Tag Archives: African American Parenting

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…


Ten Things on Wednesday: 3/31/21

  1. It’s my 5th pandemic “staycation,” and…I’m over it. I have been productive, which is a word that I do not like to associate with vacations. I filed my taxes today, completed a consulting gig, worked on a baby blanket and ate some leftovers. Yesterday, I exchanged a pair of sneakers at New Balance, because I prefer to go during the week when there are no crowds. I stopped off at Lidl to pick up a few things and swung by Michaels because I needed another skein of yard for this blanket’s border. Yeah, this vacation is uber exciting…#sarcasm.
  2. Hope, Yappy, and I will be going to see my parentals on Friday for the Easter holiday. I booked us a hotel room downtown where we will order room service, cuddle Yappy and enjoy a change of scenery. I hope to take Hope to the museum and run around the city ordering takeout from my favorite hometown joints.
  3. I think I’ve made the decision that Hope and I will take a real vacation this summer. I think we’ll go to the Caribbean where I can get nice dark bronzy brown, drink from sun up to well past sundown and snooze a lot under the umbrella. I want swimsuit tan lines and a tan line from that resort bracelet that gets you an endless supply of fresh towels and booze. As much as I want an adventure trip, I am still skittish about moving around too much–I think a vacation where I lay on the beach for a week is in order.
  4. Hope never really got up today. It makes me sad. Yesterday we went to see a movie. Only 6 folks were in the theater–Side note: first movie in more than a year. It was weird. We skipped the snacks because we couldn’t justify taking our masks off for popcorn. Just seemed silly. Anyway, we got takeout after the movie and it was great to see Hope out, about, and engaged. It was a reminder that she’s in there, trying to figure out how to beat the darkness back. I’m guessing it was probably exhausting being up and out. Figures that she would sleep even more today. if there’s no rain tomorrow, I might see if I can lure her out with a game of tennis outback.
  5. It’s hard to find things to engage Hope. She’s just not at a place where she can put her own plan together. I’ve offered to get her a tutor so she can continue her Chinese and Korean lessons. I’ve told her about places that are hiring. I’ve suggested that she look into a free online class just to create some structure. I suggest a lot, and I get frustrated a lot because I keeping thinking and Hoping that one day she will be at a place in her development and healing where she might chase down a lead. Each week, especially during lockdown, I’m reminded that she’s just not there. I desperately wish I could help her in a more meaningful concrete way, but the reality is that other than supporting her and keeping her safe is my role. The heavy work of healing is her job at this point. I respect that, but I still wish there was something I could do.
  6. A few months ago, I bought Yappy a set of FluentPet AAC buttons. The goal is to train Yappy to press buttons with recorded words so he can communicate with me (if he wants). This is another lockdown situation in which I watched too many dog and cat videos on instagram for too many days. A couple of weeks ago, I finally opened that box and set up his first button, “Outside.” We’re on week 3 of me making a big deal out of saying OUTSIDE and pressing the button and then going out with him. He hasn’t yet intentionally hit the button, but he is vocalizing a bit more–which is a real change because Yappy just doesn’t vocalize much at all—, and he gets excited when I push the button. I know he knows the word; it’s just a matter of seeing if he decides to tell me he wants to go outside. Stay tuned.
  7. I’ve had a couple of more sedentary weeks. It happens, but I’m trying to get back into my moving rhythm. I wasn’t taking as many work breaks to move around; I didn’t play as much music. I didn’t get on the treadmill as much. I don’t worry about it too much in the grand scheme of things but I also don’t want the lack of movement to become a bad habit. I like it when I’m more active. Several months ago I started jumping rope, only to realize I”m just horrible at it. Folks online talking about how you can stay fit by jumping rope–Hmmmph! I stumbled repeatedly. I bought several different jump ropes because clearly, the problem was the rope. #sideeye. Eventually, I ended up with this super cheap jump rope that has a counter–that was my game changer. I am finally up to jumping 200 a day. A long-term goal is to get to 1,000.
  8. Yep, still eating cake every day. I’m convinced that cake heals me at night. That’s my story and I’m sticking to it.
  9. I’m thinking about buying roller skates because, at 48, I have a death wish. This is why I need to quick social media. Stupid videos and subsequent ads got me making all kinds of bad decisions. Just some of the things I’ve recently looked into as a result of social media ads: roller skates, boxed cold brew delivery (this is totally worth it, btw), CBD bath bombs, other kinds of bath fizzies, hoopless hula hoops, dog toothbrushes, workout clothes with resistance bands sewn in them. Anyway, back to the skates, I enjoyed roller skating (she says totally forgetting about the couple of times she went skating in the last 10 years and nearly ended up in a body cast–ok, a minor exaggeration. Adults look so cool on those things in the videos. I already know I’m going to end up being one of those “How it started/How it’s going” memes.
  10. I got my second vaccine on Saturday. What a relief. I know that it doesn’t prevent me from spreading it or getting it, but just knowing that I would survive it…that’s a lot. I mentioned earlier that Hope and I are going to see my parents; we haven’t seen them since July of last year when we went for a few hours and sat mostly on the deck in the back yard. I’m so excited to see them; this is by far the longest that I have gone without seeing them in person. I miss them. Hope is super excited to see them as well. She saw them in October when she spent a few days with them. While we had a nice quiet holiday season here, Hope really missed seeing family over Christmas. She’s looking forward to having that time with them. So am I!

