Tuesday, September 29, 2009

Don't Wait Too Long To Come Home, My How the Years and Our Youth Passed On*

The wind is whipping off the Lake today like it's November and not the end of September. We haven't even closed our pool yet, but today it feels Autumn, hardly here, is giving way to Winter. Across the street from my office, in the coffee shop, several Coast Guard guys** are still in their summer short-sleeved uniforms - shivering and hunched over coffee.

I am wrapped in melancholy and blanketed in nostalgia.

I spent Saturday with some of my favorite people from college.

It was Homecoming, and it seems, sometimes, you can go home again.

Saturday afternoon I sat on the front porch of my theater professor's house, with most of the people who made up my world in those days. (I did a lot of theater. We were always in rehearsal, always running lines, or constructing a set, or taking one down.) We ate chili and garlic bread and drank and laughed. We laughed that deep down belly laughter that shakes your whole body. It was wonderful to laugh like that.

Then we tail-gated outside the football stadium (something I didn't actually do when I was IN college) and went for Mexican food, and to our favorite bar...where they actually RAN OUT OF GLASSES because there were so many people had come in for Homecoming.

There was a perfection to the whole day, marred only by the absence of Husband, who stayed home with Gabe and Lana so that I could walk down memory lane with some of my favorite people.

Some of my friendships, born in college, have grown and changed and those people (you know who you are) are even more important to me today than fifteen years ago. But some of my other friends from college - some of the ones I had a chance to see on Saturday, are people I hadn't seen in years. And it's likely I will not see them again for a long time. But for a few hours, it felt like no time had passed at all. It was magical and it meant more to me than I can adequately express.


* The Gaslight Anthem, Miles Davis and The Cool
** What is the proper term for a person in the Coast Guard? A Sailor? A Lakeman? I should know, I see them almost every day, but I don't know what they are called.

Sunday, September 27, 2009

Dear Anonymous,

Dear Anonymous Poster who left this gem on a post I wrote THREE YEARS AGO

WOW!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!I don't believe it. I guess all of you anti-teacher / homework haters should just try walking in our shoes. No, we can not do it all by ourselves. Yes, the government has failed us all in how and what the students need to learn and why. Don't take it out on us. We know homework should only take 10 minutes. Is sounds more like LawMomy's son is just anal about his work. What LawMommy should have said was do your best and that is all you can do. Next time mommy will be home early enough to help you do it in 10 minutes!

I am impressed that you have managed to imply that my child is anal-retentive, that I am an absent parent, and that I am a "teacher hater" in just a few sentences.

I am shocked how much traffic this one post receives, I truly am. I had no idea that complaining about First Grade Homework was so controversial.

But if the anonymous poster had spent ANY TIME reading ANY OTHER POST on my blog, they would know that I am MARRIED to a TEACHER, for Pete's sake. I am not a teacher hater. I am not an absent mom (and in fact, I was not an absent mom on the night this event happened, three years ago. I was trying to let my son play outside in the fresh hour for 45 minutes. I GUESS THAT MAKES ME A HORRIBLE PERSON.)

So, thanks Anonymous, for judging my family on the basis of one short post that was born out of frustration.

At any rate, I am turning off Anonymous commenting. If I have any regular readers who are distressed about that, feel free to email me. My email is on the sidebar.


Thursday, September 17, 2009


If you need to laugh, and you love the muppets, you must go look at CELEBRITY MUPPET LOOKALIKES!

I promise, if nothing else, it will make you giggle.


A conversation with my sister:

Me: I cannot believe this is happening.

Her: Every family has skeletons in its closet. This is just a pretty big skeleton.

Me: Oh sure, yes, every family has one cousin go missing under suspicious circumstances, followed by another cousin falling back into a heroin addiction and accidentally killing another person who may or may not also be a heroin addict. Happens all the time.

Her: When you say it like that, it sounds really bad.

Me: That's because it is REALLY BAD.

Her: It's just because we have a big family. And because we're close. I mean, I bet lots of people have cousins in prison. They just don't care about them.

Me: So this makes us humanitarians, then?

Her: Basically, yes.


We have had a Fruit Loops Drama in my house that is so ridiculous I have to share it so that you can know the kind of surreality I am existing in.

Yesterday morning, before I was really awake, Gabriel came into my bedroom and said, "Mom, I ate all the Fruit Loops."

I said, "You ate ALL the Fruit Loops?" and inwardly, I felt annoyed by the fact that he had eaten them all because A. I wanted some and B. I was pretty sure that eating two big bowls of Fruit Loops would make him insane all day and I was secretly thankful that he had soccer practice so at least he would run all the Fruit Loop Insanity out of his body before the day was over.

Last night, things were kind of crazy in my kitchen because I decided that the inside of the dishwasher was disgusting and had to be cleaned before I could accomplish anything, and also that I needed to bake a batch of cookies for Husband's aunt who is stopping by today on her way from Philadelphia to Detroit, and also that I needed to prepare the things to make a casserole that would reheat easily in case Husband's Aunt was hungry for something more than cookies at whatever time she happens to stop by. PHEW. I am tired again just thinking about this.

So, after I scrubbed the dishwasher with a toothbrush, and after I cut up a bunch of cabbage and onions and cooked some long grain rice and defrosted some beef and baked a batch of banana chocolate chip cookies, I put Lana and Gabe to bed.

As I was singing to Lana she said, "Mommy, Gabe didn't really eat all the Fruit Loops." And I said, "What?" and she said, "He didn't eat all the Fruit Loops, he hid them and I want some for breakfast tomorrow."

