Thursday, August 7, 2008

Adopting an Angel

I just read an editorial written by Steven Curtis Chapman (renowned Christan musician) about the loss of his daughter, Maria, earlier this year. Maria had been adopted - that much I knew. How the Chapman's came to decide on adoption was part of the story I did not know. It touched my heart and I think will yours as well. I've added a link to the article below. But there was one part that I had to share here... one that, as a mother, brought tears to my eyes:

In our travels to Latin America, Africa and Asia, we have visited many different orphanages. If you look past the surroundings and into the eyes of the children, they all have the same look. They seem to convey, "I don't think this is what I was made for. Where do I belong?" These children are crying out for the hope of a family, for the hope of community, for the hope of a permanent love.
I have never really spent much time thinking of adoption. Ryan and I have been blessed with a biological child (with hopefully more to come). I had always thought of adoption as an option for those people who had been unable to conceive. How short sighted. I can't tell you that Ryan and I will choose to adopt simply as a result of this article. But what I can tell you is that it will be the springboard for a discussion on that very topic.

Steven Curtis Chapman's Article on CNN

Wednesday, August 6, 2008

Do Dreams Have Expiration Dates?

Do dreams have expiration dates? You always hear that you’re never too old to fulfill a dream. But is that really true?

The other night hubby and I were in our car driving home from an evening out (a local baseball game). The sun was setting, my tummy was full of junk food (always good), and the evening had been a fun one. I was happy to get home to my little family though – Cora, Summit and Squishy – all being watched over by my mom. It was a great feeling to have had a fun, early evening all the while knowing that my daughter was being watched over by the most trusted eyes I could imagine. As we were driving, I looked over at my husband and said something I never thought I would: “Honey, I’m really happy we live in Iowa.”

Ryan was quite shocked. Some of you may be as well. I’ve always wanted to move to a bigger city. My sister lives in Chicago and I love it there! I just got back from visiting NYC not too long ago and already can’t wait to go back. When I lived in Memphis for my short 11-month stint I loved all it had to offer as a city. I’ve just always felt a little stifled living within a 30 mile radius of the place where I grew up.

When I met Ryan I was 30 years old and questioning what I really wanted out of life. I had applied for a job in Denver, had been flown in, told to look around at neighborhoods, and then lost out at the very end to the other final candidate. In the wake of that I realized how excited I was to just pick up and move to a larger city. To start all over again where no one knew me – where I had no history or expectations. I wanted to hit the ground running and see where life would lead me there – what kinds of friends I would make – what kind of person I would be.

Because of the “near miss” I decided to do something drastic. I decided to move to Paris for at least six months to just see what would happen. I had a pretty solid plan and had done my research. I started brushing up on my high-school French and got to a point where I could at least pass for acceptable in minor conversation. At the time I had a Lexus that was a few years old; I figured I could sell it for about $10k and that would be enough to get me through 6 months if I could find some sort of part time work in Paris (which, I understood, was actually pretty tough for an American to accomplish). I was giddy with the idea of it all.

But then I met Ryan. And slowly the trip to Paris started to recede into the background until it quietly tucked itself away into the files of the “was gonnas” in my brain. To be fair, that was all my choice – not pressure by him whatsoever. Things with Ryan just became a priority and so other things fell into line accordingly. But even then Ryan always knew that Des Moines was a little too little for me.

But when I said that odd phrase to hubby in the car the other night, I actually meant it. I don’t know what we would do if we lived off in a big city on our own. My mom and dad have been invaluable this first year of Cora’s life. Not only to Ryan and I but also to Cora. She loves having her MeMe and Poppi come over and runs to them squealing with glee when they come in the door. And Des Moines is actually getting (gasp) kinda cool. We have a lot to offer now that we didn’t when I was growing up but we’ve still managed to retain the small city kindness that makes us special.

