Creating connections with Adoption Choices families

Posts tagged ‘family vacation’

Looking for Sea Glass

It’s the perfect beach day.   Not too hot.  Not too cool.  Just the right amount of breeze.  Chair strategically placed.  Toes in the water.  Book open.  Total relaxation.

“Mom, want to go for a walk with me?”  I close the book and move the chair back up under the umbrella.  Of course I want to go for a walk.  If a teenager asks you to go for a walk, you go.

Off we go in search of sea glass.  You have to really concentrate to find sea glass on our beach so there’s not a lot of talking.  It doesn’t matter.  I’m happy to be walking with my girl.  I’m even happier that she’s happy to be walking with me.

Some days, all we find are rocks.  You think you’ve spied a piece of sea glass but it turns out to be a light white rock or a smooth shell.  On this particular day, we do well.  10 pieces in all – clear ones, green ones and a dark brown one.  We head back to the umbrella, chatting a little bit on our way.

It occurs to me that parenting a teenager is like looking for sea glass.  There are days that are all rock.  Rolling eyes, silence, sarcasm.  But there are the sea glass days.  The smile, the laugh, the genuine interest in what you have to say.

M and I are lucky or at least lucky so far.  We find a lot of sea glass in our girl.  K and M point out cars to each other.  They share a similar taste in movies.  K and I have started going to exercise classes together.  I know!  We go to Zumba together and I don’t embarrass her.  After our first class, she actually said “you did pretty good, Mom.”  And I want extra credit because I responded with an enthusiastic thank you rather than correcting her grammar.

Of course it’s not all magic.  I was recently making homemade cookies for K to take to a sleepover.   I didn’t really have time, but the girls like them so I made the time.  K walked in and asked me what was wrong.  “Nothing.  I’m just thinking”, I replied.  My darling daughter’s reaction? “No offense, Mom, but when you look like that you’re either thinking or you’re irritated about something.  And usually?  It’s the second one.”  Yeah, that was a rock.  The first clue was the “no offense” lead in.  Always a warning to duck.sea glass

So we take it one step at a time.  I relish the times we spend working on puzzles together.  Or when she says, “Hey Mom, want to go to a movie?” And did I mention the Zumba class?

Yeah, I’ll pick up that sea glass wherever and whenever I can find it.

California Dreamin’

We’ve booked the flights and make the hotel reservations.  We’re off to California in February.  No, it’s not another trip to Napa for M and me, although that does sound delightful.  This time, the three of us will be heading to San Diego.

We’ll be staying in the same hotel from our last visit, the trip when K was born.  We’ll be doing a lot of the things we did the last time – Sea World, San Diego Zoo, the beach – and yes, we realize now those things are way more appropriate for a 14 year old than a newborn.    What can I say?  We were 3000 miles away from family and friends.  We did the best we could, and we all survived.  I consider that a success.

K isn’t sure if she wants to see the hospital, but as with most everything on this trip, it’s her call.  Honestly, I’m not sure I want to see it either.  Yes, I clearly remember walking out of that hospital with the world’s greatest gift.  Yet I can never forget the girl, not much older than my K is now, who walked out with nothing.  But, if K wants to go, we go.  This is her trip, not mine.

We almost went last year but then the Wizarding World of Harry Potter opened in Orlando and that took precedence over San Diego.  That decision sums up the place adoption holds in our lives now.  K determines its frequency and importance and we respond accordingly.  We’re a long way from the days when I obsessed over how to respond to people who told me K looked like me.  Should I respond immediately that K was adopted?  Should I wait til I get to know them better?  Is a simple “thank you” appropriate?

Adoption is the way K joined our family.  Although we are forever thankful for that, it does not define us.  We will visit her birthplace and we will remember those terrified thirty-somethings who had waited forever and then become parents overnight.  We will remember waking up in the hotel each morning relieved we had kept K alive for one more day.  We will remember the flight back home with a two-week old.  And we will remember how we become the awesome family that we are.

For Good

 “I’ve heard it said
that people come into our lives for a reason
bringing something we must learn.
For Good from Wicked

 It’s been another great summer.

There is, of course, the food.  We love the return each year of the summer seafood extravaganza of lobsters, steamers and oysters.  It’s probably odd how proud I am of the fact that my girl loves oysters, but I am.  There is the bounty from my garden, tomatoes, basil and cucumbers, bursting from what has to be the scrappiest looking garden in MA.

We love the visits to the beach house from family and friends.  Fun in the waves, rock collecting, hanging on the porch, and more food.

And K had a blast at Circus Smirkus camp.  She calls it a place where “everyone can just be themselves.”  So glad we found that oasis for her in VT.  We also got to enjoy K’s performance in “Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat.”  Kudos to the folks at the Performing Arts Center in Framingham for pulling together such a quality performance in only three weeks!

But if I had to pick a favorite, it would be K’s and my visit to NYC to see “Wicked.”   We decided several years ago to take a trip by ourselves each summer.  The first trips were to amusement parks but after last summer’s trip to see “The Lion King”, we’ve changed our focus to an annual excursion to Broadway.  I love the alone time with her focused entirely on fun.  We take the train, have dinner, spend a night, and get some shopping in but the highlight is the show.  Some of you may recall that K and I sing “Defying Gravity”  from time to time so we were especially looking forward to this year’s performance and hearing “our song.”