Ten Things on Wednesday: 3/24/21

  1. Another Wednesday; anyone else feeling like they are just coming really fast? This is the 12th week of the year, according to Google Assist, and it’s only the 83rd day. I feel like I’ve had too much “life experience” for 2021 already and I’d like to just skip the next part.
  2. I made this week’s cake with cannabis infused butter, and let me tell you…the best sleep!!! I wake up refreshed and really rested. Will go back to regular cake tomorrow, but I expect I’ll be making another one of these soon enough. It was gentle magic.
  3. I had my annual physical today. Healthy! The only “dings” is continued loss of the lower hearing registers and my incredibly stubborn vitamin D deficiency. It’s like no matter what I do I can’t get it to get to and stay in a normal range. When doc heard about these last three months, he kept asking if I’d like to try an increase in one of my anti-depressants. I told him I’d like to think about it. Like do I need it? Will it make any of this easier? I just feel like I need to name how I feel vs. how I want to feel vs. what’s chemically possible. I’m not into unnecessary suffering, and there was a time when I would have happily accepted the new dose, but I really need to check in with myself first, I guess.
  4. Hope is the same; which is good in that at least things aren’t worse. With improving weather I’m keen on getting her outside a bit. I have a very small window to do that in before the bugs hit in late spring. Getting Hope out of her bed and into the shower regularly is the daily goal; look at me with BHAG goals trying to get her out of the house. She is eating a little more now that I’ve given up on balanced eating and leaned into just getting calories into her. My gawd, I’m buying vienna sausages and pop-can biscuits. Last week we had breakfast sandwiches for dinner because she gobbled them right up. I just buy whatever I can get her to eat, and I cook often to create additional choices.
  5. I’m starting to think about the fall, and what it holds for me and Hope. Will she go back to her college? Will she be able and ready to? Will I be ready to begin traveling for work again? If Hope does go back to college, how will my life change again? I’ve got just under 2 years until I turn 50; how do I want to end this chapter? I’m really starting to think about all this. It’s like my 2021 pt 2 vision board is coming into view. I do really wonder what will become of my sweet daughter? Will she begin to find her way again? Will she feel strong enough to make decisions again? Will she be able to go back to doing dumbass college shit? I mean, after this last year, and especially 8 months or so, I am almost mad at my naive self and how irritated I was when I stumbled upon Hope’s stash. I wish we could just go back to that. Knowing what I know now, I would have just taken that stash, made brownies and gone on about my business. Yeah, I just want her to be doing dumb college ish again…at college.
  6. I have not been spending as much time on social media lately, but I have noted all kinds of drama rumblings about transracial adoption and the recent tragedy of hate crimes committed against Asian Americans. Asian TR adoptees have been sharing their stories of struggling culturally and identity-wise having been raised with no cultural connection, being raised to be grateful for being adopted, and being considered the “not like the other Asians.” White APs who do believe in this stuff come out of the woodwork to troll adoptees. Whew what a mess! I was telling Hope about it, to which she replied that White folks and APs need to talk less and listen more. She’s not wrong.
  7. Work is…ugh. This just continues to be a tough go of it. Maybe a med adjustment would give me better coping skills for work. Today somehow I’ve got swept up in some drama over a private company. Owner and I have chatted about diversity; this week it’s been like he thinks I’m his personal diversity guide. Anyway, tomorrow I have to intervene and guide a major course correct that ain’t even my job. I literally have to Olivia Pope this thing; why you ask? White supremacy + patriarchy = some bullshit every day and 5x on Sunday. I’m already over it.
  8. I get my second vaccine this Saturday. #joy I got Hope on the state registry this week; hopefully she won’t have to wait too long. I will see my parents in less than 2 weeks.
  9. I’m off next week. I think I’m going to get us a hotel room. In fact, I need to look into that right now. A room with a view, good cable channels and a mean room service menu. I just want someone else to take care of things for a couple of days.
  10. I’m heading into a recipe rut. I’ve got tons of recipes, but I think I’ll be trolling for something new soon. I need to revive my kitchen creativity. I’ve been slowly building the pantry back up with things for different recipes. I really just need to get into the kitchen and put in some work. I occasionally invite Hope to cook with me, but it stresses both of us out. I tend to use recipes as a guide; I love improvising. Hope hates this and freaks if she misses any step of the recipe. We are cooking opposites. In any case, maybe that’s what I’ll get her to research this week–new recipes.


