a Monday night and the hubby was semi willing to  attend as long as I promised to leave in time for him to be home to get his weekly televised dose of WWF.  Of course I’d promised.

With fingers crossed behind my back.

It was crazy.  There was a table on a small stage lined with agency representatives.  The little room was almost full.  Full of families contemplating adoption…..families that had completed adoptions…..families in the process of adopting….and kids.

Kids of all sizes and ages, running around the room, dodging parental grips, snatching hugs, sharing toys, giggling, sipping juice boxes and just having fun.

About half way through the question and answer session, I nudged the hubby to ask if he was ready to go and he shushed me.  He was listening to what people were saying. He was hooked.

Line and sinker.

Sadly, albeit appropriately since the Baby Jessica and Baby Richard sagas had just played out in the local media, the biggest concern for the pre-adoptive families was the permanency of an international adoption. And how to fund the expensive process.

We talked on the way home.  It had been a bit of a journey for us to reach this point.  We’d experimented briefly with fertility drugs.  We’d toyed with the idea of just being satisfied with the exposure we had with his daughters.  We explored adoption through foster care, open adoption and family adoption.  Nothing felt right….until that night.

So we filled out the first of three applications that were to come.

We were requesting  a little girl from India.  A toddler….or an older child that needed us.  We felt led because we had watched a tv program that depicted the dire prospects for baby girls in India just a few weeks before.

And we began to think about…and prepare…to add a little girl to our lives.  Our hearts began to open and to flower and to ready themselves for that child.

Seriously.

But it would be three months before our child was even born.

And another three months until we were handed this:

Image

Our case file had been matched to a baby boy in South Korea.

It would be another six weeks until we were to hold him.  He would be four months old.

And it was seven months after submitting that first application to adopt.

Seven months of waiting and planning and preparation……and loving.

I have done a lot of reading over that past 20 years.  I understand that children who are adopted can sometimes feel a sense of abandonment.  That they may feel a sense of loss at being released for adoption by a birth parent.  I often wondered if mine ever wished for a different family.  Wished they had been matched with a family that could have given them more….or a different kind of life.

We have never talked about it…..and so I still wonder.

We have talked about their adoption situations however.  Shared what we know and the little bits of information that we have.  Told him how lucky he was that his mother knew very early that she wasn’t ready to raise a child on her own.  How grateful we were that she made the decision that brought him into our lives.

But there is another part of that story that I have neglected to share with them.

I have neglected to tell him (and her) how much they were loved even before we knew them or held them or hugged them.  How  our hearts were growing and getting ready from the day we filled out those early applications.

So while their birth parents were struggling and planning to leave them, on the other side of the world we were planning….and loving….and waiting to receive them.

Its a sad world in which adoption is needed.  But it would be a sadder one if it wasn’t available.

For everyone.

 

 

Spring Break in New York City….part 3 aka ‘Princess and The Lady’

Posted November 7, 2013 by ryterrytes
Categories: Uncategorized

The disappointment of missing the Broadway performance of ‘Matilda the Musical’ due to a myriad of flight delays the day before was soon abated as we set out to explore the city.  Now Princess had an ACL replacement surgery on her knee just two months before.  I wasn’t sure how able she would be to explore on foot.  She was determined to get by without her crutches.

So I made reservations for us to take a full day tour of the city on a bus.

We got up early and had a quick breakfast in a deli across the street from our hotel. Then we made our way to the tour bus depot, climbed a board and set off on our adventure with a bus load of comrades…..and a tour guide with a very thick accent.

Lucky me with my hearing loss.

Not.

The tour was very visual and that was nice. Even if I couldn’t understand a word the tour guide was saying. He must have been funny as people were laughing. The first stop was at Grant’s Tomb and we disembarked, looked around and boarded the bus again.

Princess was hiding under her hat and sneaking in a good little nap. I nudged as we passed things that were familiar…at least to me. Central Park. The Lincoln statue on the steps of the historical museum. She perked up as the bus made it’s way through Harlem and passed the Apollo Theater. She had used several pictures of it for a power point project the year before. Kinda cool to see it in person…even though it was just a drive by.

