Ten Things on Wednesday: 5/12/2021

  1. Mother’s Day was nice and quiet. My sister took me and Hope to brunch on Saturday. I set up my new treadmill. Hope could barely contain her excitement and ended up giving me her gift on Saturday. I was really shocked at what she got me–this wonderfully sleek backpack for traveling. I had seen it on Instagram and commented that it was cool and would be great on my travels. I immediately talked myself out of buying it. Well, Hope bought it for me. It was incredibly thoughtful.
  2. But it was the short letter she wrote me. In the last couple of years, Hope has taken to writing me letters as a part of the gift. They are the best part of the gift. It was a wonderful salve to my soul after this last year. I’ve worked hard to be a good mom during one of the most traumatic events we’ve gone through together. She thinks I did ok and loves me. For real, I’m good.
  3. Oh yeah, the treadmill is nice. Super thin, quiet and it makes me happy. I’m back to taking about 5-10 minutes of each work hour to hop on the treadmill. This weekend, I’m rearranging the desk again so that it’s easier to slide it under my desk when I want to stand. I liked it so much that I did talk myself into getting a new Fitbit; the battery life on my old one was fading daily. It was time. Now I got all this sexy fitness technology.
  4. I’m modestly trying to scale back some of my eating. I’m swapping things out things, a protein shake here, a breakfast sandwich there, 2 cookies instead of a big slice of cake. Hey, the cookies are…special. Made them myself with some freshly infused butter. Fun times.
  5. I’m starting to count down the days until my trip to the beach to see family. I miss my niece and nephews loads; it’s been hard connecting with my niece. She’ll be two in a couple of weeks and I’ve only seen her in person twice in her whole little life. She recognizes me on video, but I’m anxious to see will she recognize me in person.
  6. Even though I’m ready to take that trip, I apparently am not ready to take a real vacation. I thought I had very well decided to move forward with booking a trip for me and Hope to the Caribbean. I want to go to the DR, and I’m also interested in starting to look properties. I want a small cottage on the beach as a part-time retirement home. I gave it a lot of thought and concluded that I was ready. Somehow though, I have not reached out to my travel agent. I lost a ton of money tied up in booked vacations last year, so I’m over planning things myself moving forward. I need someone else to fight those battles. Anyway, several weeks have passed and this week I had to face the fact that while it’s easy to say it’s not intentional–I get excited about booking trips, discussing options, looking at AirBnBs; booking airport transfers. For me not to have any effort to get started planning is making me do some reflecting.
  7. I’m realizing I’m not ready for outside to open yet. As much as I miss people, home really has become this uber safe place. Outside is still gross and germy and I’m not sure how much of that I’m willing to absorb yet. I’ve told my boss I have zero interest in traveling until 2022. I just feel like I’m not willing to take that risk for work. I might be willing to take the risk for my own enjoyment, but not for work yet. I intend to wear a mask indefinitely. I still have a healthy stash of hand sanitizer. I don’t think I”m planning because I’m just not ready, even if I really want to be.
  8. Hope got a job at Target. I anticipate that she will start in a week or two. I know that this will be a really good thing for her, and for me.
  9. Low key, I’m starting to looking at a 2nd car. I”m not in a rush; I’ve told Hope some of the things I need to see out of her before I am ready to make a purchase. One of those things is a down payment and insurance saved up. We’ll see!
  10. I spent a chunk of time thinking about Hope’s biological mom on Mother’s Day. It’s not new, but this year I just wished she had been here for Hope. I think the last year, Hope would have really benefited from that connection. I actually think of her often and how proud she should be of her daughter. I hope one day they will find one another on their own terms.

