Aug 162011

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 becausealways 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.


Carry On, Warrior
Author of the New York Times Bestselling Memoir CARRY ON, WARRIOR
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Aug 122011

*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.

Love, G

If you’re not completely offended by now, go on over and vote.

Carry On, Warrior
Author of the New York Times Bestselling Memoir CARRY ON, WARRIOR
Join the Momastery community on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram & Pinterest

Aug 092011

I’m not going to start this post with the typical disclaimers about how much I really love my children and how grateful I am to be a mom. I’m just not.

Yesterday I lost it up in this house.

It being the ability to remain calm and grown-up in the midst of people who are behaving very, very badly.

People being my children.

It’s August. You know how I feel about August and February when it comes to parenting. BOO is how I feel. NO THANK YOU is how I feel. Enough is enough is how I feel. Everything in moderation . . . especially family togetherness . . . is how I feel.

August is too hot for good parenting. And February is too cold. I have a fifteen degree temperature window inside which I am able to be a decent parent, or person, actually.

Yesterday my kids woke up on the wrong side of the world -meaning I wished immediately that they were in China instead of my home. They woke up cranky, fighting, whining, nagging and pinching each other just to see what would happen

They were being bad. And I was on edge. My dormant volcano self was threatening to blow before eight am. Not a good sign. Usually I’m good to go until at least eight thirty.

As preventative methods, I took several deep breaths, calmly gave everyone time outs, and drank glasses of ice water in between mugs of coffee. I even prayed that God would send me patience or someone else’s children.

Nothing worked. Eventually, I erupted.

And I started yelling. I yelled in my meanest horror movie monster voice. The voice that suggests that I might morph into a fire-breathing dragon at any moment. And there were instant tears and fear and faces full of fake repentance. When I felt finished yelling, I sent all three kids to their rooms for thirty minute time-outs. Yes, even the three year old. It was a safer place for them to be, trust me. Actually at that point, they wanted to go to their rooms. And as they rushed their terrified bottoms up the stairs, I called Tish back to make sure she didn’t have the phone hidden under her skirt. She sneaks it up there and calls Craig to rat me out all the time.

A half hour later they sneaked out of their rooms, tails between their legs, cowering a bit, sneaking suspicious and sidelong glances at me. Looking betrayed. Avoiding eye contact with each other. Nice and quiet. Niiiiiice and quiet.

A few hours later we decided to “start over” and we went to the pool.

As I watched my sweet, sun-kissed babies splashing in the water, I waited for that guilt to come. The guilt we’re supposed to have. The guilt we believe is inevitable whenever we lose it. The guilt we feel is our punishment for not being perfect, calm, machine-like mommies.

But guess what? The guilt never came. I realized with surprise that I felt GREAT.

Sure I scared the daylights out of them, but if the daylights were what made them behave like rabid animals, then I’m glad they’re gone. Good riddance, daylights.

I am not sorry that I lost it with my kids yesterday. I’m just proud it doesn’t happen every day. I’m not a superhero, I’m a lady doing my best to remain reasonable while spending day in and day out with three completely unreasonable people.

And I know that it is my job to teach them that grace abounds in this world, but perhaps it is also my job to teach them that if one insists upon being a jerk for extended periods of time, someone else in this world is eventually going to put one in her place. And it likely won’t be by withholding a sticker from one’s behavior chart.

In the real world it might involve someone getting all up in your face, Lovie.

Probably best to learn that lesson from mama first.

In unrelated news, last week I decided I was so high on life that I reduced my happy pill dosage. I think it’s going well.

Love, G

Also, we’re kicking some bottom over here. Don’t forget to vote today.

Carry On, Warrior
Author of the New York Times Bestselling Memoir CARRY ON, WARRIOR
Join the Momastery community on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram & Pinterest

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