One Pandemic Year

One year ago, today, I was buzzing around a local hotel with other colleagues making sure that the next to the last day of our annual conference went smoothly. I remember being tired, but excited because Hope was on a bus headed home for spring break. I was looking forward to seeing her when I got home and maybe ordering takeout.

Little did I know that that was really *it* for us, in terms of going out and living free. I had taken a few days off from work to spend with her before she headed back to her small liberal arts college. I ended up working from home full time later that week, while we just assumed that she would be heading back to school in a couple of weeks when this COVID stuff all blew over.

Three weeks later we were packing up her dorm room masked and gloved up.

A week later I had COVID, assuredly contracted during our brief trip to pack up her things.

We’ve both been home ever since.

Hope did have a couple of summer jobs, but quit, in part, because classes resumed remotely in September.

We’d been managing to hold it together until then, but early fall presented an escalation in our struggle. Honestly, things just went totally left in August and it’s been a daily struggle ever since.

Hope experienced a series of traumas related to some decisions that 19-year-olds can be prone to making. Honestly, I made some of the same decisions, as did many other 19-year-olds I knew at the time. It’s just a wickedly unfair world that some of us pay dearly for those choices, while others get skate away trauma-free.

I had to really remind myself to meet Hope where she was and remember what that season of my life was like to be as empathetic as the moment required. It’s easy when you have nearly 30 years more life experience to forget what it was like and how easy it was to do something that didn’t seem like it might have lasting repercussions.

There were definitely days when I failed miserably at meeting the moment, and other days when I nailed it. I’m hoping that Hope shows me the grace I don’t deserve as the years pass.

The hits just kept coming through the fall and into the new year. This kinda lost pandemic year totally wreaked havoc on both of our mental health statuses. The loss of control, the lost freedom, the inability to have the usual levels of family and friend support has been so challenging.