Ten Things on Wednesday: 5/5/21

  1. Another Mother’s day is upon us. I’m really so so about Mother’s day. I mean, I definitely try to make a big deal about it for my mom, and I send flowers to Hope’s grandma. But when it comes to me, it’s just…I dunno. My first holiday, I graduated from grad school, so the celebration was consumed by that accomplishment. I was so glad to have Hope there; it made it extra special since it was my first. But since then, meh.
  2. All that said, Hope actually planned ahead this year, announcing several times that she purchased last month. That’s pretty special. So, I’m looking forward to seeing what she’s got in store.
  3. Work is driving me crazy. I’m currently not enjoying it. Honestly, I haven’t “enjoyed” it since things blew up last summer. It takes a lot of emotional energy, and being cooped up this year it’s been hard to fill my cup. No real vacation and minimal in person interaction with anyone besides Hope. I could use a few weeks off. Not gonna happen though.
  4. Hope has determined that cereal is the go to meal of choice. We are going through milk like she’s a calf. I usually just by a half gallon once a week or so. Last week I had to go back to the store for more milk twice. I went ahead and bought a gallon jug this week, and by Wednesday it was half gone. It’s crazy. I suppose cereal is perfect–filling, sometimes sweet, satisfying. I mean, I get it, but gotdern it’s a lot of milk.
  5. Ok, I gotta confess something: I used Mother’s day as an excuse to buy myself a gift. When I bought my treadmill a few months ago, I settled. I didn’t buy the one I really wanted. While I enjoy the treadmill, it just doesn’t have some of the features that were important to me. So, yesterday I bought the one I really wanted. One of my good girlfriends is taking the current one. The new one arrives sometime tomorrow.
  6. I need to find my checkbook. <<<<- This is basically a note to myself.
  7. Hope seems close to landing a job. I’m almost afraid to say much because I’m afraid I’ll jinx it. Of course, I did write about it a couple of days ago. I just am hopeful because I think it will make a real difference for her emotionally. And now that she’s learned you don’t date where you work…#sigh
  8. I finished a book on my kindle. Honestly, I don’t even know why I have a kindle. I bought it at xmas during a moment of retail therapy. Anyway, I finished a finished a book. I have finished just a handful of books through traditional reading since my head injury, so I’m excited to have finished a romance novel. I’m trying to figure out what to try to get lost in now.
  9. I do most of my reading via audiobook. It definitely has its perks–author’s actual voice, ability to speed up or slow down the pace. Of course, most academic books are *not* available in this format, which when you think about it is ableist AF. I’m hopeful that once day more will be since that is a lot of the reading I do.
  10. I took Friday off; I needed a mental health day. Just to be able to sleep an extra couple of hours and breathe. I’m really looking forward to it.

Both/And

Remember back when we were wee ones job hunting and when we got a call back we immediately started planning the next six months because, you know, you have to work. But then, suddenly, you don’t get said job and somehow windows on other opportunities closed while you were planning.

Just me?

Well, Hope is going through this phase right now. She finally got a call from a store that she’s been rejected at multiple times. She is already planning her future well in advance of having even gotten through the interview. Meanwhile, just yesterday, I was reminding her that she needed to follow up with the local community college to find out why she can’t register. I am requiring she take one class–whatever topic she wanted–this summer to get her feet wet for eventually going back to school.

When I reminded her today, she wouldn’t have time since she was going to be working.

Working? Girl, where? You haven’t got the job yet. Until she has been hired, done her paperwork and literally walked out of the house for her first shift, I needed her to follow up with the community college. She went into blank stare mode. It’s one of those looks that I’m convinced is quickly smoothed onto the face to avoid rolling one’s eyes, which obviously would not be good.

I know my daughter can be overwhelmed by decisions and choices, but I need to guard against her “bird in the hand” until she *actually* has a bird in the hand. I want her to be able to think both/and sometimes. Holding space for more than a couple of things at a time can be hard, but when they drop or someone takes them–it’s bad.

If this job doesn’t pan out, I want her to have kept an option open for Basket weaving 101, otherwise she will be bummed about missing out on both. Summer classes start in a couple of weeks.

And this is the big stuff. I gently sent her a message reminding her to be strategic in telling employers her availability. Rescheduling her essential medical appointments is hard. We have times with longstanding appointments that are locked in–the possibility of moving them is nearly impossible.

Every development that comes Hope’s way, I realize there is so much to learn. She is smart, but naive in that I-know- everything-and-more-than-you-OMG-Mommy-help-me kinda way. I don’t remember so many little odds and ends. A lot of things you just literally have to DO, and hope you did it right. For someone as anxious as Hope, that must be hard. I’m realizing that the true external manifestations of my anxiety didn’t happen well into adulthood. I remember feeling like, “I can’t believe I”m really doing this!” I don’t remember being hopelessly, paralyzingly overwhelmed by life at that age.

