Thursday, March 31, 2011

The Adoption Experience: The Teenaged-Angst Years

Shortly after my 16th birthday, I began to seriously consider searching for my birth mother. By "seriously consider", I mean, obsess. It was like a switch - as soon as I turned the same age that she was when she gave me up for adoption, I became obsessed with thoughts of the girl she had been.

The girl I now was.

That Spring, I took a job at a Muskokan resort, where I met and  fell hopelessly, recklessly, headlong into love with sensitive, dark-eyed, irresistible Sam. It was a magical time, the way love is at 16 - our hearts connected and childish innocence slipped blissfully away. Throughout the hot and heady days of Summer we played at being grown-up, played with fire, the way that young lovers have since forever.

Even then - perhaps especially then - I thought about her. I wondered if she felt the same way about the boy she'd loved enough that they created life together. Did she love him? Did he love her? Was it like THIS, for her?

I wondered how she felt - how scared she must have been - finding herself pregnant while still a child herself. How did she tell her parents, what did they say, what did her boyfriend - my father - say? Was she happy, in the afterward? Did she regret her choice? Did she ever think of me?

That Fall, I peppered my parents with all of these questions and more, but they couldn't give me a single, satisfying response. The non-identifying information supplied by the Children's Aid was vague and spawned more questions than answers which was the point really, but didn't diminish my sudden, burning need to know her.

And so one night, I wrote a letter, intending to submit it to the Toronto Star's "Have Your Say" section of the weekend newspaper. In it, I stressed that I had no desire to bring back painful memories or to destroy the life she'd built for herself. Nor was I seeking, my "real" parents - I loved my chosen parents very much and was happy with my life. Mostly, I wanted only to see her, meet her....thank her.

I offered what few details I had from Children's Aid, hoping that it might jog some memory,elicit some spark of recognition in the minds of the newspaper's readers.Then, almost as an afterthought, I added my birth name:

"Amanda Ellen B."

Carefully, I copied the letter out using my best handwriting (no keyboard for this girl - it was 1990, after all) and handed it over to my parents to proofread. They were supportive and gentle, as always, and could find little fault with the letter, except for one, tiny detail:

My name.

They knew that my birth mother had named me Amanda Ellen, but had no idea what her last name might have been. Of course they had, I insisted. Otherwise, why would I think that my birth surname began with a "B?" Shrugs. Confusion mixed with absolute certainty: they did not know, had never known and urged me to strike it from the letter.

But in my deepest heart, I was certain and so the initial stayed and the letter got mailed and then, we waited.

And waited and waited and waited.

Into the mailbox, every day it seemed, tumbled letters from strangers, replying to mine. Most expressed their best wishes, some wanted money and a few were downright crazy. But none were from her and as the months passed, my dejection and uncertainty grew. So did my obsession.

Perhaps she hadn't read the letter. Maybe she needed to tell her husband first and was holding out until the Christmas holidays had passed. What if she was travelling out of country on some wild and crazy adventure and her neighbour was collecting her papers all of which she'd read sometime in March....

Obsessed. As Winter and my 17th birthday approached, I was now obsessed with two things:

1. Checking the mailbox, hoping for a letter from my mother, who lived God knew where and whose face I was desperately trying to find, despite the years that separated us.

2. Checking the mailbox, waiting for a letter from Sam, who lived five hours away by train and whose love I was desperately trying to keep, despite the distance that separated us.

When the snow began to fly in earnest, the stream of letters slowed to a trickle and then one day, only silence fell. I was forced to admit that perhaps I had not found her simply because she didn't want to be found. My need to know her was overshadowed by her need NOT to know me.

It was hard. I hadn't realized how very much I'd been banking on her wanting me. