Wednesday, December 12, 2012

Bluebell Alabama

Hart of Dixie has become my favorite show since it first aired last season, and since then it's become more than my Tuesday night TV for me, it's become the hour I enter into a portal and live out my secret dream of being a small town girl. Silvia often comes over and we eat dinner, chat and drink wine, but ultimately we turn the t.v. on for an episode that will unfold in a little town called Bluebell. We day dream and say things like "I would be more like Lemon than Zoe" and "I hate the Ruby, I would never be friends with her and she doesn't belong there," or the ever popular "Wade is so hot...Wade is so hot..." I'm not much into these "girly" shows as some of my friends in the masculine persuasion would categorize, because I would much rather watch a gender neutral show like Modern Family and the Family Guy. You know, a comedy because if you're going to watch someone's life unfold before your eyes, it might as well be funny, and besides, it's just T.V.

I am a big town girl, cities, major towns, metropolis, the hub, whatever you call it, I have never actually lived in a small town. I imagine it to be this, the major of the the town lives in the biggest historical home there is, kind of like the White House where the old major would move out if ever he was fallen from grace with the towns people and a new major is elected. However, that would never happen because we all know him, he is the most loving, upright citizen of them all and he gets re-elected every two years as a formality. He would know each family and what our concerns are in our town as well our personal life. Then, he would protect our way of life and continue to perpetuate the age old traditions that mark the long slow turning of the calendar months in a small town.

In that small town, there is a pavilion with a gazebo and many a folk have been married here, but most of the time, it is a place of central meeting and gatherings, the town center. There are columns and columns of small mom and pop shops that are squished right next to one another, where you have to stop by a different shop to purchase beer, clothes, hardware and meat, unlike the super Target erected in my "town." Sometimes, I will forget my wallet, more times then I'd like to admit, but it's hard with a toddler....in any case, the shop keeper will know my name and jot down what I owe so later that evening, my husband will stop by the shop on the way home from work and payout that account.

There are out door weddings, parades, traditional dances, pie eating contests, annual chili making competitions and when there is nothing else on the docket of festivals, you are just making Sunday dinner for the large extended family that also live in your town. It's a place where girls are girls and boys are boys, there are manners, prudent conduct, and things are simple.  The doctors know your medical history because he delivered you and your parents! The law is erected and enforced to actually protects its citizens and not to fine them because of the end of the month quotas are due. I've always wanted to live in a place where every one knows your business but you'd never be truly ashamed because there isn't much trouble you  can get into, but if you did, the town loves your regardless. There is no disowning in Bluebell...well, only socially but that's all part of small town shenanigans.

She

White wings glistening in the silvery winter dusk flutter and glide as the ice queen makes her entrance into her ice castle.
She sits in shallow water, spanning lengths a child can count, it is murky and ordinary, but her fortress is her beauty and unavailability.
Lowered head in contemplation and rest, mostly alone, but if ever someone or something is near, it is her kin, her lover, her family.
There is no trusting the rest of the world and the world only desires to admire with no means to harm. This swan only has eyes for her ugly ducklings who will grow up into the same fate as she, with very glimpse, awes of wonder sighs.
Content in the small waters that encircle her into safety, she is calm and rested in her little ones that swim about.

In the slow crawl of the dawn fog at her feet, a deer in her slender figure quickens her heart, quickens her ears.
She stand still in distrust of the world, to find it's secure moment to drink from a small still brook. Innocent as a deer, feeble as a doe, her strong legs will carry her far when danger lurks near.
Emerging from the trees that hide her slender figure, she stands still then makes mad dashes to her destination, her destiny.
Danger of being seen, even only for a glimpse, her heart pounds until she is unseen again.

She walks in beauty...the poem reads, and she is the object of unabashed and unrighteous affections too young and too innocent to be the target for. She cringes, she bites he lip and rejects as though accusations made at her.
She walks in oblivion...unknown to her that she is being ever watched and imitated. Slight crook of her mouth and a slight raise of her eyes to meet yours ruins all reality into dreams. Slight down cast of her face, and the light goes out of her eyes, makes people wonder, "is it me that made her so?"
She walks in roles...she knows not of. Leadership, sisterhood, kindred spirit and muse, intimidating and casting away approaches and extension of longevity in loyalty. Sabotage and crumbles often befalls her walk.

She is afraid and anxious of the hurt everyone will eventually feel. There is just human underneath her clothes, air, talk and walk. Whatever you see, she does not see, whatever you feel, she does not feel of herself. Come, see closely and know, accept her for the normal and ordinary she is. Do not turn your face and be disappointed she is not a star but a moon rock fallen from the sky, just as you, an ordinary rock. Frailty of human falls on her too.

Wednesday, October 3, 2012

Coming of age


















On my sixteenth birthday, I unwrapped a pink precious moment's journal a lock and key and it was just the thing to document the new and improved version of myself after turning the sweet One-Six. I had written in the first page,

Dear Diary,

Today was the best day ever! I had the perfect party with balloons, food, and all of my closest friends. I don't think I could have asked for a better birthday and it's perfect because today, I am 16!

Good night,

Susie
Ps. I love Eugene (apparently I really loved him because I closed with this one liner every night)

Okay, there wasn't that much dept that came with completing my sixteenth year of life, but I knew that things should be different and I was willing to make it so. I had a pretty sheltered life and I was actually a really nice girl, so I really didn't have too much material for my new precious moment's journal, nor did it require a lock and key. Coming of age doesn't always come with chronological age, but somewhere along your stream of childhood, someone drops a big stone in your water and the flow of your life changes. Sometimes maybe it's just a small pebble, like my first kiss as a junior in high school, which was SO messy and awkward, or the time this kiss turned out to be the biggest heartbreak of my life and made me cry for a whole entire year. But the next year, I found out the college boy I had a crush on actually crushed on me back OR! the time I found out what "morning wood" was as a senior in high school (yeah, I know). Yeah, those were small tiny pebbles, and maybe even just dirt kicked into my stream, but it made me force out of my childhood a little.

There is a big general divide between being a child and being an adult, but in your adulthood, beyond the age of 18, so much happens that most of your coming of age stories are written when you are no longer a child. In some, this is because they never woke to the rest of the world and still are children, only reigning their small worlds where they are the center of their universe. I realize that I have began a new chapter in the book of my coming of age story, because I was forced out of my little universe, where I was the long time ruling princess. Motherhood cures all selfishness and it's something I expectantly waited for a while...on paper, but in reality and in my head, my body, my every day attitude, it was still yet to settle in. Just 4 months after Jude arrived, I am finally accepting the hard change that came so sudden, even though I've been waiting for it for so long. I am selfish with my time and my energy. I like to think, write, sleep, eat in a quiet and elegant pace and not stuff my face while I wipe up food from someone else's face. I like to wake up when I'm ready and have a quiet moment to let the rest of my head to catch up the morning and officially come-to when I have my morning coffee, rather than to be waken every morning at various ungodly times of the A.M. officially coming-to with a whiff of poo poo piercing through my nostrils.

I realized though, when I saw myself chasing Jude around the house and tackling him the ground, tickling him until I got out a good hardy laugh that I so love to hear, this is my life. My friends are constantly finding random food pieces on my Free-People blouse, because it is now a napkin for my drooling boy. I once went grocery shopping, returned library books, and went to the playground to meet my new playground mommies, with an Elmo sticker stuck to the side of my face. Sad to say that I would have never noticed unless Jude, who put it there himself, had noticed it and taken it off my face later that evening while I was feeding him dinner.

Although I did resist the change and maybe I'm trying to keep a little semblance of my free spirited days, there's no hiding or denying that I have crossed the thresh hold of some portal and I'm suddenly somebody's mom. Jude's mom. But I think this is my favorite coming of age story thus far, but I can't wait for the next coming of age moment...hope it's not painful...

Aliens among us

We see them everywhere we go, we make faces at them, we've even held them in our arms, and in a weak moment, dreamed of owning one ourselves. Our parents had them, every generation will expect to walk with them and share meals with them in their homes, we once were these. However, for some unknown reason, we know very little about them until one is yours and you have to keep one alive. When you see one throwing their little bodies across a slippery, hard surface of a target floor, you look into the parents' face only to horror and you think to yourself, how can one allow this to happen? How can a baby rule the life of a fully grown and sometimes mature adult and make such a spectacle of themselves and their baby? Then you walk away shaking your head, vowing never to let such a travesty of child rearing to continue in our home nation when you have a child one day.

