Nate’s Notes: Singing in The Rain

Ever since I was a baby, when the sky starts leaking a lot, we get to go outside and dance in the water.   I guess I was a baby the last time it leaked, ‘cuz Momma and Daddy say it has been a long time.   Well, I was worried now that baby Lyla is here to stay that she’d ruin everything.   I worried that we wouldn’t get to go outside this time because she cries so much about anything.  She cries when I take my toys away from her, when I try to sit on her, when the dogs bark, when you don’t give her food fast enough, when I push her, and when you tell her ‘no’.  Well, THIS time, I was wrong. 

Rain_0011I was so wrong!  Not only did Lyla not cry, but when the water hit her face, she laughed and did a happy squirm!  I guess she’s not THAT bad.   “Lyla like the watew!” I joyfully announced to Momma.  “Yes Nate, Lyla DOES like the rain! Actually she LOVES it, just like you!”, she answered back.  That’s right, I forgot.  This water is called rain!

So for a few minutes we danced and jumped and sang in the rain.   We smiled at the sky, at the rain, at each other.  I was so happy, I didn’t even mind that the camera was along again.  (Actually, it seems stuck to Momma’s hand.)  We laughed. We laughed so hard I had to pee…which made me dance funny.  Oh well, at least I looked like Momma then when she dances.  Hmmm…I wonder if she has to pee?  Anyway…

It has "JUMP IN ME" written all over it!

It has “JUMP IN ME” written all over it!

The BEST BEST part was finding puddles.  Now I’m not sure which one I like better: mud or puddles!   Both splash…both are gooky…both are fun!  Lyla actually made it all better.  She may not have mad skills like me yet, but she CAN splash and make a mess.  The more the messier, the merrier!   And so we smiled and laughed at each other all over again, singing and splashing and dancing. 

That night, after a massive clean-up effort, I fell asleep smiling about the day.  The puddles.  The mud.  The rain.  The happy faces.  The singing.   Best. Day. Ever.    

TMG Philosophy: Stronger In Waiting- Part 3

It was September 11, 2011.  Chad and I had just finished a 24-hour local Relay for Life event.    Drained and raw with emotion, we arrived home only to be bombarded with all the special programs to remember and honor those lives lost and forever changed 10 years earlier on September 11th.   By evening we were saturated with emotions: from Relay, from evocative 9/11 shows, and from the fost-adopt process we had set in motion.  I always considered it strange that I could remember everything about the day with absolute clarity, and yet can’t usually remember what I was about to say.  A few more months of waiting, and I would know why.  

While we were waiting for that emotionally charged day to end, a baby boy we didn’t yet know was fighting to be born, struggling to feel loved, waiting to meet us.  Waiting to heal us.

The next two months were a whirlwind of home study meetings, social worker visits, anxious dreams, more paperwork…and more waiting.  They were all at once the fastest months of my life, and the slowest months.  The quiet times that came found me questioning if this was right.   Not whether this was right for us, but if we were right for this.   Could we actually welcome a child into our home and give love from our scared and aching hearts without the assurance of being able to adopt? We were ready to be a forever family, and not strong enough to be a helping family.  We were ready to grow and to give.   The very real possibility that we would take a step in that direction only to have it taken from us often left me frozen and crying with fear.  “Wait and see”, was the phrase we so often heard. 

While we worked through the process, waited to hear of any potential match, that baby boy grew stronger and stronger waiting for us. 

In early November, on a rainy, Friday morning full of the most hope I had felt in years, we arrived at the agency offices. Here, we would preview all the available children for fostering and fost-adopt in the county and state.  After hours of reading about these children, babies and teens alike, we once again felt that heavy saturation of emotions.  The stories crushed our hearts, chipped away at our resolve.  Did we really have the strength to help these children?  Did we have enough love to heal this pain?

We left with a heaviness that was made lighter only by the possible matches we held in our hands.  Chad drove, and I stared at the pictures and words on the pages in my hands.  Which one? How do we know? Do we wait some more?  The phone rang. 

One phone call.  One phone call started answering what ten years of pain, ten years of waiting were for.  As I listened to the words from our social worker, the tears came.   I waited until she was done talking…and cried some more.  With very little information about a 7-week old baby boy, we agreed to a disclosure meeting, and waited three of the longest days of our lives. 

