The title is a description of my old life...but these days I ramble on about widowhood, homeschooling, single parenting, adoption, special-needs parenting, & living a life I never planned for or expected - a life that God, thankfully, continues to strengthen & equip me for daily...
Tuesday, June 17, 2014
June 17, 2014
Down today…Missing Paul…it’s
probably a combination of things. My day
didn’t start off too well. I had to
hustle to get out of the house to take Ben to the dentist. Shortly before I was to leave I happened to look
at my 6 month old leather recliner and saw that there were red and white paint
streaks all over the seat. David said,
“Oh, I meant to tell you about that…”
I about fainted. I’ve gotten a lot of new stuff this past
year, more than I ever have at one time in my entire life. It’s all come about as a result of the
remodeling. I’ve told myself that I
don’t care about the stuff anymore and honestly, haven’t gotten too excited
about anything I’ve bought. But,
apparently, I DO care somewhat about my stuff because I was really upset over
The paint is from my front door
that I’ve been stripping over the past week.
What a mess. I will never strip
again – just buy new, instead. It’s not
worth it. But apparently somebody’s
backside brushed up against the wet door and then they sat in my chair. I immediately applied the leather cleaner
that Homemakers gave me to the spots.
Then I went on a frantic search for the chair receipt. I DID purchase a protection plan. However, it looks to me like that excludes
paint on leather…grrr….
Then, to top things off,
Homemakers didn’t register my chair right with the protection company. It took them forever to find record of my
purchase and they are saying that Homemakers registered it as a “fabric” purchase
rather than leather. So, anyway, I spent
considerable time on the phone with both companies and it still isn’t
I took Ben to the dentist and
found he has three cavities. I had a
raging headache by this time. We ran to
Walmart and got a few things I needed and then I dashed home and got on the
computer to see if I could still get tickets to the pre-season NBA game coming
to Wells Fargo this fall. I could, but
they wanted to charge me $35 in handling fees!
So I’m going to drive up there tomorrow morning to save the money. Hopefully, there will still be tickets
Then, I started working on the
chair and was, fortunately, able to get the white streaks of paint off. The red is being more stubborn but it’s a
dark red and really doesn’t show against the dark brown leather. So I feel a lot better about that now, even
if I can’t get the warranty people to clean it.
Also on my down list…the wedding
Saturday…actually, the wedding was beautiful and I’ll write more on that
later. But it was my first wedding without
Paul. I did ok that day and actually
enjoyed myself. I had a couple of
sensitive friends ask me that day how I was holding up, knowing that this was
my first since Paul’s death. I
appreciated that. It helped that I adore
the groom, too, so I was genuinely filled with happiness for him that day. But after the festivities, when I was home
alone, and my feet hurt, and I tucked the kids in for bed, knowing that I will
be tucking in kids and returning to an empty bedroom for a long, long time
yet…it stunk. And it still stinks. Paul loved weddings and I loved them because
they always made him extra romantic towards me.
It’s natural to look back on your own wedding day and remember the
excitement and newness of everything (and in my case, bone-chilling cold!) So, that’s still weighing me down a bit, I
And then there was Father’s
Day. I really tried to ignore it this
year and for the most part, I was successful.
But then at church they had all the dads stand up so they could be
recognized and the thought crossed my mind that maybe I should stand up,
too. But I imediately rejected that idea
because the truth is that I can’t be both Mom and Dad to these kids. It’s foolish for anyone to think that’s
possible. All I can do is be the best
mom I can be and let God fill in the gaps.
But I didn’t want to listen to the message that followed because it was
all about being a wonderful, Godly father.
So I tuned that out and instead sat and stewed in my own juices of
discontent and hurt.
Ok, so the wedding…like I said,
it was beautiful. It was sweet to watch
because I knew the bride and groom were sharing their first kiss at the
alter. And two of my kids were in it, so
I definitely had an interest in the proceedings!
Lizzie was the flower girl and
did a fantastic job. She was so serious
and diligent as she carefully dropped the petals down the aisle. And Will…oh, my…he sure cleans up nicely. This was his first time to ever wear a tux
and even I was impressed! Afterwards, a
lady from church came up to me and gushed about how “handsome” Will is and how
he’ll probably be “next”! During the
ceremony as I watched him standing up there I did feel a pang wishing Paul was
here just to see how fine he looked.
the reception a lady I did not know figured out I was Will’s mom and had to
tell me how surprised she was because “you just don’t look old enough to be his
mother!” Um, thank you! I’ll take that!