Then it happens, you are happily and carefully perusing the air deodorizing isle, when your child begins to wimper in disatisfaction. Something is uncomfortable within him and it must be remedied before it gets out of hand (and that can happen shortly after the first rumblings of trouble, so you must act in haste). I give up my quest for the perfect scent to cover over my home odors (mostly from poopy diapers from the waste basket) for now and I make way to the snack isle to search out a snack both nutritious and tasty, as well as something that doesn't require a spoon and napkins I didn't have. I grab a small one dollar bag of cashews and open it up for him to munch on while I shop (this was an emergency, so I opened before I owned, I would have to pay for the empty bag later).

While making way through the store, I can no longer meander through, the little one is snacking but still not at peace. I try to give him a small book, that ends up on the floor, then I take him out of the cart to let him try out his legs a while, but there, it happens. This is how it happens everyone-without-children-and-past-childless-me. He does not want to be on the floor and this was strike two and sometimes you're lucky you have more than one chance before you're punishment by full out tantrum is your verdict. It could have played in slow motion if I were on a hilarious sitcom featuring a mom trying to survive suburban life with a new baby. The bag of healthy, but tasty snack thrown on down, cashews scattering and sliding down what seemed like miles of target floor, then he goes down in slow motion, careful not to hit his own head on the hard surface. He lets out a scream.

I just stare at him on most days when he does this because I'm just amazed at the brevity of his fuse and how weak the damn walls that hold up his overflowing and raging emotions. Also partly because I don't know what to do. I know that he's a baby and he can't communicate the way he wants, he's frustrated too because I cant understand a damn snippet of gibberish he rattles off all day long and he was hungry. Some days, I want to do the same thing...throw my nuts down on the cold hard floor and just have a good cry because no one understands what I'm trying to get across, so I understand. On the other hand, when I'm in the moment each day with his crazy and terrible little toddler, I wonder how people have more than one child, or how we manage to ever populate the earth. I guess misery loves company and parents need others to be parents with them, or no parent ever wants to admit that they haven't a clue what their child requires. But that's the part that gets me, why are they such aliens when we see these things popping up all over the place! We were all children once, how do we not know how to deal with one?

Monday, September 17, 2012

Creatures' Seduction

I have become pleased with myself. What God has done in me, I credited myself as author of all the good that is not my own, but His. I use it as a mask, a cover all that is wretched and bleak. I forget it is not my ski, unblemished and pure, but the skin of God that covers me. I begin to use the greatness of God, not for his glory, but for my own desires and pleasures. I use it to fulfill a need in me, to make up for past mistakes, what I lack in character, to fill in the gaps of my bankrupt soul. Then He took the people I seduced to love and turned them against me to make my enemies. In turn, for a while I struggled to see even a glimmer of Christ when I was with them. Now where are they? Have they seen my ploy? Have they seen that I have lured them into submission and made them worship me and not turn the glory to Christ? I have tricked them and in the process, myself, to believe I am wise, I am pure, I am everything I really want to be and not just for pretend.

My senses, my desires, my lust for this world escape reason and truth because it is far to sweet and soothing to my tongue. I fall into a deep, numbing spell and all that I believe and all that is True becomes dim and faraway, in those moments, they are neither concrete or real. The Words of Love and Truth written on the walls of my heart melt off the walls, sliding down to the floor and burns through the floor. I free fall into lust's abyss, deep and dark, with no bottom to reach because the fire of passions only grows hungrier. My flesh has become my master and carried me off to a crusade of pursing pleasure for myself.

"All creatures either distress or tempt you, and dominate you either by forcibly subduing you or charming you with sweetness which is a far more terrible and harmful yoke." (Pascal)

The Creatures say, "come with me my sweet darling, take my hand and I will lead you to a place of utopia and forgetfulness. Do not worry, do not think, follow only how you feel with me." The creature is enchanting and I am drunk with it's magic, I drink from it its sweet nectar, letting each sip saturate my soul, my mind, and my heart. I belong to it now and I do not notice until I have made myself it's prey and find myself drowned at the bottom of a sticky thick pond. Only then, my small shrill voice calls out to Him, "Where are you? Why have you gone away from me?" When I am the one who turned my face from Him. 

Friday, September 14, 2012

CPS Teachers Strike Part 2

This is a poster one of my friends made for the protest. Read it and weep.

Last night, I went to small group and one of our members happens to be a CPS Teacher. Mind you, he's the most purest person I know and he loves God like nobody else. I would trust him and his family with my children and my own life. He isn't the type of person that would chase paper and live for the luxuries of life. He genuinely loves people, children and the even the kids that give him lip, attitude and come with broken families and broken lives. I say all of this not because I'm writing an ode to Bobby O. but I'm saying this because I need people to know that what he says is genuine, that he is on strike for justice, for the kids, for realz! My sister in law to be is also cut from the same cloth, she didn't go into teaching because she wanted to tote her latest Louis Vouitton while strutting in her Christian Louboutins. I mean...who really thinks of teaching if they want to make real money?

While hearing from both of them about what they've been enduring the last five days, I've been twitching with fury and my blood pressure has rose to a high I've never seen. I may have a stroke from hearing all the lies, injustice and the plain old stupidity of people who say they are leaders of this city! I've never heard so many accounts of self gain, unfairness, saving face, corruption! There is a reason this city is called Crook County and the legend of all the old gangsters of yore lives on. I felt so disappointed and started shutting down during the update that Bobby was giving us and the truth behind all the lies the MAJOR of our town has been spewing! The man that the president of the United States supports and stands behind! yes! your precious and shining Obama is friends with this man!

Today's injustice:
My soon to be sister in law got shoved during the strike. She's at the police station
All the teachers are getting flipped off everyday
Everyone is brainwashed from the commercials Rahm is running
Yes, children are the losers in this game, but so are the teachers...they have been
The whole nation has turned against their teachers in hate. Why? Because of politics. 

Sigh...I can't even write on...

Thursday, September 13, 2012

CPS Teachers Strike

The Chicago Public School teachers are on strike this week and the next, and normally I wouldn't be so interested or partial to anything so political in this city because everything seems so corrupted in the state of Illinois down to the adoption system, but that's another story. I take special interest in this issue because 2 of my closest friends and my future sister in law are teachers in the Chicago Public schools. If you don't know already, being a teacher in the nicest part of town is difficult, dealing with the state requirements, the budget issues, crazy parents who insist their children are always right, principles and other teachers. All this on top of trying to teach day in and day out, purchasing pencils from their own pockets and trying to be patient with all the snot nosed brats in your classroom 30 strong. Then there are the CPS teachers who deal with all of this, and parents who are in gangs, in jail, have no funding, support from home and attitude from the kids like you won't believe. I for one would not be able to teach in a CPS because I would cry every single day teaching first graders.

I'm led to write this post because it seems there are ignorant people out there who, one, don't have kids and they have no idea what they're talking about. Oh you know, the kind of people that would  say things like "teacher's have it easy, they have summers off too!" or my favorite, "those who can't do, teach." Before I go on, I think that in the future curriculum of High school or a college life course, all students are required to work in the food service industry, work a retail job and teach, then everyone will have some respect for others and the value of a dollar! I don't know if I totally sounded like some old fart just now, but I don't care, it's true. Alas, there are others who are in the political environment that are plain lairs, making teachers out to be money grubbing low lives who aren't
thinking of the children, but the life of luxury they expected when they first decided they wanted to be teachers. There have been commercials on television that say, "our children are the real losers..." and that to me is the real low, using children as pawn for their political progress.

Now I can't say that I know the nitty gritty of what is going on politically, but here is the deal, teachers have always been underpaid that is a known fact, but the injustice of what's been going on this year has been an atrocious. Here are the three main things that the teachers are fighting for in plain language:

1. How the teachers are paid: Right now teachers are paid in a grid system. There is a chart somewhere that states how many years you've been teaching and what kind of academic credits you have under your belt. There's no guessing game, you just follow the grid and you are paid according to that pay scale. What the State whats to do is, having the teachers salaries rest in the scores of ONE standardized test given to each class.  The problem of this is that most kids don't know how to take tests, and what if they had a bad day that day, what if that year, their parents were arrested, got a divorce, are victims of abuse. There are plenty of reason ONE day of ONE testing should not dictate how a teacher is doing in their classrooms.