I see a lot of loss ground for Hope in some ways; I see a lot of lost ground for me as well.

My own career soared during this time, but it came a huge cost. In the weeks following the murder of George Floyd, my job and voice was in high demand. There was little time for my own processing of grief and anger. It was mostly a lot of work.

And then after a month or so, a lot of anger and frustration about how folks chose to engage me, how little my own humanity seemed to matter, how much was just constantly demanded of me. I really had to start working on creating boundaries in ways I didn’t have or want to before.

Ten months later, I still trying to create boundaries with almost virtual electronic/barbed wire fencing. I do this in the face of receiving recognition for the work I do within a largely homogenous profession. The wear and tear on me this last year…whew.

Add on how I seem to be sliding into menopause…and I just feel…tired, cranky and crazy.

It’s all hard to describe, but it’s just perpetually feeling off. I’ve got some cream and I’ve upped my self-care game, but I’m headed to the doc this week to just talk about what I can and should be doing during this time to cling to my sanity and to not kill anyone.

This year has been hard.

But it hasn’t all been bad.

Hope and I are probably closer than we’ve ever been. Our parent/child relationship is evolving to a parent/young adult relationship. The biggest difference is knowing that being of legal age means I just have to let a few things go and focus on leaning into the years of trust we’ve built.

Our conversations are different. The gaps in knowledge around life skills are more apparent. My pushing and pulling is not seen through entirely negative eyes; she can tell me how she sees things. We are closer, and I’m hoping that whenever the next new normal lands that we’ll maintain this level of emotional connection. It’s nice.

I have also finally, genuinely moved to a place of acceptance regarding my body. This last decade of my life has featured a number of body betrayals that were just layered on to two previous decades of body image problems. I exercise every day. I try to eat reasonably healthy. I do not deny myself foods that I enjoy. I ride my bike. I walk a lot. I do videos and I invested in work-from-home equipment that would help me maintain some healthy habits.

I wrote some time ago that I really shifted my thinking to what my body can do and how to maintain and expand its capacity rather than focusing on how it looks. Honestly, regarding my body, the last 4-5 months or so have been the most liberating of my life.

I still fight negative thoughts, but they are fewer and far between.

Most of all, Hope sees me being less critical and that means a lot as well. She’s a beautiful girl, and she struggles to establish healthy eating and exercise habits. The best I can do is model them for her.

In total, it’s been a rough year. I don’t know when the pandemic will be “over.” I got my first vaccine a few days ago and I’m excited that I will be able to see my parents for the first time in nearly a year in a matter of weeks.

It will be a while before Hope is eligible for the vaccine. Because she’s unemployed and not in school this semester (much less hardly leaves the house), she’s very low risk and will be at the bottom of the list for the vaccine unless something changes. I’m hopeful that this year brings some better energy to both of us. I hope that we can get back to some version of our old normal at some point this year


