Archive for May, 2013

The Joy

I bawled. I hung up from talking to the teacher and bawled.

She called tonight before dinner asking for a paper I was to sign. Even though I had signed it and sent it back today, the last day of school before summer break, she hadn’t seen it. While we talked, she realized where the paper probably was so she said to disregard her call.

Then she stopped. She said, “No. Don’t disregard my call. It gives me the chance to say thank you for my necklace — I wore it today.”

And then she went on to tell me how much Chloe means to her … how much Chloe has changed her … and what a tremendous blessing it has been to have her. “I love Chloe and will always love Chloe.”

She mentioned the note I wrote to her that I stuck in the bag with her necklace. It meant a lot to her; she took it to heart, which is good because I wrote it from my heart.

The phone call was a bit awkward and incredibly emotional (and those who know me know emotion is not my forte!). The words came awkwardly, if at all. I feel speechless and forever indebted for the care this woman has taken of my daughter this school year. I assured her that the note I wrote to her was indeed heart-felt and that I would never be able to express to her what this year has been for our family — for Chloe.

Hoping it’s not too personal to share, I’m choosing to share it here since this is where I share my heart most of all and really paints a picture of my family’s gratitude for the team that taught Chloe this year:

We have no words to express what this year has been for our family — especially for Chloe. To be valued, to be appreciated, to be loved, to be held to standard, to be included, to be listened to and taught … and all the while be healed from past hurts. Your heart for teaching and for my daughter is gold and healing balm for us. Thank you for an amazing year!

Yes, it’s from the heart. And truly understated, if you ask me.

She went on to say that there’s no way Chloe benefitted more than she did this year; the teacher said she was the one who was blessed. And she was so glad that Chloe landed in her room this year.

The end of the phone call with the teacher is what pushed me over the edge to tears and sobs. She said she didn’t know what our summer looked like, but that she would like to write letters to Chloe and hoped that they could be pen pals. She also said maybe she can come over or meet us at a restaurant and hang out while Chloe plays … “so that you can stay connected to teachers who care.”

And I said, “Yes!”

I said that I would like it very much.

And my heart is full. My heart is full and overflowing — overflowing all down my face and dripping onto my shirt.

The crazy thing? Just a few hours before, Chloe’s aide made pretty much the same offer. It’s as though they can’t imagine the whole summer going by without getting to hang out with my kid.

And I’m finally letting myself believe it. After an entire school year of my precious girl being valued and cared for, I’m finally letting it really sink in. It’s trying to sink in as the tears are welling up. My daughter is truly valued, sincerely liked, and genuinely missed by folks who love her at her school.

I will refrain from asking what planet I’m on!! It’s crazy, indeed. Crazy good!!

Stage Fright

Butterflies, cold feet, stage fright, nervous tummy — we’ve all experienced it. I have come to expect that sort of nervousness from Elliot before a big day or before a performance. He feels it, and he talks about how he’s getting nervous, etc. Zippy doesn’t really care that much to get very nervous — maybe he doesn’t even realize the potential of messing up on stage and doesn’t really care that people are watching him…, and Chloe has always seemed like it doesn’t really matter to her since in her viewpoint she’s the only person on the planet — and when you’re the only person on the planet, it doesn’t really matter that you are on stage.

However,…

Last night at Chloe’s cello recital, she experienced and expressed nervousness for the first time ever. And it was so severe that she was frozen in her steps!

I must say it was the funniest, most exciting thing I’ve watched in a long time. Stage fright is so amazingly typical for kids on recital night, and quite frankly, Chloe and I don’t have many typical experiences, especially when it comes to her emotions.

You will get the pleasure of watching the video below — just over 2 minutes of video of a girl scared stiff and refusing to hold her cello and her bow followed by her 6-second musical performance on which she did a fantastic job.

I am proud of the job she did! She pulled herself together for her recital piece. But it’s the 2 minutes before her piece that totally fascinate me. Had Paul started the video a couple of minutes earlier, you would have seen her less-than-speedy trip up the 3 stairs to the stage. Her nervous legs and feet were like lead refusing to move. I coaxed her up the first 2 steps, and then she just stopped– a frightened, frozen statue destined to a life forever stuck on the stairwell. The teacher came over and joined in the coaxing, “Just one more step, Chloe.”

She successfully, finally made it to the top of the stairs, both feet planted on the stage, and again she froze. Absolutely frozen stiff in her boots. Fear, anxiety, nerves almost visably wrapped around her skinny little legs, making it impossible for her to proceed a step further. When my coaxing and begging no longer worked, I gently lifted her little feet off the ground and scooted quickly and smoothly to the bench in the middle of the stage where I gently plopped her scared little body.