2. Longer School Hours: The teachers are expected to teach longer hours without more pay, that is one issue, and even if the teachers do over look that, they want the teachers to teach math and reading longer for those hours. The students are at max capacity as it is in those subjects, there is only so much learning that goes on in a students brain until they check out all together. Just because there is more time given to learning one subject it doesn't mean that there is more learning. Most teachers are expecting specials during these extended hours, like art, music, or gym but the State is not willing to pay for those specials to be implemented. The real problem of these longer hours is not the money, but how the hours are allocated.

3. Benefits: The benefits of teachers, as you can imagine aren't the best. I can't go into the details because I personally don't know the details of a current teacher's benefits. However, we know that they're aren't stellar and benefits are always on the table for discussion.

Here are some other things that are unfair to teachers in the CPS:
1. Many times teachers will have to purchase classroom supplies themselves: In the summer, when the classroom temperatures reached the three digits, teachers supplied the classrooms with ice packs  they supplied out of their own pockets.

2. Classroom sizes are enormous: If you have ever been to college or even high school, the more kids there are in class, the more you are overlooked. Think of 34 first graders in one class. Yup! I've had that once...it's nuts.

3. Teachers feed and become parents to these kids: Many parents of CPS are underpaid themselves and don't have time or the money to support their kids with their school work. Many don't own computers at home or a safe place to even do homework.

4. These conditions cause high turn over in the school system and fail to provide the children a congruent and stable learning environment.

Rahm Emmanuel obviously has no idea what's going on in the classrooms and this is why he's "disappointed" "mystified" and decidedly blames the principals for not providing the schools with the best teachers. 

Wednesday, September 12, 2012

Nap time reveal

I had a rough morning with J. He had been so deviant and rebellious, I had given him a punishment and put him in his crib without so much as a "good-nap" kiss. I was furious, but after less than a minute, I noticed he was crying like I never heard him. Sobbing and with short breaths, he screamed in between, shrills that caused me to shiver in my boots, that is, if I were wearing any. I walked into his room, determined to stay strong, I gave him a scowl and a short lecture, then I made him say or more like sign, "sorry." I took him into the big bed in our room and let him sleep on my tummy for the first time in 2 months. He fell fast a sleep and snoring, I looked down on him while he slept. He looked different to me in that moment...grown up and looked about 3 or 4 to me. I began whispering to him, "sorry mommy was so hard on you today...maybe I didn't have to be so hard on you and fight with you so hard. I don't want to be right or win, I want to have a good relationship with you."

I take for granted that J prefers me over his daddy or anyone for that matter. Today, a friend asked me if he would go to other people, and opened her arms to him, but inevitably turned his head away from her and buried his face into my neck. Then another mom says, "doesn't that make you feel good because he loves you so much?" I didn't know how to respond because that's not how I see it. I'm his mom and more than his preference or love for me, a genuine affection as a person with full understanding and acceptance, it's an attachment of need. To me, I don't want anyone to need me, because once I stop providing you with what you needed in the first place, I am disposable. Plus, what does a baby know about love? Then today, when he woke up from his nap, I was especially sensitive to his needs and emotions. I was afraid that our little incident in the late morning had damaged his perception of me, loved me less. Didn't I just say that children don't know anything about love? I don't know for sure, but I was definitely trying to feel secure with him again.

Things are still the same between the little man and me, I was being a weak-hearted mom and I had taken his punishment harder than he did. I did learn an important lesson today though, I can't take these moments of play for granted. Soon, he won't want me around and too embarrassed to have his old lady around when he's with his friends, crampin' his style.

Thursday, September 6, 2012

You are what you love

Similar to how you become what you eat, people become what they love. One of my brother's friends is dead set on the dream of making money. That's it. For him, becoming rich and having money has always been on his brain, so his screen name for anything online has become ...money (insert his last name before money). Any time his names comes up, all I can think of is money and for some innate reason, just rubs me the wrong way. I'm not saying that making lots of money is wrong if that's what you're good at, but there should be a better reason than the sole purpose of making money so you can buy nice toys for yourself.


All human beings are gifted with a multitude of gifts and talents, some are innate and some are learned. Out of all of those gifts, there are few you truly love and even if you didn't have the gift of say, making money, you would learn how. This made me think of all of the gifts that my friends have, but decided that some aren't worth pursuing, like my husband who is a beautiful photographer, but I'm the one taking all the pictures in this household, or how he plays the cello really well, but sold it in exchange for a bass guitar. Now instead of becoming a cellist, he's known as the bassist. Then further still, taking me down a rabbit trail, this made me think about all the things I love and what I spend my time, energy and resources on. What am I becoming?

I love my family and my community. I love my people, which makes me a snob in a way because I just don't notice or give charity to the ones I don't really know. There is no emotional bandwidth or even the time to give to the people who happen to walk into my life for a season or two. I love the people that love me back, the way I want to be love and in a way I am a lazy lover since these people don't stretch me in ways I need to be stretched in love.

I love reading and writing, and no matter how much I deny it, H will always tell me that I'm already a writer, when I don't really feel like one. Even when I don't really feel like one, I am what I am because I love it and I spend time doing what I love. It sounds like a vicious circle and a bit of a tongue twister to me, but alas, I write for several blogs and became the primary writer for a year book project.

I love to be healthy and despite popular belief, I literally work out for my health and has very little to do with vanity. Sure, I want to wear skinny jeans and look really cute, or at least have the option to wear them if I felt like it, but largely I work out because I want to feel mentally happy and physically strong. To act on this, I've become "cyborg" when I work out, running at high speeds, doing whatever the instructor tells me to do, no matter what I'm truly capable of. Love for my health overrides my hate for physical discomfort makes me a runner, makes me an athlete and more than that, a healthy person.

Last and not least, I loved KCC, the campers, the parents, the counselors, Avon, the camp grounds, the idea of it. Anyone who is anyone that attended KCC I loved. This is perhaps the most unhealthy of my loves though seems good. I have loved KCC and the people like I have never loved my community, church or otherwise, putting them before God, myself and at times my own family. I caught on fire with all consuming love that it burned up my virtue, rules, standards and my identity. What God has given me as a good gift, I have turned into an idol and allowed corruption and rust grow in the place of purity and goodness. I built an alter of KCC in my heart and in my life, that I given it love that was only reserved for God.

It seems what you become by what you love is mostly innocuous but sometimes bad when it comes to earthly desires, but when that love is directed toward God, it is always good. I have loved and became various things in the course of just a few years short years or sometimes even months, but when I am far from God and not devoting to the love I have for Christ, I see that I am truly slob without Him. It is glaringly clear that the goodness I have, the love that I have, what little wisdom I've gained can only be God's grace bestowed upon me and none that I can boast. I hope to love God and heavenly things most of all, so that I may pursue to be like Him who is beautiful beyond description.

Wednesday, September 5, 2012

Perfect

The other night, whilst kickin' it with a good friend of ours, they tell a story so sweet and poignant, I thought and thought about it, chuckling to myself. Their little boy at the ripe old age of 4 laid in his bed after his nightly bedtime routine, it was time for prayer and he says with is eyes closed so tight "God, can you hear me?!" Then after a while, he opens his eyes and so satisfied with his time with Him, says to his momma, "That was sweet!" How pure and innocent is the prayer of a child and how much does God love this child that he blessed his soul with such contentment and sweetness after that honest and blunt prayer. I feel that sometimes, "God can you even hear me? are you there? What am I doing on this earth? Do you love me?" It's amazing to me, children from 1 to 92 years old continue to have the same old prayers.

God has always been a repeater in my life, and not because he's a senile old man that redundantly retells that same old story over and over, but because I'm just a goldfish, or maybe I'm Helen Keller (no disrespect). I forget over and over his message to me that he does hear me, he is there and he does love me. It's the childish way in me that always asks, "are we there yet?" "will you come back for me?" For most of my life, I believed God and the world's love for me in the most innocent and purest way, but somewhere along the line, my innocence died and I began to see the world as it is. Because I hurt the world and the world hurts me, I project my insecurities and suspicion onto God and assume he will soon or later become tired me of also.

