Thursday, October 22, 2009

the day of my funeral

there is a new post at

Monday, October 5, 2009


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Friday, October 2, 2009


There is a new post at

Monday, September 28, 2009

father b

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Wednesday, September 23, 2009


there is a new post at

link to the right.

Monday, September 21, 2009


there is a new post spontaneous delight

Friday, September 18, 2009

Thursday, September 17, 2009

12 retry

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Wednesday, September 16, 2009

kindergarten and the color of your skin

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Tuesday, September 15, 2009


there is a new post at

Friday, September 11, 2009

Monday, September 7, 2009

Sunday, September 6, 2009

Saturday, September 5, 2009

Friday, September 4, 2009

Thursday, September 3, 2009

Monday, August 24, 2009

Friday, August 21, 2009

Thursday, August 20, 2009

Tuesday, August 11, 2009

For Evelyn

There is a new post at spontaneous delight

Monday, August 3, 2009

the spirit within

there is a new post at

Thursday, July 23, 2009

mapping summer

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Monday, July 20, 2009


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Friday, July 17, 2009

knowing you

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Thursday, July 16, 2009


there is a new post at spontaneous delight

Wednesday, July 8, 2009

happy and scared

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Saturday, May 9, 2009

smiles, tears and ridikilis music

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Tuesday, May 5, 2009


there is a new post at

please click the link at the right to be directed to it.

Monday, May 4, 2009

what we ask

there is a new post at

one day in may

we ask our children to work so hard
to be brave beyond words
we imagine that childhood is carefree
at the same moment that we ask them to master skills
that are new, seemingly impossible and more complicated than anything we would lightly take on
we ask that they learn to read, look at symbols and attach unique sounds to each symbol
except that the sounds are not unique but change depending on the symbol directly behind or in front of or even several symbols away
when was the last time you learned a new lanquage
we ask our children to learn to swim
it's a necessity swimming
it is statistically more dangerous to have a swimming pool in your backyard than a gun in your house
so swimming lessons
we ask our children to trust that they will float
we let go
we ask them to hold their breath
and stick their face in water
and trust us
it makes no sense to put your face in water
submerge your body under water
and yet we ask them to jump on in come on go ahead why do you hesitate don't worry trust
and yet when was the last time you learned a new skill
or sport
or excercise
when did you last challenge yourself to accomplish something at least half as difficult as what we ask our five year olds
we ask
our children
we should not forget to ask ourselves
what would it mean to our children if they saw us try something new, struggle at the beginning, stick with it and then eventually master it
how much greater the lesson
this month - in honor of mother's day
i'm challenging myself to learn something new
teach by example rather than words
to do something that scares me
to start something difficult
and to stick with it
being a mother for me is not about what I say but about how i live
i sometimes forget that
this month i will concentrate
be mindful
of all the ways that i am
do my actions truly and fully reflect my values
this month
i will concentrate on myself as myself
rather than mother
and hopefully
be a better mother
for the effort

Wednesday, April 29, 2009

paperwork and prayers

there is a new post at the new spontaneous delight

click on the post at the right to be directed there

bookmark that page as this one will be gone in a few weeks

if you would like the password for the private posts

please e-mail me at :

Tuesday, April 28, 2009


New post on the new

click on the link to the right to be directed to it

when you are there you may want to add a new bookmark

this site will be closing down over the next few weeks.

Thursday, April 23, 2009

holding hands

There is a new post at http:/

there is also a link just to the right of this post. let me know if it still doesn't work (thanks julie!)

I'm moving spontaneousdelight to wordpress.

some of the posts will be password protected

if you would like the password please e-mail me at

if you would like to continue to read spontantous delight please book mark that page as I will be taking everythng off of this blog little by little.

Wednesday, April 22, 2009

You Are Six Years Old

and it's always been for these six and a half years just you and no one else but soon your life will change - and it's for the better - and still i know it's going to rock you and your world and because we get to make a request - we can request some things - we can ask for a child this age or that - we can say boy - or girl - or of course either because we can i'm left wondering if we should just because we can what right the longer i parent the more i know it's not about control it's about giving in and up and all i wonder though about you and your dad - your amazing one of a kind relationship that developed from all those hours together - i love watching you play catch or basket ball or ride bikes together - i love the way you make each other laugh - what would it be like to have a brother competing - would it be competing? I can't say that i know - and then there is that special bond that two brothers have - somehow i've seen myself as the mother of two boys - but then i see myself as the mother of more than two also - so... the choices - perhaps we shouldn't be allowed the choices - i don't know - but i'll be happy when we write the words on a paper and then we're done - finished with the thinking about making these God like decisions instead of just letting God make the decision

Monday, April 20, 2009


I'm finally getting my act together and moving spontaneous delight over to wordpress

some of the posts will be password protected. if i know you and you want access to the private posts drop a line and i'll send the password

you can e-mail me at:

Also, as I add the resources and links to the new blog I will delete them from here.

New blog address:

Announcing the 2nd Annual Gathering of Adoptees and Foster Care Alumni of African descent:

Back in March it was announced on the Adopted and Fostered Adults of the Diaspora (AFAAD) that their second Annual Gathering has been scheduled:

Save Nov 6-8th!