The bus stopped in Little Italy where we were taken to the basement dining room of a small restaurant called ‘The Grotto’ and given a choice of four luncheon selections. It was charming and tasty…..and had a bathroom.  After lunch we had time to wander the neighborhood a bit and it was a bit disappointing as most of the shops were closed.   She was intrigued with a shop window that touted vintage clothing….and a cat.   We did step into a little bakery the tour guide recommended and shared a piece of truly awesome New York Cheesecake.

Then it was back on the bus for a short jaunt to the harbor area and a water taxi.
Liberty ticket

Princess was in Kindergarten when the towers fell. She learned to count with the flags that appeared everywhere in our little community that fall. There were nearly 300 of them on our drive to school. She was a sophomore in high school when we realized she would want – and need – that official citizenship document. Americana symbols have always been important to her but she has always – ALWAYS – had a particular a fascination for the Statue of Liberty. In fact, it was the one thing she asked me to bring back for her on my first trip to New York – ‘something with the Statue on it.’ (I found a Statue of Liberty M&M dispenser….which was perfect for her. We filled it with personalized M&Ms several years later to celebrate her citizenship ceremony.) So this boat trip around the harbor was of particular interest to her.

And she was all over that boat.

While I found a spot on a cushioned bench outside to enjoy the ride, she was inside, outside, on top, buying candy, looking for the bathroom, checking out the window seats, etc. After being confined to the bus all day she definitely needed to move.  She would come around once in a while to ask if I was cold (which I was), or to ask if I planned to go inside (which I didn’t). Finally I told her that I had waited my entire life for this and I wasn’t going to miss it.  And that I was flipping freezing but didn’t trust my balance on the boat. She just grinned, did a little half turn and said, ‘OOoooOOOooohhh.’ She whipped out her cell phone and started snapping pictures.
2013-04-02 14.38.05

The ferry turned…..and there it was.

You can read about it. You can see pictures in books and magazines and newspapers and movies from every possible angle but there is nothing….and I mean NOTHING….like actually seeing the Statue of Liberty in person. It was like a heart stopping thrill for my Princess and I.

Heart stopping.

And we did the tourist thing with our cell phone cameras, taking pictures from every possible angle the ferry afforded us. This is my favorite.

2013-04-02 14.40.12

While there were other things ahead of us on this NYC adventure, I think the moment she first saw The Lady….the ‘OoooOOOOooohhhh’ just before she whipped out her cell phone to take pictures….will be the one moment that made all of the planning and the worries and the expense for this adventure….worth it.

Totally.

She had a smile on her face for the rest of the tour that day. We passed things that were familiar to her. The Twin Towers Memorial (which she did not want to visit) and the Wall Street bull (which we had seen in the movies) were among them. Our tour ended at Rockefeller Plaza and we had dinner reservations to get to. We high tailed it out of there.

And she was still smiling and still talking about that ferry trip around the Statue of Liberty.

Yep.

Totally worth it.

2013-04-02 14.45.38

My Girly’s Lunch Box

Posted November 7, 2013 by ryterrytes
Categories: Uncategorized

Tags: , ,

It all started with Mary ….as most of my carbon footprint reduction activities do. She is more determined and diligent than I. She is the reason my family uses a homemade laundry detergent as opposed to store bought. She is the reason we have a clothes line that stretches and recoils across our back deck. The pictures she posted occasionally of her daughter’s school lunches  were intriguing. Since Princess spends the last half of her school day in another location and doesn’t have the time or patience to stand in the cafeteria line before catching the bus every day, I purchased the lunch boxes Mary recommended:easylunchboxes-containers
….borrowed a few of her ideas and we were good to go.

Last year – when she was a high school junior – I packed a lunch for her most days…..and she loved them.Chicken Pasta Salad

Her friends were intrigued.

Popcorn Chicken Redux

And I had fun making them.

Since she was allowed to eat in her third hour Math class, her teacher would make her way down the row to her desk to see what she had for lunch.

Every day.

Wrap, veggies

When the new school year – her senior year – was about to begin, she coyly asked about ‘those lunches.’ Was I going to make them for her again?

How could I resist when she asked so nicely?