Then it began, my quest to always be loved and the only way I knew how was to be perfect. God does say in the Bible, "Therefore be perfect as I am perfect." I worked hard at being perfect, Biblically, socially, academically, physically, in humor, in dress... my perfection was my greatest flaw. Every time I made a mistake, it would set me back so far and so deep into depression, it was difficult ever to make forward progress. I was obsessed with being perfect. But perhaps I took that too literally or misunderstood, because surely I cannot be as perfect as the King of Kings and Lord of Lords. Then today, while my little bird naps in his crib full of ugly dolls that he hates, I was given a sliver of time to read a little. God spoke: "...disregarding all those things for which we hope and which have been reserved by promise, we regard falling from God's friendship as the only things dreadful and we consider becoming God's Friend the only thing worthy of honor and desire. This as I have said, is the Perfection of life." - Gregory of Nyssa

"Forgetting what lies behind and straining forward to what lies ahead, I press on toward the goal of the prize of the heavenly call of God in Christ Jesus." - Philipians 3:13b-14



Friday, August 31, 2012

What to expect, when you're expecting

There are two kind of moms-to-be (by my observation and not by some National Gallop Poll). The first one is the kind that will read all the books out there about becoming a mother and what to expect when you're expecting and there's precisely a well known book titled that. They will research and have emails sent to them monthly or sometimes even weekly on the milestones they should be expecting when their child is growing month by month. Then there is the other kind of mom, who tries to feel around the baby and it's needs, when all else fails, call their moms.

I am the second kind. I don't typically fret or worry about instructions and manual, I learn for fun and want to know obscure things like what is the significance of the Book of Durrow and in what era was it was manuscripted, you know... practical things. When I purchase a piece of put-it-together-yourself-furniture, AKA something from IKEA. I don't look at the instructions right away, I will look at all the parts and see if I can piece it together myself. If there's snag, then I will desperately thumb through the instructions and redo the project if I have to. I realize this isn't the most energy efficient or time conscious way to do things, but hey, it's my energy and it's my time and it's my way. So naturally, even when I received books from my adoption training seminars and the "What to expect from your toddler" books I got as gifts, they were immediately put on the shelves for decoration.

I tried to read through some of the pages, thinking I will put some effort into this because a baby isn't a piece of $29.99 side table, but a real live organism and it's a whole lot harder to redo that project. I couldn't do it! I felt I had enough experience watching and experiencing little ones the last ten years of my life and I had the best resource of all! KCC counselors and my friend Mia who I can always count on for honest answers to my nonsensical questions. I didn't want to be that mom that read too many books on babies paralyzing themselves and their kid from experiencing a little dirt in the nails and eating a piece of dried up apple from .... when was the last time I gave him apples...? Anyway, the moms that knew too much began to think that their babies were in danger of contacting every disease and disorder coming and going through this planet. They were always looking out for signs of delay or emotional damage they may have been causing with their punishments, if that's what you call letting your kid sit on a cute little time out chair for 30 seconds.

I began reading a book that I received as a gift and I'm actually beginning to think that all of the stated emotional damage that adopted kids may have from being adopted is going to happen to J! I began questioning every cry and every quirky behavior, whereas before the book, I just ascribed it to him being a baby or that he's just a funny little kid. I'm not saying that none of these books are of value and we should have a book burning of all instructional resources for children, but we must consider them resources and not warning signs of eminent doom. I want to know all I can about being sensitive to my child and to be equipped with every arsenal I can get my little brain around, so that I can one day be a comfort to my child. However, I don't want to LOOK for any inclination and create problems when there aren't any.


Thursday, August 30, 2012

Role Model

Today, I was reading another blogger's entry and she said something about having some good examples of motherhood and womanhood. It's kind of a coincidence that I happened to read this today because I've been really thinking and struggling through what I should look like at my age, or even ten years from now. Sure, my mother was the best mother there was...but we were also the best babies there were. According to her (and maybe she blocked all bad memories of us so that she can go on as a functioning human being) we were the best babies. We didn't overly fuss, cry, throw tantrums, at nap time we put ourselves to bed and helped her with the house chores. Really?! My mother is also the strongest person I know. Do you know why? because he's married my a pretty emotional, free-spirited, expressive, head in the clouds kind of person and that can be quite exhausting.

No matter how good my mother is, and this saint is no doubt one in a million, she can't be a good role model for a mere mortal. Her sacrifice, the way she holds her tongue and always does the right things, these things all seem to come so naturally to her, it's hard to relate to. Then I was thinking about how I don't want to sacrifice myself for my children and my husband all the time, I want to have a dream of my own. Some days  I look at my mom and know that she's just supporting and waiting for all of us to realize our dreams, and that's her dream. Perhaps motherly instinct hasn't quite settled into me, which is so potent in my mother, but I need human role models. Some in my position, some who are 10 years older, some 20, and some who are in their winter years and are living full meaningful lives for others. One role model can't encompass all the things that I want to grow into because that's just impossible, this isn't Build-A-Bear.

In part, my mother is too pure and too good to give me the deep seeded answers I need because she's never been in that dark place. Perhaps it's that she's my mother and I don't want her to know all the sordid details of my past mistakes and how to deal with them today. It's too complicated and too embarrassing to tell my own pure angel of a mother. It's difficult it seems for any Korean American Christian girl in my generation to have anyone older who can understand their position because the only ones older than us are our mothers. Sure, they're strong and weathered immigration, working, learning a foreign language and raising entitled children to play piano and go to Harvard one day, but their struggles are much different than ours. Their culture, their generations seems so far removed from the American teenage life, we all had to look to blue eyed, blond haired girls to see what they were wearing, what they were doing, how they were talking. 

I feel a little tired trying to figure out how all this is suppose to work...dealing with the moves, my childhood, reconciling my past experiences, mistakes and victories to who I'm suppose to be for my children today and in the future. How will they know that their mother struggled and made colossal mistakes, but can she still be redeemed, forgiven and empowered to live a righteous life? What will I do with the miscarriage story? How will they know and when will I  tell them that despite my disappointments, I have grown to be the kind of person that can roll with the punches. I want to be able to ask someone, an older, wiser, trust worthy, beautiful someone all of my stray questions about life. 

Monday, August 13, 2012

Contentment Today

I've been having THE worst writers block and I've resorted to posting old essays or things I jotted down almost a year ago. The sentiment or the feelings I don't even remember nor can I relate to them, even though I was the one who wrote those words at one time. I guess that's why we need to write at this moment, because we won't ever feel exactly the way we feel right now! Sure, we've been sad a million times, lost a billion, and happy even more, but the nuances and the spirit in which those emotions were evoked are all so different. It's never ever the same exact sadness, lost-ness, or happiness.

Today, I am dry and a little bit numb, maybe this is what it's like to be completely content and what I'm trying to conjure up as emotion is just what I remember of past situations. Today though, I believe I am completely content, not overly happy or overly sad, but there is a stability that isn't quite me. Normally it would bother the heck out of me that I'm not acting myself, but today, I am thankful that I am concretely there for my baby. Unable to break down or lifted up with the changing of the winds so that he will know a stable home on a day to day bases. 

Sure, I do mourn the death of my social life, well...okay not death, but maybe a traumatic change from our former glory, but in exchange, I chuckle every 30 minutes from the cuteness that just won't quit. Maybe in a few years, as children are added on to us, I will be forced to drive a humongous farm sized vehicle to manage the transit of all of my little ones, but how fun is a crowded home with family to love. Maybe this is how we become our parents, and this is how our parents became their parents. When you have children, people you are responsible for, you can't be bothered by pettiness because you don't want your sons to be petty. I know one thing is for sure, your parents go to bed at 9:30 pm because you suck the life out of them every day. That's why they end up as your old man, who can't be bothered to wear a pair of pants when your friends are over...they just don't have the energy, but it's also because they don't give a damn what you think or owe you anything.

The mundane tasks bore me to tears, I'm a little lonely talking to a baby who replies only in gibberish, and the hours of sitting and watching my child play, reading him a book or blowing bubbles jabs me with existential crisis. Is this all there is to life? But then I try to remind myself that without reading him books, giving him a million kisses a day (I really do, I count them), and replenishing his food bowl, he would not be as happy as he is. Despite these feelings of tedious monotony, today, I am okay with how I feel and even though my words don't twist, slide, and curl with literary genius, I speak simply today. I'm content.