Announcing the 2nd Annual Gathering of Adoptees and Foster Care Alumni of African descent:

November 6-8th, 2009, Oakland, CA

This is a unique and important group that we should all support. They are doing great work! I'm hoping they get a chance to publish more of the conversations that take place during the gathering. I have so much to learn about being a mother to an adopted child and this is the group that I feel can teach me the most.

Friday, April 17, 2009

For My Friends Who are Waiting

For Valarie and Evelyn who are so so very close to having their children with them. We are all standing with you. Thank you for opening your hearts and allowing us to be there. Our world is more full and more lovely because of you. Soon all that love will pour over your children.

On Friendship
Kahlil Gibran

Your friend is your needs answered.
He is your field which you sow with love and reap with thanksgiving.
And he is your board and your fireside.
For you come to him with your hunger, and you seek him for peace.

When your friend speaks his mind you fear not the "nay" in your own mind, nor do you withhold the "ay."
And when he is silent your heart ceases not to listen to his heart;
For without words, in friendship, all thoughts, all desires, all expectations are born and shared, with joy that is unacclaimed.
When you part from your friend, you grieve not;
For that which you love most in him may be clearer in his absence, as the mountain to the climber is clearer from the plain.
And let there be no purpose in friendship save the deepening of the spirit.
For love that seeks aught but the disclosure of its own mystery is not love but a net cast forth: and only the unprofitable is caught.

And let your best be for your friend.
If he must know the ebb of your tide, let him know its flood also.
For what is your friend that you should seek him with hours to kill?
Seek him always with hours to live.
For it is his to fill your need, but not your emptiness.
And in the sweetness of friendship let there be laughter, and sharing of pleasures.
For in the dew of little things the heart finds its morning and is refreshed.

Tuesday, April 14, 2009

What if every dollar you spend this year...meant something

What if
every dollar
that you take from your wallet
or transfer from your online account
was spent in line with what you value most
what if every dollar you spent was from your heart as well as your hand
what if you thought first
what if you realized you are wealthy
and then you spread that wealth in a way that those that are not would feel the comfort of it
what if you started today

you need shoes

buy Tom's.

Thursday, April 9, 2009

Working and Playing

This morning my guys let me sleep in all the way to 9 AM (a big big thank you to my husband who played Lego's with Q for an hour and a half) and so I missed the morning news and was listening to an interview with an author while I made my coffee.  She said that she lived in Ohio in a place where the family was the center of everything and people didn't leave their children to be raised by others.  She then went on to say how difficult that is but that it was worth it.

Funny, that line "to be raised by others."  So innocently thrown out there.  The judgmental high tone of it all.  It's similar to "I'm a full-time mom."  Hmmmm.   

I'm a full time mom too.  I just happen to have a job that pays our mortgage.  Actually, wouldn't that make me a full time mom +.  At work on Tuesday, I mentioned to a male colleague that I would probably be taking Wednesday and Thursday off but if I didn't get everything at work done I would bring Q into work for a couple of hours and then he and I would putz around the city.  He asked if Q was out of school and I told him it was Spring break.  He looked off in the distance and said "Spring Break,  huh, I think my kids have spring break soon.  Actually, it might be this week too.  They might be on Spring break now also."  Now, just to be clear, this man is not divorced, he lives with his wife and his children.  And his children are young like Q also.  And there you have the huge difference between a working Dad and a working Mom.  While most dads would know when there kids were going to be home for a week and not in school, I cannot think of a single working mom that would have any choice but to know.  It's the expectations on the mom that make the big difference.  If child is off of school and hanging out all day on play dates with Mom and doesn't see dad but for dinner nothing is ever made of that.  But if the neighbor of that child is off of school and is hanging out with dad, playing lego's and basketball and going to play dates and sees mom just for dinner, well, everyone feels sorry for the kid and worse starts making the kid feel sorry for himself too.

Yes, folks it's different being a working mom from a working dad.

But as much as I would stay home if the mortgage would get paid without my salary I do not for one moment think Q's life would be better.  It would be different.  For what he would gain in my influence he would naturally lose in my husbands.  One of the nicest things about working outside of our home is seeing the relationship my son and my husband have developed.  While my husband has never been a 'stay at home' dad, his flexible schedule means that on vacations and after school we do not have to have a babysitter.  It's nice because school can be tough (much tougher than daycare) and on vacation days he really needs a rest.

The world I've been able to give Q is larger and more varied than what he would be living in if I were at home.  In the last job I had, as an executive assistant to the CIO of a Hedge Fund, my boss was woman, and the owner of the firm was African American.  At the job I have now I work for a man who is Mexican and speaks four languages and the CFO who again is a woman.  This is rarified air in the financial world, let me tell you, but Q doesn't know that.  He thinks it's normal that in Finance world (which has got to be 90 % white and the 10% non-white is asian and east asian predominately) I would have two female bosses and one of the two men one would be Hispanic and the other Black.  Hah!  Let him keep that perspective.  

Q has always loved coming to my work places.  And why wouldn't he.  Yesterday, when he walked in the receptionist gave him a pack of gum, one of the other admin's called him sir, took his coat and asked him if he wanted juice and my boss, the owner of the company went into his office and brought out a book of paper airplanes (tear out a page and follow the instructions to make a dozen different types of airplanes.)  "Here" he said with his slight spanish accent "you can make some airplanes and fly them around the office."  And that is what he did.  And while he did he soaked in the environment.  Men and women hard at work 33 floors above Manhattan.  Well spoken and engaging they looked even while they argued a bit, happy to be there.  And when for a very brief moment it started to snow and then the wind kicked up and really the snow started roaring past the windows as if it was December and not April, everyone stopped and went to the windows and looked out.  "Wow!!!"  We all said.  Q too.  And the man who didn't know whether his children were off that week said to me and Q "It's great isn't it?"  And Q and I said "Yea!"  

