I’m at the beach in Delaware with Craig and the kids. I promised myself I wouldn’t write this week . . . that I’d leave the computer in its bag on the floor and spend all of my time staring at my kids and husband. I make this promise to myself sometimes, and then a few days later I start twitching and remember that for me, writing isn’t voluntary. And that my kids and husband want me to write, whether they know it or not. A few weeks ago, Chase found me on the computer and whined, “Mom, you are always writing.” I smiled and thought, that’s because always writing is better than always drinking. Count your blessings, sweetheart.
I’m very, very upset today. It’s been a wonderful vacation, until today. We came to the beach with such hope. We found out last week that our African country accepted our adoption application. Sister called to tell me that miracle of miracles they approved us! We were shocked and confused, because we had given up hope. When I heard the news, I felt hope and love beckoning me again. Like Zora Neal Hurston said, “Love makes the soul crawl out from its hiding place.” Craig and I had been hiding inside our resignation and hopelessness . . . and the approval news had us sneaking back out in the open and feeling the sun shine again.
But now we have learned more. I can’t give you all the details, but I’ll just tell you this much. Our country has changed its mind about how they feel about international adoption. They do not want to adopt their babies out any longer. So they have told us that while we are approved, unless we are matched with a baby within four months, our file will be closed and our chance at adoption will be over. Since there are over one hundred families waiting before us, and there seem to be a few adoptions completed per month, it’s not looking good. Actually, it’s looking impossible.
I feel like I crawled out of my hiding place and stretched out in the sun just long enough to get run over by a bus.
Hope can make you feel so stupid. So naïve. So annoying. I feel annoying. I am always bugging everyone I know with this adoption hope and then I have to say . . . just joking, again. I am Jim Carrey. Africa is the hot redhead.
You guys, I just feel very close to a breaking point. Like today, when I got this second wave of news, I immediately felt like having forty million vodka cranberries. I really did. I don’t usually have that reaction anymore, but I did today. I just felt so desperate to get myself out from under the weight of this adoption by escaping somehow. I felt so, so sad and angry about how hard and confusing life is, and how small and weak and powerless I am turning out to be.
I just wanted to either fix all of it or forget all of it.
I didn’t though. I didn’t have forty million vodkas. I didn’t even have one. So I guess that’s something.
You know what I did?
To help myself through this hard day, I asked Craig to take the kids to a movie, I got myself a huge glass of ice water with lots of lemon, and I sat down at my computer to write to you. To talk to you. To get it out and tell the truth and try to find some breathing room.
It’s working. A little. I feel a little better. I’m still going to need a long bath and then the couch and dozens of Twizzlers as soon as I’m done writing, but still. I’m proud of myself for finding this coping strategy that helps. We all need strategies that don’t hurt us but help us deal with our anxiety. We need those strategies. We need to know what to do when we don’t know what to do.
You know, Hope is so freaking annoying. I really hate it sometimes. I do, I can’t stand hope. It’s like that bird outside your window that starts chirping beautifully at 5 am and you want to throw a rock at it because you’re so desperate to keep sleeping. You stick your sleepy mad head out the window to shoo it away but you can’t see it. It is invisible but it Keeps. On. Chirping. Like my Emily Dickinson says, “it never stops-at-all.” Maybe she was as desperate for hope to stop chirping as I am.
I still have hope, tragically. So, I’m not sure what we’ll do. Maybe we’ll throw in the African towel and begin a domestic adoption. That sounds equal parts wonderful and awful. Starting over . . . again. WOW.
Or. . . as it’s been suggested to me numerous times . . . maybe I’m supposed to accept that adoption isn’t working for us. Maybe I’m supposed to accept that adoption is not in our family’s “plan.” Is acceptance what God wants from me? Or does He want me to keep trying??? What does God want from me? Anyone? Anyone? Bueller?
God is so dang confusing. I mean Jesus, Jesus.
Anyway. Thank you for listening, reading, what have you. What would I do without you?
In other news…Tish got mad today and screamed, “NOONE’S ON MY SIDE!!!!” And Chase yelled from his bedroom, “NATIONWIDE IS.”
So that was good.
*This one’s for Christy, whose little laugh and big heart I love so very much. You’re gonna like this one, C.
In my house, nobody wants to bathe, even though everybody stinks.
Admittedly, it is mostly my fault that my people stink, but still. My people must learn to compensate.
Every few days, when I announce that it’s bath-time, all hell breaks loose. Tish hides and stomps and cries and Amma screams like a banshee. Now I am not exactly sure what a banshee is, I just know that Amma screams like one.
I have actually invited several neighbors into my home to witness this banshee screaming firsthand, just to prove that Amma makes these noises without being beaten. That is a true story.
This anti-bath banshee screaming continues once the two girls are caught and stripped and thrown into the tub, because inevitably one of them wants the VIP tub spot that the other is currently occupying. A Battle Royale ensues. Then, as I begin to pour lukewarm water over Amma’s head, the banshee screaming intensifies. Amma reacts as if I have just poured battery acid into her eyes. She screams at the top of her lungs… “IT’S BURNING COLD!!!” or “IT’S FREEZING HOT!!!!” Which makes it quite difficult to know how to correctly adjust the temperature.
It looks a lot like this:
Then, usually about ten minutes into bath time, the girls calm down. They start mellowing, start playing with their bath toys, even giggle a bit. And then, of course, it’s time to get out of the tub.
You can imagine how that goes. I actually don’t want to talk about it anymore.
Except to say that all of this just reminded me of an evening a couple years back when my friend Jen called and said, “What did you and the kids do today?” And I said, “We bathed.” And she said, “Uh-huh, for what?” And I said,” What do you mean, for what?” And Jen said, “Well, I mean, were you getting ready for something special?” And I said, “Um. No. I don’t mean we bathed in preparation for an activity, I mean, bathing WAS our activity. That’s it. We’ve been resting ever since. And honestly, I’m still totally exhausted.”
The bonus here was that Jen called the following week and invited the kids to a concert.
I have always depended on the kindness of concerned friends and strangers.
But anyway, you guys. Here’s the point of this post. My bath time woes are OVER. DONE.
I have discovered a miracle. I can hardly believe it myself. Because the miracle I am about to present to you means that I will NEVER be forced to bathe a child of mine again.
On the way home from my parents house yesterday, I passed this billboard. I couldn’t believe my eyes. So I turned the van around to verify and frantically jot down the number.
I’m calling tonight to inquire about three-for-one deals. Joy. Thank you, world. You sweet, helpful world.
If you’re not completely offended by now, go on over and vote.