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Archive for December, 2009

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merry christmas you old building & loan!

Just wanted to write a quick post and let you know a fellow blogger and her husband have decided to sponsor De, the boy I wrote about in my 12 Days of Kindness.  Thanks, Ms. R, you’re the best.

Also, I had a very special get-together this week with several ladies – fellow adoptive moms- who I would call “blogger friends” except they are actually several of my CLOSEST friends and sounding boards, especially in the mommy dept.  We laughed so hard my throat hurt.  Only a few tears.  Check back, I have photographic evidence and you may see someone you know, either in IRL or blogdom.

OH WAIT, one more thing.  I surprised Ryno for Christmas with an HD tv and blu ray player.  We were still working our 15 year-old Sony that weighted 1200 lbs and had failing sound.  I pulled off a fairly decent surprise by saving the $$ I’ve been making on the side with my little photo hobby.  Anyhoo, I can’t keep a secret or delay pleasure so I gave his gifts to him last night and he was very happy – and HE in turn gave me an early gift that I absolutely LOVE.  He picked this out all by himself and I think it is perfect.

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fall… on your knees,

o hear, the angel voices…

Out of all the pictures I have of my little ones, the picture that has stayed in my bedroom, on my bedside table, un-fussed-with, is a picture of Han two months after he came home (then just about to turn 4) and sitting on Santa’s lap for the first time.  During the years of my epic struggle with my own fertility, Christmas was a hollow time; so different from the Christmases I remember from childhood with my dad’s Bing Crosby and the Andrews Sisters album on the old turntable in my bedroom.  I grew up wearing out VHS copies of It’s a Wonderful Life and The Bishop’s Wife.  I anticipated the holiday for MONTHS and sunk into despair when January came and I had to wait 12 more months for the smells, the lights, the warmth, the sounds…I. Loved. Christmas.

My first Christmas as a newly- married lady was wonderful, but my second Christmas as a married lady, I was almost a year into the dark world of childlessness and tests and hormones and pills and negative pregnancy tests.  A quiet, empty house in the morning is always hollow when you long to have a child, but never so much as Christmas morning.

No stocking to fill.  No listening for Santa’s sleighbells.  No Christmas pajamas.  No mouths covered in hot chocolate.

I used to live near an elementary school and I would daydream about having a four or a five or a six year-old and holding their little hand, walking them into a school for a Christmas program.  Sitting and watching them sing goofy kid Christmas songs about Grandma getting run over by a reindeer and wanting 2 front teeth for Christmas.  I LONGED for it.  I couldn’t look at the kids when I drove by the school, so raw was my grief at my inability to have a baby.

Yes, my 2nd Christmas as a married lady was lonely, even with my husband at my side, because we were longing for a child.  So was my 3rd, and my 4th.  In fact, Christmas was starting to lose any glimmer of the warmth that it had provided when I was a child.

An empty, childless house, at Christmas.  Anger at an uncooperative body.  Disappointment.  Failure.  Longing.

My 5th Christmas as a married lady and I had an almost-4-year-old little boy to take to see Santa.  I had entered a brave new world… this new world where I was a mom.  And not to a baby, but to a big, wide-eyed boy who had never had many presents that were just his.

He climbed on Santa’s lap and I paid way too much for the picture, and like that, Christmas was real again.

I taught my new son how to sign “baby Jesus” and some of the first english words he learned to recognize were “Jingle Bells.”  We learned signs so he could ask for presents he’d like.  We hung stockings, and on Christmas morning, Santa had found our home once again.

In some ways, that picture of Han on Santa’s lap is my favorite baby picture of him, because to me, at that time, he was like a newborn.  Maybe we both were.

A few nights back, I sat in our living room, rocking Chewie by the Christmas tree.  Chewie was nestled against me and snug in his fleece Christmas footie pajamas.  I was doing my normal humming and butt-tapping to lull him to dreamland.  I sang softly to him the words to O Holy Night, one of my favorite Christmas hymns and when I got to the “Fall, on your knees…” a lump came up in my throat.  Oh, the dark times I spent on my knees, face down in grief and urgent prayer.  Praying for this, what I have, with these children.  My kids.

Today I went to that very elementary school – the one we used to live near – and locked my car and ran through the snow into the building.  The staff smiled at me and said “hello.”  I signed in and got a visitor’s badge and rushed down the hall to a familiar classroom.  I was the first one there, so I started setting up and soon I heard the sound of little feet in the hallway and my son’s class was being led in to their Christmas party.  Han saw me and ran over, his face lighting up, and he wrapped his arms around my waist and kissed my hand and then started to walk away and then came back and pulled me down so he could kiss my face.

I helped them make reindeer headbands, and passed out treats and when it came time for me to leave, Han came over to me and quietly started crying big tears.  He said, “Home.”  I explained that “all the mommies are leaving but we’ll be back to pick you up from school soon.”  He calmed himself down, gave me one last hug and went over to get in line for PE.  As I started to leave, I saw him break away and come rushing toward me again.  He had his arms out-stretched, his shirt dirty with green frosting, his glasses covered in fingerprints, his hair needing a trim, his shoe un-tied, my son…  he needed one last hug.