After the paper airplanes Q spent some time looking out the window at all that was going on in the city 33 floors down, then he made some drawings of the city on some 3 foot by 3 foot paper that had been saved for him.  In his drawings, there are tall tall buildings and lots of cars and there are people in planes, and people walking on the city streets, and below that people in the subway in tunnels and all of them, all the people are smiling.

At 1 PM we left the office and went, per his request to American Museum of Natural History.  We have now been  there so many times we could work as docents.  This time I think we both realized that our next time in the city we're going to another museum.  "Maybe the Met, Mom.  I'm missing it."  Yup, I love me my Q.  After we walked through the museum we stepped out onto Central Park West and grabbed a city bus headed downtown.  A bus ride through Manhattan can simply never get boring.  The cast of characters is just to broad.  We went through Time Square and then the garment district and ended up at Madison Square Garden where that bus line stopped.  We then took a taxi the last bit of a way to our very favorite place in all Manhattan (that doesn't serve food - I should say) Strand Bookstore.  Strand sells discount books but it's so much more than the sum of it's parts.  The old wooden floor squeaks and the aisles are packed with books and people who love them.  Every type of person.  It's beautiful.  Really.  We take the elevator up to the third floor and start our calisthenics, down on the floor with my glasses falling off my nose to look at comic books and up on a small stool reaching as far as I can to look for books on mythology.  An entire section of chapter books at pretty much his reading level.  We have a system now.  We each separate (I can always see him of course) and we each pull books we think might be of interest.  We arrive at the low tables (I think the chairs are six inches off the ground) and begin to go through our stacks.  This time we had more than twenty books.  I read the jacket of the book and we make a 'no' pile and a 'maybe' pile.  Most of the books go to the 'maybe' pile.  Then I have about 15 books that I now read the first one or two pages of.  From this he says 'no' to some (to obviously boring or 'young' which he says the way a wine connoiseur might say about a wine that has gone to vinegar) and I say 'no' to some (mostly because we should 'leave them for next time' Mommy speak for 'they are too old for you.)  Finally we have it down to about 4.  This is when it gets really hard.  The only thing that helps at all at this point is that we are both really hungry and he knows by now that we will be back some time in the future.  With his stomach growling he chooses one comic book and one chapter book.  We've spent $14.00 and an hour and a half and we couldn't be more pleased.  

I ask if he's willing to try Ethiopian and he looks unsure.  He's tired.  I say let's go look at it and if there is nothing on the menu that sounds good to you we'll go somewhere else.  We take another taxi and wind up at the little store front Ethiopian restaurant in the East Village.  There is no one in the restaurant and nothing on the menu that looks appealing to him.  No problem I say.  There are a ton of restaurants in this neighborhood.  We walk 1/2 a block down and there is a pizza place on one side (New York Style, lower east side pizza) and right in front of us a hamburger restaurant.  He hears hamburgers and we walk in.  It turns out to be a local food, grass fed beef type of hamburger joint with an acoustical guitar version of a Chopin tune coming from the speakers.  We are both happy, Q and I and we are the first people there so have the full attention of the waitress.   I decide to split a hamburger (much to his chagrin) and when we do finally take a bite of our sandwiches I regret that decision.  It was the best burger I have ever had.  Q too.  We ordered the cheddar, bacon burger with sauteed onions and mustard.  The look on Q's face was pure bliss.  The waitresss, a woman in her late fifties had been watching us and when she saw him bite into his burger she came over and started talking to us.  We talked about good food and not good food and she gave us a far too detailed story about why we should never again eat at McDonalds.  Before we left she gave us some home made chocolate chip cookies.

Outside of the restaurant the sun was going down, judging by the orange glow on the buildings and as we stood waiting for a cab to come down the street I pointed up at the 6 story tenements and told Q this was the neighborhood that a book we read recently was written about.  We talked about the jewish immigrants who came here from Europe, how they lived and how the streets had changed but the apartments maybe not so much.  We talked about all the people we saw on the streets now and how it wasn't one group but a mix of many different kinds of people.  He asked where all the jewish people went and I said I'm sure some people are still here but many families moved out once they began to succeed in America.  They moved out to the suburbs and other immigrants moved in.  As we stood there we could see Hispanic, African and Asian immigrants walking by.  And then a taxi drew up and we got in and the taxi driver was wearing a turban.  I love me some New York City.