Ten Things Late on Thursday: 2/25/21

  1. I legit didn’t realize yesterday was Wednesday until I woke up this morning. My schedule Monday-Friday, at times, is brutal.
  2. I adulted this week. Sent in my passport renewal application. Deposited some checks that were nearly a month old. Pulled together the first set of docs necessary for my taxes. Cooked dinner. Tomorrow I might even call my primary care doc back; his office called to get me to make my annual physical appointment since we skipped last year. This regular ish, but I legit had to sit down, make a list and give it to my therapist last week. I am not terribly productive outside of work these days.
  3. Hope is still experiencing night terrors triggered by recent trauma. The thing is that there’s never a good time to deal with this heavy stuff. Given that Hope’s sleep schedule is wonky, her night terrors usually are happening during my work day. Yesterday, I had to fight to wake her out of one with less than 10 minutes before the start of a seminar I was giving as a consulting gig. I was juggling A LOT before hitting the virtual stage. The terrors have been really bad this week after abating for a week. I’m hoping she has some breakthrus soon so her brain can stop needing to work so hard helping her process some really shitty stuff. It’s heartbreaking.
  4. I’ve taken on some consulting work because it gives me some freedom to pick and choose gigs with groups outside of my current space . The gigs I’ve got lined up for the next few months are completely unplanned income, and its especially cool because I’m doing it because I enjoy it and not for the extra cash. When I took on the first of a string of gigs last fall, I made a decision that all extra income was going to be saved for my 50th birthday trip in two years. I’m planning to go to Egypt and Turkey. Egypt for Kemet and the pyramids and Turkey to take a religious trek visiting places where Paul journeyed. I want to take a few weeks off and travel, and it’s possible I will do it alone, which also excites me.
  5. Hope and I had a really amazing conversation about her childhood and our life as a family. Young Adult Hope is really emerging and it’s really cool. She’s totally still a ridiculous goofball, but there are times when I sit and think, wow I was not ready for her to come thru like this! The night terrors have taught me a lot about how the brain will find a way to work through stuff even if you don’t want too. Our chats sometimes reveal how she has processed to date life before me, with her parent and while she was in foster care. Often she just says she doesn’t remember things she used to have on heavy repeat 5 years ago, and I totally believe her. Sometimes it’s hard to hear how she’s put things up on a high shelve in her brain somewhere, but I’m learning that your brain also works hard to protect you.
  6. My parents got their first vaccine shot this week. I’m really so happy because it means we’re one step closer to hugging them. I miss them so much it hurts.
  7. I’m still waiting for my county health department to call me. It’s really any day now. Once I’m vaccinated and my parents are vaccinated Hope and I are going for a visit. Hope hardly leaves the house so she’s minimal risk. It’s soooo close.
  8. I chose a week to take off. I think we might book a room on the harbor in Baltimore for a weekend. Walk around the harbor and then watch movies and order lots of room service. Just need a change of scenery.
  9. Anyone else feel like weekends are too short as we enter year 2 of the pandemic? I think everyone should only be expected to work 4 days per week during this crapshow. We need an additional trauma processing day.
  10. I think I’m going to let Hope order in tomorrow night. She so delights in simple things sometimes. Watching her eat something she really loves, especially takeout, is a real joy.