It’s Christmas.  Merry Christmas.

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Okay, I recently had a to go in for some nerve-wracking testing that involved a mammogram (sp?) and an ultrasound.  The good news is that everything is FINE.  The good(er) news is that I was inspired for my final act of (anonymous) kindness.

The staff there was SO KIND to me on that day.  The lady who did my first test was SO KIND.  I was very nervous and she could not have been more comforting.  Then, after looking at those films, they decided to do a second test and I realized what it is like to try to keep a normal face while simultenously having a heart attack and that technician was very kind too.  Not AS KIND, but very kind.  (And again I reiterate, all tests came back a-okay.)

So, for my final act of kindness (EVER, mwah ha ha ha… just kidding) I snuck into the Mammography waiting room and left a big platter of cookies and an anonymous card thanking them for being so kind.  And I went above and beyond by actually BUYING cookies instead of making cookies at home so, you know, these were actually edible and pretty.

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I had an idea for some fun, cheap kindness today and it all went hilariously wrong… and eventually right.

I wanted to go get a hot chocolate at McD’s and deliver it to a cold S@lvation @rmy bell ringer.  Doesn’t that sound cool?  Imagine you’re a hard-working, under-appreciated bell ringer, with freezing hands and everyone is ignoring you and refusing to make eye contact when a lady with an adorable kid brings you a nice hot cocoa to warm you up?  Good times, right?

Well, except for, like today?  Wasn’t so cold.  And then I convinced my entire fam to go with me on this adventure and after I got the small hot cocoa in my hands, and we’d driven to four major stores and seen only empty, locked up bell buckets, it hit me.  Maybe they don’t have bell ringers on Sundays.  That must be an off-day for them.  And so then I had all this kindness I needed to get out and we  had to find someone who was willing to take a cup of cocoa from a car full of strangers.  We drove by W@lmart… no one.  We drove by K-M@rt, and a local grocery store, and no bell ringers.  And then we saw the Goodwill store and it was open!  I was like, “Ryno pull to the back!”

That is where the staff help donors un-load their cars.  Usually it is paid staff, but still, I had kindness to dispense and so we were “go.”  Ryno said, “What if no one is back here?”  I said, “Oh, I’ll find someone… we’re not leaving here with this hot chocolate.”

And then, we saw him, a guy – maybe 20 – in a goodwill t-shirt, working outside.  Yes, it was so NOT cold today that he was working outside in a t-shirt.  Hot Cocoa, anyone?!

I jumped out.

Ryno called, “Good luck…”

I approached the guy.  “Can you do me a favor?”

He eyed me warily.

“My family is trying to do a random act of kindness and we got this hot chocolate for a bell ringer, only they’re not working today, so we’re looking for someone who’d appreciate some hot chocolate, and, uhm, here it is, and here you are, and that’s my family there and I promise we didn’t put anything weird in it (this is where I realized I should have already stopped talking), and so if you want it, here you go…”

He looked at me, at our car, and then at the cup.  Then, he shrugged and said, “Alright, hot chocolate sounds good.  Thanks.”

With a sigh of relief, I hopped back in the car and said to Ryno, “Drive, DRIVE, before he changes his mind!”

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EDITED:  Okay, another blogger participating in the 12 days of kindness is trying to raise some money  to donate to Heifer, Intl – she added some adorable hand-made items to her Etsy shop and they are ridiculously affordable.  She is going to donate 100% of her earnings to Heifer.  Do YOUR good deed for the day and go shop her store.  My favorites are the adorable rings and booties and the little corduroy dog.  Actually, i love it all!

Seriously, can you believe my 12 days are almost over?  Time flies when you’re having fun and this really is fun this year.

There are two ladies that I visit at a local nursing home.  I only met them through our church, which we joined a couple of years ago, but they are delightful.  Neither of them will see grandkids or great-grandkids for the holidays.  In fact, neither of them get much company at all.  And I’m not going to lie, I don’t go visit nearly enough.  I used to go every couple of months and since Chewie came home, I haven’t been doing squat except being a full-time mom and being a full-time employee.  I went to see them  a couple of weeks ago and they were both so happy to see someone (anyone) and so proud at the dining hall to have company.

At any rate, Han is quite the artist.  He is our little Monet.  He can fill 100 sheets of paper in one sitting, because he’s a perfectionist and he’ll sit surrounded by a cloud of paper as he messes something up and throws the sheet over his shoulder to start over.  We’re working on improving that and – as Ryno told him today – that paper doesn’t just appear, a tree has to die for that!!

So I told Han about my friends and asked him if he’d like to draw them both something for Christmas.  He responded with a universal sign – the thumbs up – followed by a high five.

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