Reflections of a Mother Finding Her Words

I remember writing my last post, thick in the what ifs of fall. That season always makes me feel nostalgic while anxious for what the new year will bring. It's my restart for a reason, and I'm always curious and looking toward the future when October rolls around in the calendar. 

It's like something clicks and I'm back in the dreaming stages where anything is possible. 

Last year, I knew a bit of what was coming. Or rather, who. 

Even though I knew my life was about to change, I never knew how. No one can anticipate the way your heart bends and breaks and recovers in one fell swoop when your little one is placed in your arms. No one quite understands how the makeup of your brain chemistry literally changes to live and breath and function and spin around this tiny one making noises and staring at you intently and stealing your breath every time he does something new. No one covers the dichotomy of celebration and grief that fills every molecule when you adopt. And when the woman who grew and breathed life into the one you're calling son is a friend and someone you've gone to bat for and fought for in the past, you tend to lose words for how to articulate the exquisite magic and how much it all hurts.

And so, I lost my words for a bit. 

Like, no matter what I did or how I tried to trick myself into words on the page, I could not write. 

I would read my last post like a talisman. I wrote before, I would think. It's what I do — sentences and stuff. But then I would look at little lion and he would catch my gaze and smile and I would be catapulted into a completely different world and poof! would go every single thought. 

At first, it angered me. 

Our process of bringing Jubal into our home was not for the faint of heart. I would scroll through Instagram, these picture perfect families on display and celebrating adoption as the best thing ever! and how super grateful they were for their super awesome agency </sarcasm> and I would know — I would know — that it was probably the worst thing on the planet to compare my story to their story. Who does that? Amateurs. That's who. And yet...

Here we were, still stuck in North Carolina. 
Still completely oblivious to what was happening behind the scenes. 
Still dealing with manipulation on a whole 'nother level. 
Still suddenly needing legal representation and combing through old contracts and spending hours on the phone with family trying to get to the bottom of what was looking like the hardest-Christmas-ever.

If I wrote my words bubbling up back then, or if I shared what actually found its way into my journal, it wouldn't have been appropriate for public consumption. Yeah, I was angry, but really I was terrified. The fear surrounding what was happening to us was bone shattering. We literally had no idea whether or not we would be able to keep Jubal. We literally had no guarantee that Mama Rad's wishes and decision to choose us as his parents would be honored and respected by our agency. There was no way for us to know what would happen and I went through days believing that at any moment they were going to show up and take him away from all three of us. 

My words were raw at that point. Broken. Desperate. Confused. I didn't know how to categorize these into a morsel fit for consumption by others and so I just didn't. I snuggled Jubal. I texted Mama Rad. I Marco Polo'd friends. I fell into Russ' arms. A lot. I cried buckets of tears not understanding why my path into motherhood hurt like hell when everyone else seemed to ride on the wings of unicorns.

Four years ago, I wrote a blog post right before we found out our second match dissolved. It was my last post before allowing others to step in and take over for a bit with the tried and true guest posting season. I was determined to do this thing right. This thing being writing. 

Here's what I said about this goal of writing through the mess and sharing it all as I learn about motherhood and creativity —

I'll wrestle through priorities, schedules, rhythms...maybe share some lessons learned and new things I'm trying. All of them will be bent toward encouragement and reminders that no one is perfect and we're all in this messy pursuit together. 

In the fall, I viewed motherhood as a task. A job. I assumed it would take up every.single.second. leaving me with no breathing room for other things.

I'm realizing now it's a both/and. It will take up every second of my day. It will leave me with what seems to be no breathing room at times. But that will leave me breathless and inspired by the absolute magic of it all. Motherhood is not a task or a project or a job. It's love in action. It's life in motion. It's tripping and stumbling and swinging and flying and soaring and careening toward a single hope that this soul now in our care will know one day just how much we loved, just how much we prayed, just how much we waited for him to come home before his name was even a thought or a whisper on someone's lips. 

It's Beauty and Risk and Authenticity and Freedom and Healing. 

