Category Archives: brutal honesty

‘Tis the Season to Be Crazy

Now that my event season at work is “over” (and won’t ramp up again until, oh, January) things should be more relaxed. Less crazy. Less stressful.

And then you realize that you’re eighteen days away from Christmas and the next weekend you’ll have to yourselves is in mid-January. Until then it’s bells and merriment, carols and cocktails, and family, family, family.

This weekend Long Board’s family comes together once again for his sister’s graduation. (Another post for another day). Friday, his Dad and step Mom will arrive and stay with us through the weekend. In our home. With one bathroom and squeaky floors. To say I’m nervous would be an understatement. Saturday we’ll see the whole gang: Mom, Grandma, the other grandparents, siblings, uncles, aunts, cousins, etc.

Let the overwhelming begin!

I’m still trying to find a way to feel like I fit in with his family….so far, I’m failing. I tried over Thanksgiving at the grandparents, but I just felt so out of place. Like no one talks to me. I swear I spent half the weekend curled up on the couch reading while no one noticed I existed. I halfway rather enjoyed that outcome – at least I could relax. But it halfway pissed me off…(I’m telling you, sometimes they just can’t win with me…I’m horrible that way. At least I know it!)

So this weekend I get another crack at it!

Will I freak LB’s Mom out as I tell her that I’m fascinated by Alcatraz? Will she subsequently give me the third degree about why and how I could possibly be interested in something like that?

Will I do something to highlight how I’m a total “city girl” – which is code for flighty and not serious. (LB’s grandmother still claims that she didn’t have high hopes for her son’s marriage to LB’s Mom based on the fact that Mom grew up in the city and didn’t know how to build her own irrigation system. A sure sign that she wasn’t serious).

Will I get caught in a VERY competitive board game in which there are no friends, only enemies?

Will I go hide in a hallway while someone engages in awkward and inappropriate family confrontations about (a) money, (b) weight loss, or (c) bad habits?

(PS all of these things have happened at least once)

Or will it all go completely smoothly and comfortably?

Who wants to bet I wish that I just got to read all weekend???

 

 

 

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Filed under blah, brutal honesty, family ties, life with long board

Not Sure I Can Do This Anymore…..

I wrote this last week. For some reason I didn’t publish it….I thought about tossing it, because I feel a little bit better today. Then I remembered that’s because I’m doing one of my favorite parts of the job: I’m in Houston, getting ready for one of our events tomorrow. While the travel can be draining, the thrill of the event is wonderful. The sense of accomplishment is awesome. And the people I will meet will no doubt amaze me.

But I need to remember that these weekends aren’t all of my job. And I need to weight if they’re enough of my job or not….and now I’m ahead of you, so here you go:

I’ve been waking up every morning with a sense of dread. It’s not too different than the sense of dread that lulled me to sleep. Yesterday, I looked past my sleeping husband to see the clock illuminate 4:44. In other words, too early for me to be up. Too early for me to be worrying about things. Too early for me to feel sick to my stomach – all because of my job.

This morning, it was 3:45 when I first woke up worried.

I love my job.

Sort of.

I love what I do. I love that I have purpose. I love that it’s a good thing.

I hate that it never goes away. When I shut down my computer at the end of a long day, it’s not a real shut down, but rather a hiatus. After a drive home periodically checking my BB for urgent updates, I sit on the couch and open my laptop. Resume work.

Weekends are filled with me keeping one eye on the weekend, the other on my BB. And when I elect to “turn off” and really disconnect from it all, it keeps me up at night and eats away at me. I worry about what I’m missing, if something came up, if something should have been done. I work with volunteers so the nature of the beast is that they work nights and weekends. They often expect (or at least would like) immediate responses.

Maybe I’m just not the kind of person that can do this long term. Maybe I’m just not the kind of person that wants to. My anxiety is making me nauseous in the mornings, to the point where brushing my teeth can set off a gag reflex that leaves me leaning over the sink desperate to keep whatever’s in my stomach in my stomach.

Bottom line: This is not good for me.

I often jokingly ask Long Board if I can have a baby now so that I can quit my job and stay home. He always laughs and says, “Not yet!!!”

Last night, I had to tell him I wasn’t joking. Well, at least about the job part. I’m on board with us waiting a little longer for Baby, but I’m not sure how much longer I can do this job. I think he always thought I just didn’t want to work….I’d hidden from him a lot of the stress and drama of the job. He knew the long hours were taking a toll….he knew the travel was tough on us. He didn’t realize how I was internalizing everything that was going on. How I feel badly about myself after being “wrong” all day. He didn’t realize how little I slept during the night. He didn’t understand that I feel like this job is keeping me from being the wife that I want to be – the person that I want to be.