Ten Things on Wednesday: 2/17/21

  1. So parenting…is hard. Trying to maintain some even keel, sense of togetherness, and household energy during this pandemic is hard. This is a hard time for us all; it really is. And parenting? Well parenting is hard on a good, non-pandemic, regular, degular day. This ish during a whole as pandemic is really some bullshit.
  2. Most days Hope doesn’t get dressed. On the regular, we’re at showering every other day. I’ve been trying to send her on errands that just need to get done to ensure that she showers, puts on real clothes and gets a little fresh air and vitamin D–which we are both deficient in. She stays in her room because my “home office” is the strip of space between the living and dining rooms. The recent addition of a treadmill (under or beside my desk) only takes up more space. And because I’m on a Zoom call 60-70% of my day, she stays out of camera view (unless she sees it’s my boss, in which case Hope seems to insist on sauntering behind me to the kitchen in full on granny robe and bonnet. My delighted boss, calls her over to ask how she’s doing and such and what’s for breakfast while I look at the screen mortified. (I’m convinced they are in cahoots!)
  3. There seems to be no balance I can offer during the day. Even when I’m home on the weekends, I rarely go to hang out in my bedroom, so the thought of setting up my office in my bedroom is purely horrifying to me. I’ve thought of taking over the dining room, but it’s already doubling as Hope’s college stuff storage up against the wall. The floor plan is open so moving technically into the “living room” is really just dragging y desk directly in front of the couch. Space is at a premium in this here condo.
  4. The result is that Hope is trapped in her room most of the day. Sometimes she comes and crashes on the part of the couch that is out of camera shot; on those days I know she just wants to be close to me.
  5. Work is so demanding that sometimes she’s fallen asleep, curled up with Yappy, and I didn’t even know they were behind me.
  6. I try to stop work at 5pm sharp. I walk Yappy, and then I set about to spending time with Hope. We just finished True Blood and haven’t figured out what to binge next. We have such different tastes in TV and film. She usually likes my picks; I usually secretly loathe hers. We’ve tried several series over the last couple of months only to split and watch what we want separately. Anyway, open to recommendations on other things to watch. We essentially have all the channels, so send info stat!
  7. I spend a couple hours with Hope in the evening. She’s kind and asks about my day. Comments about how many meetings I had. She’ll tell me about something she read or watched. She’s blurt out something she wants me to buy her or cook or something. We watch a little news because I keep the TV off most of the day. I head to my room around 8 so I have time for yoga and to really wind down from the day. And in the blink of an eye; we’re doing it all over again.
  8. This is the worst reboot of Groundhog Day ever.
  9. I can’t even imagine what folks will little kids are enduring. My sister K has 4 kiddos at home-21, 12, 4, 20mos. Her house sounds like chaos. Hope might be really struggling during this pandemic, but she is capable of functioning with some prompting. Those two littles–the 4 and the 20mo old? #Mayhem #AdorableMayhem
  10. I’m on the list to get the vaccine in my county. I keep checking the website, but I realize it’s going to be a good long while before I get a shot in arm. The day I registered, over 42K of my neighbors also registered, and now we’re all waiting with a total of 104K neighbors on the waitlist. SMH
  11. Yeah, bonus. It is so hard for me to keep up with life tasks these days. I’ve got a couple of checks that need to be deposited, which I can do by phone. I did manage to get my passport renewal application together. In December I did manage to go get my driver’s license renewed. Sigh…moment of transparency: I managed to get my passport renewal together because as soon as I get shot two of the vaccine, I’m booking a trip somewhere, just about anywhere. Optimally, I’d go alone because this lack of solitude is really, whew. But I know Hope also needs a getaway. I’ve been looking at places and dreaming, but no immediate plans. But trust, when I get that damn shot, it’s on.
  12. Yeah, double bonus. I’ve really slipped on my Black History Month edutainment. Normally, Hope and I would’ve watched some shows, some movies. I might’ve made her do some light reading. Right now that requires energy; I barely got it. It took me 3 days to watch Judas and the Black Messiah this weekend. My own motivation is so low. And while I know I can and do this every year, all year, there’s a part of me who feels pretty guilty about not pulling it together this year. Sigh, I’ve got like 11 more days.