And so I have been on a mission. I snap a picture of each and every lunch before she shoves her box into her backpack and heads out the door. I post them on Face Book just so I can save the pictures in an album there for her.  I have gained a few friends….and lost a few friends…in the process.

I mean, who wants to start their day with a picture of what MY kid will be eating for lunch every day?

We are coming up onto the 50th day of school for her. Forty six different lunches so far this year.

And I have learned a lot about my daughter.

She doesn’t ‘do’ sandwiches on bread slices unless they are peanut butter and jelly. Or grilled cheese.

She prefers anything ‘mini’…mini bagel sandwiches, mini sub sandwiches on a dinner roll, mini cinnamon rolls…

She will try anything…once.

She loves mangos…and starfruit….and kiwis.

And apples.

She really loves little mini kebobs with cheese and turkey and pickles on a tooth pick.

She doesn’t like cheese on her sandwiches or in her salads.

She likes her steak cooked a little more well done than her Mom’s left over steak bites allow.

She doesn’t pay attention to ‘special lunches for special days’….like Dr. Seuss’s birthday.
Dr Seuss BD
And yes….those are Green Eggs and Ham, red fish and green fish and ‘Truffala Trees.’

I have learned that she will eat and enjoy the same vegetables every day if they are presented differently. So we have had carrot slices, carrot sticks, carrot picks, roasted carrots, curly carrots, carrots with dip…

Carrots, carrots and more carrots.

She really does love carrots…and celery and cucumbers and radish flowers and just about any other vegetable shaken with olive oil, sea salt and roasted.

Oh, I am not allowed to send boiled eggs to school any more. They may be admirable source of protein and awfully cute when you use a panda or bunny egg press, but apparently her Math book still reeks from the one I sent several weeks ago.

I have learned that making sure my soccer athlete kiddo has a solid lunch in the middle of the day means she isn’t trolling for snacks and eating us out of house and home any more when she gets home from school.

And that’s all good.

She is off to college next year so I just wish I’d started doing this sooner.

Like back in elementary school.

Sigh.

Until then….Halloween has passed.
Halloween lunch

Thanksgiving and Christmas are on the horizon. I am already racking up the ideas…..

Heh.

Spring Break in New York City…part 2: The Waiting

Posted September 8, 2013 by ryterrytes
Categories: Uncategorized

It started with a suspicious item noted in an x-ray during a security check at 5:58 am on April 1st.  Metro Airport was evacuated, flights delayed, a bomb squad called, bags searched, scare called off, security heightened and planes taking off again…..all before our arrival at 9 am.  My daughter and I were off to New York City for four days during our spring break.  It was a trip that had been in the planning for weeks.  And the plan was to fly out at 11, arrive in NYC at 1, explore our hotel and surroundings, meet a dear friend for dinner near the theater and be in our seats for ‘Matilda the Musical’ by 8 pm.

That was the plan.

But as I said in an earlier post, God laughs in the face of all of our planning.

We arrived two hours early for our flight as recommended by the airline. We were able to kiss the obliging hubby/daddy and check our bag at the curb. Security was heightened as expected. There were people everywhere….watching. Our trip through security was faster than expected. We slipped our shoes back on and stopped at a shop for a bottle of water and a magazine. The we headed toward the gate to wait.

And wait.

And wait.

Our plane was delayed for takeoff until 12. No biggie. We’d still be in New York by 2 pm. Plenty of time to settle and make it to dinner and then the play.

So then we were delayed until 4 pm. Yikes. That would be pushing my schedule a bit. The speaker then announced that our flight was delayed until possibly 7 pm. Something was wrong with the plane and the team needed to repair it was coming from Chicago.

In a car.

They were willing to have us change carriers in order to fly out sooner. We stood in line and received both a food voucher and a certificate to present to another airline that had a flight leaving at 3 pm. It was now 1 pm. We retrieved our bag, raced through the terminal and checked in with our new carrier (with a new destination – Newark) and then raced to that gate.

To wait.

In the mean time I tried to talk my daughter into using the food voucher for some…..food. She wasn’t hungry and too excited. She found a spot near a plug and recharged our phones while I went off to find something that would be easy to carry on the plane to eat. I didn’t trust her ‘not hungry’ mode. I purchased four large cookies and two bottles of water. And gum.

