Tuesday, March 23, 2010

Name tag

A couple weekends ago we finally had our last required class through Ambrose's adoption agency. It was and okay class, except that it was 6 hours long and in many ways didn't really pertain to our family. Our adoption is already done and it's semi-open, via R's choice, not open like the adoptions they were discussing.

It was a bit of a struggle to finagle 2 naps, 2 feeding sessions, and a couple hours of keeping him quiet enough not bother anyone (or too many people anyway), but still... it was worth it.

Not because of the subject matter covered nor because of the advice received.

But because of the update.

You see, our adoption worker was there. M had been the person to call me about being matched with R. She'd been at the match meeting facilitating discussion. She'd worked with R and her family and knew them well at this point. She'd called us from the hospital a couple times, and before that she called after an ultra sound to deliver the good news that it was indeed a (big!) boy with a full head of hair. She was a necessary and important part of our adoption and we will never forget her.

When we saw her we immediately struck up some conversation. I asked how R was doing, if she knew, and she said she'd lost touch. Until I mentioned R's name and then she realized she'd had us mixed up with another first family and that she did in fact have info on R.

R is doing well! She started the classes she'd been hoping to take, her family life is going fine, she's still with her (wonderful, highly supportive) partner and her kids are happy.


Really, that's how I felt and still feel.

There's no way to describe how much your child's first family means to you until you've been in this situation. There's no easy word or phrase to truly describe our relationship with this person, these people, who mean so much to us and our sons. But hearing that she's doing well, that she isn't wallowing in grief or coping through bad habits, hearing that she got to make her plans a reality and is going to school for nursing... I'm so, so happy for her :)

M asked us later on if it would be okay if she took a bit of video with her phone for us to send to R. Of course! We were delighted to do so and as soon as there was a break we went up and asked to do it then.

We went outside and what followed was 10 minutes of playing with Mr. Teething and trying to keep him from fussing all while talking incessantly about, well, everything. His eating and sleeping habits, his relationships with everyone, how he plays, his favorite things, and of course how incredibly happy and grateful we are for this true bundle of joy.

Finally the 10 minutes were up and we were being rushed back in for the remainder of the class.

That's when Nik leaned in and said, quickly, "Honey... name tag!!!"

I looked down and sure enough, there it was. My full name, first and last, actually spelled correctly this time. It had been visible throughout the entire 10 minute video. "Don't worry," I whispered back. Because truly... I wasn't worried.

I started instantly to envision the repercussions. She'd have my name. She'd find me on facebook. We'd become friends. We'd email. We'd see each other. And I was actually very, very happy with that visual.

But then the class continued.

And, oddly enough, it continued on opening up adoptions, and legal protection, and the repercussions other families had encountered by going behind the agency's back. It was... thought provoking. And scary. And I was scared, not just for the agency, but for us. Sure I may feel like I can trust R and her partner, but what's to stop her from showing the video to a family member who was against the adoption? And once they have our full name they also have our address. And once they know who we are, without the agency's help, we would have no real "protection" or aid in contact.

No, I'm not afraid of Ambrose being suddenly kidnapped by his first family. But I am afraid of harassment from a family that did not support R, either personally or in her decision to place. And I'm afraid of needing help to navigate what would then be an open adoption and not having the help available.

And the agency could lose it's license.

So, somewhat solemnly, I talked to Maria. She deleted the 10 minute video. She only had time for a quick 1 minute video, which we insisted upon because, dangit, R deserves to see this little boy in action!

And I'm glad... that she's doing well and that she got something out of the day, and that we caught the error before it could get out of hand and that we're knowledgeable (or at least much more so) about openness in adoption in NC.

And now... the ball's in her court. Maybe, just maybe, the video will prompt R to want a bit more openness. And honestly? We'd be fine with that.

If the class taught us nothing else, it's that Ambrose's original BC, and his genetic history, will be sealed eternally from finalization onward. When he's 40 and she's in her mid 60's and they want to meet for dinner, they'll need agency representatives present to make sure that they don't accidentally (or intentionally) swap identifying information. They'll even have to make sure they don't see each other's license plates.

I... don't want that for my son.

I'm not sure exactly what I feel on the matter, but I would like to see her again. I think... I'd really like an open adoption now. I'd like to know how she and her little family are doing, I'd like to be able to email pictures whenever they happen, I'd like to keep her updated on the little milestones as they occur and I'd like to meet up once or twice a year so that Ambrose can see his bio brothers. It's not scary anymore.

