Sunday, September 29, 2013

Two Wheelin'

We went camping last weekend for the first time this year. I had two goals on this trip. One, cook my dinner over an open fire. Two, get my child to ride her bike sans training wheels. We nailed both.

Sunday morning, we got ourselves all geared up for the event. After several wipe outs earlier this summer during prior riding attempts, Morgan had requested some additional padding. This included not only the standard issue helmet, but knee pads, elbow pads, and wrist guards. At one point she asked me if we could get something, "To keep my hiney safe if I fall." I declined, explaining that genetics had already given her plenty of padding in that department.

After crashing into three bushes and a tree stump, David decided to help give her a running start. And by running, I mean scrambling like hell on his short little legs and Fred Flintstone feet. That guy can hustle.

And then it just clicked. She balanced, pedaled, and steered. At the same time.

Right after I took this video, David decided it would be a great idea to have her start from the top of a small hill at the edge of our campground. Not surprisingly, she immediately crashed into a concrete pylon and refused to get back on her bike. One step forward, two steps back. Because that is how we roll. But she'll get back's like riding a horse. Or a bike. Whatev.

Friday, September 27, 2013


David and I met ten years ago today. Yes, we still celebrate it. A friend of mine took this picture on our 2nd date. It was 2003. My hair was a little bigger and we were both a little smaller. We were smitten. Perhaps the biggest indicator of just how new our relationship was is the fact that David actually appears to be 2 inches taller than I am in this picture. He's not. I've quit slouching. I now wear heels. He pretends I'm a chubby super model. We're a good match.

In the spirit of our ten years together, I will give you one guess as to the answers for each of the following:
  • On a scale of one to ten, how much I generally like this guy.
  • The number of days each month he actually annoys me just a little.
  • The number of gray hairs I've gotten since we've met.
  • The number of stretch marks I earned got carrying around his daughter for 9 months.
  • The number of calls he makes to me at work every day. Unless he’s off for the summer, then you can multiple that by ten.
  • The number of times he likes to tell me the same story over and over, especially if I don’t laugh at his punch lines the first time.
  • The number of cell phones he has dropped or broken since I have known him.
  • The number of coffee cups I found in his car last week.
  • The number of Morgan’s Barbies I also found in there.
  • The number of times he tells me he loves me each day.
  • The number of times I tell him right back. 

To ten years of magic. May there be a million more. 

Saturday, September 21, 2013

A Sign

I had lunch with a friend last Friday. As we often do, we gave each other the quick and dirty on our lives. She shared a hilarious, if somewhat traumatizing, story of being locked out of her house while her husband was gone hunting and then having to push her three year old through the dining room window to unlock the door and let her in. We talked about babies (she also has a newborn), raising kids, and about how you sometimes do things as a parent just to survive. I shared my own traumatizing story about the fact that my daughter didn't sleep through the night until she was three and how I am still tired two years later.

Really, it was just delightful. That is, until she asked me about how things are going with the adoption. As I do with everyone, I summed it up in a series of one word answers, "Nada. Nothing. Nowhere. Ugh." We commiserated about how frustrating this has been and whether David and I should close out our adoption file and move on. It was a very sad and painful conversation for me.

But then I got home that night and checked the mail. As I mindlessly thumbed through the array of bills, coupons, and catalogs, a small white envelope caught my eye. I yelled to David, "We got something, we finally got something!" I frantically tore the envelope open, discovering that we are now officially licensed. Major development. But something wasn't right with the letter. I glanced back to the envelope, only to see that it wasn't addressed to me and David, it was addressed to me and someone named Mark. We don't have a single person in either of our families named Mark. No relatives, no neighbors. No one.

Before I completely began to panic, I read the letter itself. Nope, it was also wrong:

Objectively, I know this was just a typo. Emotionally, this just symbolized everything that has been wrong with this process. Every set back, every speed bump, every disappointment. I think we need a new plan.

Thursday, September 12, 2013

Big Pond

We just started our third week of kindergarten. My daughter, who has fought mornings since the day she was born, is excited to get up each day. I want that to last forever. I want her to love learning the way I do. 

The first day of school was just as I had always envisioned. We picked out her outfit and carefully packed her lunch together. I taped a quarter inside the lid so she could buy milk at lunch, only to find out later she bought licorice instead.

We stood outside, like so many other families that morning. She was beaming, not one bit scared, just so eager to start her new adventure. With every click of the camera, I took a moment to blink back the tears that were threatening to spill onto my cheeks. Her eyes caught mine, and she patted my arm, "It's okay, Mama. You know I'm coming back, right?" 

But I knew she wasn't coming back. The wide-eyed little girl who stood on my front porch that morning was never coming back. She didn't know it, but her life was about to change forever. Her world was about to get so much bigger, the first stones of her life's path were about to be laid.

We paused for a minute, as I held her hand in mine. For a brief second, I was certain I could stop time, rewind, and hold my newborn baby daughter once more. But of course, time does not stop. As she grows so must I. And so I let her go -

And off she went, without so much as a glance over her shoulder. I waited, and watched, and hoped, but she never looked back. She was ready, so ready for this day. I'll get there, I'll be ready someday. Until then, I'll be here, knowing that one day she will look back. And when she does, I will squeeze her tight and let her go all over again.

Wednesday, September 4, 2013


August was a big month at our house, the biggest yet. Morgan turned five and then started kindergarten within the same week. I want to talk about both of these days and reflect on how deeply these two milestones have affected me. But I can't. Not without my chest tightening, not without my breath catching, not without the panicked realization that my most favorite little person isn't quite so little any more. In the truest form of denial, I will instead talk about something that happened three months baby graduated from pre-school.
On May 31, 2013, the graduating class of New Horizon Academy was presented. In little tiny caps and gowns, with little tiny diplomas, and huge, huge, grins.

They all recited the Pledge of Allegiance - or at least moved their mouths to make it look like they knew the words.

The teachers talked about how proud they were, conveniently glossing over the fact that several kids still weren't potty trained and one little boy refused to wear his gown, opting instead for his Spiderman costume.

And then it was time for the commencement speeches. Unbeknownst to the parents, the class had been preparing a few remarks that outlined each of their life's ambitions. Morgan was the first to speak, confidently taking the microphone. "Hi, my name is Morgan Lorenzo and I am four years old. When I grow up, I want to be a cheerleader." Yep, that was it. A cheerleader.

It took all but a few seconds before the entire audience was chuckling. Morgan paused briefly, unsure of how to react. But then she realized that it didn't matter who was laughing, it was her moment. And she was beaming. Yep, she's gonna make one hell of a cheerleader.