“Ma’am, this voucher is for twenty four dollars. Are you SURE you don’t want anything else?” I shook my head and headed back to the waiting area for our flight. I placed a call to the service that was to transport us from LaGuardia to our hotel and switched the service to pick us up in Newark instead. We finally boarded the new flight at 2:45….excited to be on our way.

And we waited.

The plane actually pulled away from the terminal and we were waiting for clearance to leave. The announcement was made that we were waiting for clearance from Newark to fly out. That there was a storm system moving in. I sent a text to my New York friend who laughed. She said the weather was sunny and actually quite warm. Not a cloud in the sky.

We waited.

We waited some more…..on the plane. Pointed toward the runway.

The pilot made the announcement that we were going to taxi back to the terminal for more fuel. Apparently two hours in a holding pattern sucks a lot of fuel.

Two hours……on the plane.

By this time I had been texting my friend in New York to cancel dinner plans and then realized by the time we arrived we weren’t going to make the curtain for ‘Matilda the Musical” either.

Rats.

I called the theater to see if we could exchange the tickets for another performance. Not through them, I was told, as I’d ordered the tickets through a web ticket service. Oh…great! Because I had also – accidently – purchased the insurance in case we couldn’t make the performance. So I placed a call to them…..from the plane….refueling at the terminal in Detroit.

Heh. In order to use the ‘insurance’ (which cost an additional $30 per ticket) they needed three days notice. Three days. What? A VERY polite and VERY condescending operator expressed her regret that we were not going to be at the performance that night but there was really nothing they could do. Purchased insurance or not. I asked them to call the theater and tell them they could GIVE THE TICKETS AWAY to anyone that came to the box office. GIVE them away. Again, deep regrets were expressed and I hung up. I was angry. And frustrated. And hot. And cramped.

I basically paid $277 for two Broadway balcony seats of…..air.

For a play I REALLY wanted to see.

Sigh.

My friend in New York sent a text to say that she had spoken with the concierge at our hotel. They were prepared to hold our bags in the lobby so we could leave right for the theater immediately after we checked in. She said we could be seated late and see just part of the play. Lots of people do that.

Sweet friend.

As our plane took off from Metro Airport three hours after boarding our new flight which was supposed to leave four hours after our original flight which was supposed to leave two hours after our arrival at 9 am….I sat back in my seat and relaxed. My daughter and I decided to salvage the whole theater thing by stowing our bags in the lobby after checking in to our hotel and going to stand outside on the sidewalk of ‘The Lucky Guy’ official premiere. With its cast comprised of Tom Hanks, Maura Tierney, Courtney Vance, etc. surely there would be some star wattage coming out. Right? That would be fun.

Our plane landed in Newark around 8 pm. We found the desk for our transportation service and confirmed that we were ready to be picked up. We settled into seats for what we were assured would be a short wait and sent text messages to the hubby and the friend and my mother. We meandered around and people watched….and waited.

For ninety minutes.

Our van finally arrived. It was packed. My daughter climbed into a back seat while I scooched into a front seat. Forty minutes later we were finally deposited at the front steps of our hotel.

It was busy and loud and full of people. We found the desk, checked in and I asked if room service was still available. It was. Until 11 pm. I checked the time on my phone. We had 25 minutes.

We dashed to the elevator, found our room, dove for the room service menu and ordered a hamburger and bowl of soup from room service.

In New York City.

So it was thirteen and a half hours after the hubby deposited us at the curb of Metro Airport’s departure terminal.

We were exhausted.

Sweaty.

Hungry.

But we were in NYC……and all was good.

2013-04-01 23.28.50

Especially when the food arrived.

Another ‘New York Adventure’

Posted September 7, 2013 by ryterrytes
Categories: Uncategorized

I posted this blog entry four and a half years ago.  It’s a detailed account of my first solo adventure in New York City.  I have wanted to go back.  Dang.  Who wouldn’t want to back to a place that has fascinated them since the age of eight?  In March…..because the Princess has been in the dumps and banned from her sporty life due to a surgically repaired ACL tendon….and because the financial gods were smiling for once…..and because Daddy had been 100% supportive and said ‘Go!’……my daughter and I planned a four day adventure to New York for spring break.  Just the two of us.  Okay…so I did the planning and I gave HER numerous choices.  I picked a play and she picked a play.  I found some restaurant choices and some activity choices I thought would interest her and organized it all on the internet. 