I guess.... we just have to wait and see if she changes her mind.

Monday, March 22, 2010

So there's going to be a few changes around here...

Change #1.

We are not adopting from Ethiopia at this time. Don't wanna go too into it, but suffice to say the i-600A was in the mail, check included around 1pm. Went to the kid's museum around 2:30, right after checking my empty inbox. Came home around 5:30 to discover 12 emails about the shocking new requirements change in Ethiopia that would not only add time and inconvenience, but likely about $5k-$10k onto the adoption. Talked about it. Cancelled check.

I thought things were going to swimmingly. It seemed... too easy. Like something was about to happen.

We don't have easy adoptions (in hindsight maybe, but not at the time).

So change #1 is that we are, in fact, going to adopt. Just not from Ethiopia.

Because we've been pulled, over and over again, with all signs pointing toward it, to the Democratic Republic of Congo.

This means a baby who is a bit (or a lot) closer in age to Brozy than we'd planned. But... we're going on signs and gut instinct here. I mean, seriously, if we were going on logic do you think we would've adopted a highly traumatized Ethiopian toddler for our first child? Or brought home a newborn when said toddler was still acting up as a 3.5 year old? And it worked out just fine, P's doing muuuuch better and loves his big brother role, A is thriving (and teething!) and happy, and our family time now is so blissful and wonderful there are times I can barely contain the joy within me.

We trust our collective gut. And it's telling that there's a baby sister waiting in the Congo to join our family (though she's not born yet... unless another sign tells us she is!).

Change #2.


K, so I think we got to our breaking points so to speak. Or at least I did. Baby shrieking himself to sleep (in our arms!) for hours at night + up and out of bed most of the night + 4 year old waking up and doing as he pleases anytime after 4:30am = OMG how are we surviving????

So the new rule is that Paxton cannot leave his room (except to quickly use the bathroom), have his light on, or even leave his bed until 6:30am. On the frikkin' dot. We're really cracking down on that.

And we're doing trial and error with the No Cry Sleep Solution, just seeing what works and what doesn't. Looks like Mommy is the best Lovey but we're still working on giving him another comfort item. Right now, though, the big thing is to A) break the sleep-suck connection completely and B) lay him in his bassinet from time to time.

I love, love, LOVE the magical moments we spend together co-sleeping. Love it! So glad we're doing it! I swear I think some of the best moments of my life have been waking up to a peacefully sleeping baby cuddled into me.

But at the same time, I need a break. I need to be able to place him in his bassinet for at least an hour at night, let Nik and I have some time alone together as a couple again without one of us holding him or bouncing him. And for his sake too, I'd like to be able to place him down someplace where he feels safe and warm and just let him sleep, peacefully, without needing someone there beside him.

I said I'd wait to start that until 6 months but, well, I also said that about solids and he's up to a few ounces a day there at 5.5 months :)

So we're instituting changes, only in the past couple of days.

The result?

Both kids are soooooo much better rested and so are we! ALREADY! Nik and I had an hour of "couple time" last night, Ambrose fell asleep by nursing until he was almost out then losing the nipple right before sleep and being quickly calmed, Paxton woke up at 5:48 and was quiet (back to sleep?) for over half an hour(!!!), Nik got more sleep and was more patient, and I didn't leave the bed once... though Nik did, but he made up for it sleepwise :)

So already progress, though I fully expect that to backfire soon and the real fight to begin :-D

Change #3.

Crap, I totally lost it... there was another one....

Maybe the fact that I aim to spend all of Nik's hard earned $$ on things like a Toyota Sienna and new windows and treatments, and a Disney vacation, and oh yeah a daughter, and stuff like that? Dunno.

I'm pretty sure my brain just failed me :)


OH! As a celebration... a year ago today is when I started to pump for Ambrose. Yaaaay! Just me, a hand pump, some drops and a hope and dream and wish and such. I could only hope I'd make it this far! So yaaaaay!

Also, Nik and I are going out for a bit tonight to celebrate while my mom watches the kids. So again, yaaaaay!

Wednesday, March 10, 2010

Grief, Pt. 2

Finally, I'm going to try and write about grief. Not my grief this time, but that of my older son.

I stumbled upon a blog recently, called Grown in my Heart. It's actually a collection of blog posts in the form of an online magazine. It's a small site, but informative upon perusal. One of the first things I did after familiarizing myself with this site was to click the "Countries" button at the top, just to see if they had anything on Ethiopia.

And they did.

