Tuesday, April 23, 2013

Navigation Systems On

And so we come to the section of life where the four year old boy needs to start talking about his Birth Mother. After the long, emotional talks into the night with Evelyn, I considered myself prepared, and after spending most all of my life as a mother to both a girl and a boy contrasting the differences between the two, I am not sure why it ever occurred to me that this particular subject would be the same.
 Can we just say that, in this home, with these two personalities at least, that talking over emotional stuff with the daughter is kind of like a Freudian Marathon that you forgot you signed up for, at the end of a very long day and it involves lots of crying, laughing, photo albums and maybe some art therapy at 2 a.m., where as, with the boy? It's a bit more like drive thru Voo-doo and some random conversation thrown in. No less exhausting- just completely and utterly different and new. I'm not trying to make light of this subject, or my son. ( Well, if you knew Liam...you'd already be smiling because he is really and truly so very funny, you just can't help it). It's just that sometimes we laugh to survive.
We have been taking care of Liam's surgical scar- scar massage and surgical sillicone applied daily. As he lays across my lap, he looks up at my face and gently rubs it, most often focusing on my lips, where he has found, a dark birth mark. And for three or four days he has asked me about this mark very tenderly and concerned. Then one day he said wait, did you say "birth mark" or birth MOM" and I repeated myself, but he responded, "Oh, I think you should tell me about mine and sissy's Birth Mom's". And just like that we were off.
The interesting thing for me with him though, has been that he just doesn't want to hear stories from me. He wants to TELL ME stories. Now, this is something very new to me. This is something Evelyn never, ever wanted or needed to do. I am completely ok that he needs to do this. I know that it is normal for some kids to need to do this. I am not even shocked at some of the scenarios he creates. He is just a small boy, trying to make sense of the very confusing way he got to us, his forever family. And believe me, he IS confused by the whole thing, and I don't blame him. And sometimes he still gets afraid that things are going to change again for him, that his family will swiftly metamorphasize into something else he doesn't know or can not recognize, he doesn't use those words, but I am his Mom, I can tell by certain moods, or certain cries in the night. And so he begins to find his way now.
He tells me stories about what his BM is doing in China. Sometimes she is dead. Sometimes she is alive and shopping at the store for milk. Sometimes she is on an airplane coming here to see him, just to see him, you understand. The other thing is that he has asked about his Birth Father, which Evelyn never has. He also likes me to tell him how he got from his BM to us and how even though she was probably nice and loved him and made a good choice for him, he never, ever, ever has to leave us or his Sissy or Billy Bones or WaWa (his Fish) or Cerina(resident hammy).
This happens-lightening fast and then he wants chocolate milk! Then! He's off!!!!!
Stop crying Sister. And most likely Aunt Kathryn.
It's ok.
It's not sad.
I mean it is.
It is. It really is. That whole bit is. That first part is. The First 21 months. The loss of a birth mother, her terrible choice, the orphanage, the foster care, the first surgery without us, more foster care, the next orphanage. No wonder he is confused.
But then came us! Which includes you guys!
And he's talking now! Which I love because that means we know what he's thinking and we can see that he's healing and we know that he's getting it and we are making his fears smaller and smaller and we can do better and better for him. So this is meant to be a good post. A happy post. A Liam is doing great post. A shadows from the past are getting smaller post.
I don't always have the right words for my kids. I just say things and mortar it up with a lot of "I love you"-s and a lot of trips to see family so you guys can help me.

Tuesday, April 9, 2013

Midnight Call

“Sweet, crazy conversations full of half sentences, daydreams and misunderstandings more thrilling than understanding could ever be.”  Toni Morrison 

Last night, while hopped up on many different types of pain meds (I was on day 9 of a migraine but that is neither here nor there), I got an episode of "Alien Sister Hand". OH? You don't know what ASH is? That is when your heart knows more that your mind, and your heart takes control of your hand and before you know it, your phone is in your hand and your sister's number has been dialed, and the phone is up to your ear and it's ringing, and in a split second you get it... She needs you. From hundreds of miles away, through the drugged haze, through the tiredness of the day, in the wee hours of the night, over the sounds of the video game going on...over everything else in front of you, somehow, your sister heart knew that she needed you and so, the phone made it into your hand. There is cursory conversation, but she knows. It's time to talk. We have had this dance too many times over the years. And my husband knows too, he grabs the remote and turns down the video game and looks at me and just shakes his head a bit- in wonderment? In exasperation? We don't know, my sister and I, what our men think of us really, and we can't care for we are sistahs and we do what we do and what we must.  

“Sisters function as safety nets in a chaotic world simply by being there for each other.”--Carol Saline

 And then it was my turn because I needed her too, that's how it goes I suppose. We take turns, one goes first and then the other for the big things, later on it gets all jumbled up and we talk over and under and roller coaster-y, but that is after we have settled the stuff that upsets us. So we take the big things and we turn them inside out and upside down, we apply the sisterly soul version of stain treater known as laughter, where no one else could show us laughter before and we forgive each other of whatever the other one thinks she has done that is so horrible. The other thing we do is bring out the sharp truths that no one else can dare to say to us. Those things that you know you need to do, or hear, those things that your own heart has been whispering but you are afraid to face. You say those things and you hear your sister weep, or you hear them and weep and softly say, "I know, I know" then you make each other laugh again because you have each faced another monster under the bed together again and come out okay and didn't have to wake-up Daddy afterall.

“Sister. She is your mirror, shining back at you with a world of possibilities. She is your witness, who sees you at your worst and best, and loves you anyway. She is your partner in crime, your midnight companion, someone who knows when you are smiling, even in the dark. She is your teacher, your defense attorney, your personal press agent, even your shrink. Some days, she's the reason you wish you were an only child.” --Barbara Alpert

 (*I rarely wished I was an only child)

So today I am thinking about my sister, more than usual I suppose, because last night we talked about when we were teenagers, sort of a twilight time between that stormy establishing independence phase and becoming adult women. I think that this time is just as magical as being 6 and 10 together but it isn't given as much attention in literature or in the verbal histories of women, so many sisters miss what is happening between them. Melissa posted a FB post about this time a couple of days ago and I love that she did, it was supposed to be happy but, I knew she was missing me terribly, for one thing, there was about two too many of these ! for it to be happy but, only her sister would know that. And for another thing I immediately began to cry for the desperate need of my sister in the same room. 

“You can kid the world, but not your sister.” -- Charlotte Gray 

Let us be clear here. We fight. I am not above throwing a cookbook at her head if I think she's being stupid and she will be more than verbal if she thinks I am being stupid. We can clear an entire house of adults and children with a Sister War that not a single person but us can even begin to understand the political ramifications of, and it can be so terrible and fierce that no person within earshot can ever imagine how we would ever be on speaking terms again, but more than likely in about 20 minutes time you will find us laughing and crying and almost back to normal. I will never stop loving or abandon my sister. I will always go to her aid. I will always answer her call. The love I have for her comes easy as a summer rain and is just as predictable as the love I have for my children. We have shared the same murky womb, we have so many shared childhood experiences-lost pets, yelling to each other over the sound of grinding big-wheels in the summertime, waiting overnight in wintertime for "the branches to fall", laying flat in the grass in summer and watching for the Blimp...she's simply my dark eyed sister and I love her.