Posted tagged ‘motherhood’

20 Years Ago

November 18, 2013

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.


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

And another three months until we were handed this:


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.



HOW Did It Happen???

March 13, 2011

The Prince turned 17 a couple of weeks ago.


Which means he no longer has a ‘restricted’ driver’s license and can drive after midnight even though he may or may not be coming from or going to a real job.

Which means he is just a year and a half away from graduating from high school.

Which means he is only a year and a half away and a summer away from starting COLLEGE.

Which means he is going to be putting his big boy pants on and looking for a real job to help pay for a car/gas/books/food/date nights/whatever.

Which means he is only a year away from casting his vote and having a real say in what is going on in the world.

Which means he is actually going to have to make decisions about things more important than just what he should have for a snack before going to bed…..or which channel to watch on the television…..or which homework to let slide this week.

Which means he is no longer my baby boy.

Just HOW did that happen?

Just how did this:

……..evolve so mind boggling quickly into this???

Okay… I am having a problem with this.

February 16, 2011

She sat across the table with narrowed eyes as I explained the plan to her. 

 No, I was not going to allow her to stay after basketball practice after school and let her wait in the LGI room with the ‘two ladies from church’ who monitored homework and high schoolers who waited for a bus to drive them to church at 6 pm.  I was willing to pick her up from practice and bring her home to shower and change and maybe have some dinner.  Then I would drive her to the very same church (which happens to be right around the corner from our house) so she could participate in the high school mid week Bible study activities.  And then I would pick her up at the appropriate time and drive her home (which happens to be right around the corner from the church).  I am not willing to drive 20 minutes down the road to pick her up at school just so she can have the extra time with her friends on the bus.

The same narrowed eyes were probably shooting daggers through the cell phone….waves?…..when I text messaged earlier in the evening that Dad and I would be doing the 35 minute drive to the WAY out in the boon docks ‘away’ high school to pick her up after the JV basketball game – which was after her Freshman basketball game which had been too early in the evening for us to make it – in order to have her home at a reasonable hour on a school night.  No, she would not be staying for the Varsity basketball game just so she could ride the bus with the five other players who did not have a ride home. 

And I do know that head of hers had trouble wrapping itself around why I was so um….pissy…. to find out that she was actually at K’s house when she was supposed to be at L’s house and didn’t bother to text or call during the entire seven hours that she was gone.   Especially since it’s not the first time it’s happened.

And last summer…..when she was embarrassed and a little perturbed that I cruised by the beach where she had gone for the day……just to check  up on things?

Yes.  I do know that we are a boring old family that lacks the social luster and bluster of her friends at school.

Yes.  I do know that we are generally doing nothing at all at home in the evenings except dinner and dishes and homework and television and reading and working on the computer.

Yes.  I do know that she is supposed to be trying out her wings a bit….checking out the world on her own.

Okay….so I am having a problem with this ‘letting go’ thing. 

But hang in there. 

 The day will come when she will glad that I did…..and she will wish that letting go hadn’t happened at all.


Final Exams

January 27, 2011

Princess started studying last Friday night.  She spent the entire weekend in her room…with her books….and her notes….and her ipod…..studying.  There was a break for his soccer game on Saturday night and for her soccer game on Sunday morning.

On Sunday night she posted a message on Facebook saying that she was ‘ready’ for finals to begin and to ‘bring them on!’  She was  informed by her friends that finals wouldn’t START until Wednesday.  She had NO idea.

Her first round of high school semester finals and she ‘wasted her weekend’….she said.

Prince is an old hand at final exams.  He IS a high school Junior after all.  HE can’t study much before hand….he says.  HE needs to go over the material the night before so that it’s still FRESH in his head. 

He had a friend over on Tuesday – the night before finals started – to study together….to have dinner…..and go to the evening cross town rival basketball game which was being played ‘right around the corner.’  And I heard some laughing coming from the basement in there some where.  A wii racing game  study break, he said.

Final exams mean half days and no transportation for my kids.  HRH took Wednesday afternoon off in order to pick them up at school and deliver them home to study for the next day’s finals.  I change schools at the half day point on Fridays so I would be able to pick them up and deliver them home – or not – on Friday.  They might be taking me to my second school and then driving themselves home.  Princess has a basketball game and needs to be there early, you see.

But today is Thursday and I am sitting at my school desk writing this two and a half hours earlier than I need to be here.  Prince dropped me off and drove them to school in order to be able to drive them home after three hours of final exams. 

Did I mention that I gave them twenty bucks to go out to lunch on their way home?