The groom, Me, and Will
The reception was held at Vermeer
there in Pella, just down the road from the church. It was held in a non-air conditioned facility,
which I could not believe! The day
wasn’t broiling, thankfully, but it is June and it did get rather warm in
there. The couple did a bunch of
pictures after the wedding. That’s just not a good idea, all around. The guests had to wait and wait and I saw a
number actually get up and leave.
Finally, they set the food out but nobody knew what they were supposed
to do. Eventually, an awkward line was
formed and people fed themselves, still waiting on the bride and groom to show
up. Things went downhill from there,
time and schedule-wise. Will plopped
himself down in a chair at my table and announced, “Well, now I know what not
to do at my own wedding!”
Love this picture so much - look at their intertwined fingers!
I don’t mean to disparage the
whole reception because in concept it was nice – it was scheduled and the food
was good and the decorating was pretty.
But it just didn’t quite work out in reality. By the time the dancing started the only
people left were the wedding party and family.
And us! But it was still fun.
During the reception Sam asked me if the bride and groom would be having a baby soon. I told him it would probably be a few years. Sam shook his head and said, “I don’t know, Mom…Babies have a way of surprising people, so I bet they have one in just a few months!” I’ll have to text that conversation to Nathanael one of these days!
The next morning I sure could
“feel” it, though! Oh, my…my joints
hurt, my body hurt. I am so out of shape
and definitely not accustomed to moving my body like that! I mentioned that to Lizzie and she
matter-of-factly stated, “It’s because you’re old, Mom.” Just a few minutes later I was doing her hair
and she seriously asked, “Do you have a baby in your tummy, Mom?” I assured her there was no baby and she
replied, “Well, it sure looks like it!”
Easy going on West Street
Not so graceful now
So, guess what I bought
the next day? A bike. I’ve been thinking about it for awhile. Actually, it was this winter while reading an
article in “Our Iowa” that my interest was really piqued in the idea. Someone wrote an article about how they had
purchased and were enjoying a cruiser bike.
I remember how much I enjoyed the 3 speed cruiser I bought when I was
13. A number of years ago Paul got me a
10 speed bike but I never cared for that overly much. I don’t like hunching over when riding or the
wedgie feeling I get riding on a 2” seat.
So I started looking around and pricing cruisers. The more I thought about it, the more I liked
the idea. I could ride up to City Hall
in nice weather instead of driving. And
maybe the kids and I could hit some trails together. I found a really pretty aqua one at
Walmart. I’ve been looking at it for
weeks. It’s just a one speed bike. It was actually the cup holder and wire
basket that sold me on it, though! So
now I have my bike which will hopefully lead to a flatter tummy and stronger
muscles. If not – well, I’ll look good
tooling around on it in our neighborhood!
Maybe the basket is actually for hurling into when 43 yr old moms can't make it up their own street...
Enough exercise for one day...
Ben came home from Special camp
on Friday. He enjoyed himself, he
said. But he did comment on his
frustration with some of the Bible teaching, which was apparently geared to a
lower functioning crowd. “All they
talked about was how Jesus was born and how He died for our sins. I already know this stuff!” he exclaimed to
me. It’s too bad they can’t have
separate teaching times, one for the higher functioning individuals like Ben
and one for the lower functioning ones. But maybe parents and caregivers might
be offended at having to “categorize” their child? But as much as Ben can comprehend he still
can’t really function that well at a regular camp. He came home saying he wanted to also attend
Senior High camp this summer because the senior highers get to do “really cool
stuff”. That’s not happening, for
financial reasons, if nothing else. But,
as Will pointed out to me, Ben could only watch those activities happen. He wasn’t able to participate anyway.
I was very careful when I packed
Ben’s bag. I made sure to separate his
clothes and things into carefully labeled ziplocs. I pointed out to him the special pocket in
his duffle where I placed his underwear and socks. I wanted him to be able to have as much
independence as possible while away and to not get confused or overwhelmed by
the contents of his bag. When he came home, Ben
was quick to assure me that he had showered every day, brushed his teeth
twice a day, and used deodorant every morning (good!). So, as I was unpacking
his bag Friday I was a bit dismayed to discover all 5 pairs of his underwear,
still neatly folded and smelling fresh.