We got out of the taxi onto the now dark street and entered the door with thousands of others.  The schedule told us we had 2 minutes 50 seconds to get from one end of Grand Central to the other.  "Can we do it?!"  I fake shouted and he shouted for real "Yes!"  And we were off holding hands, running and laughing like lunatics.  "Why did we move to B...If we lived in Connecticut THAT would be our train " I laugh yelled and pointed to the train nearest us.  Q was laughing so hard he had to stop running and literally fell to his knees laughing just near the big clock in the center of the grand hall.  "Get up, Get up, if you don't get up we'll have to take the 7:15 train.  I can't stand the 7:15 train the people are the worst!!!"  I tell him, to more peels of laughter.  "OK OK but you MUST STOP TALKING until we're on the train!  You are 'ridiklis' "  and we ran some more, hoping on the train 30 seconds before the doors shut behind us.  The train was packed and we were 5 min late for getting seats together.  We walked all the way through the cars and I finally found a single seat on the aisle and asked the woman next to it to remove her bag please from the seat.  She did so kindly and I began to take off our coats and put them and our bags over head.  "The books mom!"  Q said and I was retrieving the chapter book from the bag when I noticed an aquaintance of ours from our town.  I smiled and he said hi and then he stood up from his coveted third seat with a free seat next to him and offered it to us.  Yay!  Q wouldn't need to sit on my lap!  The woman saw us moving and I told her she had just been spared listening to the story of Lenny and Mel, investigative middle school reporters.  She laughed and when she saw how handsome our friend happened to be, she was even more happy.  Everyone won, except perhaps our friend who had given up his precious leg and elbow room.

For the hour + ride we read the book, which was a great one, very very funny and enjoyed the last bit of our delightful day.  Y picked us up at the train.  And the stories of our day would have to wait.  We both could hardly speak.  "The shoes are smokin'" said Y.  And Q and I looked at each other.   I love my Q.  I love 6.  And I love that I can give him this great big, big, wonderful, diverse, world.

Thursday, April 2, 2009

Public School Teachers

Q' 100 days of school project. 100 Marshmellows made into a bridge.

And now let us take a moment to thank God for our public school teachers. This year is Q's first year in public school. Kindergarten. It's big. Especially if you are an only child and you like being the teacher's pet. This is not so hard when there are 10 kids in the class but when there are 23...

Tonight we went to the open house at the school. I cannot possibly describe the intense feeling of learning and love and dedication I feel when I am in his school. His teacher is strict and goofy. She demands great things but keeps M&M's in his classroom because as she says "some problems only chocolate solves." She keeps them laughing and striving. Their drawings are intensely wonderful. When I was in class one day she was reading a story and she asked them to pay attention to the ending. It ended ambiguously she told them and then asked them why the author might have left them hanging like that. The children were thinking, thinking, thinking. This is kindergarten? She has 23 children and I don't know about her class but I understand half the school is below poverty level. It's a tough class. Tough in the huge differences in the children's needs. And she's brilliant with them. I don't mean she's perfect but she is brilliant. I had the privilage to volunteer in her class a couple of days when I was out of work and it was amazing to see. Independence and responsibility. Those were the words that she said we should concentrate on last summer and man does she teach that.

It's not a glamorous school but there is art and the children's work up everywhere. Tonight I got to see the library which was renovated this fall and only opened a month ago. Beautiful! The librarian came up to me and said what a joy Q was and asked what his favorite subjects were. He's reading well and he is leading the other children over into areas that are above their level. She's going to pull a bunch of books for him so he can have something on his level in their section. Dedication. Caring. Respect. The parents are involved, the principle is extraordinary. Why does it work? What is the magic? Why can't we make this happen everywhere? It's not money alone because this is not a rich school by any means. I don't know but I wish I did. Every child deserves to go to school like this. To think we thought we would keep him in private school until middle school. What he would have missed.

But for now anyway, a big big thank you to all you public school teachers out there. Thank you. You truly have the most important job in this country. We are blessed to have you.

And to Mrs. Giovatto. Words are not enough. We are so lucky to have Q in your class.

Monday, March 30, 2009

Being Here

On a sunny summer weekend last year Q and I walked down main street and discovered an art fair going on right in the little lot that you can see here at the bottom left of the photo above. We walked through small booths of handmade crafts.

Back deep into the lot a booth caught our eyes and we met artist Audrey Chibbaro the lovely woman in the photo below.

Audrey had moved to our town a couple of years ago. Q was fascinated by a small ceramic and fabric pincushion that Audrey had made. He wanted it so badly that he spent his own money to purchase it. Audrey spoke with him at length about ceramics and he explained how much he loved clay and making a pinch pot in school the year before. As we stood talking to her another piece of hers caught our eye. A small angel with feather wings that reminded us of our Auntie G, my wonderful, magical sister-in-law, and we bought it for her for Christmas.

Here is another angel of Audrey's very similar in feel to the small one we purchased.
Audrey was so sweet with Q and took his comments so seriously I asked about art classes and she said she had students and loved teaching and would love to have Q come to her house. I told her we would get in touch in the winter after he had adjusted to kindergarten well.

Last Friday, I finally pulled out her business card hoping to call her over the weekend and talk about art classes for the summer when school was out. Then on Sunday, I stopped for a moment in a cafe and saw the angel shown above on a post card for an exhibit of Audrey's work and there on post card I read that the show was in memory of her. Audrey died of bone cancer in December. I don't know if I can express the depth of my sadness at her passing. Audrey was 45 years old. The world needs Audrey. She made the place better.

It's quick. This life. And you just don't know. Not ever. I am glad I met her for that very brief moment. I am very happy that we have a small remembrance so lovingly made. Whenever I see that funny little pincushion I will remember to stop for a moment and pay attention. Stop and look, listen, taste, feel the day. It's a gift to have such a reminder.

Be present.