Not much, but a few articles. Two of them are about a therapy session for a little girl adopted from Ethiopia. While the article itself was a worthwhile read, it was the picture that really struck me.


I don't believe I can post their picture here legally, but I can post the link and a quick copy and paste should bring anyone curious over to the site.

The picture in question, totally unmissable, is a child's drawing. It shows a heart, with the jagged "broken" line running through it and little hearts coming out the bottom beside the words "loves fall out." There are words in the heart (sad, mad, hungry, angry, scared) and phrases to either side of the heart (lost my mom, scared, hungry, I lost my sister, I got sick). Just looking at it was painful to me, both for this girl and for my own son who's early existence could be summed up by this picture pretty much.

And then my eyes were drawn to the top of the page.

In a child's scrawl, "This was when my heart broke."

Oh my God.

It was like a sledgehammer to the face for me.

In my mind's eye it was like I was seeing not the girl's fragmented and painful thoughts, but those of my own son.

I was seeing a cute, bubbly cheerful baby, happy and giggly like Ambrose, smiling at a loving Mama, reaching for a laughing Baba, watching his older brothers intently.

I saw his mother growing weak, perhaps struggling to pick him up, likely struggling to even feed him. I saw this happy baby beside an unmoving body, whole life changed, whole world altered. No baby should be left like that. I saw him being moved, taken from the home he was born into along with his brothers, wondering where the warm arms of his mother or the laughing voice of his father had gone, not understanding that he'd never see or hear them again.

I saw him fight to adjust to a new home, learning to walk, teething, and fighting with a cousin over a meager breast milk supply. I saw him learn to talk and run and laugh and smile and then suddenly he was in a big car with 9 other kids, and driven 5 hours in the sweltering heat to a new place with new smells and a new language, given shots and having blood drawn, being dropped off in a room with dozens of other scared children.

I saw him dazed, confused, angry.

No child should go through this. Ever.

I saw him sad, crying alone, then learning to cry inside. Saw him learning very quickly that the only way to get that shiney toy, the greatest tangible joy at that time, was to just take it and run, and to fight back, hard, if another kid tried to do the same thing. Saw him learning that we laugh and sing, not cry about our pain even when it's killing us.

I saw him, in my mind's eye, learning that the only constant in his life, the only person he could ever rely on, the only person who would ever truly be there for him, was himself. No adult, no mother, no father, no aunt, no brothers or uncles or cousins or nannies, would ever be there for him forever. He learned this very early on. We may stay for a bit, just long enough for him to get comfortable, but inevitably, without warning, it will all change again.

No kid, no teen, no adult should ever learn that lesson...

And here I sit knowing how my kid got here, how he came to be, how he became so hard headed and obstinate and bossy and utterly impossible at times.

I wish I could go back in time and fix it for him. I wish I could take it all away. I wish the images of a dying mother and father were not forever ingrained in his heart. I wish he had never had to fight for food or shoes or toys or love. I wish there had always been open arms for him, the same warm, loving open arms, the same smells, the same voice, the same, safe world.

But all I can really do is provide as much as I can now.

And so every day is patterned, every event planned and warning given. Every day he goes to school I always pick him up the same way with the same exact type of sandwich (wheat bread, no crust, 2 jellies and peanut butter wrapped up in a white towel waiting in his carseat), and make sure we follow the same routine (eat 3 pills all of different colors in the car, say the same things, play the same games, get home and have the same pattern before nap). I have to win every battle or the tantrums are atrocious, I have to prove over and over again we're in control even when he loses all rationality and won't listen, literally, to a word we say. I have to stick to schedule, have to introduce changes ahead of time, have to help considerably with transitions as even going to another room on some days can cause a melt down.

And in so many ways.... it's working. Some days the pattern can be a bit off and he rolls with it. Some days he doesn't test me at all but just relies on me and absolutely trusts me. Some days he's actually willing to put down his own need to control every situation and allow us to control him without issue. These days are more frequent.

But I know in my heart that we'll never be 100% there. He'll never trust us 100%, though 99.999% would be nice. He'll never trust this world as much as Ambrose likely will, and he'll probably always be afraid of being left, always be afraid of losing control. He's a Javert, has to have rules and needs to stick with them to the end. And I guess... that's just how it is.