Now, I get it. Working sucks. There are a few people that have the awesome luxury of loving what they do. The rest of us drag on day after day. I’m not delusional enough to think that I deserve better. That I’m different and don’t need to be just another working stiff. I just need to find something that I can do where work stays at work. Where I can hate my job but at least love being at home because the work doesn’t follow me there.

Thankfully, after a long and honest conversation, Long Board was the loving and supportive and amazing guy I can forget that he is. His offer: hold out until he gets his full-time gig (should be in December) so that I can get on his health insurance and everything and then I can quit.

Now, he’s not exactly on board with me being a stay at home wife, haha, but at least we can explore the option of something else. I’ve got a few ideas, so stay tuned!

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Filed under brutal honesty, deep thoughts with TG, life with long board, sometimes I AM working, things that make my brain hurt

Regrets

I’ve found myself thinking a lot about regret recently.

Mostly about how people say that they don’t have any regrets, because everything is a lesson learned or everything happens for a reason (or some such pretty little way to wrap things up).

And honestly? I kind of think it’s phooey.

How do you really go through your whole life without any kind of regret?

I think I first got super annoyed (and a little obsessed with this topic) when I watched an interview that Vienna (a la The Bachelor “fame”) talking about how she did not regret being on The Bachelor.  Now that’s all good and well. Enjoy your time on reality television, who am I to tell you what you should place value on in your life. But when she went on to say that she doesn’t regret anything she’s ever done in her life? I just can’t buy it!

Haven’t we all bought a dress that stayed in our closet, with the tags on, that we never wore yet constantly found ourselves asking, “Why did I buy that again???”

Haven’t we all gorged on a little too much food and thought, “Why, oh why, did I have that last scoop of peach cobbler??” (Okay, that was me at my department potluck today – so insert your own last scoop/slice/piece choice ;))

Haven’t we all had a haircut we wish we never got? (I know Long Board sure does!)

Are those huge life altering regrets? Probably not. But hey, never say never then!

As I looked up the definition of regret, to see if people were just being too uptight and restrictive, I was caught by one of the definitions of the transitive verb:

: to be very sorry for <regrets his mistakes>
Now this one REALLY got me thinking…..
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To be honest? I think the world could probably use a lot more of this kind of regret!
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To be even more honest? I think the adoption community could as well – and I don’t just mean that for one side of the triad either. There are things that have occurred in our adoption that I absolutely regret. That I 100% am very sorry for. I promised Dee a picture of Cupcake’s Dad for a long time before I was really ready to provide that kind of information. I didn’t want to say no to her because I was afraid of the repercussions, but at the same time, I didn’t totally plan on following through. I would write it off in emails that I couldn’t get to our pictures because they were packed away (true, but still). The truth was that I just wasn’t ready. In time, I told Dee the truth. We had a good conversation about it. All was well. But I regret not being more upfront at the start. I regret feeling like I couldn’t be open and honest.
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There, I said it. I regret.
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I hope that others do to…
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I kind of hope that people are regretful when they break promises and close adoptions. I kind of hope that people are regretful when they lie, or stretch the truth. I sort of hope that people are regretful when they speak poorly and unfairly of their children’s first/adoptive parents. I hope that adoptive parents regret using unethical agencies and I hope that first Mom’s regret not disclosing the names of the biological fathers.
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I think these are all things for which we should feel very sorry for.
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Does this mean that we need to wallow in regret? That we need to beat ourselves up about every decision we’ve ever made until the end of time? Of course not! But I think a modest amount of regret might not be so unhealthy after all. You can still learn from the experience, you can still grow from the experience, but that doesn’t have to take away the element of regretting that it ever had to happen in the first place.
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And perhaps we can even learn and grow a little more, by just being able to admit to at least the teensiest bit of regret.

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Filed under a little bit adoption, blah, brutal honesty, deep thoughts with TG

The Argument We’re Not Supposed to Make…

Sometimes I feel like I’m just slamming my head against a wall trying to get some people (okay, mostly adoptive parents – I just hate sounding like I’m picking on one side of the triad, especially when this is NOT to be generalized to mean “all adoptive parents”) to understand the first Mother experience. To understand why some first Mom’s don’t like the term birthmom. To understand the emotions of placing a child. To understand that feelings don’t just shut off with the signing of TPR or some arbitrary timeline elapsing.

Yet I keep coming up short. I keep failing to find the words that give someone their every own lightbulb moment. Despite all of my efforts, I fail.

Repeatedly.

At some point in this masochistic experience, a tiny little thought creeps into my head. I want to say it, but I don’t want to say it. I don’t want to offend. I don’t want to give the low blow. But….maybe, just maybe, there’s something there?