Wednesday, March 18, 2009

A Day in Photos: For Evelyn

March 17, 2009

Alarm is not set.  Q has off of school (Superintendent's Day: Hmmm.  Superintendent is perhaps Irish?) and I've taken the day off too.  Big plans, but Q has been ill since Friday so probably a visit to the doctor is in order.

6:30 AM Q awakes and asks if we can skip cuddle time and go directly downstairs to see if the leprechaun has come and left him anything.

Q discovers 6 dollars and the note below.  He tells me he thinks the writing looks like mine.  What?!  Are you saying my handwriting resembles that of a leprechaun?  Why I never....

Homage to Julie:  Broken Coffee Pot Photo: 

About 7:30 unable to really eat toast as Q cannot yet read and I am his reader.

Homage to Rachel: Hair drying photo (I will do a post of all the out takes - they are hysterical. at least to me.)

9:30ish Sit down to look at taxes.

10:00 AM Avoid looking at taxes by taking Q to a cafe.

11:15 AM Doctor's Visit - Find out Q has strep throat!!!

12:15 Decide to drop Q off at home instead of taking him with me to the grocery store.  Figuring infecting half the town at the local cafe is accomplishment enough.  Stop for moment to appreciate our first flowers of spring.

1:15 PM  Stopped at gas station that didn't have auto charge thingy on gas pump.  Decide I cannot go into gas station to pay.  Try in town grocery that is a little gross but may have cubed beef for stew.  It does not.  Drive to second gas station that happens to be next door favorite restaurant/ gourmet take out to see if by chance Jesse has made Irish Stew.  She has not.  Get turkey sandwich to eat in car on way to grocery store that is 7 miles away.  Luckily they have cubed beef.

Back home to start stew.

Earlier in the morning Q had looked through his cookbooks (he has about 4 kid cookbooks) and chosen a cupcake recipe that has shamrocks on the top.  We start to make the recipe and I realize that the recipe, which appears to be English, makes about enough batter for 6 mini cupcakes.  Leprechaun's we are not and so half way through the recipe I grab another book and start adding more ingredients (Barefoot Contessa's cupcake recipe: highly recommended!)  Q has decided instead of green and white cupcakes he will use all of the colors saying that they will be rainbow cupcakes in honor of the leprechaun.  He practices separating the eggs (we only lost one!) and separates the batter into four bowls and then has four colors to work with. This took more than an hour and was part art project, part science and of course part cooking. 

Please note:  Strep infected cupcakes were kept for our own consumption.

6:00ish - Dinner with the guys (something I do not get to do on work days.  Y is trying to be funny by doing the leprechaun dance to get Q to smile but Q is too annoyed having to wait longer to start digging into his stew.)

7:00ish Q comes running downstairs to show me his 6 year molars are coming in.  We are both really excited.  We jump up and down and I give him a big hug!  My baby is growing up!  For some reason it feels as important as the day I saw his very first tooth come in.

7:30  Last hurrah playing in bedroom before story time while Q does nebulizer for his asthma.

7:45 Start of story time - favorite time of day.  This photo is what I imagined reading stories would be like before I had Q.

These next photos are more what it is like; constant movement and commentary.

Don't you love the title of this book.  Q would not have cared if this were a book about advanced calculus - he was taking this out of the library and bringing it home.

Here wiggling front tooth that is very ,very loose!

8:30 PM - American Idol time.

10ish put away food brew last cup of tea.

Drink tea and check blogs.

I will spare you the shower and bed photos.

Thanks Evelyn for suggesting this.  I had wanted to do a day in photos with Q and got to it much more quickly than I might have if you had not asked us to do this.

Thanks to everyone that has already shared their day in photos it's a true joy to be able to see lives so well lived.  For those of you that do not post your family photos I would encourage you to do this for yourself (without posting of course.) As another blogger has said the exercise really does make you look at your day in a new light.

Wednesday, March 4, 2009

Notes from Working-Mom-Land - A.M.

Notes from Working-Mom-Land

Tuesday, March 3rd, 2008
5:45 AM Alarm goes off 

5:55 AM Y hears the alarm and wakes me up

5:56 AM Shower

6:05 AM Still in the shower.  Having great difficulty leaving the peace and quiet and the warmth.  Temperature outside about 10 degrees.  Q wakes up and comes into the bathroom to talk to me about his day yesterday.  I've been in the shower so long I can't see him from the steam but I can hear him sit down on the little table while I try to drag myself away from the caress of the water - Q tells me the BIG NEWS - He read his first book all by himself - Green Eggs and Ham!!!!!!

6:10 AM I drag myself out of the shower - Q tells me he went snowboarding (Monday was a snow day!) but the snowboard wasn't good so he went sledding which WAS good because he and his dad went down the hill together and they both flipped off and fell face first into the snow!!!!!!! 

6:15 AM I'm dry - kind of - and I put on my outfit that I picked out on Sunday (all clothes hung in order from Monday through Friday - no way can I listen to Q AND choose clothes that make me look like an adult.)  Q yells from his room can he wear a short sleeve shirt under a long sleeve shirt and then he won't be so hot!!!!!! during gym?!!!!!  I scoot over to his room while pulling on my tights and see he is already wearing his t-shirt and it's tucked up under his chin in an effort to see the belt that he is trying very hard to belt on his own.  His jeans are too big in the waist and he's cinching the belt really tight.  I stop for a moment and watch him.  His room is a mess of all the magic of 6 years old stuff.  He is so earnest and happy and curious and loving and I feel - really feel -  the fullness of this life and say my quick prayer - thank - you - God - thank you thank you thank you thank you God.