Eventually

Eventually has come where there is a gap in between you and me. I don't know where you are when I send you messages in a bottle and there is no response. It's as though my words float along the dark waters of the digital vortex and fall down a waterfall, but when you peer down, you see no end. My thoughts and words seem like trash tossed to the wind and nothing comes back to me.

Eventually has come where you and I are finally growing apart and there is no summer to come when we will reignite and rekindle our love again, our friendship again, it's just one continuous day now, of now or never. You won't share with me what's every day and what's real, you won't share with me the life circumstances and the let downs. You don't tell me what you really feel and what your day is like, so we eventually become strangers. Eventually, you and I will be fading in the old photos that we scrolled through like obsessed madmen surveying each eye, hand and fingers on each picture we took one summer. We will pass by those pictures framed on our wall and not notice that once we loved each other with intensity. And maybe eventually, you'll take those pictures out of those frames to replace them with pictures that are more current, people who are more present.

Perhaps eventually, it won't hurt as much to think of you and resent you for not responding, not believing me and not seeing me the way you should. Maybe in a few years I won't obsessively think about what you think about me, what you're doing, what you heard from her, what you heard from him. Maybe eventually I will forget you too like we never even met because it seems that might be what's easy for me to do. Easier on me, on my heart, on my soul, so that eventually I will be able to stand up again and with my memory gone, I can love again and I  can love another. I have always done just this you know? Count on "eventually" because without letting them go, I would not stand here today, I would not love you like I do today. It's because I eventually forgot about the pain and decidedly loved, that you and I are brothers, sisters, friends.

I hope this eventually will never come, although some has already been here and gone. Let me down easy, it's a high place to fall from.

Wednesday, July 18, 2012

Post placement


Forget the three-year process that finally brought us to Korea to meet Jude! The week in Korea was the longest part of the journey…I’m convinced that the three years I had at KCC was to console me while I waited those three years for Jude, and I’m also convinced that if I had not had camp to consume me, I would have quit this long time ago. I’m patient, but not saint-patient.
Before we were allowed to take custody of him for good, we were only able to visit him for an hour each, on Monday and then on Wednesday. I first laid eyes on him and thought, “wow! He got so big!” Like he was a nephew I’d seen in pictures for months before I finally got to meet him. Jude was on his best behavior every time and continued to be for the next several weeks. He sat on my lap and let me feed him mushed up strawberries from a spoon because he was being polite and because he liked strawberries. We played with him and when we left after each playtime, I felt nothing.  I almost felt like saying, “Uncle Hans and Auntie Susie will see you on Wednesday little buddy, be good!”
I was a bit alarmed and worried that I had such detachment to this child who was suppose to be mine. They were dead set on giving this human being to me at the end of the week and I panicked a little, and then began doubting myself. Maybe I wasn’t really meant for this… How can I be a mom when I feel like a teenager myself? How can I look into this face and not fall in love right away? Am I dead inside? Then, on the long ride back to the office from the foster home, I was a little bit relieved. I was glad that I had a healthy sense of attachment, and had to remind myself that I would never fall for anyone at first sight, not even if he was a really cute baby. There will be days, months and years before I will truly love this boy, and knowing me, when I finally do love this boy and make attachments, it will be real. I was even surprised of myself for not being overly emotional when he ran out of the kitchen to greet us, but I’m glad that I didn’t over-romanticize the first meeting because I wanted it to be real and lasting, not of whim and circumstance.
It was on a Thursday, when we were finally allowed to take custody of Jude and minute I walked in and saw him with his foster family, I had to swallow down tears. It wasn’t that I was jealous or felt that romantic surge of love for him all of the sudden, but because I felt genuinely sad for them…the foster mom, the dad, the brother and sister and for Jude. For the last year, they were a family and he was obviously happy with him. We sat down and his foster mom told me last minute tid-bits about Jude that she had forgotten to mention when we first met at her house on Monday. It was a little bit weird to be hearing all the details you should already know about your baby from somebody else. I was reduced to a 16-year-old babysitter again, receiving instructions about the baby’s feeding time, bath time, bedtime, and little antidotes to soothe him when he cries. The last meeting was quick, I signed multiple papers and it was so fast, I could have signed up to join a gypsy circus and I wouldn’t have known until I was riding an elephant in North Carolina somewhere. They rushed us out and the foster parents weren’t allowed to come down the elevator with us. We were told, “you go down first with Jude and then the foster parents can leave.” We allowed them to say bye to Jude, but he wandered into the hall with us without even looking back. There were no tears or signs that he will miss them, and we stepped into a tiny shoebox of an elevator cart. Like in some cheesy-Korean melodrama, as the doors slid closed between us, I caught a glimpse through my sobbing tears, the foster parents finally crying for their foster son.
I had no idea what I was to do with a baby, I kind of felt like a dog that chased a car and caught it. What does a human baby even eat at this age? Well…thus far, he survived two months with me even though most days I feel like I’m a delinquent mom, letting him watch violent Halloween Simpson episodes, watching him pick up  and eat random food off the kitchen floor, then asking “yummy?” and always forgetting to bring extra clothes and food when I leave the house. I’ve been so use to being busy all day being productive, I was falling into mild baby blues and when a friend asked me if I had cried yet, I replied, “I feel like crying right now.” People have told me parenting is hard, being a mom is hard, but no one REALLY knows until you have an actual baby pawing at you and demanding something (I don’t know WHAT half the time) but SOMETHING every minute of your day. Then I realize that I had asked for this…to be home with this baby…and I almost forgot that he was once half way around the world and I impatiently waited for him.
It’s still only 2 months in and I can’t imagine my life without this little one. Its amazing to me how quickly he attached to me (literally…to my hip) and it’s also amazing that I have fallen in love with someone so quickly for the first time in my life. I finally do love him and sometimes… I even like him. : P Just kidding…but not really. Even now, we catch Hans referring himself as Uncle Hans instead of daddy, but Jude definitely knows he’s not his uncle...we think.  I feel I’ve lucked out in some ways… he didn’t cry for 4 hours grieving and passing out in exhaustion, then to wake only to start over again like other babies have in the beginning. He was reserved. I was worried he wouldn’t attach or I wouldn’t attach to him, but we did…we definitely did. The only complains…um…I mean concerns, I have are ones every toddler goes through at his age. People say he looks like a good blend between Hans, my brother and me. He loves Kim chi jjigae (Kim chi stew) just like mom. He’s an Aquarius and a sign of the horse just like mom. Maybe all those things are much ado about nothing, but for some reason God gave us these tiny commonalities to bond me to him. I’m definitely in Haneul’s world or “Haneul-nah rah” (In Korean, the direct translation of heaven is Hanuel/sky world). J

Sunday, July 15, 2012

To be a good mom

The days I feel I was a good mom are the days my baby seemed content. Not the kind of contentment that comes from getting all that he wants and prefers, but the kind of contentment that comes from getting all the attention and love he can get from mom. When I lie down for the night, I think to myself "I cannot do that again tomorrow...I just phyically cannot possibly do this." Then in the morning, I wake up, walk into Jude's room and I look into his flushed plump face with a pacifer corked in his mouth and I say to him, "Good morning my baby!" Then I do the day all over again, I endure his whines, his flickle heart that demands "up" and "down" from my arms all day long.

Then at night, I lay down in my bed thinking to myself "I can't do that again tomorrow. How can I possibly?" This little face that God gave me lures me and cajoles me to spend time with him in the morning shaking tamborines and playing the key board that plays Cookie Monster sing "ABC" then congratulates us for singing so good, it's almost better than cookies. What makes mothers stare at their little ones all day is that you don't want to miss the moment that he does something so cute that causes you to die a little inside. I usually tackle that small little frame and smother his face and neck with kisses, almost to suck the skin off of him. These days when he is pleased with the pleasure on my face and I am happy with his happiness, these are the days I feel like I'm a good mom.

Wednesday, July 11, 2012

The Road to Hell

“The safest road to Hell is the gradual one - the gentle slope, soft underfoot, without sudden turnings, without milestones, without signposts”

I've been having this sick knot in my stomach and I do the things I do when I'm anxious and off. Peeling my hang nails, skin around my fingers, rubbing my tongue against the inside of my lower teeth all day long without noticing it because I'm so consumed. At the end, I'm left with bloody, raw fingers, nails short and painful, raw tip of the tongue and sore from the pressure. I don't notice and when I do It's because I'm in too deep, there is no more skin to pull, nothing more to rub and everything hurts. 