My quandary now is getting right with letting go of my dreams – even if they aren’t really ones I want to fulfill anymore. I remember my mother always wanting to move back to her home state of Virginia growing up. That was her dream. She never did for one reason or another (mainly she and my father’s lives and jobs were stable in Iowa by that time). Once my sister and I grew up and moved out I thought she would jump at the chance, but no, she said that with Dad still working it wouldn’t be a good time to try and “start over” somewhere else as much as she missed her family. When Dad finally retired this year I thought that would be “it”. But it wasn’t. Her family – including her granddaughter – were all here in the Midwest now. And too many of the people that she had missed being with in Virginia, sadly, were gone now. It was, more or less, too late. That dream had expired and her new dream of living out her life with her children and grandchildren around her had taken its place.

I have always felt sorry that my mom didn’t get to move back to Virginia to live close to her entire family. I always knew she felt alone, and somewhat marooned out here in the “flatlands”. I always thought she was silly, or scared, or spineless for not insisting on her dream of moving back. But now, I realize I may be in a similar situation. I wonder how I will explain to Cora years from now that while I always dreamed of Paris or at least of Big City life, that I never cashed in on that dream – but that it’s ok. That a new and different dream took its place. That some dreams do have expiration dates.

I do know, however, that I will make sure I encourage her to follow the dreams she has when she can. Even if they don’t include me. New dreams, I have to surmise, are twice as sweet when sprinkled with memories of old dreams realized.

Tuesday, August 5, 2008

Lactagen User Trial Diary: Day 15

Ok so day 15 and its a little depressing that I'm not even half-way done yet. Argh. No new news to report really. I'm up to 3L, 1S scoops per serving. I will say that now that I'm up to quite a lot of powder per serving, I am noticing the "faintly sweet" taste they mention. Its not very noticeable and not unpleasant - just ... there. I have had to up the water however from the recommended 4-6oz to at least 8oz or all the powder won't dissolve.

Still no bad symptoms since around that fluky day 7. Just biding my time and hoping that come day 34 things are what they are supposed to be!

Back in touch again in another 5 days or so!

Monday, August 4, 2008

The Neverending Story

This weekend I think Cora hit the end of a growth spurt. She had been eating everything she could get her hands on for about two weeks and then, this weekend, spent a lot of time sleeping. Her naps went longer than usual and she got tired sooner. I remember going through these spurts when she was just a little thing but had kinda forgotten about them. So, Saturday, when she slept until almost 8:00 that morning (instead of her usual 6:00am) I actually woke in a minor panic. I was suddenly scared of going into her room – afraid of what I might find there. I actually thought about waking hubby up and making him go do it. But I talked myself back into the realm of sanity and tip toed in.

Cora was just stirring and gave me a huge smile when I walked in. Phew! Then it turned into a great day! Mommy got to sleep in and she had a happy baby when she awoke. But as I came down off my “scare” I remembered back to those early days of staring at the video screen of the monitor to check and make sure she was still breathing. I remembered creeping into a sleeping baby’s room in the wee hours just to “check”. I remembered the terror filled manner in which I woke up the first night Cora slept through the night – I was just sure the worst had happened. I had almost forgotten those fears in the span of just a few short months.

As I got Cora up and dressed I thought to myself “I am so glad those days of worrying so severely are all but over”. But as I got to thinking deeper on it over the past couple of days I realize they’re not close to over; they are more likely just beginning. It seems to me they will probably not stop for… well… forever. It will always be something.

She will be 5 years old and going to swimming lessons. She will be 8 years old and going to the amusement park for the first time. She will be 12 years old and going to the mall “by herself” for the first time. She will be 16 and driving. She will be 18 and off to college. She will be 22 and moving into her own place. She will be 30 and about to give birth to her own little one. And I will be worrying.

I’ve finally realized what my mom meant when she told me “you never stop worrying about your babies”. She didn’t mean babies in the physical sense. She meant once you accept that little pink or blue bundle into your arms your duty as a constant sentinel and bodyguard starts – and it doesn’t stop until you do.