“Oh, so that’s where they were!” Ben
exclaimed when questioned.
…pounding my head onto the top of my washing
I joined a Facebook group awhile
ago geared towards those in transracial adoption situations – parents as well
as grown adoptees. I am seriously
considering dropping the group from my feed.
Primarily, they seem to be a very angry, quick-to-be-offended
group. I’m referring to the parents
here, actually. I’d be scared to death
to actually post a question because I know somebody in the group would read
racism into my words, no matter how carefully I framed them! That’s the kind of people they are,
unfortunately. But one thing I did find
helpful was a link to a blog that listed 25 of the best books for black
girls. I saved that list and I ordered
my first two books off it last week. I
noticed that Ellie, in particular, seems very drawn to the one book that has arrived. It’s about a little girl’s first trip to the
library. The little girl is black and
has her hair done up in a typical black hairstyle (a billion little puffs all
over her head).
I’m sensing that Ellie is
beginning to realize that she has dark skin.
She hasn’t said anything about it yet, though. I remember when Lizzie came to us she was very conscious of the fact that she was
black – and that I was not. She was 3 ½
and Ellie will turn 3 in a couple of weeks.
Lizzie would point out other black people when we saw them in stores and
she was constantly contrasting her hair to mine and her skin to mine. With her, I think it was more of a cultural
thing. She had just spent 7 weeks in a
black foster home that was, oh how do I say this? It wasn’t an “educated” black home. It was what you see on the news – a single
parent, lots of kids, poor section of town,
and it sounds like there was a lot of transience going on there. Gangster types were in and out and Lizzie
picked up some questionable words and habits during her time there. Prior to that she had spent 18 months in a
home much like mine, so I’m sure that spending time in this other foster home
was a real eye opener for her.
But anyway, that was then. She rarely, if ever, says anything about race
now. I think age 3 must be about the
time that children begin noticing differences.
I have noticed Ellie rifling through her package of Pull-ups that have
children’s faces on them and without fail, she pulls out the ones that have a
little black girl on them. She is
identifying. That’s why I’ve ordered these
books for the girls and I plan on getting them more.
Our church association has a
black church in Des Moines in its membership.
Actually, I used to sit by the pastor in some of my classes at Faith all
those years ago! I’m sure he would not
remember me now, though. I’ve toyed with
the idea of contacting them, but I’m not sure what to ask them. I’d love to find a black friend to kind of
mentor me while I raise the girls because I don’t have one. But that seems kind of racist to seek out
someone’s friendship based on the color of their skin! If I did contact this church, what would I
even say? I guess I’d like to sit down
with someone from there and ask them if I’m harming the girls by raising them
so “vanilla.” The majority of that I’m
not going to be able to help, of course.
And I even hate the idea of it being said that someone is being raised
“white” or “black.” Can’t we just raise
our children and leave it at that? Maybe
I should just leave it alone and if God wants to send black adults into the
girls’ lives He will when the time is right. He gave me these girls, knowing full well what kind of home in which they would be raised.
I just want to do this “right,” I guess.
I don’t want the girls to grow up and say that they wished I would have
done more to help connect them with their black roots. But neither do I want to even make a big deal
out of the color of skin. Why should
that even matter? But somehow, in 2014,
it still does.
Well, the truth of the matter is
that right now I don’t have time to worry about it too much. My days are consumed with caring for the
girls and their brothers, training them, educating them, and attempting to teach them to love the Lord with all their
hearts. I don’t want to bury my head in the sand or be purposefully ignorant,
but for the time being I don’t have a lot of time to be worrying about
potential racial repercussions down the road - that may never happen, anyway.
At the wedding reception Saturday
I had an older woman approach me and ask where
I had “gotten your girls.” I
laughed on the inside, thinking that this was the kind of question that would
drive that Facebook group up the wall.
Some of those moms would have come out swinging at such a question! But I answered her, “Des Moines!” She explained that she and her husband had
adopted 7 children from Korea back in the 70s and 80s and so her curiosity was
piqued when she observed our family. We
ended up having a really nice
Sometimes we just need to lay
down our defensiveness and desire to be right and to be heard. Sometimes we need to listen to the heart
behind some questions. Along the way, we
might discover a commonality we might not have otherwise…no matter what differences we think we see.