I am especially irritable and sensitive, not loving, impatient and I can't overlook small things that could be glanced over at my healthiest. I know I have been consumed with something other than Christ when I find myself bloodied and raw. There's nothing else to sobbatage, nothing else to rub raw in my life that I find myself hating everyone and everything I know. How easy I slide without knowing, how soft the underfoot that I don't know I am stepping down the stair way, down to darkness. 

I open my journal and it's dated April something, at least it still dated to this year...it's only been two months and gradually and inevitably I've forgotten my identity and the steadfast rock I hold onto. The one root I hold onto while everything is sinking sand. "Remember" he says, always he says that...on alters, at communions, in scripture but I still forget. I don't know why He says this until I realize that I did forget. Road to hell isn't hard and furious, and by the time you go hard and furious, you've been traveling on an unmarked road, with gentle slopes and soft underfoot. You ignore and ignore, you push down, self medicate and self soothe with pacifiers, warmth of another, and mental vacancy, until that warm water gradually turns deadly hot. 

But He always says come..."Come to me and I will give you rest. But if you prefer not to come, I will wait till your soul wakes to its weariness." - John Piper

KCC 2012

“Love is not affectionate feeling, but a steady wish for the loved person's ultimate good as far as it can be obtained"

In about 6 day or 5 days, KCC will start again...but this year without me. I'm sure that just like all other years, the kids will be pile into their dorms, picking out their bunk beds next to their besties, and shrieks will go out as long distant friendships see a close in the vast gap between them. At least for a week, things will go the way it should and people that love each other will be carefree and not think of the worries of the world. Just as years before counselors will go on teaching their lesson plans, carry out day games, evening endeavors and dispense KPs, mostly as jokes rather than true punishment. Then the week will close in on the end of camp and Korean Food will be served, camp fires will be lit and tears will shed as another week of KCC goes down in history. But this time without me.

It makes me feel like KCC in itself is an entity in itself, that no one owns, that no one runs. It is a vessel that carries burden, tears, happiness, closure, healing, first crushes, last kisses and lost identity found again. KCC carries in itself, a magic that no one creates or re-creates, plans or cancels, but it exists in some Godly, heavenly way that we can only say we were once part of it and we were blessed. I say without me, because I haven't added or taken away anything while I was at KCC but it was added onto me and taken away from me. I truly feel the loss as we come dangerously close to camp, but I don't feel a void because although physical camp isn't foreseeable in my future, relationships are clear in my present. I feel a certain peace knowing that no matter what we do to it or do for it, in the end, KCC will carry on to be good and pure.

I once thought that I couldn't possibly let of the people at KCC and I don't know if I ever want to, but it seems I can. I thought I would grow old at camp and I'd be KCC grandma, baking cookies, applying band-aids and kisses while the young wiper snappers carry on their lesson plans, day games and evening endeavors. Then the week will inevitably close in on the end of camp, Korean food will be served, camp fires will be lit and tears will be shed for another generation of campers grow, a whole team of counselors move on.  For whatever reason, I had the chance to be here and be a part of something no one can explain to "others" outside of camp. I am beyond lucky and honored to know these kids and the counselors I love. Maybe in the future, I will be a part of it again, but for now it still goes on next week...without me.

Wednesday, May 30, 2012

Hey Jude!















For some odd reason, whenever I'm idle and humming a song, I've always sung this song without knowing the lyrics. All I had by memory like most people was, "Hey Jude...dah dah dah dah..." Then I decided I would learn this song and sing it to my Jude and while listening to it, I cried. It's like this song was made for us.

Hey Jude, don't make it bad
Take a sad song and make it better
Remember to let her into your heart
Then you can start to make it better

Hey Jude, don't be afraid
You were made to go out and get her
The minute you let her under your skin
Then you begin to make it better

And anytime you feel the pain, hey Jude, refrain
Don't carry the world upon your shoulders
For well you know that it's a fool who plays it cool
By making his world a little colder

Hey Jude, don't let me down
You have found her, now go and get her
Remember to let her into your heart
Then you can start to make it better

So let it out and let it in, hey Jude, begin
You're waiting for someone to perform with
And don't you know that it's just you? Hey Jude, you'll do
The movement you need is on your shoulder

Hey Jude, don't make it bad
Take a sad song and make it better
Remember to let her under your skin
Then you begin to make it better
Better, better, better, better, better, oh!

When you have a baby














When you have a baby and you have run out of body wash, you use the baby wash and shampoo.
When you have a baby, you're awake at 6 in the morning playing toy the xylophone and the maracas.
When you have a baby, it's possible that you spend your whole day in your PJ's.
When you have a baby, you automatically begin drawing a bath instead of starting the shower, even when it's for yourself.
When you have a baby, you eat their apple rice puff snacks and enjoy it.
When you have a baby, random people wave hello to the baby on the street, at the grocery store, at the mall, at  Starbucks...
When you have a baby, you understand the book "Go The F*ck The Sleep" much much better.
When you have a baby, you wash ALL your clothes with one wear. Even pants. Especially pants.
When you have an adopted baby, your husband says, "come to Uncle Hans" by accidentally instead of "come to daddy."
When you have an internationally adopted baby, you yourself end up in bed by 8:30 pm because you stayed up all night with Him. 

When you have a baby, you get use to a lot of repetition. Open. close. up. down. again. again. again.
When you have a baby, you need to vacuum more, because....
When you have a baby, Cheerios are found in random places
When you have a baby, you need to sweep more, because...
When you have a baby, he might find a random Cheerio and eat along with it a dust bunny.
When you have a baby, you'll have 3 or more sippy cups in your fridge with different liquids in them.


When you have a baby, you appreciate your mom so much more.
When you have a baby, you wonder how anyone has more than one kid.
When you have a baby, you can stare at one face all day long and can't get enough.  Especially if you're staring at a face so cute!
When you have a baby, you want to be a better person.
When you have a baby, you forget all your own worries and petty conflicts because it's not that important.
When you have a baby, you forgive and forget.
When you have a baby, you have more love in your heart to give, not just for him, but for everyone else.
When you have a baby, you understand the love the Heavenly Father has on us.


Monday, May 28, 2012

Birds of a feather

I love trees and what they stand for. The rings in the trunks that show how many winters they've endured and how many summers they thrived. The generations upon generations that took the tree to grow upon years to see it's way to abundance of leaves...every spring new, but each some leaves generations older than others. The roots that grow deep into the ground, stabilizing itself further into the soil each year securing it's family presence upon the earth. Family history is represented in it's growth and it's leaves, representing each person that made a difference once upon their time. Today, I see birds that fly upon this tree, making each mate and each growth possible upon their flight.

When we returned from Korea after picking up our baby Jude, we found a big white blob of waste on the trunk of our car and a dead bird under it. I don't know how the bird got into our garage while we were away, nor do we know why the bird chose our car in particular to choose. Maybe it was random coincidence of the universe or maybe our car was the only one left abandoned for ten days in the garage. While taking Jude out for a frolic outside I found another dead bird in the grass where we were playing. I never saw so many dead birds in my life and I found it a curse and a darkening in my heart and imagination. In old Korean folklore, when you find a birds nest outside your window or in one of your trees, it is believed to be good fortune and blessing. So, when I saw two dead birds in two days within very close proximity of our home, it concerned me.

Perhaps it's bad luck or a bad misfortune foretold in their death upon our arena, but I hate to think that way, for today I saw too bird of a feather flying across the sky after I successfully fed, bathe and put Jude to bed in his own crib for the first time. I want to think that the birds have to die to their freedom in their own selfish independence to belong to one another and become a bird of a feather. Unlike the trees that come from one root, one birth, a bird finds another to mate for life. It's to adopt and adapt to one another and become one.

Tuesday, May 22, 2012

6 o'clock in the morning

Every morning here in Korea, whether I had gotten some good shut eye or not (more days not), I wake exactly at 6 am on the dot. I drag my feet on the wood floor, down the hall to the rest room then after I'm emptied out, I sit here...checking email, checking facebook, reading blogs and writing them. I have this strange feeling that this will be my morning routine back in the States with Jude and this is the training ground for it. Who knows...I don't feel especially tired when wake up, but I am pretty tuckered out mid-morning-ish until I get some food in me. Then that afternoon is a killer. Doesn't this sound awfully similar to a mom/kid day? Yeah, it sounds like that to me too.