I finished singing to Lana and I walked into Gabe's room where I found him stretched across his bed, petting the cat, wearing only pajama shorts and a Korean Air eye-mask, and I said, "Gabriel, did you hide the Fruit Loops?"

He had the courtesy to look ashamed and said, quietly, "yes."

And I said, "Why would you hide the Fruit Loops?"

And he said, "Because I didn't want to share them with Lana."

And I said, "We share food in this house and where are they???" He told me where they were. And then I sent Husband in to have a chat with him about why we share food and why we DON'T LIE TO OUR MOTHER.

So...I went downstairs and hid the Fruit Loops. Yes, because I am a grown up. Or not.

This morning, Gabe woke me up and said, "Mom, where's the Fruit Loops?" and I said, "I hid them." And Gabe got upset, and I suggested that it did NOT feel good when somebody hides the Fruit Loops, and I said that WHEN I GOT UP, I would pour three servings of Fruit Loops and that he and I and his sister would eat them AS A FAMILY, because FAMILIES SHARE FRUIT LOOPS. At which point I advised him to leave me alone OR ELSE I WOULD THROW THE FRUIT LOOPS AWAY.

And so he left and I made him and his sister eat bananas before they could have any Fruit Loops, and at this point I am considering never buying Fruit Loops ever again. They aren't something we usually buy. This was a diversion from our usual Cinnamon Life or Kix, and I can't say it went very well...

This is my life....I'm not sure what happened to it.


Thursday, September 10, 2009

Circling the Drain, Throw It All Away, Just to Get High*

I don't know much about heroin. I don't know how it's made, or how it's affects the brain, or why it's so very addictive.

I have trouble conceiving of the circumstances that would lead a rational person to inject it into their veins. (Possibly because I hate needles. I mean, I HATE needles. I haven't been to a vaccination appointment for my children since Gabriel was six weeks old. The nurses asked Husband to come alone after that. True story.)

What I do know about heroin is this:

Once upon a time, there was a boy. He was bright, he made me laugh, and he had a beautiful smile. He was charming and kind. On more than one occasion, as children, he stood between me and another member of my extended family who was, at that time, full of rage and anger.

Unfortunately, I have spent the last 15 years watching him try to kill himself with heroin.

What I know about heroin is that it can take a boy who is, by nature, kind and gentle, and turn him into a man who did horrible things when he was high. Horrible things.

I have spent the last 15 years worrying that he would kill himself and it did not occur to me that there are worse outcomes than that.

Because what is worse than watching someone you love kill themselves with heroin is watching them take someone else with them. And succeeding.

There are a lot of things I would like to say to him right now.

Among them:

I trusted you. I helped you. I CARED ABOUT YOU. You hurt me. And now you have hurt another family immeasurably and there is nothing that can be done to undo it. And my heart is broken.


*Nickelback, Just to Get High - forgive me for two posts in one day referencing to same album. I have been listening to this album, and in particular, this song, for ten days now. The song is here - Nickelback - Just to Get High

'Cause Forever I Believe That There's Nothing I Could Need But You*

There was a lot of brouhaha on another adoptive parent's blog recently...the discussion is here. It's too exhausting for me to recap.

So, instead, I would like to share with you one of the few instances in my job that was truly joyful.

It is rare that the practice of law rises to the level of joy. Very, very rare. Much of what I do is heartbreaking. Much of what I see are families at their very lowest points. People behaving badly. People behaving monstrously. People crying. I listen to people cry on the phone almost every day. It is not easy to be surrounded by such sorrow and hopelessness.

But last week, I had a truly joyful hearing. It was an adoption finalization hearing, and in attendance was an adult adoptee.

An adult adoptee who expressed that she was thrilled beyond measure to welcome a new person into her family.

She stood with her family members, some of them white, some of them African-American, some of them Asian, some of them of mixed race - we stood in a courtroom together and we were filled with the joy of the moment. The judge banged his gavel, announcing that the adoption was final. The family was giddy, all of them, together. The judge was giddy. I was giddy.

The adult adoptee wanted to talk to me about my daughter. We talked for a while, and I told her that I was blessed to have Lana in my life. She told me that we were both blessed, and she hugged me as she left the courthouse.

I'm not going to tell you that she was without grief, or without anger, without questions. I am just going to share with you all, that in that moment, in that courtroom, there was only joy on her face.

I think that when people say that "all adoptees feel __________," it's almost as absurd as saying, "all parents who have lost a child feel__________" - because while they have had the collective experience of having been adopted or having lost a child - the human response to those tragic circumstances is vast and unpredictable.

Is it reasonable to say that all parents who have lost a child will feel grief? Yes, absolutely.

Is it reasonable to say they will experience that grief in the same way? No.

Is it reasonable to say that because they lost a child, they will never feel a moment of joy in their lives and spend the rest of their time on earth collapsed in soul-sucking despair? I hope not.

Our children have lost their birth mothers, and that is a tragedy. I am aware, on a regular basis, that my daughter needs reassurance that she is loved, and that she will not be left. What child who lost two mothers by the time she was four would not need that?

We can walk through this world together, and we can experience the joys and the sorrows together, and we can hold eachother when life wounds us so deeply that we think we cannot bear to go on. Or we can choose to throw hateful words at people who are just trying the damndest every day to do the right thing.

I'm probably rambling and babbling at this point. I'm exhausted. Some very bad things happened this week that I will write a post about shortly.

But right now, I just want to share with you that I shared in the joy of one adoptive family. And it was real, and it was profound, and it made me feel like, every now and then, as an attorney, I get to participate in something that makes life worth living.


*Nickelback, Never Gonna Be Alone

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