Friday, January 28, 2011

She just needed her mama...hey that's ME!

Poor little gal has been teething for the last few weeks but these last few days those darn teeth really seemed to kick things up a notch and she has been MISERABLE. Not the kind of miserable where her mood is drastically altered but the kind where she doesn't want to eat normally, she randomly cries, she can't hardly breathe out of her nose, her eyes are glassy, and she is just sad. One fabulous thing about my little sidekick is that it takes a lot to affect her mood, even through all this she is still all smiles! I love her.
Today I left work early to pick her up and on the way I was thinking to myself...she seemed fine with me yesterday. I mean she was a little off but overall we had a pretty good day. Then I got to thinking...when I was little (ok probably until I was like 25) every time I became sick I just wanted my mom. It didn't matter if she was in the next room, it didn't matter if she was paying attention to me, it just mattered that she was there, a second away in case I needed her. Then it dawned on me...Emery just wanted her mama and that's ME! In the hustle and bustle, who am I kidding the complete WHIRLWIND that was October, November & December I sometimes forget that I'm a new mom. Brand spanking new and these strange revelations, be them as strange as they sound, aren't as obvious to me until I'm faced with an experience like this. It felt good...no it felt AMAZING to know that I was the only face she wanted to see this afternoon, the only arms she wanted to be in, the only snuggler she wanted to snuggle with. She just wanted me.

Thursday, January 27, 2011

It's the little things...

I was watching American Idol tonight and there was a girl who auditioned. Yes, I realize that this is the entire premise of the show but this girl was african american and her parents were white. I cried. It's the first time since we've brought Emery home that I've actually seen this family dynamic outside of my own home. This isn't a woe is me type of post it's just my reality that's all. People do look at me funny when it's just her and I in public but boy howdy do we get some real weird looks when it's the three of us. I guess eventually I won't notice, but for now I do. Then I get a little defensive, which I hate. Then I tell myself, Kari get over it. I feel so insecure sometimes, almost like I have to make sure I say or do something that proves to strangers I'm her mother and not a babysitter. I also know that I will have more of an adjustment with our color difference than she will because we're all she has ever known. There are so many thoughts I have on a daily basis in regards to how much pain and loss she'll experience once she can comprehend it. Some days I just want her to be BORN from me so she won't feel that hurt...and then I realize that the beauty of adoption and why God CHOSE Tyler and I is that perhaps He recognized a capacity in us that we didn't know we had. The capacity to pick up broken pieces and try to make a childhood out of them. I love my little girl, with all of my living, beating, blood pumping heart and there is nothing (especially her color) that I would change. She is magic. Every day.

Wednesday, January 26, 2011

Things I learned from the first visit...

So, its taken me a while to piece together all the things I learned from the first visit...a little over two months to be exact. Here are some things I've learned and will change the next time we meet.
1. Emery is my child. Which means when she cries either myself or Tyler will be the one to step in and pick her up to soothe her. During the first visit I tried too hard to be nice and accommodating instead of smart and take charge. FM is in fact just that. Her first mom, and until Emery is old enough to grasp that understanding it's so important that my little girl understand her comfort comes from us.
2. These visits are going to become increasingly more difficult for FM. Emery will not really understand why we are going to visit this lady all the time. Until her brain can truly understand the basics of the situation she'll probably be a little wary for a while, which will then probably be hard for FM.
3. We're dealing with a teenager. FM is only 14, she herself probably doesn't grasp the gravity of the situation so we need to be a lot forgiving when it comes to maybe some things that she says or does.

It's not a lot that I learned or necessarily anything too earth shattering just things that I never in a million years ever thought I would think.

Sunday, January 16, 2011

She is magic...

This little connection dance we do is an interesting one. In the beginning I was terrified we wouldn't connect at all, I was afraid there would be a constant disconnect. I was anxious that I would constantly feel like I was just babysitting her all the time and would never know the magic that exists between a mother and daughter. It's magic all right...pure, innocent, constant. Her knowledge of what I am to her is growing ever day. It's hard in the beginning and still a little right now because she need(ed)s me in different ways. Food. Sleep. Care. Very simple of course but rewarded with some smiles. Now as she's getting older and her needs are a little more complex my rewards are much greater! She kicks her legs, smiles like crazy and even squeals when I look at her or walk into the room. She cranes her neck to find me in a room when she hears my voice, and sometimes...well most times I'm the only one that can soothe her (tyler of course is included in that).
She is magic. Pure magic. There are times where I seriously can't believe we lived without her.

Tuesday, January 4, 2011

Selflessness and strength personified...