The good Korea list

This is so I won't forget how good Korea is and to show off to others the place of my birth and a place I would have grown up. I sometimes fantasize about where and what I would be if I never left this place. Would I feel more grounded and less ethereal and less like an alien? Maybe I wouldn't feel so detached and out of place so much.

1. I love how there are play grounds in every town and every apartment complex. Not the with sheet metal slides that grow hot enough to melt off the under side of your thy on your way down, but the plastic kind and with elaborate themes with every complex.

2. Public transportation is efficient, timely, frequent, clean and cheap. You will pay about 10 dollars for a 30 minute ride in a cab to another part of the city. That would never happen in Chicago. It costs nearly 10 dollars traveling from Michigan Ave to Union Station. That is a 10 minute ride. The subway system in Korea is easy to understand and any tourist would catch on in a day, whereas living about 15 years in Chicago did nothing for me in learning the L.

3. Korean food is so good in Korea. Just makes sense but ... can't get over it.

4. Just like in the States, Starbucks and Dunkin' Donuts have infiltrated every corner of every block of Seoul. Which is a welcome oasis when the above said Korea food loses it's luster after the 6th Korean meal in 2 days. I understand most people in Korea do have Korean food every meal of their days, but it seems a little much after so long.

5. Every little part of town is different and has it's own personality, specialty and people.

6. No one in Korea sleeps. The city never sleeps.

7. People in Korea still regard one another as extended family because it's still pretty homogeneous.

8. Koreans love coffee so much, they have beautiful cafes everywhere and they actually have some of the best coffee I have ever sipped on.

9. Art and details are important to them. There is a strong affinity and importance put on aesthtics, whether it be  of people, clothing, puppy clothing or a phone cover, Koreans make the cutest little things.If I ever have a little girl in the future, I'm coming back here to shop.

10. You can get anything delivered and it's expected.

11. You don't have to tip ANYONE, not even your server at an eatery. ahhh...feels good and free that you aren't pressured to award people more than deserve just for doing what they're already paid to do.

Still a working list...to be continued.

Second meeting

Today we had our second meeting. I haven't been sleeping very well for the last 6 days and I look and feel like a zombie. Bags under my eyes, not processing information as quickly as I need, crabby, and losing my sense of humor very quickly. I'm also picking fights with H and I want him to fight back so I can really give him a piece of my mind. I don't know what I'd say at that exact moment...but he's gonna get an ear full. At one o'clock this afternoon we had our second meeting with Jude and I was already tired from climbing the hills of Korean streets, I waited in the SWS nursery. When he appeared, he looked like he recognized me, but when I tried to cajole him to come to me, he was hesitant. We had one hour with him and played in the nursery, just the three of us without the social worker and the foster mom. He didn't cry or fuss, he actually laughed, played, smiled and asked me for snacks that the agency provided. It was suppose to be grape flavor, but when Jude inserted the snacks through my tight reluctant lips, I immediately cringed and had no idea why he asked for them over and over. yuck! I will give you better snacks when we get home Jude, apple puffs, cheddar bunnies and veggie snacks from Gerber. mmm..those are my favorites. You don't know what you're missin'.

Although Jude didn't cry with us, I could tell that he wasn't ecstatic about being with us as he would with his foster mom. I also don't feel as though he's my child yet. H and I both agree that we still feel like the Uncle Hans and Auntie Susie who play hard all hour long and work hard to make kids laugh. We are exhausted after we spend just one hour with him and we are relieved when his rightful guardian walks in the door to reconvene their role and we stroll out the door to take a little nap. H's cousin who is a new mom says she doesn't or she can't play with her 8 month old like we play with her and that soon we will accept our new role as parents and not fun Uncle and Auntie or playmate for that matter.

When our hour was up with him, the social worker opened the door and Jude brightened up significantly as he spied his foster mom through the door frame. He ran toward her with open arms and after that, while saying good bye to him, I could tell that he was more excited and active than he was when he was with us. I know that he still needs to get to know us and we need to do some bonding, but it still made me kind of sad because this time, I wasn't auntie, but I was his mom. For other little boys I love to prefer their moms over me doesn't hurt me but almost a release because now I can go back to being childless and free, maybe even a child myself. It made me sad to see the contrast this time because he still thinks me as auntie. 

Monday, May 21, 2012

First meeting

It wasn't love at first sight...or what I thought would happen when I saw him. In my reveries, I walk in, take one look at him and I am reduced to tears, overcome by love and affection for this boy. Nope. That didn't happen, but he did run out to see who was at the door like all little boys his age would do. As he appeared, we all erupted in laughter because he was so darn cute, but I didn't recognize him as my baby, it was our first meeting after all. We ran into a couple who had also just come back from their first meeting with their baby and we both agreed that when we said good bye to our little ones at the end of our meeting, we didn't feel as though we were leaving our babies. Although another couple with us cried from being overwhelmed by love and affection, apparently feeling as though she was in fact in love already. Love at first sight.

Sure, I thought he was adorable and I genuinely liked him and as he sat on my lap contently, I think he liked me too. We still need to get to know one another and let bonding happen in the next days of our lives. For now, we are smitten and we like each other's company. He came to me and sat on my lap with a little cajoling, but while playing, kissing and cooing with him, I still felt as though I was his auntie and he was someone else's kid. I feel okay with that and maybe feel a bit healthy because I do. No one falls deeply in love at first moment and maybe or most likely Jude would have already forgotten me by tomorrow. I'll just have to remind him again when I see him.I still can't stop talking about him, make notes and commentary on the little things he did during our first hour and his little duck lips still come into my mind's eye every now and again.

See you tomorrow boy, we'll be friends for now and you can wait to call me mommy, because we have the rest of our lives to get to know each other. :) 

Sunday, May 20, 2012

Today is the first day

Today is the first day that I will actually know Jude in person. I've been awake since about 6 am and despite the fact that I haven't been able to sleep that well this trip, I am especially eager today. In about a half hour, we'll leave our cousin's house and take the train to Gangman, where we will visit with SWS and the nursery where all the "new arrivals" are kept. We are completely in the dark about all that is a about to happen there except, someone from the agency will take us to the foster home where Jude is right now and we are able to visit with them for one measly hour. I have to remember that I will have him for the rest of our lives and it doesn't help to just go along with what they require of us. You don't want to slap the hand that feeds you. Hans has also been up since 6 am and since then, he's been folding his clothes, laying out his "good" clothes, shaving, showering and even applying a Biore nose strip on for clean and clear complexion. Hans is a little worried that Jude won't take to him because he looks intimidating and he's almost always stopped at the airport security for his shady face. If you know Hans at all as a friend, it takes cajoling even for him to shower after playing basketball, but today, he wants Jude to like him, I can tell.

I've been having such weird dreams and although my mom friends have been telling me that it's normal to dream out from the left field dreams when you're expecting, my dreams have not only been so crazy, they've also been a little bit dark. I can't explain or recount most the of the dreams I've been having since I have multiples each night. Each dream though, would incorporate an inside joke, a small detail from a friendship or a relationship I've had. People from my past that I haven't seen in years or thought about in years for that matter would appear also, and subsequently , even when not sleeping this happens because I ran into an old friend from junior high while walking along the streets of Itewon last night after having dinner with my family. It's strange, like I'm saying good bye to everything about me that ever happened or have known before Jude, but I don't like that idea. I don't like it when moms lose their sense of identity separate from their children, like they've just become a eunuch that serves a small self centered monster until they leave the nest. Then what? What happens to you when you are no longer 'mom' in a functional sense?

Maybe all of these dreams of supressed feelings, memories and people are a reminder of who I am and what makes up my life. I'd like to think that instead and today is the first day that I will know Jude, who will only be an addition to what makes me, me.


Friday, May 11, 2012

Cancel everything!!!

I can't believe today! This morning I am deeply consumed in slumber and I am startled awake by a phone call and because I think every phone call is from Spence-Chapin, I jump a wake and answer the call. After all of those failed phone calls, this was the one. This time, it WAS Spence and they tell me I can go pick up Jude, it's a travel call! I can't believe my ears first because I'm still a little groggy from sleep, but shaking the fog out of my head, I am amazed at God's timing. Just in time for Mother's day, I receive news to go pick up my first baby. Just the day before, I had phone meeting with my agency prepping me for travel in late May or early June, or even God-forbid-July! Just a few days rewound, I called DC asking if there was any news on the radar of his file arriving at the U.S. Embassy in Seoul. Nothing. No file, no picture, no emigration permit, no visa interview scheduled. HOW did I even get a travel call today? It takes about a week and a half for anyone to receive a T.C. after the V.I is even scheduled! This hardly feels real and I'm in a dream.

