Comments on the comments. Again. I know, how obnoxious am I?
**Joy was sung by Staxx of Joy.
**Liz, the hotel reservations I was making in Seattle are for our summer vacation plans, although Blaine will be up there next week by himself.
**To all those who have been kind enough to ask about Blaine, I’ve not been avoiding the subject, I just haven’t known what to say so I haven’t said anything. Ok …. Soooooo, technically, that’s called avoiding. Whatever. We know nothing. Well, that’s not true. We know his next oral surgery is taking place the end of April. We know the mass in his shoulder is bigger and the pain is starting to radiate. We know it took a very long time to get all his appointments in Seattle (that he missed when his insurance authorization expired) rescheduled, but they have been. For April 9th. And the plan is for them to do a CT of the lungs, in addition to the CT and MRI’s they are doing of his head. So hopefully we will know more then. Although don’t count on it, because you know how it always goes for us. I have no doubt the CT machine will be broken that day, or the tech will be out with delirious malaria, or there will be a power outage on the entire western seaboard, or their will be a hijacking and his plane will get grounded in Dallas, or a herd of wild rats will invade his hotel and occupy his room, eating his shoes, rendering him unable to leave the hotel due to the hospital’s “No shoes, No shirt, No service” policy, and he’ll simply fly home sadly, barefoot, without knowing any more than we know now. Which is bupkis. (I threw that word in there for you, Jadine.)
**Sally, yes, the birthday letters are letters I write to my children every year on (or near, and I fudge the date on the actual letter) where I tell them how proud I am of them, what they’ve accomplished, what some of their favorite things are, etc. Sort of a year-in-review. They don’t know I write them, and I keep them in a scrapbook to give to them someday when they are old enough to appreciate the blood, sweat and tears that go into them, as opposed to using them to make paper airplanes or paper footballs, which is what I’m pretty sure Kellen would do to them now.
**Natalie, get out! You’re called Bobo, also? Bobo is the name my dear friend Renee’s boys call her mom, and in fact, what all of us call her. Their family has a whole weird nick-name fetish, though. Her sister Wendy is called Dee-Dee; her sister-in-law Kristy is called Tee-Tee; friends of the family call her Nee-Nee, and her youngest son calls his brother Zo-Zo. She scrapbooks, in fact, and I should definitely recommend she do a layout about this habit they have of re-naming everyone. (Renee, are you reading this? You need to document all of this!) Bobo is pretty much a saint, though, and we all adore her. In fact, she is the credit behind the quote I have in my e-mail signature: “If money can fix it, it’s not a real problem”. A quote that became much clearer to me after Kendrie was diagnosed with cancer. So, Bobo’s of the world, you rock!
**I had no idea so many people loved the Mitford Series. I don’t even remember who told me about them, I just found the note to buy them on my list. (See? See why you should never doubt the Importance of The List? If you write it, they will come. Or something like that.)
**Angela, no, my children write their own thank you letters, although you just reminded me that they are behind, as well. So thank you!
**Elena, ha! About putting a note on your list about checking into a notebook support group!!!
So, why am I singing Hallelujah???
The entire time I was pregnant with Kellen, the entire time we lived in Los Angeles, the entire time I walked the Del Amo Mall with Brayden in her stroller, stuffing my big fat face with garlic and Parmesan pretzels, I tried to remember how blessed I was, and to be thankful for the gifts I’d been given. A beautiful baby girl to take care of and love, and a beautiful baby boy on the way. And although I probably looked happy from the outside, and inside I *was* truly happy, I often felt as though I was playing a part on a stage. I did all the “new mom” things I was supposed to do, and certainly took care of Brayden’s physical and emotional needs, but looking back, there was definitely a tinge of desperation to my care-giving. I wasn’t the relaxed, happy mom that Brayden deserved. I tried to be -- I pretended to be -- but I wasn’t. I often wonder if the newborn Brayden, and the toddler Brayden, could sense my concern and fear about the court case back in Oklahoma, and the worry about how things might be going. I alternated between anxiety, flat-out terror, and bliss over being a mom to her. They say babies are pretty perceptive, but I’m going to hope she never picked up on my wide range of emotions, otherwise she’ll be in therapy for years to come.