Riding in the Car with Mom

January 13, 2011

“….now we need to find him a car and I am never driving my kids to school again!”

At first, I heartily agreed with a friend’s Facebook status expressing exhilaration at her son finally getting his driver’s license.   Not having to cart your socially active/sports playing kids/teenagers around town is kind of freeing.   But driving them to school?  Hmm…..

My children have had to deal with Mom’s Taxi from the very start of their school careers out of necessity.  Since we didn’t live in the school district where I taught, and wanting him (and later, her) to be on the same year round school calendar as I was, I enrolled Prince across district boundary lines.  This meant that he needed to ride with me every day and spend a time in the before school child care program at his school so I could skedaddle to mine.  Later I managed to find a parent closer to our house who could babysit in the mornings and they could catch the bus from her neighborhood.  Then I was transferred to a school right next door to a middle school so they could ride to work with me in the mornings and then walk down and wait my classroom till the end of the elementary school day.  When he went to high school we even managed to finagle a ride for him on a high school route that would drop him off at my elementary school so he could wait even longer.

But they did their homework in the Media Center, helped out in classrooms and got into some harmless trouble now and then.  But we rode together……every day.

Back and forth.

In Mom’s Taxi.

When they were younger we would sing songs at the top of our lungs, practice spelling words and talk about books they were reading as we drove back and forth.  We knew the routes to take to see the MOST obnoxious holiday displays and the short cuts to avoid – or not – on muddy days.   We knew where to plug our noses to avoid the smell of mulch in the making.  We knew where to see nesting swans and baby ducks in ponds along the way.  

But the reason that I could relate to my friend’s happiness at those ‘taxi’ days coming to an end is because driving kids – now teenagers – can be a bit aggravating.  We have had days when the only conversation we had were grunts or snorts as they took cat naps in the car.   And the surliness of kids who were tired of the mundane routine of school was a little hard to bear at times….especially if my own day had been challenging. 

 I did have some respite from the task when HRH was laid off from his job for a period of six months last year.  He did the chaffering to their schools and I enjoyed the luxury of being able to leave home a bit later in the morning.   To play MY songs on the radio.  To roll the windows down and turn off the air conditioning.

But the truth of it is, I kind of missed those morning and afternoon drives after a while.  I missed the forced containment in a small space with my kids for a short period of time. 

You see, riding in the car with Mom gave me a few moments of the day to reconnect with them.  To hear about how their day went, who they were sitting with at lunch and what ‘crappy’ homework they had to do.  I heard about substitute teachers that were awesome and shenanigans in the hall that others were involved in.  Always….others. 

I know the music they like and the radio stations they tune into.  I know the fast food places they want to stop at for an after school ‘snack’ and how quickly they can ‘power shop’ in the mornings at the 24 hour grocery store.  I knew how they felt about the current events we saw happening on the news as we were on the way out the door. 

So now that one has a license to drive and the other has her learner’s permit the campaign to get a car for them has stepped up somewhat.  They want to drive themselves to school.

But, in all honesty, I am planning on holding out for at least another year. 

I’d miss my kids.



September 22, 2010

Remember back when I was musing on the enjoyable ‘Tues-Dates’ I enjoyed with my laid off from work for six months hubby?  We used that day to drop the kids off school and reconnect with each other?  We would go out to breakfast or lunch, to movies, grocery shop together, etc. etc? 

Boy, I missed those days today.  I could have used a ‘Tues-Date’…..with myself.

Instead, I roused the kiddos and we headed for the local 24 hour super market to do a bit of ‘power shopping’   before school.  Tomorrow is my turn to help with the varsity team dinner and Prince had requested the apple dumpling recipe that has people clamoring for more of.  We set up a plan of action on the way to the store.  Once inside the door we headed off in three directions only to meet 8 minutes later at the apples.  Through the checkout and out the door to the car we went.  Heigh ho!  Heigh ho!

Food in the back and I was congratulating myself to be on the road toward the high school even earlier than we would have been had we left from home.  Halfway there I suddenly remembered that I had left my purse on the kiddie seat of our shopping cart…..back in the parking lot.  Curse…curse….slamming the steering wheel as I was stuck in high school traffic with no opportunity to turn around….curse…curse…..driver’s license….DEBIT CARD…..curse some more.  Calming breath and steeled resolve.

People are good and helpful and generous in my little world, right?  No one would take it, right?

Pulled up to the curb in the high school parking lot and sent the kiddos off with a ‘have a good day’ and “I love you!”. 

They sent me off with a grunt and a nod.

Zippity doo dah…..I raced back to the supermarket….scoured the parking lot for my shopping cart and found it.  It was tucked safely between two pick up trucks and my purse nestled right where I’d left it. 

HUGE sigh of happiness….and relief.

Back on the road I headed toward our local discount shopping store where I needed to purchase a tee shirt and iron on computer paper for the Prince’s school project that he’d PROMISED we wouldn’t be working on the night before it was due.

It’s due tomorrow.  Heh.

The store is in the process of being redesigned and renovated.  NOTHING was in its place.  And I was particularly disappointed that they have reduced their awesome craft section to two measly aisles.  Dang.  But I found the ribbon I needed, the birthday cards and tissue paper, the tee shirt (a $4 value!) and the iron on computer paper.

I was on my way home at 8:20 am. 

I spent the next 3 hours putting together two boxes of surprises that would need to be mailed….along with a birthday card for my sister.  I peeled 6 humongous Granny Smith apples, sectioned them in 8s and rolled each piece in a crescent roll.  This filled two pans for the apple dumplings that have everyone clamoring for more of.  I took a meatloaf out of the freezer for dinner.

At noon I was back in the car and headed toward our local post office – 20 minutes away.  Inside, I purchased packing tape and secured the two boxes, bought postage to mail them as well as a book of regular stamps.  I headed back to the 24 hour super market to meet my varsity soccer team dinner partner to do some more shopping.  She caught me chatting with a former student who is the mother of a former student and then we were off.  Fifty minutes and $90 later we had our taco salad supplies and our garlic bread stick plans in place to feed 24 high school boys after soccer practice tomorrow. 

She assured me that feeding that many boys at once would be a wonderous sight to behold.

With a mere 15 minutes before I would need to pick the kiddos up after school, I decided to check out the neighborhood where the dinner would take place.  Grrr….it was in the very neighborhood of two of our failed house purchasing bids.  I REALLY wanted to live in that neighborhood.

Picked the kiddos up from school and languished in the traffic jam moving in mass to get out of the school parking lot.  Back at home I put the meatloaf in the oven, poured the ‘secret ingredient’ over the apple dumplings and put a pot of macaroni and cheese on the stove.  Checked out the Prince’s school project and fiddled with the computer to set the printer to mirror image printing.  New computer.  New programs. Old frustrations.

Prince left in my car for the high school parking lot to meet the bus for the away soccer games.  I printed his iron ons and then checked the time for the school Open House I needed to attend.  It was 5 o’clock and the Open House was scheduled for 6 pm.  Threw on a dress.  Brushed my teeth.  Turned on the curling iron.  Shook out some pretty smelling lotion.  Curled the ends of my hair. Rushed out the door to the truck….which was taking me to my car at the high school parking lot so I could go to the Open House while HRH and Princess went to see the Prince’s soccer game.  Pondered the empty school parking lot where the Open House was scheduled.  Wierd. 

In my car, I suddenly realized that today was TUESDAY and the Open House was WEDNESDAY.  Called HRH on a cell phone and we met in the elementary school parking lot so that I could ride to the Prince’s game with him.

HUGE sigh. 

Talked non-stop to HRH on the way.  Went over the really weird events in last night’s premiere of ‘The Event’ and everything and all that went down with my day.  And I mean non-stop.  Prince won his game against my alma mater – 4 to 1.  He decided to stay for the varsity game. (Prince is technically a varsity player but usually serves as the goalie for the JV games….which means he can’t play in the varsity games.  He is okay with that because he’d rather play than sit on the bench just watching the totally awesome senior goalie all the time.)

Back at home I slipped OUR little pan of the apple dumplings that everyone clamors for more of into the oven, set up the ironing board and iron for Prince to finish his project with….and oh…what the heck, I ironed it on for him.

‘The Code of Foote’ on one side and 14 ‘rules’ on the other. 

I finally sat down to enjoy a taste of the apple dumplings that everyone clamors for more of and enjoyed a little television.

Prince came home.  Alls well with the world.

So why…at 11:49 pm….am I having trouble getting to sleep?


You Do The Best You Can

May 9, 2010

This is my father, his mother and ‘Uncle Webb.’  I have no idea who Uncle Webb is. I have never met my father’s mother.  I know that her name was Daisy Florence and – by all accounts – she was a fiesty farm wife.  My Dad tells of how, when my Grandfather forbade her to leave the farm and removed the battery from their car so she couldn’t, she simply lifted the battery from the radio, hooked it up to the car and went anyway.  Hee.  She died giving birth to her third child – another boy – and was buried on my father’s seventh birthday….along with his baby brother.