So I’ll hold my breath, squint my eyes shut and prepare myself for the retaliation that might follow…..

Could it be that some people just truly don’t understand because they’ve never carried a child and given birth?

Now that I’ve said it I feel like a total shit again!

I don’t know where else to say these things though….I’d love to be able to have a civil conversation about a topic like this, but I fear that opportunity will never come. It’s just too hot button a topic for me to believe that I could say that publicly and not be completely blasted for it.

I don’t know….I mean, my sister-in-laws get to throw around the fact that I’m not parenting to prove how I don’t understand raising children. I can’t possibly wrap my head around discipline because that’s not something I live with day to day. And it’s not my place to give any kind of feedback, advice, or hell, to even have an opinion to some extent.

So maybe something there goes both ways? Can you truly understand what that must be like? I don’t know….I think some people can….but maybe others can’t? I’m the first to admit that my life changed dramatically after giving birth. In ways that have little to nothing to do with placement. The physical act of carrying another person for nine months, of bringing them into the world, it changed me in more ways than I can articulate.

Just as parenting a child must change you, so too does pregnancy, labor, delivery.

I’m reminded often that I’m not parenting. I get it. I’ve never once felt the need to remind someone else that they were never pregnant. It’s a cruel reminder for too many, and one that I’ve never felt a desire to provide.

That’s not the point.

It’s not about hurting someone else, it’s about understanding our perspectives. Including all of our experiences that got us to where we are.

I’ve never experienced the struggle of trying to get pregnant. I’ve never experienced the heartbreak of losing a child to miscarriage. I try to be there for my friends that have. I want to understand them and be there for them in whatever way it is that they need – and understand that it’s not the same way for every person. But at the end of the day, I can’t understand their experience the way someone else that’s lived it has.

I think that many of us try to understand each other. I think some of us find it so hard to understand that even trying is a struggle. We debate and argue and fight and try to make square pegs fit into round holes. But they don’t. We all need to stop trying to make others lived experiences fit into our preconceptions about what we think there experience should be. We need to understand that my experience is not your experience (and it isn’t necessarily your kid’s first Mom’s experience either!), and vice versa.

Maybe that’s something we just need to accept….

Maybe at some point we need to stop trying so hard to understand someone else’s experience, to make it fit into that box, but rather just accept it.

Lord, I think this community could benefit from a whole lot more acceptance….

And as usual, I’ve veered wildly off course. What started as a desire to have an open and honest and not violent conversation about the unique experience of pregnancy and birth turned into a big picture about acceptance. I think both are important, but as I mentioned before, I fear we’re along ways away from being able to have either.

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Filed under all things adoption, blah, brutal honesty, deep thoughts with TG, drama in cyberland, totally taboo

A Birthday and a Beach House

Today is Long Board’s birthday. (Yay!) My favorite part about his birthday? He’ll be the same age as me again. There are three  and a half glorious months of the year where we’re the same age. It’s my favorite time of the year, haha! Not coincidentally, we will be getting married during this stretch. To get specific – it’s three months from today!

Yowsa.

I’m torn between being completely stressed out and completely excited.

But there’s three months for that. So today. Today I go to work. And then I come home, get our things together, and get in the car to drive up to LB’s family’s beach house. It sounds lovely. But there’s always a “but.” As I’ve mentioned before, I just don’t get along that great with LB’s family. And they’ll be there. His grandparents, sister and her husband. And us. (And Thomàs).

I’m just so….apprehensive. I mean, I would like to go into this with a “hope for the best” mentality, but I just….can’t. I don’t know. I’ve probably got the wrong attitude about this.

And that’s not fair.

Part of it is also that we were supposed to have a relaxing weekend coming up at the cabin. I just found out that our “relaxing cabin weekend” will also be attended by the grandparents, the sister and her husband, an uncle and his two very outrageous children. LB claims it will still be relaxing, I say we need to adjust our expectations for the weekend.

I wish I was as good as LB is. I wish I could just blend into his family. The mean part of me wants to believe that he blends into my family so well not just because he’s a good guy, but because my family is so wonderfully awesome and normal. (LORD knows we are not normal). That same mean part wants me to not have to take responsibility for the ways that I don’t fit into his family. It’s not me being resistant! It’s them!

Who knows how true any of that is?

But true or not, I feel apprehensive about today. Less than thrilled. And I want to put on a happy face and be up to celebrating. I just don’t know….

 

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Filed under adoption free friday, blah, brutal honesty, family ties, life with long board

Wedding Wednesday: The Legality of it ALL

I’ve still got yesterday’s post on the brain. Especially because of the great comments that came out of it. Two in particular reminded me of another link that I wanted to make – and that is to the legality of marriage.