6:25 AM Blow dry my hair while Q shows me how he can read Green Eggs and Ham - he is sitting on the floor of the hallway and I'm yelling over the blowdryer - "that's AMAZING!!!  Look at how all your hard work has paid off!!!  Wow!  Reading!"  He is ignoring me.  He is looking at the words and he's literally in a wonder of it all daze.  He cannot believe he can read.  The world has just exploded and it is no longer censored.  

6:30 AM Y brings up a cup of coffee and toast with cinnamon sugar.  Loveliness!  No time to sit down.  I eat while I am putting on my makeup.  I am about to put on my shoes but remember the snow storm yesterday and the 6 inches of slush on the city streets and decide to wear my boots.

6:40 AM Start asking Q to put on his boots - this will take several minutes - ok honey let's get your boots on - sweatheart - yes I saw the book - now let's get your boots on - yes, I saw you do a slide back flip off the couch several times but if you remember we're not supposed to do any kind of back flip off of the couch - now how about sliding those feet into those boots - yes I see your boots could be gloves but you couldn't easily eat anything if you had to - come to think of it - why don't you try them on your feet!  As this exchange goes on - I put my wallet in my purse, check for my subway pass, grab soup out of the fridge - toast two pot tarts - wrap pop tarts in paper towel - put soup and bread and poptarts in cool polka dot lunch thingy Y bought me - put my mega huge snow hiking boots (my nice shiny city girl boots are at work for some reason that I cannot recall) on - and put my shoes on top of my purse - put on my coat - put on my hat - try to resist helping Q zip his coat - fail resisting helping Q with his coat zipper - get scolded at by Q that he is NOT  a BABY and he will zip his own coat - remind my self that I am happy he has his boots on as he walks outside into the 10 degree temperature holding his coat closed because there wasn't time to zip it.

6:50 AM Car ride to the train station.  Listen to Q talk about how he hopes the lego station is open today.

6:55 AM sit in a car for a few minutes as we watch the ferry pull away from the dock and the people who have gotten off trudging toward the stairs to the platform - watch the people on the platform visibly shiver from the cold.

7:01 AM Get out of the car as I see the train lights in the distance - kisses to the boys and waves and I try to dash down the stairs in the tunnel but quickly realize each boot weights ten pounds and so I kind of shuffle the toward the stairs the way a guy with cement 'shoes' who has just escaped the mafia might - with an earnest need to move forward quickly without the ability to actually do so.  I look and feel foolish - but decide my warm feet make up for my feelings of awkwardness.  

7:05 AM Train starts towards Grand Central.  I put in my ear phones and listen to my i-phone.  Try to watch adoption videos on you tube but AT&T is not having it - no connection.  I open my bag and eat my pop tarts - brown sugar type.  I cannot sleep so I look at the river and think in a couple of weeks there will be no more ice on it and all of the snow will be gone.

8:17 AM the train pulls into Grand Central.  I will never ever get bored of walking through Grand Central Station.  Early morning sunlight is pouring through the tall windows and making those long diagonal stripes down to the floor.  The clock stands sentry while people are walking or sprinting or running in every direction.  Thousands of people are getting off the trains from the towns West, North and East and heading into the subway or out into the street while a seemingly equal number of people are coming from the subway or street and walking through Grand Central in order to get into the office building above it.  There is no way to get through the center of the main hall at this time of day without being jostled.  It is CITY.  THE city.  Big, loud, wonderful, fast, purposeful, with a diversity that is without parallel.  It is literally one of my all time favorite places in the world, and as crazy as my day is I have 60 seconds of real childlike happiness each day I get to travel through it.

8:20 AM Escalator down into subway.  Stand watch over 10 turnstyles with hundreds of people coming at me through them - see a free moment and I dash through one in the opposite direction - get bumped several times as I make my way to my line - one of 6 or so.  The subway is crazier than Grand Central.  Walk down the steps very very carefully as my boots seem to be about 6 inches longer than each stair.  Get the the platform as a train is pulling up but it's an express.  I let it go because I know I will be trampled on the escalator when I get off the express as people literally run up the escalator at this time of day.  

8:22 AM Local train comes - I take it - it's more  crowded than express but when I get out I'm one level about the express platform  - so no escalator.  I now have just one flight of stairs.  

8:24 AM - Out on the street again - it's freezing!!!!!!  But my feet are nice and warm and dry.  I debate whether to walk a block for expensive coffee or just go into work and drink the coffee there.  

8:26 AM Standing in line so that I can pay $6.00 for coffee and 500 calories worth of bread!  I think about how sick that is.  I wonder if one day years from now we will watch a table full of woeful looking men testify in front of congress that indeed they never knew their product was addictive.