Hope is not me, so I’m trying to be firm and loving as I try to hold her accountable through the job hunt/return to school episode. I know it will be ok, but it all just makes me pause and reflect on just how I approached similar challenges to what Hope is currently experiencing. I know she will get there; she just there right now.

I needed her to practice these skills this lap around the mountain. Wish us both luck.


A Bunch of Things on Thursday: 4/29/21

  1. I totally meant to write yesterday, but here we are.
  2. I’ve now added mid-week baths to my self-care routine. I add a bunch of epsom salt and some bubble baths. I only stay in for about 20-30 minutes, but gosh it feels sooo good and I sleep so well.
  3. My condo building had another fire this morning, and now things are smokey again. Second fire in 2 months. We’re fine and no property damage for us, but oy, this can’t become a monthly thing.
  4. The death of Ma’Khia Bryant has hurt my soul so deeply. She was a foster child. I weep for her biological family, having now lost her twice.
  5. I’m normally very defensive of foster parents, but where the hell were they? There are reports than the fight against these grown women that day wasn’t the first time they had come after Ma’Khia. Why…how did the foster parent let this happen. I’ve seen reports that she had encouraged the bullying at times. Those folks had one job: to keep this girl safe and as whole as possible if and until her biological or future adoptive family could provide care.
  6. And yet Ma’Khia is gone. And to hear folks on the web tell it, foster kids are “problem kids”…it’s the same rhetoric we hear the begin to rationalize the murder of a grown man who might’ve tried to pass a fake $20 at the local bodega. EVEN if it were true, does that warrant immediate death?
  7. My therapist shared that she’s had to disarm knife and gun wielding folks…and she did it without any weapons and with no injuries.
  8. I’m just so angry and so, so, so sad.
  9. That could very well have been Hope. I barely know what to do with that thought.
  10. I’ve been cooking lately. Nothing fancy, but still yummy. We had ravioli with a meatball sauce today. It was yum.
  11. According to my zoom picture, I’ve gained a few pounds over the last month or two. Got to reign it back in.
  12. I typed that knowing full and damn well that I’m headed back to the kitchen for another sliver of the cake I made today.
  13. Judge me or whatever.
  14. Hope’s allergies are the worst they’ve been since she moved here. Daily I tell her to take her allergy tabs, irrigate her nasal ways, and take a half benadryl at the first sniff of trouble. Of course, she doesn’t, so I”ve been listening to her sniff since about 5pm. She finally just took some benadryl.
  15. Hope is *still* looking for a job. She hasn’t even had a nibble. I’m not sure what it all means, but we both agree, she needs to get up and out for her overall wellbeing.
  16. Ok, I’m out…right after I go get that little piece of cake.

Owning Recovery

I’ve struggled with depression and anxiety for as long as I can remember. As mom to Hope, my mental health has definitely wavered in ways I didn’t anticipate; I don’t mean that to sound bad, but parenting is hella hard.

I’ve learned a lot about myself and my mental health and emotional wellbeing during these years as well. I’ve been consciously working on being better and stronger and figuring myself out. At 48, I’m still working on that.

Hope will be 20 in about two months, and I don’t expect her to be where I am. I don’t expect her to be as self-reflective or as clear about life. But as we head into a year and a half at home and almost a year since the down-slide started; I find myself wanting Hope to take more ownership of her recovery.

I know she wants to get better, but there’s really not a lot of activity behind it. I know it’s got to be hard cooped up here, without school, friends, or a job. We are now past the stage of devastating depression that left me terrified; she’s improving. I’m relieved. But that’s it.

I’m still shouldering Hope’s recovery; I”m not sure if she’ll ever take the lead. At the smallest suggestion of *doing* anything, a litany of excuses come tumbling forth, sometimes before I can even complete my sentence. I hate that and really never respond well. Just this evening I had to take a deep breath, remain calm, go deep into the communication skills tool box and explain how it makes me feel when she makes excuses.

