Monday, May 24, 2010

I get excited when....

For the first time in a long time, maybe ever, I am prefacing my post! 1. This is a response from the prompt above with the guideline that it follow my stream of consciousness. 2. When I am writing, I have a hard time getting off track. My mind moves fast enough to organize the information before I get there.... so some of this is extended bits of what felt like a quick quip in my mind. 3. If this scares you, you should never actually see the number of thoughts and asides that do go through my mind and are never expressed.

I have a good life. That hasn't always been the case, but it is now and I have every intention of keeping it that way. In some ways, just knowing I beat the odds excites me. It's all roses so to speak. In other ways, it seems duller. Little things, like finding a quarter on the sidewalk or receiving a hand-me down doll, were equivalent to striking oil in Texas when I was a child. (Have you heard of the Hillbillies? It was an old black-and-white sitcom-- before they used words like sitcom to describe shows-- where a family of, well hillbillies, have an accident and strike oil. So, of course, they move to Green Acres, which would be like moving to Beverly Hills to us.) Sorry for the long aside, but that's how it felt to me. Although I still get giddy, and sometimes still do a happy dance at finding a quarter on the street, the moment passes quickly and I usually dig out another one and hand them off to my children. Come to think of it, finding a quarter ends up costing me more money.

And hand-me downs? I still get them in troves. It kind of drives me nuts! My husband and I are financially stable. Not wealthy, but we don't stress about paying bills and if I want to buy a T-shirt at Old Navy, I don't have to check my bank account first. At the same time, I can't just board a plane to go visit friends or take a vacation without planning it months in advance to make sure I have the money to pay for th expense. So, why do people keep leaving me bags of children's clothes quite literally on my door step? I suppress the urge to growl when I find a new one and after a few days of it sitting in the corner of my room or on my couch, I go through it. Sometimes I keep a couple of outfits, but most times I just pack it all up and drop them off at the local Good-will. Maybe that is why they do it. I'm a free errand running service for them. Of course, when they ask if I found it, I smile, say yes, and thank them. Looks like I am enabling them.

There are some hand-me downs I like. Heirlooms. Especially small decorative things. I don't actually have any. Not from my family. There was no money to buy things that would last or that anyone would want passed down. Actually, that is not entirely true. I do have Christmas ornaments from my grandmother, some of which she received from her mother. They are beautiful to me. My sisters think they are ugly and wonder why I bother to keep them around. They are old, that's for sure. Dull white ceramic snowflakes. Some are orbs that you can place pictures in. As I am typing this, I think I am going to go through the pictures that I was given after my grandmother's house burned down (yes, the same grandmother that had the ornaments and no, the house fire was not the cause of her death. She was forced to live on oxygen, but her death came nearly 10 years after the fire.) I imagine the ornaments were a really beautiful shiny and stark white when they were new.

I wonder if this is why I want to be able to pass things down to my kids. Tangible things. Because I am never likely to have any from my parents or siblings. My children have some things already. They each have a photo box with baby stuff that they are most likely going to throw away as adults. It's something I expect. I do hope they hold on to the two books I have stored for each of them. They are the books I read to them in the womb and as newborns. I read the books until my children rebelled and asked for something more mature. These are the little boxes I plan to hand them when they have their first child. So, hopefully those books can play some role in the life of their children as well.

I have other things too. I made my son's baptismal gown. It's very simple. White Egyptian cotton at like a 500 thread count. It's a dress. Yes, a dress! Kind of traditional that way. I made a little jacket too since it was Spring and I didn't know what the weather would be like. No one has ever worn the jacket. Every child has baked in it. It's a ceremony and pictures gown only. Oh, "everyone": I want to explain the use of that word. So, I originally made the gown for my son. I had his name embroidered on the bottom of it and the date. In doing that, I decided it would be a family gown. My daughter wore it and her name was added to the hemline. My niece and two of my nephews have worn it. All their names and baptismal dates are also embroidered on it. I hope that my grand children will wear it and so on.... each child having their name added to the gown. I think it is a beautiful idea. Both historical and meaningful in the present. I have no idea who will get the gown when I die. I suspect my son since it was made for him.

I also nagged my husband until he made a basic replica of the cradle I use to sleep in at my grandfather's house. I slept in it. My sister's slept in it. My baby dolls slept in it. For whatever reason, the cradle left an impression and I wanted one for my kids as well. He made it out of oak. He stained it a honey color. There are little spindles instead of a solid side. The ends are inset. It is fabulous! A few other children have also slept in it at this point. My daughter will probably get that because even though my husband started making it for my son, it wasn't completed for use until a few days before my daughter was born.

We also have a solid wood toy box that my children barely used. (Too hard for me to maintain it in a fashion where we could ever find the toys we wanted.) And I have a cedar chest a friend gave me a couple of years ago. We want to refinish that and use it as a hope chest. If we manage to get that done, I can see myself saving those things for the kids too. I also saved each of them an outfit. My daughter's is a vintage dress with small roses and a bonnet to match. She wore it to a wedding when she was maybe 3 years old. For my son, I have a pair of 'laderhosen' that his daddy wore as a kid. I'm just not sure where it disappeared too.

The trick becomes what to do if we have another child. We are considering adopting. If we adopt, I don't have anything to tie to the child as an infant. I'm sure something will come up though. Before I get too far of myself, we have to actually start the process. I am trying, but it seems so much more difficult that I originally expected. I simply am struggling with finding agencies. We want to talk to people about domestic and international adoption as well as what special needs adoptions include. For instance, some sites state that minority children are considered special needs because of their skin color. I think it is a sad statement, but I see how it applies. Many parents are adopting babies or look for children who look like them. Adoption is expensive so fair or not, since the money largely rests in the hands of white European-Americans, the adoption rate of minority children is much lower. We personally don't care about the race or gender of the child. We could even be open to a sibling group (of two). However, we want to adopt a toddler or young preschooler. It seems like all the non-infants are five or older. That's the age of my eldest and I'd prefer to adopt younger for that reason. I also don't know if I will have the desire when my current youngest turns 7, which would be about the time I would look into adoption a five year old.

I also don't want to adopt a child with true special needs. I am not up to the rigors of it. I worked in several roles supporting, advocating, and consulting on behalf of people with disabilities so I have a realistic view of what it takes to make it work. I left the field because I was burned out. I don't think I am up to the challenge of it any longer. And I am selfish in not wanting to upend the life of my children more than needed through adoption. My mother-in-law asked what I would do if I adopted a child at 18 months of age and that child was diagnosed with autism a year later. I don't know how to explain it, but somehow that is different in my mind. Not autism, but just not walking in and adopting a child with a disability up front. For whatever reason, I am okay with walking into it blindly over choosing it on knowledge. I wonder if that makes sense to anyone but me.

Well, my children have been happily playing in the bathtub. They were excited to have a bubble bath and new bath toys. The excitement is wearing off. I am going to sign off and thank you for the opportunity to rant and rave..... although I don't really think that is what I have done. Hopefully you were at least mildly entertained with my subtle ramblings. I would have expected to be all over the board... I usually am. No, I use to be more so. Now I have a writing blog for creative writing (fiction and non) and I think my ramblings have largely found a home there. And now, I am rambling! Okay! I have to go now....



  1. This is nice and somewhat between introspective and narrative. and interesting balance.

    The whole special needs adoption thing..I totally get it.

    OK lets get together and talk.

  2. I'm not sure you getting it is all that reassuring! Hahahaha.