Don’t call us, we’ll call you

October 28, 2012

Luxury items: Neal

Filed under: Chronic illness, Family, Lindsay loves Neal, Motherhood, Personal — Tags: , , , , — llcall @ 12:52 pm

It’s 3:00 am and I’ve woken up sick. There were some little inklings that I might be headed this direction, like when I laid down and couldn’t get up for a couple of hours yesterday afternoon. Or when I thought I might vomit just before I got in bed. But otherwise, I have a lot of things planned this week and had no intention of spending half the night awake and green and trying very hard not to lose everything I ate yesterday.

But while I do those things, I’ve been thinking of Neal. How lucky am I to know that tomorrow morning when Addison wakes up ready to grab another day by the horns and beat it into submission — or at least make it clap for her constantly —  I can still stay in bed and nurse this sickly body? I won’t have to explain to Neal what to do with her, what to feed her, how to dress her for church, or what to pack in the diaper bag. I learned what a luxury all that is two summers ago at a book group where more than a few women were bemoaning the fact that they could not leave their husbands alone with the kids without returning to dirty, naked children, piles of food on the floor, and kitchen cupboards left open (Neal sometimes does that one). It’s both a luxury and a choice, but today I’m focused on the luxury.

I cannot imagine a better father than Neal. He’s so mild and calm and sensitive. I’ve had to encourage him to develop a stern-parent voice (cause you’ve gotta have one of those with a kid like Addison on the loose), but I’m grateful that in the now 8 years I’ve known him I’ve heard only two harsh things escape his mouth (neither of which were directed at me or Addison). His ability to stay calm under pressure has been no small feat over the last week as Addison inexplicably forgot how to fall asleep and STAY asleep (because, really, the mere falling asleep is USELESS to us!). I don’t think I could have stayed as good-natured while Addison pitifully explained to me over and over again, “But I don’t know how to sleep” at 1:00 am.

Of course, sometimes Neal and I have our differences in terms of parenting practices. Like last week when I heard Addison banging something against her gate in protest of quiet time. It turned out to be the thermometer. The thermometer we bought just the day before to see how high her temperature had gone. When I took it away, she was inconsolable, sobbing, “But daddy gave it to me. Daddy GAVE IT TO ME,” which I knew could not possibly be true. Except that it was. He dutifully explained to her that he had made a mistake in giving a two-year-old a brand new, expensive (defined as anything over $10 in our house) thermometer to attempt to crush against walls and various other surfaces. But what I loved most was when he came back into our room and said, “Did you see how I didn’t throw you under the bus there? ‘Cause I could have.” I love that we share an underlying vision of how we want to raise our daughter and rule number 1 is don’t throw each other under the bus. Rule number 2 involves bringing Jawas into the conversation as often as possible.

From Raised by my daughter, of course

In short, I adore my Neal. The way I can depend on him, every moment of every day. The way he’s gotten a teeny-tiny bit more flexible about our schedule changing at a moment’s notice, even though he is almost certainly hard-wired against said flexibility. The way he reflects on parenting by drawing stick figures in his spare time. Life is just so much better with him by my side.


October 18, 2012

Politics, again

I think what this blog needs right now is more pictures. Perhaps the new life story, part IV wherein I finally spell out our adoption plans in more detail (part III left some people hanging; it left me hanging). What it probably does not need is another post about politics. But I’m gonna do it anyway because it’s my blog and I can mess it up as I see fit.

My last political post was about name-calling. To sum up, if you want to sway a (still) undecided voter like me to your team, replace name-calling with discussions of what you feel passionately about, value deeply, and why your preferred candidate aligns with those values. I love that many of my friends and family have been willing to do this even if it hasn’t completely convinced me yet.

This post is about a related phenomenon that especially cropped up with the beginning of the debates. I call this the “I hate his face” phenomenon, mainly because there was a sudden uptick in people who hate their non-preferred candidate’s face. “I can’t even stand to look at [Mitt Romney] and that ridiculous smirk.” “I just want to punch Joe Biden in the face.” etc. etc. [I am, by the way, quoting friends of friends whom I don’t know personally.] When I read comments like this, I can’t help but think what I would say if my child came to me and said this about one of her schoolmates. I fast forward to Addison having to cast a ballot for 6th grade class president. Who do you think you’re going to vote for, Tootie McGibbons (current nickname of choice)? “Probably Grace because I can’t stand the other guy’s face. I CANNOT imagine having to look at it for a year.” Epic parenting failure.

Am I being overly sensitive about this? Is this more harmless than I think? I obviously recognize that part of what people are responding to is not just the physical appearance but what they feel is being expressed through body language (e.g., Romney’s knowing smirk, Biden’s mocking interruptions). Still, the same way I said human beings deserve respect in a comment on my previous post, I think they also deserve to not have people talking about how much they hate their faces.