There are times when I really wonder when and how long Hope will need my intense involvement in her mental health care. I know that my feelings about it are colored by my own journey, how my intense need for achievement as a proxy for worthiness is so different than Hope’s. I know that comparing our journeys is stupid, a fools’ errand, and yet there are quiet moments where I ramble off how I took on getting myself help almost as soon as I entered college and how I’m still managing appointment schedules for a young adult who is literally doing nothing all day but surfing YouTube and TikTok.

And then I feel guilty about even remotely comparing us, and then I start the crazy thought process all over again. It’s so ridiculous.

But I do wonder…does Hope want to own her life in a way that looks…kind of normal? I don’t know if she’s healthy enough to really consider it. I don’t know if her trauma’s of the last year, that involved some really bad adult flexes, have just made her regress in ways that push off adulting for a long time. I don’t know. I’m pretty sure she doesn’t either.

I’m trying to be patient; I’m trying to follow her lead 70% of the time and push/pull her 30% of the time. Once I post this, I’ll be sending her places to apply for a job. I know that getting out and working will help her. I aspire to bickering over the car and finally deciding to buy a second car because her life will have grown to such a need. But that’s probably a long way off.

For now, I am shouldering and powering the return to the fragile health status we had before. It’s rough when you desperately want to return to a more normal version of not normal, but here we are.


Ten Things on Wednesday:4/21/21

  1. When I heard the first guilty verdict, I gasped. That was immediately followed by a sobbing exhale. I’m not sure how long I had been holding my breath or if it was just the gravity of hearing GUILTY. But…wow.
  2. I’m glad that this is the first case that Hope really paid attention to; it will hopefully give her more hope for justice than I’ve ever had. My first big trial decision I remember was for the murderers of Rodney King. He was beaten the year I graduated from high school; his police murderers were set free my first year of college. I remember it being such a painful experience.
  3. And then police in Ohio couldn’t let us have one sliver of justice in peace. Naw, they had to go and shoot a 16 year old girl who had called them for help. Seriously, LEOs in MN had one effing job during the trial–don’t effing kill anyone, so what happened? They killed someone. All LEOs from coast to coast had one job last night–don’t fucking kill anyone. And just look at them. smh
  4. I swear white supremacy is so oppressive that it has a way of making every minor advance bittersweet. When that’s your reality, it makes Black joy the very representation of personal resistance.
  5. This block editor is super weird. You ever wonder why every tech company has a way of taking some feature that is easy and intuitive and saying “how can we make this miserable and clunky?” Seriously WP, what kinda focus groups drove you to this? Those folks are weird, and this is coming from someone who doesn’t complain about tech that much.
  6. This last weekend, Hope and I were on a total vibe, in a really good place. We went to a farmers market and watched our shows, just hung out and talked. There was a moment when I was watching us banter, and I thought, HOLY ISH, Hope is like me. We have been a family for 7 years, but this was the first really super conscious revelation that she has picked up some of my mannerrisms, my use of language and phrases, and just…stuff. I figured that she might pic up a few things, but what I realized is she really has adopted a lot of my traits. I never expected that when I decided to adopt. I remember just smiling to myself as we continued to talk. It was a sweet moment for me.
  7. But apparently the complexities of adoption are akin to “bad apple” cops who can’t leave folks well enough alone. During one of out chats I learned that Hope’s memories of her childhood pre-me are fading. She said it matter of fact-like, but it was a gut punch for me. While I wish I could erase all the bad stuff, the notion that is forgetting even some of the pleasant memories…I am so sad. I hope to gently ask if there are things we can do to spark up those good memories to keep them fresh. It just made me so emotional.
  8. In other news Hope is really improving emotionally. Seriously we’re on month 9 of a fair amount of challenges; I think we might’ve hit a sweet spot pharmacologically! I hope so!
  9. We’re trying to teach Yappy to use push buttons to “talk” to us. Today might’ve been the first time he activated the “outside” button unprompted. I’m hopeful because I want to hear the words behind his side eyes.
  10. I just had my nightly piece of cake, but I was on 10 hours of zoom today> I deserve some chocolate covered peanuts.#stressandfatigueeating


Transitions

Decisions are really hard for Hope; she’s easily overwhelmed when she has options. Early in my journey with Hope, I learned that I had to narrow her choices if I was ever going to get her to make decisions. She can’t have more than 3 choices and some days that’s a stretch.