Because so much of the fost-adopt process is about matching and chemistry, we knew that the two social workers we met at the meeting were scoping us out for compatibility.  We knew each question was carefully asked to “test” us, with the baby’s best interest in mind.   We waited to hear we were not a good match.  We waited to be asked to leave.  We waited while they told us about the baby’s sad beginnings.  We waited while they warned us of the risks associated with the case.  We read court reports and waited for the next question.  As we held hands under the table, we answered the questions and waited for more of the story.  We waited to hear his name: Nathaniel.  We waited to see his picture, although by the end of the meeting when they showed it to us, we already knew our answer was yes. 

Yes.  And so we waited two more days to meet him, two more days for time to bring us together.  


Stronger In Waiting- Part 1

Stronger In Waiting- Part 2

Nate’s Notes: Flutterbies

It’s possible I talk A LOT.  It’s also possible I talk A LOT about disliking the car rides, the massive camera carrying and picture taking, the embarrassing Momma-in-public-with-the-camera moments, and the long days. Even though it’s no secret I protest these things… I still think it is pretty cool to be able to see all that I do.  I haven’t been alive that many years and already traveling is a super big part of my life.  Not just vacations.  I’m talking day trips and field adventures too! Yes, Momma actually has me calling them adventures.  Last month we went to really cool place with fast roller rides and animals!  

Some of my favorite animals were there: an elephant (who was taking a bath- a BATH!), giraffes, and really big kitty cats who just looked like they wanted to snuggle!  They made really good eye contact to, those big kitty cats.  Hmmm…

Anyway, the best part was meeting the flutterbies.  We got to go in their house! Someone needs to tell them to turn the fireplace down because it was warm warm warm!  And it was all plants and no chairs or toys.  Strange.  Anyway, they are so little that we had to stand still and just look for them.  Seriously, they asked ME, a toddler with very little self control, to stand still.  After a few loud moments, I caught sight of a flutterby just near us.  That made me stop.  So I just watched.

Momma had a goofy grin, and Daddy was watching me, no doubt to make sure I didn’t move or talk.  Hasn’t he ever heard of having a little faith??!!   I looked back at the floating flutterby and waited.  Actually, what were we waiting for?  I still don’t know.   As I started to make a dash for the door and more animals, I saw not just one flutterby, but another and another…and so many flutterbies!  They were everywhere, floating and flying to us like they were gonna say hi. 

Flutterby, flutterby, floating by!

Flutterby, flutterby, floating by!

One DID say hi!  She landed on my hand!  Please remember how hard it is for me to stand still.  Not only did I have to now stand still, but I wasn’t allowed to grab the pretty little flutterby.  I was almost itching I wanted to grab her so badly and take her home.  A new toy!  She eventually flew away to go play with her friends.  Even after she left me, I just stood still.  Amazing.  This definitely goes down on my list of best adventures.  

RSWL: Punctuation

Maybe it’s because of Facebook postings or tweets that I read; maybe it’s because I am a punctuation stickler (not to be confused with a grammar snob) sometimes; maybe it’s from editing many newsletters and student writings; or maybe it’s because punctuation saves lives. Whichever it may be, I felt prompted to choose punctuation as today’s Random Stuff We Like entry.

Though the following statements don’t necessarily apply to me whole-heartedly, they definitely resonated with me…enough so that I thought I’d share them from a book I am rereading.

“It’s tough being a stickler for punctuation these days. One almost dare not get up in the mornings…Part of one’s despair, of course, is that the world cares nothing for the little shocks endured by a sensitive stickler. While we look in horror at a badly punctuated sign, the world carries on around us, blind to our plight. We are like the little boy in The Sixth Sense who can see dead people, except that we can see dead punctuation.” -Lynne Truss, author of Eats, Shoots & Leaves

You think I exaggerate when I talk of dead punctuation and saving lives. Ah ha! (said with the tone that indicates I have proof.) Consider what Lynne Truss shares:

“A panda walks into a café. He orders a sandwich, eats it, then draws a gun and fires two shots in the air.

“Why?” asks the confused waiter, as the panda makes towards the exit. The panda produces a badly punctuated wildlife manual and tosses it over his shoulder.

“I’m a panda,” he says at the door. “Look it up.”

The waiter turns to the relevant entry and, sure enough, finds an explanation. “Panda. Large black-and-white bear-like mammal, native to China. Eats, shoots and leaves.” So, punctuation really DOES matter, even if it is only occasionally a matter of life and death.”

See! I told you so. Next time you loosely use your punctuation, for the love of pandas, think about it. Furthermore, if any of this left you smiling and nodding your head, perhaps you should pick up a copy of the book, Eats, Shoots & Leaves.