This is my mother’s mother… the bloom of her teenage years.  She was the oldest of twelve children.  She left home at at early age as a bride, gave birth to three children and took them away from an abusive husband and father when it was difficult to do so.  She was divorced when it wasn’t the ‘thing to do.’  She said her father helped her find a home and a job and made her stand on her own two feet as a mother and provider and she would always be grateful to him for doing that.  She would marry again, have a fourth child, lose that husband to cancer, marry again to her soul mate, lose him to cancer and marry…yet again….only to lose HIM as well.  She was in her late nineties when she died.  She instilled in her children a devotion to family that is like no other.  They supported her and helped her live on her own until the day she died.  She was Mother, Aunt Mabel, Gram and GG.

This is my husband’s mother.  She was a military wife and mom.  She raised seven children while her husband served in the Marine Corp.  World War II, Korea and Viet Nam.  After two tours in ‘Nam she finally put her foot down and said ‘no more.’  Her husband continued to serve as a Corp recruiter until he retired and then they came home to Michigan.  She worked, went to school and saw her teenagers to adulthood and parenthood.  She lost her oldest daughter to a car accident. She was able to hold her very first great grandchild in her arms before passing away.  That child just turned 12.

This is my mother, my cousin and me.  My sister is also in this picture but hasn’t been born yet.  I love this picture because – even though you can’t see her face – you can get a real sense of who my mother is.  She is caring and loving.  It is her nature to look after other people.  Her children.  Her friend’s children. Her children’s friends. Her neice (who was also a child of divorce).  Her nephew. Her softball team.  Other people’s children.  People from her various jobs.  Her Mother.  Her siblings.  A nuturer.  That’s just who MY mother is.

And I am the mother of two rug rats who were born on the opposite side of the world to women I have never met.  One arrived by a Korean airline and the other by Russian court.  They are sports nuts and I am not.  I love to read and they do not.  Every single day we grapple with our differences and our boundaries and our lessons to one another.  Raising teens is not for the faint of heart.  But there is hope for a happy ending.  Just ask my sister.  She has raised two of her own.

And survived.

As I watch my stepdaughters parent their children and deal with the continuing parenting of mine, I am reminded of the other Mothers in my life.  Mothers who coped with stubborn farmer husbands, abuse and joy, long absences with no promises, nuturing of those around them…. 

I have learned only one thing.

You do the best that you can.

And that’s all you can.


Happy Mother’s Day!

How…FREAKING how??????

March 12, 2010

When he was little, we read aloud every day a multitude of times.  We sang in the car.  We sang in the shower.  We played with tinted soap in the tub and shot water color aliens off the shower walls with squirt guns.  We built snow castles and snow forts and snow dinosaurs and snow men.  He painted snow with tinted water in spray bottles.  He collected shoe boxes of ‘treasures’ and every single Star Wars action figure that has graced the planet.  He started painting as soon as his fist could hold a paintbrush.  He played with store bought PlayDoh and home made claydough that smelled like gingerbread and grape kool aid.  He built castles and bridges and roads in sand.  We made cookies and brownies and candy and decorated cupcakes and paper hats.  He has eaten peanut butter with a spoon and fingerpainted with pudding.

So tell me how….HOW….did I end up with a kid who apparently hasn’t a creative bone in his body?

Who doesn’t seem able to think outside the box…..or enjoy doing something that requires just a wee bit of original thought?

Just where did I go wrong?


Bone Sucking Pleasure

October 17, 2009


I just did something that I am horribly ashamed of.

It was selfish.

It was a bit degrading.

It was wonderful.

Last night – while the Princess was at a movie with friends and the Prince was enjoying a high school football game with friends – HRH and I spurged on take out from our favorite rib joint.  We split an order of barbecue sauced ribs and bread sticks.  He took one end and I took the other.  He took a couple from the middle and left me with two.  After some very careful, contemplative thought, I stuck them in a plastic bag with a leftover bread stick and HID them in the refrigerator.

It didn’t matter to me that Prince and Princess would both have LOVED them for a snack.  It didn’t matter that HRH would have loved them for a ‘late night get up to watch a little tv’ snack. 

What mattered is that they were stashed in the back of the fridge getting cold.

It’s 9:30 am.  HRH just left to take the Prince to his soccer reffing job.  The Princess is curled up in a blanket watching Saturday morning cartoons in the livingroom. 

I crept quietly out to the kitchen and dug way back behind the salad bowl and pulled out the plastic bag.  I brought it back to my bedroom, crawled back under the quilt and enjoyed every single solitary bone sucking second with my hidden treats.