And now for a message we can all get behind:

October 15, 2012

Heaven on earth

Filed under: Family, Motherhood, Personal — Tags: , — llcall @ 4:36 am

This week my dearest of friends lost her sweetest baby girl. I have shed so many tears; it’s hard for me to fathom how they are still carrying on. Luckily, the Nelson family is gifted in the ways of strength, grace, and optimism. When I first thought about making a quick trip to Utah for the funeral, it seemed impossible. But after a couple of days, it seemed impossible not to. So I took maybe the shortest trip of my life, 18 hours on the ground, and paid my respects to the little girl who won me over just a few weeks ago by sweetly letting me hold her (and get my baby fix) — so many babies just want their mamas, you know? I’ll always be glad sweet Lizzie decided to blow-out on me; now anytime I wear those capris, or the new skirt, or the pants, I’ll think of her and the little piece of heaven-on-earth that she was for a few months.

When I wasn’t traveling, I spent the week holding Addison as much as possible. There just didn’t seem to be anything else worth doing. I had to bribe her with a few movies: you can watch Toy Story . . . if you lay on the couch next to me and don’t move at all, except to occasionally hug my neck. (My demands seemed excessive to her; we compromised.) I wish my sweet friend could have her baby back in her arms, but since she can’t (right now), I must remember the lesson in it for me: shut down computer; hug Addison. Repeat.

October 8, 2012

Addison in a nutshell

Filed under: Family — llcall @ 6:29 am

Addison, talking on the phone: Oh yes, I’m going to a meeting. See you in the morning!

Me: Who you talking to?

A: Anybody.

October 3, 2012

A new story of my life, part III

Filed under: Adoption, History, Motherhood, Personal — Tags: , , , — llcall @ 10:40 pm

If you want to catch up, here’s part I and part II. Spoiler alert: it’s about adoption.

June 2012

I can hardly believe that it’s been only two months since I wrote the first parts of this new story. I’ve done so much research and thinking and praying and learning since then — it really feels to me like we’ve been on this path for AGES. I guess that’s a good sign; it feels so right, it’s hard to imagine that we were ever contemplating something different.

I’m probably the only one that’s still bothered by this, but if you’re like me, when you got to the end of part II, you thought, Wait a second, that had absolutely nothing to do with part I! What the heck?!  All I can say is that I sensed an inherent connection between my career path thus far and the adoption process we’re going to go through, but it was still so abstract. I knew there was a part III coming, but I just couldn’t piece it together yet. It still feels daunting to try . . .

October 2012

Even though my thoughts in June were quite incomplete (apparently it felt really daunting since I abandoned all efforts for four months), I’ve decided they are worth saving. A lot has changed in those four months; I think I feel a lot less sure now than I did then. But that’s probably why it’s good to reread this line, “It feels so right, it’s hard to imagine that we were ever contemplating something different.” We have hit up against a lot of fears, doubts, questions in the last several months. Our research and connecting with people who have been down the roads we’re thinking of traveling have been sobering, to say the least. (Thanks to those who are reading this who shared your personal experiences or connected us with friends/relatives!)

So Neal and I took a break from adoption talk. It ended up being something of a summer break: we went to a meeting with our local county in mid-June, and then we barely talked about things again until a couple of weeks ago. I cried a little rereading some of these past posts today. When you’re stuck in the doubts and fears, it’s hard to remember that one time you knew that this was part of the plan and that it would be a beautiful future. But I did feel that way. And it was POWERFUL. I have been so prone to long periods of depression in my life (like major depressive disorder starting in grade school!) that the fact that I’ve had none of that is nothing short of miraculous. Last spring I felt something that I haven’t experienced so profoundly in over a decade: it was God coming in, healing my heart, correcting my vision, laying out RIGHT IN FRONT OF ME SO THAT I COULDN’T POSSIBLE MISS IT all the good that I too easily overlook (that indeed, I think I am somewhat genetically programmed to overlook — but that’s a whole other story, right?). I’ve had some people challenge me on my belief in God over the last several years, and all I can say is that belief in Him does not come naturally to me. I have wrestled with what I was taught to believe for as long as I can remember. But what I know as much as I know anything in this world is that  God has delivered me, from some terrible things in the past, from accidents and illnesses that could easily have ended my life, and just as miraculously from the captivity of my own mind. He did that for me first 12 years ago, and then again, in the spring.

In case you’re wondering, this is nothing like what I thought I sat down to write today. I was going to tell you about our adoption plans, or non-plans as the case may be. But I guess I just needed to remember the spring.

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