And Elphaba rocked it.  Nailed it.  Killed it.  Feel free to fill in the amazing phrase of your choice.  Watching the actress raise up on her broomstick while belting out that song was truly awesome.  But it was a song near the end of the show that really got me.  I had heard “For Good” before and recognized the beautiful song.  But hearing Elphaba and Glinda sing it while on a date with my beautiful daughter gave the words special meaning.

“And we are led
to those who help us most to grow
if we let them
and we help them in return.

 Well, I don’t know if I believe that’s true
But I know I’m who I am today
because I knew you”

I honestly don’t know who I’d be today without you K.  It’s not just that I’m someone’s mother, and there certainly was a time when being anyone’s mother was far from certain.  I am who I am because I’m your mother and being your mother is the greatest joy of my life.

And yes, we got the “Wicked” soundtrack.  And yes, we still sing “Defying Gravity”, but “For Good” makes a great duet too.  I try not to read too much into the fact that I have the Wicked Witch part.

 Who can say if I’ve been changed for the better?
I do believe I have been
changed for the better
Because I knew you…
I have been changed for good.

In Flight

Waiting to get on a plane at Reagan National Airport last week, I listened to a TED Talk given by Ric Elias.  Ric was one of the passengers on Flight 1549, the plane that crash-landed in the Hudson River in 2009.  His brief, moving talk describes what went through his mind during the landing and the lessons he learned from that experience (if you have 5 minutes, click on the link and listen). Perhaps a plane crash wasn’t the best pre-flight topic choice but the lessons he shared were well worth hearing:  “I no longer try to be right.  I choose to be happy.”  “Above all, the only goal I have in life is to be a good dad.”

Thankfully, I’ve never had a plane experience that comes close to Elias’ but several flights and their lessons came to mind after hearing his.  First, was the flight my husband M and I took home from California with 13 day old baby K.  We had just survived 12 days and nights in a hotel room. Most significantly K had survived while in the care of two terrified adults 3000 miles away from anyone they knew.  We now all needed to get through the 6 hour flight home.  M and I created a precise timeline with tasks and responsibilities.  We discussed how we would handle the rental car drop off.  We discussed the check-in process in detail.  We discussed our pre-boarding and seat assignment strategies.  We stuck to our plan and K did her part by sleeping most of the way.  The plane touched down at Logan and we were home.

I took away two lessons from that flight.  Lesson #1 – With enough proper planning, one can avoid all problems while traveling with a small child.  (See next flight for just one example of that lesson’s flaws.)  Lesson #2 – I chose very wisely in marrying my husband.

When K was 1, we flew to Florida to visit my mother-in-law.    In compliance with our master planning list, we gave K milk in a bottle to alleviate any pressure on her ears during takeoff.  We tried this again on the return trip but takeoff was delayed.  She drank a bottle before we left and then another one during takeoff.  A short while later, I took K towards the bathroom to change her diaper.  I was about halfway there when my senses were suddenly and dramatically assaulted.  There was the collective gasp from the people in the rows around us, the sound of liquid splattering all over the floor, the wetness on my back.  I turned and took in the scene – the recently consumed milk on the floor, on shoes, on pant legs, the horrified looks on people’s faces, and it must be said – the smell.  M watched this all unfold from his seat but within seconds was beside us saying “what can I do, what can I do?”  He helped the flight attendant clean up the mess while I cleaned up K and me in the bathroom.  Walking past everyone to our seats gave new meaning to “the walk of shame.”

That flight provided me with three lessons.  Lesson #1 – There is no such thing as proper planning while traveling with a small child.  (I was learning.)  Lesson #2 – Strangers should be grateful if all a baby has done to disrupt a flight is cry the whole way.  Lesson #3 – I absolutely chose wisely in marrying my husband.

Vacationing with Kids: Is it really a vacation?

(Posted on behalf of Twin Mom Plus One)

As I sit here in the passenger  seat on our way to the airport, my mind is racing and adrenaline pumping.  I sit thinking of the past two weeks of trip preparation, as well as our upcoming vacation cross country.

Prep work:  coordinating the trying on the twins’ summer clothes in between episodes of Phineas and Ferb, realizing that JJ wore slims while Bruiser is built like a tank…..guess hand-me down concept didn’t fare very well, hand-me downs for Princess was more successful however once she was all packed she decided to pull out an outfit that was already in the suitcase (bottom of the suitcase), JJ was a breeze…gave him a list and he packed himself albeit 2 of the 4 Shirts were permantly stained and 1 of the 3 shorts were too small, the dog was easy to get ready for his vacation at nana and papa’s house- as long as we don’t think about the diarrhea that he came down with a few days ago.  Ok…almost at the airport….considering day of traveling, TSA checkpoints, rental car lines etc.  Need a vacation from my vacation and haven’t even stepped into the airport.  OY!

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