I like to be organized.

The very first thing that I did was look into Broadway play tickets.  I ordered two tickets for a Monday evening performance of ‘Matilda the Musical’ which was MY play of choice. From there I started searching for hotels and bed and breakfast availabilities.  I opted for a small (cheap) hotel across from the south end of Central Park.  Fortunately, I have a friend who lives in the city who could check things out for me.  She assured me it was a ‘small place that catered to people who wouldn’t be spending a lot of time in their rooms.’  The area was definitely safe and close to what we might be doing.  When I turned my attention to airline tickets, Price Line offered a great deal if I booked both the airline and the hotel reservations with them.  So I did.  My friend deemed the change in hotels to be a definite upgrade.  So we were booked to fly in and out of New York’s LaGuardia Airport  on American Airlines and to stay at the Sheraton New York Hotel and Towers. Next I purchased tickets for her play of choice – ‘The Lion King.’

The plans were made and over the next few weeks things began to arrive and were saved in an ultra thick plastic envelope. Our itinerary was changed and rechanged. I added addresses to every place we were going….or might go. I even found a website that would give you approximate cab fares to each of those places just so we would have enough cash with us at all times. I found a purse and backpack that suited each of us and mentally packed and repacked the luggage we were planning to use.

Being the theater semi-geek that I am, I really struggled with that extra night we’d set aside for a ‘nice’ restaurant and the day we’d set aside to shop and walk around. My favorite actress was appearing in a play written by a writer I enjoy with an actor I always liked so maybe we should…?? But reviews of that play mentioned the profanity in the dialog and the darkness of the story so maybe not with my 17 year old. Ticket prices were WAY out of our range anyway. Another play maybe?? ‘Annie’ was good….but we’d just seen a high school production of that. A good friend recommended ‘Peter and the Star Catchers’ but the timing was off for that one. SO many other musicals that looked good……

But I decided to relax and let go. She was more interested in experiencing the city than sitting in a theater anyway. Our itinerary was good. Our four days were actually pretty full.

I was a very good planner.

However, April 1st loomed and we still hadn’t received what I’d been waiting for the most – tickets for the first play I’d booked. Panic time.

I tried tracking them down with emails and phone calls. The delivery had apparently happened weeks before. In an unmarked envelope. Ugh. I truly thought $300 in tickets had been pitched as junk mail. And then my daughter was cleaning out the car and found an unopened envelope with a New York postmark. ‘Matilda’ tickets. Yes! Into the bag they went and we were good to go. Everything was in its place. Every carefully planned move was solidified.

New York City…here we come!

But, as the saying goes, people plan….and God laughs.

.

Soccer….again

Posted March 15, 2013 by ryterrytes
Categories: Uncategorized

It hit me like a ton of bricks the other day. I knew about it. I stressed about it. I had even kinda sorta planned for it. But it’s still a bit disconcerting.

For the first time in fifteen years I am facing a spring without a soccer season.

I am the one that has always said that I was dragged kicking and screaming into soccer Momhood. If it had of been up to me, my children would be playing piano, dancing and performing in theatrical productions. My son would be more comfortable in suits with ties and my daughter in dresses and bows. We would be discussing blocking and staging and costumes and the strategies of an actor’s character development skills. We would be comparing back drops and a director’s use of a scrim. We would be spending our weekends attending plays when we weren’t working in them.

Yeah right.

Instead their world was up to them and mine was plunged into muddy cleats and sweaty socks and grass stained jerseys and shorts. My weekends were spent shivering in the freezing early spring mornings, hands clasped around an oversized hot chocolate just to stay warm. Or we were sweating in the hot afternoon sun on the edge of treeless fields watching from afar as the boy and the girl sweat even more while they chased a ball with their team mates. My husband and I were staring at a calendar that was overcrowded with practice times, games and out of town tournaments….times two. Her club season overlapped his high school season and his club season ran rough shod over her high school season. And then there were off season indoor teams….to help ‘stay in condition.’ We, too quickly, became those parents we laughed at in the beginning. Parents whose older children played those games that started at 5:30 in the morning and 11:30 at night.