8:28 AM I am run/sliding/thumping my way across the street and then down the block to my work.  I hear a heavily accented "Maam!  Maaaaammmmm!!!!!!!!"  behind me and I turn around.  He is one building away and waving frantically in the direction of the intersection I have just crossed.  "IS THAT YOUR SHOE!"  He screams.  I look where he is pointing and sure enough in the direct middle of the cross walk is my black suede pump.  It's amazing what one lone shoe looks like in the middle of a busy street.  I scream (yes, I screamed.  I have seen accidents that caused blood to spurt in all directions and remained calm but the sight of my shoe made me burst out.)  The kind man waves his arms frantically to the cars that were about to run over my shoe and dashes out into the intersection.  He grabs my shoe and comes running toward me as I try as much as I can in my boots to run toward him.  "Your shoe!!!"  He says smiling as he hands it to me and then goes dashing back down the street in the opposite direction.  I look at him and am reminded how much I love New Yorkers.  I am about to put my shoe in my back but realize it is soaking wet and carry it in my hand as I go in the building.  

8:30 AM I try to manuver my shoe, lunch bag and coffee cup and purse so that I can get my security pass to go into the elevator bank of our building.  Finally get it and swipe it so that the turnstyle opens.  I get on the elevator with four other people and press the 33 floor button.  The elevator closes and the guy standing next to me looks at the shoe I'm holding in my hand which is dripping slush onto the floor of the elevator.  He looks up at me.  I smile at him.  He looks confused and gets off of the elevator.

8:31 AM I get out of the elevator, say hi to Pearl at the reception desk, take a left and walk past all of the cubicles.  I pass the kitchen and take another left and arrive at my cubicle which looks directly into a small conference room that is all glass and looks out over Park Avenue and Central Park.  I take off my coat, hat, scarf, gloves and boots.  I take out my dry shoe and put it on and try to dry off my wet one somewhat with a paper towel.  I put on the wet shoe and pull out the space heater and point it to my feet.  Not as bad as I thought. 

I sit look out of the window and take a sip of coffee.  I look at the clock.  Q is just getting to school and my day begins.

Sunday, February 15, 2009

House of Cards

Why do we do it?  Why do we love to build a house of cards.  Here is Q with his very first.  He is celebrating.  If you don't have a six year old boy in your life you may not recognize it but six year old boys often need to get upside down in order to celebrate.  I do not know why this is.  My son is a mystery to me.  

I am posting this quickly, late at night because of a sweet note that Julie left asking if I'm OK.  Hmmm.  I am OK yes.  I am also, well I don't know know but there is a general hurricane of longing going on around us isn't there?  I'm caught up in it too, to the point of speechlessness (or writers block.)

The good news: I got a job.  I lost my job on November 15th.  I knew it was coming and so in September we put a hold on our adoption paperwork.  Horrible.  Horrible.  Horrible.  But still I know I'm so very very very lucky.  I have Q.  I have been at my new job for 4 weeks.  20 people interviewed for my position.  10 were put through to the top level of interviews.  3 of us came back several times.  And then they chose me.  I keep thinking of the 19 others who interviewed.  It's very tough out there in Manhattan these days and while I usually think I'm one in a million these days I know the odds are much much different.  I am so humbled by my good fortune I try not even to think of it.  I feel, in a word, quilty.  I know I shouldn't but there you go.

Meanwhile our social worker was laid off and we will have to do some of our home study over.  We have had so many twists and turns on this journey.  But I have been in contact with our agency and we are coming off of hold and will be pulling all the paperwork together in the next few weeks.  

I now ride the train to work (which beats the heck out of driving 120 miles a day like I was before) and I have lots of time to think.  All that I think about is my youngest child's mother.  I cannot help thinking of what she is going through right now.  That is if she is still alive.  We are hoping to bring home a child between 3 and 5 years old.  They are alive, living, breathing and loving.  They are wrapped (please God) in someone's arms as they fall asleep and they are loved.  Someone sings them lullabies.  And their mother?  What of she?  Is she trying to hold her family together?  Is she still doing OK and unaware that she will one day have to let go of her little one's hand?  I cannot stop thinking of her.  I feel as though I am walking toward her, slowly and while I know of her she knows nothing of me.  And for every step I struggle to make always in a forward motion no matter how small she takes a step too but her steps are not of her making.  Forward she walks toward me because of what?  Politics?  Poverty?  Disease?  Fate?  I suffer and I know I should.  If I'm not willing to bear this longing with at least an ounce of grace then I am not worthy of her.  She suffers but what does it do for her?  I am overwhelmed by my love for her.  One day she will take that final step with her little one's hand in hers and then she will have to let go.  She will need a faith that is difficult for me to comprehend.  I am of course imagining that she is alive.  I do not know why.  I suppose because I want that for my youngest child.  I do not want my child to lose his or her mother.  Not to death.  I want the possibility of life.  I want the promise.  One day, we could go back.  One day the country will be healthier.  This will be just an interlude, the thing that brought us, family, together.  We will go back with photos and diplomas and we will have coffee and sing and dance and laugh and cry and cry and cry.

I know.  I know.  It's a house of cards.  Fascinated, I am unable to stop building them.

Thank you Julie for asking.  Now please everyone that reads this post - please pray Julie's and Evelyn's babies on home!  I need some baby photos and they need some children.

And to all of you with your babies and children home - please keep posting photos.  I know I speak for so many when I say they keep me going.

kisses and hugs for everyone on this journey. 

Monday, January 19, 2009

"One Day/Day One" Washington, January 20th, 2009

Y and my mom drove to Washington yesterday to be with the millions of others who simply could not stay away.  I am so happy and so proud of the two of them.  They do not have tickets to anything (although my mother tried her hardest to procure tickets to something - anything) but that did not deter them.  They simply had to be there on that hollowed ground.  