And overwhelmed Hope is miserable, and so are the folks around her who are silently screaming

MAKE A DECISION ALREADY!

She gets anxious weighing the options, reviewing and re-reviewing, then she panics and guilt trips herself because she knows everyone is waiting until she’s just paralyzed.

Recently, Hope spent an hour sifting thru burger places on UberEats; I was shocked when the delivery gal knocked and Hope grabbed her McD’s bag.

Me: McD’s? Really?

Hope: I couldn’t make a decision and I was hungry so I just ordered McDonalds.

Even with McD’s she self limits for months at a time: She will order the same, exact order for 5 months and then change to something else for a season. She does this because she makes the decision one time and sticks with it to avoid just sitting there going “um” at the drive thru window.

With Hope now approaching the age of 20; there are more decisions than ever. We recently had a family appointment with a doc to talk about meds. Doc explains everything, lays out 3 options in rank order and asks Hope to say what option does she think is best.

Blank stare.

After confirming that she understood the options, and confirming that ultimately this was her decision alone, she balked. We eventually got through it with some coaching and patience; she made a decision. But I could tell that our super mild mannered, even tempered doc was a little undone by the inability to make a decision.

Over the years I’ve become a lot more patient when she hits decision-making snags. I’ve adapted, but I haven’t really seen her skills improve or her anxiety go down. I’m hopeful that we will hit a turning point sometime soon.

I’m realizing that while Hope complained about how strict the military school was, she seemed so much more grounded there. The structure, the limited choices, that environment is one that kind of gave her the structure her spirit seems to demand. Her senior year, I asked her if she wanted to consider military service; but for her hatred of any physical activity, I could see her doing well in service. It also would’ve been kinda cool seeing how so much of her bio family were at some time in the military. Hope shot down the military idea hard and fast, proving that the ability to decide was in there, but only when it was something she really had a strong opinion about.

Right now, it almost feels like we’re going backwards. If Hope can avoid any kind of decision, she will. This year at home with minimal structure has not been good for her development. I am incapable of providing the structure she needs to thrive. Tomorrow, she resumes her job hunt. I’m hoping something turns up. An occupied Hope is a happier Hope–the decision-making isn’t much better, but at least emotionally she’s more stable.

I know she will get there; it’s really going to take time and lots of confidence building practice, though.


Ten Things on Thursday: 4/15/21

  1. I’m weary. It is really all I can do to keep going this week. Seriously, another man in Minnesota shot dead during the Chauvin trial? Make it make sense, because I’m blown.
  2. And now, Chicago has just released the snuff film of 13-year- old Adam Toledo being murdered by police. THIRTEEN years old. Seriously, are cops just walking around scared all the damn time? I mean, I know I walk around scared of them…Oh and lest we forget the Army Lt here in my state who was pulled over in bumf*ck, VA behind some temp tags in the window, pepper sprayed, career threatened.
  3. And folks are mad about property damage resulting from protests. BURN THAT ISH ALL THE WAY TO THE GROUND AND THEN I CAN USE THE ASHES WHEN I’M SITTING IN SACKCLOTH GRIEVING. People>Property. I hate it here.
  4. I think I’m really burnt out. The monotony of working from home, vacationing at home, weekending at home, all without a meaningful break and escape has really gotten to me this week. I’m just over everything.
  5. In other news, Hope will get her first vaccine next week! I’m currently planning our annual 4th of July trip to see my sister and her family. I really can’t articulate how happy this makes me.
  6. I’m actually cooking this week, despite my emotional state. I’m trying to reject wholesale emotional eating. I can’t also let extrajudicial killings of unarmed BIPOC folks also make me unhealthier than I already might be. Seriously I was in therapy this afternoon talking about how I’m basically emotionally being held together with bungee cords and invisible tape. Anyway, I’m making Tikka Masala tonight.
  7. The weather has greatly improved and I’m so glad. I need my sunlight and my outside time. I’ve also been following some tips from Tiktok photogs on how to better use my camera phone. See some snaps from this week’s neighborhood walks below.
  8. No, I’m not really “on” Tiktok; I just really wanted to see some content that was cross-posted on Instagram and got sucked in. The way my schedule is set up though, I’m on it roughly 15 minutes a day before I drift off to sleep. I follow mostly goofy animals and a few social justice accounts, but those are getting cut. I need one place online where I don’t need to be reminded that the world is a whole hellscape dumpster fire.
  9. I’m guessing my emotional state has not been helped by the fact that I’ve skipped my weekend bath ritual for the last two weeks due to scheduling. Please know that this will be dutifully corrected this weekend with a super long soak. Hell, it might happen tonight.
  10. To Tymeyers who wanted to know what some of my fave podcasts are:

