Two weeks ago we were interviewed (via phone) by a reporter for our local newspaper. They are doing an outdoor magazine this month and needed a camping/ outdoorsy family. My stepmom knows the editor, and voila, we are the family chosen. Well. Our camping life is (like everything else) divided into before-little-man and after-little-man.
Now, I talked a lot about Little Man. But I never referred to him as our “adopted” son. But I caught myself trying to figure out how to phrase things. “After Little Man was born…” was a frequent phrase I used. Because what else do you say? After we got him? After he came into our life? Because it certainly isn’t “after I gave birth.”
It was weird. Then this past weekend the photographer came to take our pictures. It’s pretty obvious when you see the three of us together that LM was adopted. But thankfully the photographer handled it with grace and maturity. And he coaxed lots of smiles out of our little guy, so you’ve got to love that.
I spied on Little Man in the church nursery on Sunday. I stayed about 15 feet from the window and was standing on my tippy toes trying to peek in. One of the women who works the check-in desk asked me what he looked like. It was like the world stood still. There was a Black woman also working the desk, and I felt like saying, “Well, he’s Black” would come across as disrespectful. It was like I was under water, or caught up in slow motion. I finally said, “Well, he’s wearing a brown-cam-dinosaur shirt and has brown curly hair.” She told me he was actually right under the window (where I couldn’t see him) and that he was happily playing.
Again… weird. What do you say? I think I’m most afraid of strangers’ reactions, which is ridiculous. Who cares what strangers think? But I didn’t want to offend the Black lady… who I’ve never seen before and may never see again (our church is that large).
Keith is working nights this week. That means, for all intents and purposes, I am a single mother. Last week, Keith worked over 12 hours a day. That means, for all intents and purposes, I was a single mother. I’ve written before about that, but it is hard to be the parent physically responsible for your infant 24/7. Very hard.
I had a massive breakdown on Friday (thanks to a lack of sleep because LM is hardcore teething and my raging hormones). I was crying, LM was crying. Every time I cried, he cried harder, which made me cry even harder, which made him cry even harder… you can see the cycle here. It was miserable. He does not like when Mama is upset.
As frustrating and hard as it is, though, I find myself having this conversation with myself over and over again:
Me: This is hard.
Me 2: Yes, but think about Heidi. Aaron is in Afghanistan and she’s got the three girls to herself.
Me: Yes, but she also works and interacts with adults.
Me 2: But she’s a single mother for a year.
Me: Yes, but her girls are self-sufficient. Not leave on their own sufficient, but she doesn’t have to keep her eyes on them 24/7. They can play by themselves. And they sleep through the night.
Me 2: Shut up. She has it worse.
Me: Why can’t we both just be miserable in our own unique way?
Me 2: Shut up. You’re lucky you get to be a stay-at-home-mom.
Me: Yes, I am. But I’m not so lucky to be a work widow single mom.
Me 2: Shut up.
You can see how it goes. (by the way, show this Marine wife some support and love!)
Little Man has started to consistently call me “Mama.” He wakes up in the morning (and if he isn’t crying) he starts singing, “Mama! Mama! Mama!” If I leave the room, it’s the same thing. I have to say, it melts my heart every. single. time. If anything is going to heal me from my infertility angst, it’s that little voice calling me “mama” and those little hands holding mine and those little arms hugging me.
All in all…. thank God we’re going to the beach next week!