This dreadful jet lag had me up at 4:30 local time this morning. I’m starting to wonder if this great coffee city has enough java to keep me powered during this visit. Despite the fact that I know I’ll pay for it later, I’m relishing in the quiet solitude of the morning. I adore the kid that’s sleeping in the next room, but good Lord I am tired.
Hope is a chatterbox. Now this is the point where some of my friends and family who follow my blog run off to get tissues to dab their eyes because the belly laughs they are enjoying have become just too much for them. Yeah, the irony is not lost on this wordy girl that Hope is chattier than I ever have been in my life, and that’s saying something. My God, I can’t even know how many people I must’ve exhausted in this lifetime.
I love her voice and am amused by her conversations, but I am admitting on this here blog, that I did not fight to go back to sleep this morning because the solitude was so enticing. I’ve read enough Facebook statuses to know I should not feel guilty about being up before dawn, just soaking in the quiet.
Ok, I’m also trying to upload the last batch of dissertation interviews for transcription on this slow arse internet at this hotel. I got the first batch back, and my dissertation director is reading an early draft of my quantitative analysis this weekend. The dissertation grind just doesn’t let up.
Anyhoo, yesterday Hope and I did a few tourist trap outings and a little shopping. We ran across this little Japanese store at the mall that had all kinds of interesting goodies. Hope loves origami. I suck at origami. I bought us a bunch of paper and a few books. The beginner book makes me feel so very lame; my ego is suffering something terrible here. I did manage to make a cute frog who does hop; it was my greatest origami achievement yesterday. All the while I was grunting over pretty paper, Hope made a fortune teller, some cool pinwheel thing, and a bunch of other cool little contraptions.
I learned more about my daughter yesterday. She’s at the age when a cute boy crossing the street results in a moment of complete and utter distraction, much like when a hunting dog sees a much sought-after squirrel. Never take her into one of those brain teaser stores if you want to spend the next hour doing something else, because it is not going to be a short walk through. She ignores you when she doesn’t want to do something. She hates waste, not because she’s a conservationist at heart but because she’s had so little that she had to save what she had and ration it. She admits to being a bit disruptive in school; where do folks learn all this “You have to respect me before I respect you” foolishness. No little girl, get in your lane. I sense having more than one conversation at a school conference on this subject in my future. She has a strong need to be right [family and friends just hush!]. She is surprisingly honest about her life and what she thinks about things up until this point. I’ve learned about things that were never in her profile but seem pretty stinking important in my quest to be a good, thoughtful and sensitive parent.
Over dinner last night at one of the special places she requested, she had a moment. She sighed and said, “I call you ABM, but I feel like I want to call you something else.”
Hmmm, ok, I’m thinking this conversation just got serious, as I nosh on this tasteless Spaghetti Factory pasta without benefit of a red wine accoutrement. I was so proud when she announced at the end of the meal that she was not impressed; the girl likes good food and this wasn’t really good at all. I know; I digress.
“Ok, so what do you think you want to call me?”
“I don’t know…” She wrinkled her face up and said, “Mom? But maybe not, because that sounds so weird… I don’t know. I’ve never called anyone that before.”
Wait, is she mulling over calling me Mom? Holy bat-poop! That’s pretty awesome! OMG…ABM, think fast, think fast and whatever you do, don’t cry. I really could’ve used a glass of cabernet right then.
“Well, Hope you can keep calling me ABM until you figure out what you’d like to call me. Mom sounds nice, but you’ll know if and when that’s what you want to call me when you’re ready. I figure one day you’ll just call me something and it will stick and we’ll both be ok with it. And it will be cool, ok?”
Hey where’d that come from? I think I did ok. Earlier in the day we discussed a nickname for her. The beginnings of our names are similar, and her nickname is actually a sweet name my granny used to call me. Interestingly, it was not really chosen by us, but more confirmed. Someone earlier in her life also called her by this pet name and it brought back pleasant memories; she was delighted that I shared the pet name, so it seemed like a great fit. No doubt my mom, Grammy, will put this down as more proof that Hope is supposed to be my kid.
Ok, so here are my highlight lessons of the day!
- I really suck at origami, I mean really suck. I’ve mis-folded countless pieces of pretty paper in the last day.
- Never buy an umbrella at a tourist trap. Twenty-five dollars for an umbrella…I know better, but ugh, the rain was so heavy.
- My cute new trench coat makes me look like a small tan whale. Will be counting calories and making time to get my fanny to the gym on the regular when I get back to town. I miss my pre-grad school curves. I can’t even say this is baby weight, unless I just name my dissertation and call it another kid. The PhD-15.
- The parenting 5-countdown thing really does work. I had to use it several times yesterday. By the third time I had it down pat, and she was more compliant with the desired behavior. Good times.
- Hope has a potty mouth, that I’m sure is reserved for school and not the grownups who surround her. She does enough “kiddie cursing” (heck, dang, etc) for me to know that the unfiltered version is probably like a Lil’ Wayne song in the school halls. I know, because I like bad words (thank you George Carlin), but we’ll be tapping down on all of that and boosting more appropriate vocabulary as time drags on.
- I’m super blessed in more ways than I ever understood. I’m grateful for parents who were able to provide me with such great upbringing and foundational life experiences. I adored them before, but now I know that parenting and doing your best on that journey is truly a life’s work.
Now, I’m going to snooze a bit. We’re Skyping Grammy and Gramps in a couple of hours, and I want to savor this morning a little longer.
October 12th, 2013 at 6:29 pm
I love how both of you have taken to each other and you keep finding more similarities. I also like that you are letting us newbies see the reality of there being some things that will have to be worked through. Thanks for letting us in…
October 12th, 2013 at 10:08 pm
Origami Coach, if you fail miserably at something with an epic flair, you’ll have humiliating humorous stories to tell about yourself for posterity. Nobody makes it out alive, so don’t take life too seriously. If Hope is a chatterbox, teach her how to “sing” with feelings. Singing promotes self-confidence, empowerment, well-being and lowered feelings of isolation, depression and anxiety. When we see the humorous side of things we tend to stay in a positive mood, our self-esteem increases and we feel healthier. Yuck it up! Laughter is cheap medicine.
—Judith Land, author & adoptee
October 13th, 2013 at 2:26 am
Ha! Origami Coach, I recovered well today. I found something I could make, even if it was a little lopsided. Still doesn’t compare to my frog. It’s still my best work. She is amused by this shortcoming.
Hope sings constantly, if she’s not talking, she’s singing or doing a step move. She has a lovely voice, knows current and throwback music. Honestly she’s my lovely little jukebox. 🙂
July 16th, 2014 at 1:01 pm
I have started reading at the beginning of your blog and am working my way through. Adoption stories make me all teary, but your story does so even more than usual for some reason. Maybe it is because it is a beautiful thing you found Hope, your daughter and she found her Mom. So many stars had to align for it to happen and they all did. You make me feel like I was there. I know this day took place awhile ago, but I am so happy for both of you!
July 16th, 2014 at 1:59 pm
Awww, it is a great and at times challenging story. It is an awesome thing to have found Hope. Thanks so much for reading our story.