Friday, February 18, 2011

Building a snowman

Sometimes the universe throws you a bone. I've been preoccupied and stressed lately, trying to build a marketing strategy for myself, while dealing with my husband's continued grief over losing his mother and the new challenges we are facing with our daughter. My throat goes into spasm when I'm really stressed, and I've been trying to ignore it, although it's painful and makes eating a challenge.

Mother Nature is playing a game of "now you see it, now you don't" with Southern Ontario. The last couple of days have been positively balmy, with temperatures well above 0 Celsius. When I picked my daughter up from school on Wednesday, she grabbed a mittful of snow and asked:

"Mommy, is this good snowman snow?"

My daughter had not yet learned to build a snowman. Oh sure, she'd stacked piles of snow up and made a reasonable facsimile, but she hadn't yet learned how to roll the snow from tiny to big snowball, how to stack it properly, and lift the head without knocking off the middle piece. The sun was shining. We had swimming lessons but not for a couple of hours. I made a split second decision and told her to go in the backyard, I was going to throw the stuff in the house and I'd meet her there. She looked at me suspiciously for a second to see if I was kidding, and then sprinted for the backyard.

I didn't even bother to change into mitts, so I made a snowman in my good leather gloves. I showed her how to roll the snow, and then she went off to try her own hand at it while I finished my first snowman in about 40 years. I'm a bit out of practice, but my daughter was delighted with the finished result.

mom's snowman

Kid's first snowman
We stayed out until my daughter's snowpants were soaked through, my leather gloves were soaked through and our cheeks were rosy and our noses running. For the first time in a week, the spasm in my throat released.  After a while, I stood on the deck and watched while my daughter carved a den out of the side of the big pile of snow. She was focused and attentive to detail, and made a great job of it.
When she was satisfied with the results, we headed inside to have cookies and hot chocolate before heading out to swimming lessons.

Sometimes, you just have to forget about everything for a time and help your kid build a snowman.

Saturday, February 12, 2011

Feeling like a Mamma bear

I'm feeling very Mamma Bear the last couple of days. Choices that my daughter's birth mother made have come home to roost and will have a profound and lifelong impact on my daughter.

We knew about these choices. We researched the implications. We accepted the risks, and we adopted our amazing little girl. The clinical evaluation is a far cry from the reality of the challenges my daughter will now deal with.

We started to notice behaviours over the summer. Given her genetic history, we acted immediately. The pediatrician expressed amazement that we had noticed and acted on it so early. I know my kid. I know what she does and now I know why. It is what it is, and we'll deal with it.

I'm struggling with rage right now. I know the birth mother was terrified that no one would adopt her child because of her drug use. She thanked us again and again for accepting her baby, while we thanked her again and again for giving her to us. The choice to make an adoption plan is never easy, and it's what will get me through this rage. She made bad choices, and then made a loving choice for the future of her child. I'll get back to grateful, but I need to be mad just a little longer.

My protective instincts have kicked in and I'm on Mamma Bear high alert. I will educate myself, and then I will educate others, and advocate for my kid.  She wondered a bit about the big words the doctors were using because we were talking about her. I told her all it meant was we all have different ways of coping with life. I stress eat and write. Grandpa buries himself in work. Grandma worries. And now we know what she does. It's not wrong. It's not weird. It's just her way of coping with life and we will just explain that to other people.

Nothing has changed. My wonderful child is still my wonderful child. My instincts were right and now we move forward, coping and adapting to whatever comes. But don't mess with Mamma bear.