For entertainment: Hear to Slay on Luminary (singularly why I pay for that service!), The Read, Ratchet and Respectable, Savage Love, Jesus & Jollof, Fanti, Terrible Thanks for Asking and The Moth.

For lowkey education with Hope: The History Chicks, Mafia, Serial, Undisclosed, Code Switch, In the Thick, Shots in the Back, Slow Burn, Nice White Parents, Today Explained, The Daily, It’s Been a Minute, Reveal, Invisabilia. We are currently listing to Spy Affair about Maria Butina. There’s really no shortage of amazing content out there. This is just a fraction of what’s in rotation. I listen at a faster pace and crush a lot of info on my walks.

I just couldn’t even pull this list together yesterday. It was all I could do to tidy the kitchen after dinner, watch a show with Hope and crawl into bed with my nightly piece of cake. I’ve also got another post in my drafts and well, hopefully it will get published this weekend.

This morning’s sunrise.
This one is currently my zoom background.

Ten Things on Wednesday: 4/7/21

  1. The family trip was so good. The hotel situation was a disappointment (no room service, turn down service or room cleaning due to COVID). But I got to see my parents, Hope got to see her grands and Yappy got to come (which is all he ever wanted). We had “easter” dinner on Saturday and Sunday breakfast before hitting the road. The grands almost always provide 2 meats–bacon and sausage; which means they are going straight to heaven one fine day.
  2. Returning to work on Monday was harsh. The demands, the requests. I can legit spend all day just answering emails from the previous afternoon and beyond. Things go on the to do list and seemingly never come off. This time off really showed me why I enjoy traveling so much. When I know I’m going far away, I shut down work ABM immediately upon logging off that last day. I’m done. I’m able to truly unplug. These COVID staycations are rough because it takes me so much longer to unwind. By the time I really hit my stride in relaxation, it’s time to go back to work. Ugh.
  3. Hope put chopped hot dogs in her ramen tonight. I was buzzing around the house listening to her, and that factoid stopped me in my tracks. I wondered aloud if such a combo made me a bad mother. I mean really…I got 2 things going for me: 1-Hope gets higher end ramen. Her love of Asian food means any old ramen just won’t do. We make a special trip to the international store each month to stock up and supplement with online ordering of more difficult ramen to get locally. 2-I buy chicken hot dogs, which tend to have a little less fat (and Holy Homeboy knows what else); Hope loves them. Hope swears this wasn’t a struggle meal, it’s a college meal. My response? Is there a difference, really?
  4. Spring has sprung finally. I’m still waiting for the spring rains here. Normally April really means showers here. The lack of rain means things are blooming faster, and the pollen is flying. It’s kind of a beautiful torture.
  5. Anyone else have a kid who has horrible allergies but utterly refuses to take meds or irrigate so they just snort/slurp/sneeze/sniff incessantly, which really weirds you out because it’s a whole ass global PANDEMIC outside? Just me? Ok.
  6. I did not have my luxurious, stress-relieving bath this past weekend. I mean, I got to my parents, which was a more than worthy trade, but it’s now Wednesday night and I’m eager to get in my tub.
  7. I’m seriously considering a bathroom renovation. I can’t change the footprint, but I’m looking for more storage, a taller toilet w/ bidet features, a deeper tub, a heated floor and shower shelving for my Saturday bath candles. You know, simple upgrades. LOL.
  8. 2021 has officially rained down hot flashes on me. Since what appears to have been hormone changes that made me miserable in January, I hadn’t really had too many menopause symptoms. And then the weather turned nice, but not nice enough for the air conditioner. Monday night I thought I would combust. Last night I threw open the windows and turned on the ceiling fan. Much better. Tonight, I’m adding the floor fan. Seriously, this is some BS. Who do we have to blame for this? It’s really effed up.
  9. I am not watching the Chauvin trial. I wait for the New York Times to send me the notification of their daily rundown. So much of the news coverage insists on replaying George Floyd’s death video on a loop. That is traumatic AF. Stop playing the video! I know that once the prosecution rests it’s going to be a real shitshow, and I can’t bear to watch that murderer deny killing this man when we have video that says otherwise. Lock his ass up.
  10. Beau got me into Netflix’s Who Killed Sara? Quality TV, even if the dubbing kinda sucks. It’s nice ot have something to sink my teeth in. Hope and I are still watching Grimm on Prime. We’re also listening to a podcast on Maria Buttina, the young Russian woman who the FBI alleged was something of a spy. We booted her back home; ironically she turned up on the news this weekend. It was cool because it gave Hope a face to got a face to go with the story; she’s all in on the show now. Podcasts on road trips have always been a cool way for me to teach Hope current events and history on the low. We start a show, I dig up a few articles to rope her in and she totally gets immersed. She knows all about how Las Vegas came to be thanks to a mafia podcast we binged in 2019 on road trips. Good stuff!