Ten Things on Wednesday: 2/10/21

  1. How is it mid-February? So much has been crammed into the first 6 weeks of the year that I swear it should be June.
  2. Anybody watching the impeachment? We’re 2 days in, and well, the House manager’s case is compelling. I mean really, it should be a slam dunk, but the way blind allegiance and hypocrisy are set up…
  3. Hope is really coming along this week, and when Hope does and feels better, we BOTH do and feel better. I think we might finally be getting a little more stable. This is a long road though, and I’m used to upset apple carts. My optimism remains guarded.
  4. I’m entering a crunch period at work, and I’m struggling to work thought my anxiety about it. Lots of presentations, lots of zoom meetings, and a never ending inbox of cannibalizing requests. The things people ask of me are just…beyond. Like, I’m not a therapist. I’m not a search engine. I’m not a priest. I really don’t know what people expect when they email me. It’s just so unbelievable sometimes. It is exhausting, and I genuinely do not understand why people will spend 3 paragraphs writing about themselves and then ask something that an elephant in Thailand could probably figure out how to ask Google, Siri, Alexa or Google Assist. #Baffling. If I were to ever write a memoir about this period in my life, I’m totally including the shittiest of the shitty emails.
  5. Anyone watch Bling Empire on Netflix? I binged it a couple of weeks ago; it’s essentially if Crazy Rich Asians was a reality show. There’s a whole story line in which a TRA Korean adoptee searches for his birth family and another woman looks for her dad that she hasn’t seen since she was a young girl. Both characters find some resolution in their searches. It was really lovely to the guy’s mom be supportive of his search., but I was also glad to see that the show didn’t shy away from the fact that he really felt like he needed to know why he had to be adopted. The abandonment, the open wound…even with a good life and what appeared to be a good family and support system, he needed to know about himself and his people. Would love to hear other thoughts.
  6. I made CBD gummies last weekend. I purchased isolate from a local shop, researched some recipes and voila. I look forward to improving the next batch. Each gummy has about 15mg of CBD. Two take the edge right on off of me. I made them for Hope to help her sleep. We’ll see what works.
  7. I need a vacation so bad. Not a staycation, but a get on a plane and fly far, far away, where the food and language are different and the drinks are cool and plentiful. Travelzoo keeps sending me trips and I so want to book something. Maybe I’ll book something after I’m vaccinated. I soooo need to get away from the DC area for a minute.
  8. Yappy is not enjoying winter at all. At 6, he’s surprisingly showing his age. He’s not feeling the snow, sleet or rain. He’s only willing to cuddle on his terms. He’s demanding when it comes to just about everything. Doc says he’s healthy. My spidey sense kind of worries about him.
  9. Anyone else watching TV and sometimes getting anxious because folks are all close together without masks? Just me? Seriously though I’m really increasingly conscious about the trauma response to life during a pandemic.
  10. I need this upcoming long weekend. Got a few Valentine plans, but I mainly plan to rest. Of course I still need to create these presentations for next week…they ain’t writing themselves. But I’m looking forward to sleeping in, having my long hot bath and napping.

Ten Things on Wednesday: 1/27/21

  1. I’ve been doing yoga nearly every day since December 1st 2020. I used to do an annual December self-challenge to practice every day. It was a great way to end the year taking some time to stretch (literally and physically) and to recalibrate mentally and spiritually. I fell out of it for a few years and decided to reengage with my practice in December.
  2. The first few weeks were hard. I was forced to face just how limited my body was in terms of mobility and flexibility. It took nearly two weeks to really embrace the rhythm and ritual of practice.
  3. During week three I pulled a muscle in my neck. My body was telling me I was pushing too hard, too fast so I pulled back and worked on more gentle postures and not pushing my body past the brink.
  4. On New Years, I figured, I can continue this for another month. And in spite of a shitastic month, I did.
  5. Every night, I roll out a mat and stretch and bend. I pay attention to what is tight, what is limber. My practice is free flow. I haven’t been interested in too many standing postures at this point; maybe next month.
  6. Maybe next month…so here we are nearly at the end of January and I’m thinking hey, I think it can do it another month.
  7. It is a few minutes a day when I just breathe and let the thoughts just wash over me. I just let my body move.
  8. Yesterday I realized that I can now get really deep into some postures that were beyond me 2 months ago. I was shocked. I was like, “Is my whole torso really laying on my leg right now? Like without hurting?” In the midst of sooooo much personal chaos my body is still working and thriving. It was a revelation.
  9. I’ve also gotten back into taking luxurious baths. Hope bought me one of those bathtub caddy things with a place for your tablet, a glass, etc. I have made a point to take a long, hot, healing bath at least once a week. I got all out—bubble bath, booze, my kindle or my phone to stream something. I light candles. I stay in there until I’m prune-like and the water is cold. I often am not ready to get out, so I let some water out and run some more hot water. I have some CBD bath bombs and it really is just such a wonderful experience, especially after I have calmed myself with some yoga. (I’m about to run a bath as soon as I post this because…Wednesday.)
  10. While I definitely have been pushed to the brink, I am doing what I can to practice some self-care. I’m hydrating. I just bought an under-desk treadmill—it arrived today and it’s MAGICAL. I’m cooking the comfort foods that I like and eating in moderation. I’m doing the things I should be doing to take care of me. I still need to take some time, but I’m doing what I can under the circumstance.