I can't focus on anything and all I can do is skip around in my living room, go for a walk down the street to get some coffee and a cheese danish. CHEESE DANISH! I don't eat cheese danishes...but that was the most yummiest cheese danish I have ever consumed and I don't know if I feel guilty for it. He's coming and there's nothing that matters more than this. Yesterday my social worker asked me what my biggest fear was about having him home, and I didn't think twice. I know the answer...It's the bonding. He's 15 months old and by the time I see him he's going to be 16 months, so he will be fully aware that I am a stranger. I'm afraid of the first few months of regressing, the sleepless nights, the rejection, the crying for 4 hour stretches and the trauma he feels once I snatch him away from the only mother he's known. That's my biggest fear...but that all seems like nothing when I think about how we will finally be together. Oh yes, I know that all of the chaos will ensue from day one of our possession of him, but I know that it's growing pains of a family.

Happy Mother's day to me.

Wednesday, May 9, 2012

Swirls and swirls

If I was ever a ethereal ghost, I am one now. As the process of adoption comes down to the wire, my nerves have followed suit and worn down to it's very last follicle. I haven't been able to write or focus on anything besides following adoption forums and watching everyone else receive travel calls while I sit here swirling with dark thoughts. What if Jude's foster mother actually falls so deeply in love with my son that she wants to adopt him at the eleventh hour? I had a dream about this the other night, and the pottery barn chair with JUDE embroidered on to it with thread had to be undone and only a faint outline of his name remained. I wouldn't blame her I guess, I would want him too even if I knew that he belonged to someone else, but as long as she is in a far off land and I am here with him, he could and should be mine! That's what I would believe if I were her.

The only serenity I find these days is to fall deeply into books that I have not read in my library. Anna Karenina, Food For Millionaires, The American Adulterer, The Hunger Games (one and two - does anyone have the third one?), the list goes on and on trying to forget that I'm me and that Jude is out there without the slightest clue anything or anyone is missing in his life. Sometimes I feel like a teenage girl with an impossible crush, looking at his pictures, wishing, daydreaming the day he will be mine and on days when I am especially frustrated, I think to myself, "I was fine before I knew you ever existed! Why do I know you if  I can't even have you?!" Of course, he will be mine some day, I just know it but this wait is making me concoct cocktails of thoughts that swirl together in a cup and every day take swigs of it, poisoning my body, my sleep, my concentration.

I mustn't hope in you Jude, or Korea or the agency. I must hope and wait on the Lord, so I am not disappointed or frustrated. His timing is perfect and it has been all along. I am slowly coming to terms with why I had KCC for such a shrt time and I was made to let go so soon. I now know why I wasn't introduced to KCC years ago even when my own sister in law and several of my childhood friends have known about it. He has a plan for me, not a cosmic general plan for all who participate in this world history, but specific to me and my pains. He knows my name and my frustrations. I need to remember this and not be double minded, or half in my made up world with Jude in it and half in the present time. I may never be this free again, with my time, energy, to sleep, to write, to read and to just be. I need to enjoy this time!

Monday, April 30, 2012

Blue Sunday

Yesterday was Blue Sunday, a day we highlight and remember the children that are neglected and as a result die from the abuse. Each day, there are more than 4 children who die from abuse and most children die in the hands of parents and or guardians who are suppose to protect them from the world. That adds up to 1560 children who die each year in the United States in their own homes under neglectful parents, who they rely on for love and safety. Blue Sunday is the first day of a 7 day prayer week that focuses on the children, the parents, the family, the role of the church, the responsibility of the community, the workers for children, and the policy makers. All of these people are critical in saving children who are gifts from God.


Another aspect of Blue Sunday is to remember and become aware that human trafficking is a growing business all over the world. This isn't happening only in China, Columbia or India, but it is right here in our own country, in fact, Chicago is the main national hub for human trafficking. Every day there is someone walking through the arrival gates of O'Hare International Airport that is being trafficked. 325,000 children are being trafficked every year in the United States of America and the prime age of sex trafficked children are the ages between 9 and 17. Human trafficking is so popular among criminal business groups because human being can be sold over and over, where as guns and drugs are parishable comodities, they can only be sold once. These things also cost money to obtain and or create, where as human beings can be kidnapped and traded like baseball cards.

According to UNICEF, 21,000 Children still die each day of preventable causes. They're mission is "to do whatever it takes to make that number zero by giving children the essentials for a safe and healthy childhood, including health care, clean water, nutrition, education, protection, emergency relief and more." By their definition, an orphan is a child who has lost one or both parents. There were over 132 million orphans in sub-Saharan Africa, Asia, Latin America and the Caribbean in 2005, and those are orphans from the listed countries, not to mention orphans from the rest of the world. It is estimated that there are 143 million to 210 million orphans worldwide. Out of the millions of children orphaned, only 250,000 children are adopted annually, and those who are no adopted and are institutionalized until they age out at 18, 10% commit suicide, 60% of girls become prostitutes and 70% of boys become hardened criminals.
  The numbers are staggering and it seems there is nothing we can do that would make any difference. "I am only one person!" we cry out, "what can we do?" If we cannot bring in the millions of children all over the world into your homes, start with one or love and become a good example to children who are fatherless. Protecting children is something we can all do without breaking the bank, volunteering at your local school or becoming a foster parent can protect them from the hands of abuse. If this is too much, you can be a safe house, where children stay in your home for a week to a month at a time. This program allows parents to keep their children in a safe place while they look for jobs or get their life situated without the stress of taking care of a child on top of their laundry list of things rectify in their lives. This program also allows the parent to recieve their children back into their embrace without potentially losing their children to the State. You can also donate to children focused organizations such as Crossing Borders NK ministries, UNICEF, your local adoption agency and become the defender of the weak.

“Defend the cause of the weak and the fatherless; Maintain the rights of the poor and oppressed.  Deliver the weak and needy from the hand of the wicked.”  Ps 82:3-4

Thursday, April 12, 2012

Manic Writing No more

I was convinced that I had nothing to say any more, that I had become a mindless drone, a product of another one of my anti-depressants (or serotonin booster). I go back and forth with Cymbalta, on one hand I sleep so much better by popping one pill a day and on the other I am so much more free to think and it's not so hard to shed a tear. It's always the same with these SSRN medications, makes you a even and a sensible human being or shall I say robot. You're not sad but you're also not happy. I'm not sure which is more desirable, the ability to be myself, feel, cry, laugh and think about all the things that occur to me and put them on paper or sleep, be sensible and not have a million thoughts and images going like a flip book in my mind's at all at the same time. It's a toss up. Can't there be a happy medium?

Then it makes me think about how my writing isn't always so driven by my emotions, although it is a lot easier when you are melancholia is pouring out of your fingers in such a dramatic way, you don't ever have to think up ways to be interesting. Why is it by the way, to be so creative and prolific when you're sad and emotional? Why don't we have more talented geniuses that are happy and fulfilled in life? Can you think of a genius artist that was actually happy? Let me climb out of that rabbit hole. (shake) What about the talent and the ability that God has given me and I forgot that I once began writing because I had something to say about God and his work in my life. To tell stories and record of his good works because there are so many, I don't ever want to forget them lest I am disgruntled.

I don't need to rely on manic, dark capes and crazy haired, in dark corners in the recess of my depressed soul to produce good writing! I just need to practice, I need to choose to be honest again. For a stint of time, I had shriveled into a ball of insecurity and privacy because I thought I owed people the right to speak into my life and give me directives I don't agree with. Sure, I'm open to your suggestions and if I am clearly involved in some base human smut too ugly no one should endure, sure let me know and I would change my ways, but I don't mind airing out a little dirty laundry. Why? Why so honest and open? Because I know that I make mistakes and I am not a saint, but I am confident in my weakness for God is glorified when he is the one that makes me anything worth loving. Plus I know that I'm not the only one that feels the way I do, you can relate to some of the things I post right?