Letting Go Again

It’s been going on for over a week now.

“I’m nervous!”

“I won’t know anyone there!!!”

“What if I get lost???!!!!!!”

“What if there is nothing there for me to eat?”

“What if I land wrong on the board and hurt myself?”

images-14

This is what I have been hearing from Gracie lately and it intensified as the day drew closer for her to attend diving camp at a large university four hours from home. These are the words of a child whose age is between the first double digit and her teens. Excited but scared to death especially because she knew no one who would be attending camp with her.

She’s good at what she does so I wasn’t worried about that aspect. She has accomplished in three years of doing her sport what it has taken of most of her competitors 6-8 years to do. Learning and practicing wasn’t the issue but being away from home was.

Gracie has always had difficulty separating herself from us. I often wonder if she would have been this way if she had been born to us or if her adoption has played a role in it. Not knowing if people will come back to you or if they will stay with you does tend to put doubts in your head. And as we spent last night together in the city she looked as if she might cry. But I knew that she needed this camp to teach her about courage and accomplishment not so much in her sport but in life in general. That’s what we are suppose to do as parents. We should give our children experiences which allow them to separate with confidence so they will be able to be independent adults when they go off on their own.

Waking up this morning was hard. Her nerves were bouncing all over the place and I was watching as a “bad hair day” started to unnerve her even more. I said all the right things and did all the right things. I asked if she was okay and told her since she could do double rotations she had nothing to be afraid of.  Finally, it was time to go and check into the college dorms. Now, I was getting a little hesitant.

We drove over in near silence with Gracie taking in everything around her. After unpacking and making her bed I saw that Gracie was beginning to get her groove back. Her confidence began to soar (or at least she wasn’t going to let anyone know anything different just like she does when she dives). Just before she was to go to the pool with her group she remembered she had left her water bottle in the car so we dashed off to get it. As we walked back I took her into my arms and said, “You’ve got this baby. You will be okay.”

And with that she lifted her big brown eyes, looked up into mine, let go of my hand and said, “Geez mom, you worry too much!!!”

It was at that moment I knew she would be just fine and that in releasing my hand she was letting go of so much more.

imgres-4

a-mothers-heart-1024x682

Transracial Adoption And Old Age

images

Our three youngest are transracially adopted. This makes for good times and bad times especially when in concerns being out in public together.

When our children were young we saw a lot of what we now refer to as “ping-pong” eyes. As I was pushing the stroller someone would look at me, then down at the baby, then back at me and back down at the baby with a quizzical look on their face.

We often get the “are you their mother/is she your mother” type of questions. When we’ve had enough I sometimes reply, “No, I’m their Nanny.” Cracks my kids up every time.

Today Gracie and I were at Target when we noticed a young Asian girl about ten years of age staring at us…BLANTENTLY AND FOR A PROLONGED PERIOD OF TIME.

Gracie said, “I just want to smack people when they stare at me like that.”

” I know it is uncomfortable to be seen with a slightly overweight middle-aged white woman, I replied with a laugh. “Maybe she was just thinking you are a pretty girl,” I replied trying to lighten the mood and knowing full well that was not the case.

“No she was staring at me because I look different from you,” Gracie said.

“Well, you are probably right but since her family is Asian, and you’re Asian, maybe she hasn’t seen a combination like ours before. Cut her some slack. Or did you ever consider that maybe she was staring at me because I am a beautiful woman?” I said switching tactics.” You know when I was younger people did look at me once in a while.”

“Why, were you wearing funny clothes?” Gracie asked.

“Did your hair look weird?”

“Were you wearing hippie earrings?”

“Were you smoking cigarettes?”

“No, honey, its just that I wasn’t hard on the eyes,” I said with a smile.

To which Gracie replied, “so what happened?” (stab me with an icepick again my sweet child)

“Life, baby, just life”

“So are you telling me that it is all downhill for me? Is that what you are saying? That all I have to look forward to in life is growing up, growing old and getting (sorry mom) out of shape?” (yep, she did it again)

images-2

“No baby. You can look forward to getting wiser, becoming stronger, being bolder, forging your own path, finding yourself, doing what makes you happy, learning to be true to yourself, falling in love, learning about what real love is, teaching your children, teaching your grandchildren, learning to look at the world and realizing it is not just black and white, practicing tolerance, having great sex with your partner, making a difference in this world is some small way, finding your spirit,practicing perseverance, learning to be content with what you have, following your dreams, laughing in the face of adversity, being more honest, and loving, loving and loving some more even when you are not sure you have it in you. And if you are lucky you will get to discover all of this and participate in some much that you hadn’t even considered. And you will appreciate and be grateful for this life that you have been given which so many people are denied. Hopefully, you will live your life to the best of your ability and when you will die secure in the knowledge that you made a difference. Yes, it’s all something you have to look forward to, everything except saggy boobs, you don’t have to look forward to that.”

images-1

The Princess Returns…301 Days To Fix This

images-4

Last week was poignant.  The baby of our brood headed off to Science Camp for five days. It is a rite of passage in this neck of the woods and she didn’t want to go. She has never been able to spend the night at friends houses because she would get “homesick” and end up back at home at 3 a.m. Obviously, this was a big deal.

Sometimes it is interesting what people are afraid of. Gracie is a champion diver. She falls from dizzying heights and lands in water that can be sharp and chill you to the bone. She has the courage of Spider Man and flies higher than a squirrel; yet nothing was scarier for her than leaving her Mommy and Daddy behind.

We tried many things to convince her that she would have a wonderful time up in the woods and that she wouldn’t miss us one iota. We bought  tons of “girly girl” hair accessories  so she could perform magic on her cabin mates hair. We bought a disposable camera for her to take pictures of all the fun she would be having. I stuck “love notes” in her suitcase that she could open one day at a time.

And finally the big day arrived. In the morning she sniffled a bit in protest but by the time she arrived at school she was talking with her friends like she had everything under control. A few minutes later she rode away on that big yellow school bus, hand out the window, waving goodbye with a big smile on her face. The last thing I saw of her was the back of her head while she giggled away with a friend. Then she was gone for five long days.

Yesterday, the big yellow school bus returned and with it a more confident and secure young woman. We hugged (Oh Mom, do we HAVE to!)and Gracie related a few choice camp facts. Then she went off to claim her luggage while I called B.

“We’re screwed,” I told him.

“Why’s that?” B replied.

“Because she now knows she can make it without us. We are no longer the people who keep her safe and secure in her mind. We are now officially relegated to accessory mode. ”

It was then I heard Gracie’s sweet voice.

“Come on mom, I need your help carrying my suitcase.”

And it was then that I realized that although I may be regulated to accessory status, my little girl still needs me a little bit even if it is just to carry a portion of her load.