It was cold.

It was messy.

It was saucy and spicy.

It was delicious.


I am a terrible mother.

I am a terrible wife.


The Truth of it is…..

May 10, 2009


I have been getting a lot of sappy – ahem – meaningful… poems and posters and sayings in my email box and on my Facebook page.  All of them are crowing about the fact that my friends and my family regard me as a ‘good mom’ and want me to pass the message along to other ‘good moms.’  The truth of it is that – this week – I didn’t feel like such a good mom.  This parenting thing is hard stuff.  It always has been.  And I signed up for it.  Willingly…….

When the Prince was just a little guy he made it known, rather loudly in fact, that he was simply not a morning person.  Dragging him out of his crib and slipping him into jeans and a tee shirt and zipping him into a snow suit was the worst morning ritual possible.  When he was a bit older we had the issue with the seams in his socks.  Could not stand them.  Could NOT abide them.  Making choices was always difficult.  Clothes to wear…cereal to eat….what to put in his lunch box….ai yi yi.  Always a worry that something else might be better.  Transitions were difficult.  Home to school.  School to soccer practice.  Soccer practice to home.  Summer vacation to school.  School to summer vacation.  One teacher to another teacher.  Even transitioning from one season’s clothing to anothers resulted in ‘issues. ‘

You would think that 15 and a half years of this would have given me the foresight to see what would happen when I asked him to stop watching television to fill out his application for the YPA youth leadership opportunity.  Now, he has been talking about becoming a leader with the Youth Police Academy since completing their program LAST summer.  He had every intention of filling out the application.  He just didn’t want to do it….right now.  But I insisted on it….right now.  So all the teenage angst and frustrated Mombusiness came pouring out in all it’s ugly glory.  For about two hours.  Heh.

He is SO not like me.  I think. 

The Princess has been slip sliding through the spring semester, studying hard and not being altogether sucessful with Math and Science.  Her mind is on bike riding and skateboarding and how many friends she can gather with in a 24 hour period.  Unlike the Prince, she doesn’t argue or fuss….much.  Ask her to do something and she stops everything to do it….and then gets back to her social life.  Wherever it’s happening.  She dutifully checks in but feels the chains rattling if you keep her home at a unreasonable (in her mind) hour to get rested for school….or because it’s raining outside.  She’s actually gone…which is worrisome…..most of the time.

She is SO not like me.

But the truth of it is that he is a Good Kid….polite and interested in what is going on with others.  He has a wonderful sense of humor.  Adults enjoy him.  He is a solid ‘B++’ student who is very much a peer leader (but doesn’t feel like he is).  He is passionate about soccer.  Really passionate.  He is one very bright spot in a lack luster spring season for his ‘real’ team and has been invited to guest play for another team in an upcoming tournament.  They are so happy to have him as a goalie that they are actually registering to play in a higher – more challenging – division. 

She is also a Good Kid who is very well liked by her peers and her teachers.  A member of her school’s educational team made an off hand comment recently about how vocal she is with peers about teasing and playing fair and being kind to others.  And how much they appreciate that about her at school.  Her track coach told me that she loves having her on the team because she will run anything without complaint.  Her soccer coach said she is a ‘natural’ when it comes to knowing where to put the ball in a game.  And even with all the slip sliding and necessary support, she is a solid ‘B’ student as well.  She even got a ‘Rock and Roll’ award recently for bringing her Math grade up a peg or two.

The truth of it is, I’m sure they’ll be just fine.

So why do I feel like I have failed them this week?  There are piles of socks and shoes and papers and books and markers everywhere.  Peanut butter and jelly knives fill my sink while the open bread bag spills out of it’s basket on the counter.  There is ALWAYS a battle royal when it comes to getting the dishwasher emptied and loaded again….or the trash taken out.  There are rolling eyes and  muttered retorts when I rein in the social life in favor of homework and rest and chores.   I can’t begin to describe the war when I ask that they change in more appropriate clothing for the event of the day.  Or the battles we have almost daily about toothbrushes and skin care.  I feel like the big ugly Mom most of the time these days.

The truth of it is….I was a pretty ugly teenager myself.  I was moody and angst ridden and smart mouthed and stubborn at times.  Most of the time.  I complained about chores and argued about restraints.  Loudly.  I remember those days.  Vividly.  I am sure there were MANY times when my own mother was muttering… ‘just you wait……’ 

Looks like you got your wish, Mom,

Happy Mother’s Day!

: O )