I wish I could take away his grief, and I wish I had no reason to grieve myself. He grieves for his Amaye and Abaye, his aunt and brothers, his nannies, and his homeland, even if he himself doesn't see it yet. His actions and reactions prove that it still sits strongly with him, as it should, and as it always will. And I myself grieve, for him losing his innocence so early, growing up so fast, learning at such a young age not to trust, never to believe in those you love, never to lay your guard down, never to relax. I wish I could take the pain away. I wish I could change his past. I wish I could heal, fully and completely, a broken heart.

Raising Paxton has been a lesson on learning what you have to work through and what you have to work with. So, so many issues I used to believe we could work through. I've learned however that there are things you just have to learn to work with. Patterns, routine, control, grief... we work with these things.


I feel I'm losing my aim here, and for that I'll blame Mr. Teething who's been sleeping better but by no means sleeping through the night.

I'll leave this with a note that, again, we don't regret the process with Paxton.

At all.

We may regret not handling everything the way we ought to, or not seeking help from Project Enlightenment sooner, but we by no means regret the child or the process.

And to prove it? We're going to do it again.

Our I-600A went out today.

Sunday, March 7, 2010


I read this word recently. Not sure where, probably one of the many books or websites I've perused whenever we hit a road block with Paxton. Perhaps even on one of the many AP sites I've checked out when finding new things to try with Ambrose. Dunno. Dun care.

The fact is that this single, simple, incredible word struck me to the core.


I can't even remember the exact sentence but it had to do with the relationship between parent and child, and how often in our culture it becomes adversarial.

What does adversarial mean?

adversarial [ˌædvɜːˈsɛərɪəl]adj
1. pertaining to or characterized by antagonism and conflict

There's some more but that's enough for this blog post.

Antagonism. Conflict.



For some reason, up until that point, I could not come up with the exact term to describe my relationship with Paxton. And then, suddenly, there it was.


Well, crap.

It's not like we have an adversarial relationship all of the time. In fact, most of our time together is spent working together. Reading books, talking, telling stories, doing simple chores or playing.

And yet...

It's true. In many, many ways Paxton and I have an adversarial relationship.

There are many days where even the sound of him talking in the next room can start to raise my blood pressure of he's using a certain tone of voice. And I dread, dread, DREAD the possibility of him not taking a nap. And, oh! The drama of putting on shoes! Or making his bed! Or going to the potty and then having to wash his hands and OMG only two towels maximum you don't need 500 and turn off that water right now young man! Are you listening to me? Fine! No TV for you!!!

So, yeah.


And he, my dear little boy, is so much like me that it can get tricky. When he's in a stubborn mood (as both he and I often are) he WILL NOT back down. Neither will I. He will back talk and go limp and dig his heels in and yell and boss at me. And I'll give it right back at him until we're both in a spiral of anger and adversity.

Some days, when I have my brain screwed in right, I catch us heading into this Spiral Of Doom and stop it. I make a joke. I give a little. And I get a lot in return.

I've been trying to do that more lately.

Ever since reading that word.


They say you can't solve a problem until you admit you have one. For me, I needed a word, a definition. I needed to understand the problem fully. And the problem is that in many situations P and I have become adversaries.

And this must change.

And I'm working on it.

We are a TEAM, dammit! Team E for the win!!!

We can make the bed together, put on shoes together, and we can be a few minutes late here and there, and we can sometimes make up a second dinner if the first one isn't so great, and you know? Sometimes he can "earn" back all those things I took away in a fit of stubbornness, like books and tv and friends and unicorns and what have you.

I don't want to be adversaries with my kid. We aren't arch nemeses in a battle between good and evil, or clean and dirty, or on time and late. We're friends, teammates, colleagues. We're family. And we can do this together!

We WILL succeed! Because we're in this together, and together we can do anything :)


But in the meantime... mom and dad are getting a break :) Hooray Avatar! And Hooray Gambi for watching the kids this afternoon so we can go see Avatar! Hooooraaaay!

Friday, March 5, 2010

Just growing and growing!

I swear, watching children grow is like watching the slowest wake up period possible for a full adult. Little by little the veil is lifted back, fraction by fraction they come into knowledge, into personality and experience, and you can see where it's going (or so you think) and you get to watch every new moment, new milestone, right as it's happening.