Modeling Behavior

Not gonna lie; I have a number of vices…

Cake.

A good glass of wine.

An occasional edible or three.

Pizza.

Shopping.

Buying organizing stuff that I don’t bother using to actually organize.

And a bunch of other stuff…

But I also have a lot of healthy habits.

Daily exercise.

Simple prayers of gratitude.

Cooking.

Desperately fighting my anxiety and depression.

I’m fortunate that I have had only a few moments in this life where my mental health rendered me unable to function. About 15 years ago, I took a month off from work to just pull it together. It was hard. I was keeping crazy hours, trying to define myself professionally, trying to navigate a dreadfully unhealthy relationship, and struggling with an eating disorder. I just had to hit the pause button.

The early years of parenting nearly brought me to the brink. I’m not ashamed to admit that I wasn’t prepared to really tackle the trauma that Hope had endured. I thought I was, and Lord knows I fought for her every step of the way. The reality is that those pre-adoption classes that agencies make APs take as a part of the approval process are bullshit; they are soooo woefully inadequate. I knew nothing about secondary trauma, post-adoption depression or all the ways in which trauma might manifest in my daughter’s worldview.

There were definitely times when it brought me to my knees, begging for a timeout from the rest of my life so that I could really figure out how to parent and do it well.

I spent a lot of time just putting my head down and plowing through.

As Hope and I recover from another recent major trauma, I’m considering hitting the pause button once again.

I’m tired. This pandemic with non-stop social unrest has gotten the best of me, and it’s gotten the best of Hope as well.

In recent years, I’ve really tried to model healthy behavior for Hope. I work out daily; even if it’s just a YouTube workout video in the living room. I get outside every day, rain or shine. I balance my sweet tooth with attempts to get my fruits and veggies in. I get up; I get dressed even when there is no where to go. I, at least, put on fresh lounge wear. I make sure she sees me reading for pleasure, for work and for information.

When Hope fell into the deepest pit of depression a few months ago, I really tried to include her in light workouts, cooking, doing hair, reading. It was hard to see her decline and just roll over to go back to sleep. I get it; gosh to I get it. I often feel like I could just roll over and sleep for ages because my emotions are just too much that they feel both burdensome and invisible. But I’ve got to work and keep us fed and sheltered, so I soldier on.

With the recent developments, we’re back into the stuck in bed thing. It’s so hard because really, there’s a pandemic and crazies are out protesting an election that was resolved months ago. Other than going for a walk and to buy groceries, being out and about isn’t really an option. On my days off I still get up, get dressed and pull together a plan for the day—even if it is sitting on the couch watching movies. I try to stay active. I try to model pushing back on the darkness for Hope.

It’s hard to maintain that flow. It also feels useless as my beautiful daughter languishes in bed for days at a time, getting up to eat after I’ve gone to bed and jacking up my Netflix recommendations even when she has her own profile. I encourage her to try. She never regrets getting up and about, but she never initiates it on her own.

Recent developments have just taken their toll on me, and I’m finding it hard to keep going. I, too, could use some time to lay in bed—even though I know I won’t, or at least won’t the same way Hope does—and just sit with my emotions. I’m kinda overwhelmed with all that’s going on.

So, I’m looking to take some time off. Even with that, I feel bad because I need to cancel some engagements and some workshops I committed to recently. But I try to remember that if I got hit by a bus, those things would go on and folks would simply find someone else to do the things I thought I would do. Cancelling is not the end of the world, and some of this stuff…well, I probably should’ve said no to in the first place anyway.

I’m trying to model self-care. I’m trying to model coping. I’m trying to model self-love and resilience. I honestly don’t know if the lessons are landing, but I’m doing the best I can as I try to find my way through my own darkness.

We’ll see what the next month holds and whether I take the time I need and show my daughter how I hit the pause button. I just know I’m really tired, right now.


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