I know I've shared on here a few times the struggles that my sister Kelly is facing with starting a family of her own. I know I've shared how much I love her and before I became a mama we endured our oddly similar heartaches together over teary phone calls and text messages and I seriously with all of my heart know that God blessed us with the relationship we have because we needed each other during those hard times. However, I've not been able to share her most recent struggles because she needed time to heal from them without everyone knowing her business. I suppose deep down we both knew that one of us would break our heartbreak cycle first...each of us probably thinking deep down..."I'll be fine, we'll be fine, as long as we're both in the same predicament and have that understanding of each other, we'll be fine." Then October 1st we brought Emery home and my sister was at home...still childless. Or so I thought. As it turns out she was pregnant but given her last two miscarriages her and Mike decided not to tell anyone. Generally I'm the one exception to that rule but she kept it quiet, even from me. Fast forward to their unbelievable excitement of finding out it's twins AND they have nice strong heartbeats we were all very optimistic and in complete shock! It was a happy time for us, I had my little bug and she was pregnant again and seeing heartbeats, which had never happened to her before. They were going in for another ultrasound on a Monday to see if this membrane had grown between the two beans (because for twins that necessary). She called me while we were on our way home from the chiropractor..."No heartbeats anymore Kar." She lost them. Both of them. Pure heartbreak. Over the course of the next few weeks my amazing sister and best friend personified selflessness and strength in amazing ways. She wanted updates on Emery constantly, she offered to watch her a number of times, when we were together she didn't wallow (even though I seriously would have been ok with that). She opted for a surgery to rid her body of the failed pregnancy and moved on. She was silent but not in denial. The amount of respect I have for her can't be put into words. As I look back on the month of October I've come to realize that she allowed me time to get into my mama groove while she was getting out of hers. There are times I feel guilty about my lack of involvement in her heartbreak this time around, plenty of times where I say to myself...I should have been there, for her surgery, for her post surgery, for her sadness. I wish I had more time to do what I "normally" do in this oddly familiar situation. Take her to lunch, buy her some flowers, cry with her. This woman is strength. This woman is selfless. This friend and sister of mine is amazing. She will, one day, become the most amazing mother ever...until then she continues on with life as a kick ass aunt and one of my most amazing friends ever.

Saturday, January 1, 2011

Fear of getting the ball rolling...

Before Tyler and I were parents I'd have days where I thought to myself..."Man, life is good. We can go wherever we want, take however long we need, and not have to deal with kids". Then other days my thoughts would be consumed by the very real desire that I didn't really want the "no kid" life. Fast forward to the first few weeks when we decided to begin the adoption process and my days were generally filled with pretty much pure terror. I was so anxious about being a parent, but most of all I was just anxious about time going by so fast. Everyone and their brother have always told me...enjoy it because it goes by so fast and will be over before you know it. That's my problem. I don't want time to go by fast. I don't want to blink and have Emery turning ten. So what was meant as a good natured "stop and smell the roses" comment turned out to be a real fear of mine. I was also dealing with the reality that once we began this baby train we had to be very mindful of the fact that we didn't want our kids spaced too far apart and that means the clock is ticking. I like the age gap that my sisters and I share...three and a half years. That means Kelly was old enough to sort of help my mom when I was born and also to self entertain because she was basically an angel child anyway, and then my mom had two helpers when Michelle, who was basically hell on wheels, was born. Now the next three, Michelle, Jacob and Ben were all like 18 months (maybe even less) apart and I'm pretty sure my mom was overwhelmed and Kelly and I were over the whole babysitting brothers and sisters bit for sure. All of this to say...there's a lot of pressure that I put on myself when we decided to start a family. The planner part of me (which makes up probably 10%) went into turbo mode and I was just overthinking things. Just go with the flow Kar. Just go with the flow. So that's what I'm doing...enjoying the little gal, because she's pretty perfect most days and I definitely don't want to miss out on that. I love being a mama of a girl, it's funny to see her little personality emerge more in the last few weeks. She's ornery. Very ornery. Poor Tyler...he's outnumbered now.

I must admit...

I always wanted a son first. (Hear me out though, this isn't a complain post) I think part of the reason is that I was always very envious of the whole "big brother protector" deal that some of my friends had and because I never knew that dynamic, I always thought it was better...therefore, I wanted it. Also, little girls are so dramatic and bossy and emotional and a million other annoying things that I was terrified I'd successfully raise a girl that was like the ones I never understood in high school or that I'd raise a little girl who wanted to.....GASP....take ballet or be a cheerleader. GAG. I was definitely more of a tomboy growing up. I played soccer from ages 4-16, caught bugs, didn't care if I got dirty, liked hanging with my dad in the garage pretend fixing my bike, went to the hardware store with my grandpa. I would play dress up and paint my nails, have slumber parties with my girlfriends and prank call the boys we all liked but I was never a ballet dancing-cheerleading drama mama. Now, don't get me wrong, in my adult life I have grown to love the "girly" things, however, deep in the darkest recesses of my mind, a little girl was always there. For some strange reason I always felt like I would have a girl first, don't know why, I just did. As it turns out, they're pretty darn fun! You can do their hair different ways, they're definitely more fun to shop for, there are definitely better decorating ideas...it seems that everything in stores made for girls are just more fantastic than the ones made for boys! I've already figured out ways I can allow her involvement in things of an ultra girly nature without wanting to vomit...perhaps she'll learn hip hop/breakdancing instead of tap/ballet, perhaps I'll work hard enough to raise a kind hearted little girl who won't feel the need to allow girly drama to consume her life but the truth is I'll love her always.