School is almost over. The countdown is two weeks now. Pumpkin's end of year performance and open house were both last week. I watched my youngest child get up on stage and with 30+ peers and sing at least part of the songs. He knew his lines and his cue to step up to the microphone. His fidgeting and enchroaching into his neighbors' space was unchanged from last year, when the fact that he was the only child exhibiting constant movement prompted me to finally agree to ADD meds. That was most unexpected, but I'm still glad I did it because the medicine has helped him ward off the sillies and exhibit much greater self-control. Another mom with an austistic son pointed out Pumpkin's shirt-twisting behavior and said that she recognized it. It's always a relief to hear from people who understand what's going on with him.
This year has been a surprisingly sucessful year for Pumpkin. And it's really been this past week that i've noticed things like how much he is talking about other kids in his class and how he speaks of playing with them and exchanging ideas. I can remember celebrating in earlier years being able to have the simplest of conversations with him, and having him ask questions of me. Now he's able to tell me more about how he's feeling and what makes him upset. He's starting to take an interest in sports, which always surprises me and reminds me not to pigeonhole him.
I was a little worried about his teacher assignment for this year and I think he did take her some getting used to, but overall, I would say this was a far more successful year than the last one. They were able to push/coax him farther than I ever would have imagined.
This past weekend we marked another ending of sorts. The social worker who guided us through the adoption process (twice) is retiring at the end of June, and with that, the agency will close its doors. A few years ago another employee was arrested for embezzling from the agency. Though she was ordered to make restitution, adoptions were getting tougher, the recession would soon follow and the agency never really recovered.
This weekend a small group of local families brought together by our agency came together to celebrate the social worker who made it all happen. The cake you see up there represents several of the countries our agency worked in and of course there's the U. S. flag that all our children came home to. I knew only one of the families at this particular gathering, but it was interesting that the experience of having traveled to a foreign country to start a family, and then come home and handle the challenges our children presented produced a near instant bond with many of the others.
It felt so good to be able to tell another parent that her child, with behavioral quirks I also recognized, was able to come up to my older son, introduce himself and ask Tigger to play. I recognized her happiness at this news, that her son was reaching out, that all the time spent in therapies had manifested itself in a friendly, if young for his age, little boy. Hurray for them! There is hope. Our work and our belief in our kids is paying off. We have been able to give them something worthwhile - a home, a family, a chance!
It's interesting that this was the first year that I did not feel that pull to be headed to Russia. I don't know if the weather and the calendar didn't match, or we had a different trip (to Washington DC) to plan but usually, every April and May, Piper and I start talking about how it really feels like we should be packing and putting together paperwork. It wasn't like that this year.
Tigger has been with us 8 years and Pumpkin 6. We are rapidly closing in on the number of years we were married without children. It is getting harder and harder to remember what it was like before. I am certainly no longer longing for those childless days as I once did. We still have significant challenges, but with each passing year, we are more and more a team.
Our newly constructed house isn't so new anymore, and could frankly use a paint job in some places. I'm coming to realize that many of the office clothes I had before children are almost 10 years old and need to be weeded out. And, even though I did not birth these two children, at nearly 45, my body type is different than it once was.
I'm not exactly sure how to put this, and I'm sure that I'll be exploring this in the weeks to come, but I have come to a point in my life where I fell like I need to get a better handle on things. Of course, sitting here trying to work this out at nearly midnight when I have to be at work the next morning is a perfect example of the sort of thing I shouldn't be doing anymore. I'm getting a little too old to be just keeping my head above water, rushing to prepare for the next meeting, always slightly behind and trying to hide my panic about it.
A friend of mine once taught me to eliminate distractions. I was getting better at it before I had kids. Then I sought distractions, desperately needed them, was gratful for them keeping me sane. Now I simply have too much on my plate. I either need to give stuff up or manage it all better. I don't really want to give up on the blog. I still have the stories, but it is really about making the time.
How many times have I written a sentence like this?
I haven't mentioned this yet because I am still quite surprised about it. It doesn't feel real to me. I'm going to BlogHer in August. I applied as a volunteer and was accepted. I am travelling, by myself, to San Diego for several days, and I will meet, or at least cross paths with, many of the bloggers I have admired who have long since established themselves and done something with the opportunity that I have allowed to pass me by. I am wondering what I will get out of it at this juncture, because I have been so disconnected from the blogging community lately, because I have been disconnected from my writing.
We joke about bucket lists and 40 x 40 lists. I am too old for the latter and hopefully not old enough for the former.
But one thing that has been on my life list since I was ten years old (Tigger's age!) is that I wanted to be a writer. It is the one thing that has been consistent in my life, and one of the few things I have managed not to do.
I don't have to look too deeply to understand it. I have not honored the need to keep writing, because I did not want to fail. All the writing I have been doing lately has been for someone other than myself. I don't even mean my audience here, I mean my job, my volunteer work, my ghostwriting for others. None of it is helping me be a writer, or at least not a successful one.
I will be 45 in the fall. Back when I was 35 I felt that everything I did from there must count. I haven't always honored that. Certainly, I have done a lot with the last 10 years, including some things, like parenting, that I way undervalue. But time's awasting and I must find a way to end the self-sabotage on this one, last thing.