Again and again and again.

My children – very literally – live and breathe soccer.

Seriously.

And then he had to grow up….and go away to college. No more competitive soccer for him at this point.

She, on the other hand, took a badly placed kick from an opposing player during an indoor game and blew out a knee ligament in January. It required a surgical repair a month ago and now three to six months of physical therapy are her future. The entire high school soccer season. And she is being a trooper about it. She is diligent about exercises and stretching and reporting for appointments with her physical therapist. She wants to be ready for next year….her senior year.

And I have no doubt that she will be.

However, tryouts were last week. She went…just to watch. And she stayed later on the night teams were selected…..just to see who made it and who didn’t. She was elated for some of her friends and disappointed for others. In true Girly style she comforted and rallied and cheered for them.

And came home disappointed….for herself.

We have dealt with injuries before. There have been scrapes and bumps and bruises along the way. Kiddo, who is a goalie, was once slammed in the head with a ball that sent us on a scary trip to our optometrist and then to an ophthalmologist. Girly, who is a forward, has gone to emergency with probable concussions on several occasions. A pulled muscle in her back took her off the roster of her club team for an entire fall season. But this tear and repair has been much more affecting.

For all of us.

I would be lying if I didn’t say that I was kind of looking forward to a non-soccer intensive life style. While her dad is totally at loss and very sad, I have been kind of giddy at the thought of being able to go home and just….be home. No more meals on the run as we race to or from a game. No more scrambling for the forgotten cash in order to purchase a ticket for an away game. No more last minute laundry loads to make sure shorts and socks and jerseys are in pristine condition. I plan to actually get my sewing machine out again. I have curtains to make.

But this weekend is the first of the high school soccer events…..a wide reaching tournament in four (?) locations. On snow driven muddy fields. Game after game after game. For two days.
And you know what? I am a little sad. For my daughter. For my husband.

And for me.

Fifteen years.

This soccer Mom thing is addicting.

And I…..am an addict.

With no where to go.

Sigh.

Habit

Posted January 11, 2013 by ryterrytes
Categories: Uncategorized

Once upon a time I was a writer.  I woke up early every morning and wrote for 30 minutes.  Every day.  Sometimes it was writing for this blog.  Sometimes for a school project….a fan fiction…an ongoing novel….another ongoing novel…..a play I have mulling over for two years…..a letter to someone…..emails.  I wrote SOMEthing for 30 minutes.  Every day.

And this writing habit continued for several years.

I felt productive when I was writing.  I felt full of creative juices and ideas oozed out in every direction.  Sometimes they were good ideas and sometimes not.  But they were ideas.

Then along came conversation with the hubby who had been laid off from his job for an extended period.  He couldn’t understand the need to write.  He wanted to talk in the morning.  So we did. 

And then he went back to work.  Whew.

Along came AOL…..or whatever internet  news page we have up on the computer.  I am a news ‘junkie’ and could cruise and read there all day long.  If I didn’t have to get to a job every morning.

Along came Facebook.  I have managed to connect with elementary school friends, high school friends, college friends, former students, parents of former students and new friends.  Keeping up with all of them takes time and effort and a fair amount of cruising. 

Along came Pinterest….the holy grail of mindless time sucking activity.  I love it and have been rigidly successful to confine my cruising and ‘pinning’ to just 15 minutes a day…..or five pins…whichever comes first.  And I mean rigidly successful.  It’s almost a game I play with myself whenever I am there.

Along came more sleep.  The hubby wakes me up at 4:30 am.  These days – in my encroaching old age – it’s much more appealing to set my own alarm, roll over and doze for another hour.  Some times.  Okay…more than some times.

At any rate, all of these things have encroached on my writing time in the morning.

And I miss it.

And I feel a little lost.

And I decided that my New Year’s resolution would be to get back into the writing ‘habit.’

So here it is…ten….days later and I am still reading, cruising, pinning and…dozing.

But I will get there.

Eventually.

After all, I am a writer.

 And I need to write.

The End


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