My mom and dad arrived from Chicago on Friday Afternoon and today, dad, Q and I went to the Natural History Museum in NYC.  My dad's first time there.  It was special as the three of us rarely get time together, but my mind was fixated on mom and Y.  What must it be like to be in Washington now?  

I am blessed to have these two in my lives.  These  souls for whom freedom and justice and equality mean so much that they must travel down together to stand in the cold just to feel the change in the air.  They are those people.  

Tomorrow I will leave home at 6:30 AM and not get home till about 8:00 PM.  I will try to do my best at my new job while I try not to worry too much about my dad getting Q through his day.  Poor little Q, crying off and on for his dad.  I will say many prayers throughout the day that mom and Y have the day of their dreams.

But more than all of these thoughts I will reflect in whatever free moments I have on all the lives lost in the struggle.  From Dr.King and Malcolm X to the many, many nameless to history (but not to their families) victims of hatred and bigotry.  I do hope there is a freedom land somewhere and I hope the inhabitants can see what my mom and Y will see.  If they can I doubt there will be tears of any kind.  There have been enough tears.  Tuesday is a day for rejoicing.

As the t-shirt says "One Day/ Day One..."

Tuesday, January 6, 2009

The Mind of a Six Year Old

When Q was about 9 months old our pediatrician ordered a brain scan to 'just make sure' his sudden leap in head circumference was nothing to worry about.  We would go have the scan and that would be that.  A few days after the scan she called us to say that the technician found an 'abnormality' and that she was referring us to a pediatric neurologist.  I remember thinking that once he was born I literally thought I was done with all of the specialists.  So the scan is sent to the neurologist and we set up an appointment to see her.  It happened that my mother was visiting and so we all went; Y, me, Q and my mom.  The neurologist was very nice, almost peppy when we first entered the office.  We sat Q on the rug and she observed him for a few short minutes while we talked.  She was friendly and chit chatty and we were all stretched nerves.  And then she put the scans up onto her light board and there was pictures of sliced sections of Q's brain.  At that moment I almost lost it.  Brain imagery should never involve your family is my opinion.  There were dozens of small images and she started at the first one and pointed out all the different parts of his brain and gave us her opinion on EACH SCAN.   When she was about 3/4's of the way through the images my mother leaned over and whispered that if anything was wrong she would have gotten to the point by now.  And at the moment I realized he was fine.  I suddenly realized that if you are a pediatric neurologist you probably spend a lot of your time giving parents really bad news and that when you only had good news to share you might want to really go into what you love about a healthy brain.  She was in her element.  He did have an abnormality that she had seen in other Irish American children (my mother blurted out - "are you about to blame the grandmother?!" to which she said, laughingly, "well - yes!" and that abnormality did lead to a 'growth spurt' of the head at around this age.  

So there we were;  parents of a healthy baby with a really big head.  Not bad.  We were handed the brain scans to keep and told we could refer back to them if he ever had an injury that he needed another brain scan.  I'll be happy never to refer back to them.  I would like to be able to look at them and read other things however.  The how and the why of a six year old little boy who is now not our little mimic but his very own real person with likes and dislikes all his own.  A wonderful stew of our influence, his biology and the crazy bunch of experiences he's had in his 6 years.  

Lacking any information from the scans I've begun to look at his bedroom for the clues.  His room is for the most part his to do with as he wishes (except for painting black to look like the night sky - we have to save something for his messed up adolescence.)  Gone are the days of his sweet nursery where I made all the design choices.  No more Babar, no more plush toys of the cat n the fiddle, no more night lights.  Now it's all Q.  And I love it more now than ever before. However, I do wish I had taken a photo of his room when we had the scan done.  His room as it looked when I thought I knew him and had ideas about who he might turn into.  Ha!  How silly.  And so I am recording his room at 6 years old.  Q's favorite things now.  

Q's Room, 6 years and counting;

Monkey Water Skiing; pulled from magazine and taped to wall next to bed

Stuffed Animals - Everywhere!!!  

His Sticker Table:  He painted it red and now covers it with stickers he likes

Dancing Men Paper Chain his aunt made him

Books, books, books.  Recent quote: 
"When I can finally read, all my toys are going to be books!"

Lion puppet bought on one of many frequent visits to China Town.

Floor Puzzle

Not a floor puzzle but on the floor because it's Pokemon.

More Floor Puzzles

Lego models EVERYWHERE!

Joke books and boxes of rocks and crystals

His hat rack - cowboy hats, football helmets and everything in between.

Dream Catcher his aunt gave him when he was having nightmares.
It worked!

Poster his Papa Lou sent him.

Sports posters ripped out of magazines and taped haphazardly around his room.

His binoculars that must be within reach at all times

His third birthday invitation, signed by Reggie Jackson and framed

the souvenir he bought himself at the American Indian Museum: a box of Indian Masks.

His first writing hung on his wall per his request.  
"Mom, how do you spell "Revolutionary War?"

More sports posters

His pet fish Ice Cream

His 4th birthday - Skateboarding party decorations 

The planets hanging above his bed.

The planets stuck on the wall behind his bed

His bed - with some of the animals he
 'HAS TO' have in order to fall asleep.