And for this, I will write.

Bless my heart.

Here's the thing: I think we all go about this our own way. And I thought the same back in 2013, but for some reason I thought I would be the one who would write through the exhaustion and friendly emotional hijacking that mothering an infant brings. And not like, write through as in journal the expletives and prayers and combined confusion when things make no sense whatsoever and you're punch drunk on your fifth round of coffee. I meant like...here. On this blog. I would be mothering an infant and writing at the same time. 

Who knows. Maybe it would have been different a few months ago without the trauma involved. I won't ever know the answer to that question. But that's the thing: we don't ever know. All we can do is show up when the words appear.

And if the words come today or tomorrow or next October, breathe deep. They will come. It may not be when or how you expect them to come, but they'll show up — they always do. Trust me in this. 

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Posted on April 24, 2017 and filed under The Memoirs.

the invocation of a beginning.

I am not an early morning person, but there is something magical about the space between night and dawn. 

The other day I had a coaching session early in the morning. I left the apartment when the sky was just beginning to show her colors for the day and I found myself rolling down the car window so I could hang my iPhone outside to snap a picture. I immediately sent the picture to some of my people.

“Here you go, ladies.” 

I wasn’t the only one taken with the sky. There were others who would post their own version of the same view. Some caught it earlier, before the light made a show. Some caught it later, when the crisp blue sky took over the scene, the clouds a trail of white and gold in the background. 

It was the clouds that got me. When I first saw them, their underbellies were layered with pink and gold and a violet so deep my eyes couldn't pull away from the beauty. All I could think about was it's a new day — it's a new day.   

Coincidentally, it was also a new month

Ray Bradbury says that October is its own country. I feel this statement on a molecular level. October is my restart. It’s the time of year where I can breathe, where the heat of summer begins to break with the smell of fall. 

It’s where morning light doesn’t feel so foreign. 

Maybe it’s because that magic space between night and dawn feels a little longer. The winter months nip at the heels of time and demand preparation. 

Root down, they say. Take up room. 

I stretch into my full being during these months and it’s October that ushers me into the new season. 

You made it, she says. Breathe deep. Close your eyes. Remember the rhythm in your soul. 

Outside my window, the sun pushes her way through the clouds. I’m awake before the light takes over again, and this morning it’s about the way the gold seeps through and threatens the rain. It won’t push it away completely. There will be some rain that falls. But it’s quick and light — an invocation.

Sunshine rain, a friend called it a few months ago. 

Whatever it is, I know it’s a blessing. I smile and breathe in the new beginning. 

Posted on October 4, 2016 and filed under The Memoirs.

The Margins

I was going to write this morning. 

I got up with plenty of time, but then Trulee decided that this morning would be as good a time as any to demand two walks within thirty minutes and my time for writing disappeared. 

It wasn't that big a deal though, because I would have time later. I would be home by 6:15, and there would be space for this — space for words to form and thoughts to percolate.

But then around lunch I felt a migraine coming and for the rest of the day my focus was simple: drink as much water as possible. Take a lot of deep breaths. Stay awake during the meeting. As soon as I walked in the door of our apartment, Russ grabbed my hand and pulled me to his lap. 

"I just need sleep..." I said. 

He pointed to the corner of the living room and I blinked a few times before noticing the glider / swing he put together while I was at work. Internally, my heart bounced a few beats. Externally, I only kind of smiled. 

"I didn't even notice it when I walked in," I said. I looked at him and nestled my head in the crook of his shoulder. "Almost as if it's always been there...." I could feel my head close in, the vice-like grip squeezing tighter. I sighed and pushed my way to the bedroom, and fell asleep as soon as my head hit the pillow. 

That was five hours ago. Even after I let myself rest, I still had the residual foggy-brained feeling of thoughts not fully connecting. It's what happens when migraines take over completely. It's a good 24-48 hours before I can really breathe with relief again.

But I'm here now. 

More and more, writing within the margins is how the words are won. 

 

Posted on October 3, 2016 .