In the past several weeks Ambrose has grown, in all senses, incredibly. Here are some of the things new to this past week or so:
-Grabbing feet
-Putting feet on things (like moving a foot to push my foot when he's in the bouncy chair and I'm using my foot to bounce it)
-Moving his feet for a better position when we hold him in a standing position. This one is big!
-Moving toys easily from hand to hand
-Copying immediately the sounds and patterns I'm making
-Calming down more quickly when I talk to him
-Interacting with his brother more, "talking" to him and laughing when he sees Paxton
-Obviously, eating food, including moving it to the back of his mouth and swallowing
-Letting me know he's done nursing on a side by pushing it away and straining to reach the other side (he's going back and forth a lot now to check for milk!)
-Falling asleep very, very quickly in a wrap when I cover his head (note: I don't put anything directly on his face!)

Things we're still looking for:
-Ability to pick up food and move it to his mouth. Tested yesterday and that was a huge messy failure!
-Ability to put him down and have him fall asleep without someone there
-Ability to sit up unassisted (he's getting close!)
-Ability to crawl a bit
-Ability to self soothe, at least part of the time.

We're working on it! One of the greatest developments in our household has been the use of Ibuprofen at night. 3 nights worth of better sleep now! OMG! Last night I didn't leave the bed even once, OR sit up to rock him!!!!!! And he's looooving solids, could probably eat a whole soupy can but we aren't letting him yet. Just 2-3 teaspoons a day plus EBM! He's still a major fusspot. but when he's happy, he's the smiliest, happiest, giggliest little bean in the world! And we're still a million times over in love :)


Do I hear Paxton playing upstairs during nap today? No? Hooray!!! Perhaps we have nap success! I'm going to work my butt off to keep him asleep as long as possible! He's down by about 2 hours and is going to a party tonight for a friend that will run past his normal bed time. It's at a place full of bouncy castles so it should work well for him being wired and out of control (unlike preschool this morning, which did not work well for him!). Hopefully, though, he'll get at least his normal hour and a half, if not more. So long as he sleeps at all we should be good! And yaaay, bouncy castles!!!

Wednesday, March 3, 2010


I've been thinking a lot about grief lately, as well as loss. There was a time I thought about it constantly, a time when my days were devoted to only one child and that one child was hurting so badly that he had to hurt others to work through it. Now that child uses words instead of fists, uses a real smile, and asks repeatedly to read and reread books on grief, anger, sorrow and relaxation. We got lucky with this one. He's a survivor, fully able to process and live with loss.

But I'm getting ahead of myself.

So, let me restart by getting way behind myself...

Several years ago we moved to Raleigh. We went from a small 2 bedroom condo in a college town that my parents owned, to a medium sized 3 bedroom townhouse that we bought ourselves. It was near a busy road but the neighborhood was quiet and peaceful, and it seemed like the perfect place to settle down with our menagerie of pets and raise a small family for a few years, until we needed more space and moved on to something bigger.

Very soon after moving in I met our next door neighbor. Let's call her Lucy, though obviously that isn't her name. Lucy was married, had a pair of married roommates, and had one adorable baby boy. Lucy learned quickly that I'd worked in childcare previously and was not working currently. A smart woman, she put the two together and quickly asked me to take over watching her son during the Christmas rush at the store she owned, "just for a few weeks, a couple times a week, for a few hours max." She would pay me well and it would be convenient for both of us. She could even pay me in money, baby items, or both. And with us working on a baby (and with limited knowledge of Craigslist or consignment sales) it sounded like a deal.

So I made and agreement and went about my life, watching her son sporadically and talking to her frequently. Very frequently. In fact, it seemed that every time I went to walk my dog I'd come back to my house to find her on her front patio, smoking a cig and waving me over for a half hour's convo. My dog played with her dog, her son played outside, and we would talk for awhile.

Soon, though, this relationship started to go a bit sour. For starters, she began to rely on me constantly. She'd call from next door, near regularly, always needing someone to watch her son last minute, always at the same days/times every week. And I'd watch him because, well, I'm a bit of a pushover. Or was. My kids fixed that problem for me :)

Then the "few weeks" I was asked to watch her son suddenly started in October. The day after I got back from my honeymoon I was asked to go over her house and watch her kid for several hours. I had been hoping to unwind, or unpack, or sort wedding gifts, or even have a meal ready for my new husband when he got home. He got home around 5. I couldn't leave her house normally until 6 or so.

Over the next several weeks I became more and more bitter, spending more and more time at her house. A couple times a week turned into 3 or 4 days, and the few hours at a time turned into at least one 9 hour day where I got about $2/hr. Finally I "quit," giving her two weeks notice which she took seriously. She found someone to watch him but didn't switch him over to that person until my 2 weeks was up.