She sat, growling, with her arms wrapped tightly around the top of her head and refused to touch the dreaded cello which would play the dreaded beautiful music which would cause the audience to explode in dreaded uncontrolled applause. In the video, you will see the teacher and me working hard to convince Chloe to hold her cello and bow. You will see Chloe repeatedly wave Hello to the cello, to the bow, and to the piano, one time even greeting the bow that she’s wearing in her hair — bow, bow … see what she did there? You will see the very expensive and fragile cello nearly crash to the floor; you will see me finally, desperately tell the teacher to just go to the piano and start playing in hopes that Chloe will snap to it. Thankfully that plan worked. Chloe played her piece, jumped up for a bow, and even graced her patient audience with a second sitting bow. Success.

Sweet, entertaining success. I. Loved. It.

And Chloe survived (if just barely) her first solo recital.

Enjoy.

Happy Mother’s Day!

English: jkklglh

English: jkklglh (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Mother’s Day is a sweet day to remember moms. Flowers, jewelry, hand-made cards, hugs, and kisses. Oftentimes, the family tries to give Mom the day off — no work! — but we all know it’s nearly impossible for the world to keep on turning without Mama doing at least some of her stuff.

I have friends who arrived quite late to church this morning. The dad walked in with an armload of kids who didn’t look quite as well combed as they usually are. Dad seemed a little disheveled himself, at least in spirit. His report: he had tried to give his wife the morning off for Mother’s Day, but it had not gone as well as planned. Great idea in theory and at heart, but the reality wasn’t pretty or convenient. 😉

I love the opportunity to say, “Great job!” to a host of women who have been prize-deserving heros to hosts of children. It’s probably good for our society to set aside days to stop and remember the people who play important roles in our lives. However, I happen to also believe that days like today are just holidays created by Hallmark or other gift companies (maybe florists!) trying to make some extra money for a good cause. But that’s ok since our mommies are well-deserving.

At church this morning, I was greeted by several toddlers/preschoolers with a great big, smiling, “Happy Mother’s Day!” After church, everyone rushed off for plans with family. I really do cherish days like today. Hugs, greetings, blessings.

However, I can’t recognize Mother’s Day without thinking about folks who don’t enjoy the day. Those who have a terrible relationship with their mother. Those who have no good memories of that woman in their lives. A day to honor to HER? And those who have desired for decades to be called Mom but are left without that dream coming true. Mother’s Day becomes a day for everyone to rub that fact in — it’s everywhere. I think of those folks who have lost their moms, either recently or even years and years ago. A day like today becomes a hard, sad day. And for those moms who have lost their child — how do those women fit in to the celebration on a day that pains their hearts? I also think about birthmothers who chose life and adoption for their child — their hearts may be full or hurting … but their arms may feel sadly empty on a day like today. While I am in my house celebrating my wonderful mama and surrounded by my children, there are some who don’t feel as blessed on a day like today. I remember those people, and my heart hurts (only a touch of what they feel) for them.

Knowing how special, yet how hard, today can be for different people, Paul broke down and wept this morning upon hearing of some sweet friends who are finally after many years matched with a birthmother and a baby who is due to be born in less than a month. Today was a “Soon Will Be a Mama Day” for them. Such sweet news and such a celebration of blessing. How fun to celebrate with them — or to blubber and bawl all over them … 😉

But everywhere people celebrate — I know I did. We had my family over for lunch after church. Paul cooked a Mexican feast, and Elliot planned out a Ping Pong bracket for us to have a tournament in the garage after lunch. Moms, dads, cousins, grandparents, siblings, and lots of yummy food and contagious laughter!

As an adoptive mother and a mom to children who live life with disabilities, I am often told that I must be special … I’m so strong … What a blessing I am to him … How lucky he/she is to have me as a mom … I don’t know how you do it … I’m a saint … etc. But there are days — today being one of them — that I am reminded that I am the lucky one and they are the blessings. I’m just doing what comes natural, what I was called to do. But they are the blessings.

Thank you, Lord, for my 3 blessings. They are my children. I am their mama. And I wouldn’t trade any of it for the world.

So to each of you … whether today was a happy day, a rough day, a sad day, a terribly emotional day, or a celebration … I do wish you a Happy Mother’s Day. I pray that those who need healing will receive it, those who lack comfort will find it, those who feel empty or lost will be filled. And those who are celebrating will have an increase of joy.

Happy Mother’s Day!

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