Until next time…


Scratching the Itch

Last night the man in my life asked me if adopting Hope satisfied my need to have a biological child.

It was a heavy question for any number of reasons.

  1. I will forever be wounded by my infertility.
  2. My beau is an adoptee. He shared this with me recently after dating for quite some time. Turned out to be game-changing information for us, and I’d like to thank adoptees for teaching me to act like I got some sense.
  3. Beau is childless.

I was honest, and I said no. It satisfied my desire to be a mom, which was ultimately a stronger pull, and Hope is absolutely my daughter. But did it “replace” my desire for a biological child? No.

I thought so much about this over the last 8 years.

My grief around infertility has changed a lot over the years. Initially it was really messy, as all grief is. I did grieve the imaginary scenario that I’d been cultivating since I was in high school. I would be married in my early 30s to an amazing partner with whom I would have a couple biological children and then look into expanding our family through adoption.

That was my script.

So as I slid into my late 30s, unmarried and suddenly considered infertile, I really grieved the loss of that ideal I had constructed for myself. I remember feeling like it was the last bit of my dream that I lost. Never-mind that my career was going great, I was working on my doctorate, and I was enjoying a really good life. The door definitively closed on my dream, and that was what my grief was about. And sometimes it still hurts acknowledging that, but that’s not where my grief lies now.

I told Beau that my grief has less to do with any imaginary biological child and more to do with how betrayed I felt and feel by my body. We’re conditioned to believe so much of being a woman is about the ability to incubate a new human and have all these warm, nurturing, maternal feelings. Well, not being able to have a child because my body “failed” was and remains hard. I’m like, I’ve always been overweight, but my entire adult life I’ve tried to eat decent and be as active as possible so that I would be able to handle pregnancy like a champ. Instead my body wasn’t even riding the bench. It just sucked when I needed and wanted it most.

My grief wasn’t about having a baby. I was never all jazzed about babies. I just wanted the chance to be a mom. Ultimately it didn’t matter how; it was just that my body was supposed to be able to do this thing that women do. And, well, it couldn’t.

Hope satisfied my desire to parent; that part is the same as what I desired in having a biological child. But in answer to Beau’s question, no it didn’t satisfy my desire to give birth because it was about my body and not the child.

He seemed to understand. I reminded him that grief is a wicked thing. He agreed.

Then I told him about how in 2020 I worked hard to focus on what my body can do rather than what it can’t. While I didn’t commit to doing it because of grief, the reframing definitely helped me resolve some of my grief. Of course the fact that I did get to be mom to Hope is really the story here. I am a mom, which is really what I wanted. I am fortunate to have matched with Hope and be accepted by her. There are times when I really marvel at the fact that I have a version of the family I dreamed about. It didn’t happen as I thought, and the life partner is still missing in action, but I have this family–me, Hope and Yappy.

It’s more than enough.


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