What we thought would be a ten-day wait before we could adopt her, and then thought would be a few months, and then a few more months, had dragged on for over a year. Finally, two days after Kellen was born, we received word. The decision of the trial court was upheld, the appeal was over, and the case was closed. We were free and clear to finalize Brayden’s adoption. If that’s not a reason to Sing Hallelujah, I can’t imagine what is.
I wish I could properly convey to you the relief I felt at that point. Weak in the knees, adrenaline-rush, shaking all over kind of relief. Basically, I’d been holding my breath for thirteen months, and could finally let it out. If the happiness I felt yesterday over finding my lost notebook was a droplet of water, then the joy I felt knowing Brayden could officially, really, finally, truly, legally, formally, publicly be made my daughter, instead of my foster daughter, was the Pacific Ocean and Indian Ocean and Atlantic Ocean, all rolled into one. I would have gladly strapped both babies to my back in a jumbo-Bjorn and walked the twelve hundred miles home, straight to the courthouse, if that had been a reasonable option. But it wasn’t. I had a two-day old baby, and was recovering from major surgery. As much as it KILLED ME not to rush back to Oklahoma and make everything legal YESTERDAY, we knew the logical thing to do was wait just a little while, until traveling was more feasible. We had waited thirteen months, what was a few more weeks?
So, my doctor said six weeks of recovery …. And week seven, we flew our happy butts right back home.
The day of the finalization, our attorney told us it would be a quiet, private affair, taking place in the judge’s chambers. But we had so many family members attend with us, to celebrate, they had to move the finalization into a regular courtroom, just so they could fit everyone in. The attorney who had handled the initial court case, and the appeal for us, who had patiently and gently led us through the process, and gone to bat for us so Brayden and I could leave the state, stood with us before the judge to begin the proceedings. There was a witness on the other side of him, Blaine was holding Brayden, and I was next to Blaine.
Our attorney started the actions by saying, “We are here today to make a matter of legal record what is already a matter of heart” and I burst into tears and blubbered my way through the entire thing. In fact, I tear up to this day when I remember, and think about how special that moment was, and how long we had waited for it.
Brayden? Not so impressed.
She squirmed out of Blaine’s arms and ran straight to the back of the courtroom, where her Grandma and Grandpa were waiting.
Then she got sidetracked by the swinging doors and played with those, entertaining herself the entire time.
I didn’t scrapbook back then, so the pictures I got that day were less than stellar. What the anal, amateur photographer inside me today wouldn't give for a do-over.
Especially, what you can’t see in the photos, is the two hundred pound weight that had been lifted off our shoulders. You wouldn’t think worry and fear would be so heavy, but they are. So is the guilt you feel, when you are forced to acknowledge that your worry is affecting your day to day life in a negative way. And possibly even affecting the one little person you love most in the world. So it was beyond good when the worry and fear was finally gone. And the great big hole they left behind was filled up with even more thankfulness for M, and the amazing gift she had given our family.
At long last, fifteen months later, we were able to appreciate it the way it should be appreciated, with clear eyes, a clear heart, and clear spirit.
And we’ve never stopped.
Sing hallelujah, indeed.
Why yes, I bought her that “My Mom Rocks” t-shirt. You have a problem with that?
I realize an impromptu game of flag football isn’t that extra-ordinary for most families, but this was the first time in close to a year that Blaine had felt good enough to play outside with the kids, even for a few minutes. Their laughter and happiness at having him back, even if only for a short while, was infectious and I ran inside to get my camera. And kept telling them to pose, which apparently ruined the impromptu-ness and flow of the game, or so they kept telling me. Whatever. I have it on record -- they’re happy -- look at their faces. My job is done.