Friday, February 4, 2011

"Mommy! We Forgot My Sister!"

We were on the ferry, heading home from a visit to grandma's house. We were enjoying relative calm until Noah stood straight up and declared,"MOMMY! We forgot my sister!"

An old lady two rows over looked at me in mild panic. Nearby, a concerned mother - juggling her own three pre-schoolers, shot me a "I totally understand" look.

The funny thing is, Noah doesn't have a sister.

"What do you mean, Noah?"

"We forgot Allie!" he cried. Real tears. Or maybe crocodile ones, I'm not sure.

"Allie" (not her real name) is my foster sister.... Noah's aunt, in a way, except that he's two years older than her.

"Oh, sweet. Allie lives with Grammy and Opa."

"But Mommy - I want her to be MINE SISTER!" he crossed his arms over his chest, raised his chin, and gave me his best "I'm a teenager trapped in a three-year-old's body" look.

Great. Last month he was lamenting the cruel reality that he could not live with his brother. This month I had to break his heart again and explain that Allie couldn't live with us.

"Well, Noah, Allie is a very special girl. But she lives with Grammy and Opa. She needs to stay there right now, that's her home."

"But Mommy, she's MINE SISTER!" he insisted. "We both have yellow jammies!" -- he had a point. They both got bright yellow footed pajamas for Christmas. Perhaps that's all it took to solidify their sibling bond - at least in the mind of my three year old.

Maybe one day he'll have a sister or brother, or maybe some of each. And I'll get them all matching jammies to celebrate home coming day. I just hope - while Noah waits - he can stop accusing me of child abandonment on the ferry. 

Wednesday, February 2, 2011

Luckily You Didn't Inherit my Soccer Gene

This is my son playing soccer:

This is my son, still playing soccer. He is joyfully getting hit in the head with a soccer ball:

You can't see it, but he's smiling.

This is what makes my son so much fun. And what makes him a complete opposite of me, his (adoptive) mother. Thank God for the miracle of adoption and the genetics we do not share.

I played soccer for one season. I hid from the ball. It rained (or snowed) at every practice. My knees froze. I often forgot my shin pads, and ended up rolling magazines and stuffing them down my socks so it looked like I had the proper gear on.

I hadn't discovered the miracle of bobby pins. My hair took to the rain and wind like a brillo pad to warm water. It looked like I felt: terrible. I wanted off the field.

But my son? He LOVES soccer. ESPECIALLY in the rain. He loves running through puddles and splashing and slipping to his heart's content. Chasing that ball through mud-covered fields, slipping in the swamp that is our local park. He literally shines when covered in wet earth. His favourite memory is finding a worm in his hair one day after a particularly messy and muddy practice.

Me? I'd rather curl up in the fetal position, or drink gatorade on the sidelines than pick arachnids out of my hair after a practice.

Thank God for genetics - and not having them in common! I promise I'll be the best soccer mom possible. Not sure entirely what that looks like, but I will do it happily, even if it involves de-bugging you after every game.

Why Did You Adopt? No, Really, WHY?

It's not an uncommon question: "Why did you adopt?" I've been asked so many times that my well-rehearsed answer rolls effortlessly off my tongue. "We fell in love with our son, and we were lucky enough to be chosen to parent him."

This time, the follow up question made me pause "No, REALLY, why did you adopt?" What - was my answer not sufficient?

"What do you mean?" I blinked, thankful I'd put sufficient mascara on that morning for my winces to make an impact.

"Well, why adoption?"

Oh. That question. You meant to ask: Why not biological parenting? Why not adopt a Chia pet? Or a road, since my municipality sees fit to make an adoption plan for them? Why not live child-free? Why not abandon all plans for white picket fences, mortgages, grandkids, and old age security, and head for white sand beaches in the Caribbean, the cold frost of the Arctic, or the sand storms in the Middle East? 

"Uh, because we REALLY REALLY love our son, that's why." I replied, trying not to sound sunburnt, frosty, or parched.

"But.... but why ADOPTION?" she pestered.

I was starting to get annoyed. "Why did you marry Josh?"

"Because I love him, of course!" she smiled a little.

"Right. But why JOSH? Why not your ex, Chris, or Josh's much taller, less husky, better paid, older brother? Or why not remain single?" (Sorry, Josh.)

She smiled a little. "Well, Josh was the one. We just knew it." She was getting googly eyed on me... I was going to lose the point of my conversation. I tried to steer her back on course.

"See? That's why we adopted. We knew it was our path. And when we met our son, we knew he was ours. Others meet after the match is made, and that's as beautiful and romantic and meant-to-be as any Hollywood romance - even yours and Josh's."

Did she get it? I think so. Does it matter? Not a bit. I've answered this type of question before. Someone will pose it again down the road. In the meantime, I'll keep on loving my son. More than any sandy beach or Arctic adventure. I'll love him and his journey more than any other child or any other way we could have built our family. And DEFINITELY more than a Chia pet.