With my impending marriage, I’ve been thinking about this a lot more frequently than adoption to be honest. Wedding plans seem to slap me in the face these days, while adoption is more of a gnawing at my insides kind of reminder. I’ve got a couple girls at my office that are on duty whenever I cry out, “Remind me why I’m not eloping???”

Marriage has become, for me, something that I want to just get over with. (I know I’ll feel differently on the actual day, but today, that’s where I am). Long Board’s moving up here. I love him. He loves me. He’s my partner. He’s the guy I plan to have a family with. I’m so sure and “done” in my head that the wedding seems like a mere formality. A way to make us legally a couple.

But the truth is, that piece of paper isn’t going to magically change how I feel about him. Will it change our rights? Sure. Will it change our taxes? Yep. But will it change the feeling I have when he walks in the door? Not drastically. (The sappy part of me admits that my heart might swell a little bit to think that he’s now my husband – plus, I think he looks dead sexy in his ring!) Not to the point where today I could say that he’s just like any stranger walking down the street. He’s my Long Board.

I think I always rolled my eyes at the people that said they didn’t need to be married because it’s just a piece of paper. A legal formality. But I kind of get it. (Though I hate when that’s used as an excuse!)

I’ve got a dear friend here who’s “married” to her partner. I use quotations because the marriage isn’t legal. Is it any less of a marriage in the emotional sense? No. (In a very cool update though, she and her partner are moving to NY this fall and will get all kinds of legal, because now they can!) Would I say that because it’s not legal her partner is “less than?” HELL no.

That’s just not the way reality works.

Like we so often have to remind ourselves: it’s not black and white. There’s no reality where one day Cupcake was my legal daughter and meant the world to me, and the next she was a stranger. A signature will never remove our connection. The ticking of a clock passing a revocation period doesn’t cause emotional amnesia.

And it still hurts to think that people wish it would….

 

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Filed under a little bit adoption, brutal honesty, deep thoughts with TG, life with long board

Oh, The Legality of it All!

Lo and behold – an adoption post! I know I’ve been quiet on the issue, but that’s because (a) nothing’s going on in my adoption, and (b) I kind of gave up on some things. I got tired of being told I was the bitter birth Mom and really tired of people twisting my words to fit their agenda – either using what I say to support their ideas (that I don’t support) or to use me as someone that’s just so darned mean.

Whatever.

Today? I give up. Say what you want. You’re wrong.

SO, on to the current “rubs me wrong” issue.

The legality of adoption.

Not just the legality, but the legality being the be-all, end-all. The argument that once TPR is signed, revocation runs out, adoption is finalized, that Cupcake is no different to me than any random child I would see at the park or at a mall. It’s LUDICROUS. Yet it’s used constantly because legally, yes, it’s true. I don’t have any legal right to Cupcake.

Guess what? Neither do a lot of people.

Her teachers don’t have a legal right to her. Friends of her Mom’s don’t have a legal right to her. Her Mom’s partner doesn’t have a legal right to her (unless they get married or adopt and things, but that hasn’t happened.) But I would guess that every single one of those people that have formed a relationship with Cupcake would be pretty offended if someone said that she is NO different than any other child they see walking down the street.

But I feel like we’re supposed to shut up and take it.

“Yes, I understand. Thank you for reminding me. I will try harder to pretend like I don’t have a vested interest in this legally foreign to me child.”

It’s nonsense.

To be fair, I want to note that while I’m using Cupcake in this example, Dee has never insinuated that Cupcake should be a “legal stranger” to me.

But others have. And I just don’t understand where that gets them.

Furthermore, it adds just another layer of complexity to the relationship that people feel is appropriate to have for our children. Another layer of the “perfect” way that we should think about them.

We should miss them and think of them often, but we should be 100% secure and happy in our decision. We should love them equally to the way we would love a child we raised, but we should accept that we are legally strangers. We should be willing to bend over backwards to put our placed children first, but we should understand when communication from parents ends and we feel we are put last.

Oh, and we should never, ever complain.

Because let’s not forget. We chose this.

(Side note: Parents that choose to be in an open adoption with us can complain, even though they signed up for it, because that’s just completely different.)

Yes, I’m grumbling.

Yes, I’m bitching.

But I’m not feeling sorry for myself. I’m just frustrated. And angry. And there’s a difference. And this isn’t anything new. I’ve just stopped talking about it for awhile.

I feel like a lot of people have really…I wonder if others felt as silenced as I did. (Do?) Perhaps this is only one scared, tentative critical post and I’ll crawl back under my rock for a while. I’m not sure yet….I haven’t charted a course on this one.

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Filed under all things adoption, blah, brutal honesty, deep thoughts with TG, things that make my brain hurt