Tuesday, June 17, 2014

Day 376

June 17, 2014

Day 376

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 my chair!

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 straightened out.

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 available.

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 think.

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.

It will all pass…


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.

  At 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!”

Maiden voyage
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 machine…


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 conversation.

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.


  1. Sarah, I love reading your blog! I love your humor! I love your caring heart! I love your honesty! And I love your bike! I like the looks of your aqua cruiser much better than my red 10-speed but the price was right and I'm thankful for all those gears when I'm climbing the incline the trail around our acreage. And since I'm just in my own "back yard" it doesn't matter that I don't look as cool as you! Ha! Ha! Enjoy the bike, it's great exercise and great fun!

  2. HI Sarah! We have found that since God brought our boys home 5 years ago, that He has placed more black people in our lives than ever before. I have struggled with some of the same issues you have mentioned, but then have to remind myself that He has orchestrated all of this and knows exactly what our boys need.... and your girls too! Blessings.