After that I rarely watched her son, but I did still have the odd conversation with her, or go out with them somewhere, or walk to the pool together, or something. We were there to talk to each other during our discovery of infertility and the whole adoption process for Paxton, where she was a reference. We were there to talk about her battle with cancer, her store having to move places twice, and her trying to quit cigarettes. Finally, just as many of the families in those suddenly tiny seeming townhomes did at the time, she moved. Her married roommates had already moved out and had their own son, and her new roommate was a sweetie who was fine with staying with them in a new house. The family bought a pretty suburban home, with a back yard for their son to run around in.

And not long after, Paxton came home.

I can't exactly describe what happened then, but I ended the relationship. Not smoothly, not abruptly or responsibly, but slowly and lazily and disrespectfully. From a couple years out I can't quite remember why. Perhaps it was because she had the exact opposite taste in movies as me. Perhaps it was because she so strongly reminded me of a girl in highschool who was rude to me. The fact that she said some very nasty things behind other's backs couldn't have helped, and some of the things she said straight to my face were, honestly, pretty big deal breakers.

And then there was that time when we first brought our new son to her store to meet her. He'd been home just a few weeks and bonding was... strained on my end. It truly took me about a year to bond with this child, something I regret but also something I feel I ought to be honest about.

When Lucy first met him, she got down on her knees, pulled him into her arms and started rocking him back and forth, whispering, "shhh, shhh, it's okay, you're safe now, you're all okay now."

And I was insulted. Who was he safe from, me? And if someone had to be this child's "savior" it was her? Huh? It confused my already befuddled son and left me feeling awful.

But I still went to her house for a playdate the following month. While there I somehow reaffirmed, in my mind, that I really didn't want to be friends with this woman any longer. Her son was, in my opinion, acting very spoiled and she had no problem with it. And she was too touchy feely with my son, grabbing him and putting him on a swing as he frightened body went limp. The kicker was when I looked away for a minute, looked back and found her smoking within several feet of my barely-2-year-old son, who was looking on in interest. She hadn't even asked me it if was okay. And she'd always asked me to hide it from her husband.

And that was it. I talked to her on a phone a couple more times but finally stopped answering when she called. And it was petty of me. She was, at heart, a funny, vivacious, loving and wonderful woman, and we probably could have talked anything out if I'd just had the guts to do so. As I've said, my kids helped me grow a backbone, and at this point I probably would've looked her in the eye the second I was offended by anything and told her so, and likely she would have listened, talked to me, and accepted my opinion. She wasn't unreasonable. I was just weak and shrinking and had so much trouble being around a strong personality, especially one that did things and said things I didn't like as I felt I had not counter.

The last phonecall I got from her was about 2 years ago. She left a message that sounded irate and simply said "Call me!"

I didn't call.

And looking through her husband's blog now...

About that time her cancer resurfaced. I don't know if she was calling me about that, or calling me because she just wanted to talk or what.

What I do know is that she died just over six months ago and I never called her back.

And I don't know what to feel, or how to feel, or even what I should feel. Obviously it's a bit on the late side to send condolences, though if I met her husband on the street I'd certainly offer them. The big problem is... I'm not sure how sad I feel. But I don't feel nothing. I don't feel distraught but then again my gut tightens at the thought of her, and boy have I been thinking about her lately, more in this past week than in the past couple years likely enough. I feel... cold. And... empty? At least when I think of her I do. And suddenly I feel like the bad times weren't so bad, the rude comments not so ill intended. I feel like the good times were fun, worth it, and should have pushed me to reconsider ending the friendship.

Mostly I just feel... lost. Lost as to what to think. And worried that she was trying to tell me about her cancer resurfacing but couldn't do it in a voicemail and just gave up on me, a friend who really wasn't, someone she wanted to keep up a relationship with who had cruelly and inexplicably cut her out of their life. And I feel a sense of shock. She was so strong the first time around... and her little boy, the same little boy I spent hours upon hours watching, who I rocked down for naps and fed and cuddled and rolled around with... his mom is gone. And I feel so, so sorry for him....

I think, even though we weren't friends recently, I think I'm grieving. I think perhaps I'm in the denial part. I keep thinking I see her car around town, keep thinking I heard her laugh. I'm not used to death. I'm a young American, death to me is something for the old or the third world. This... is new to me. And I'm not sure how to handle it. But I suppose I am.


I meant to write more, about my older son and the grief he's gone through, the losses he's experienced, and how that's been coming back to me more and more as Ambrose gets bigger. But since it's definitely past Ambrose's meal time I suppose I'll have to save that for another time.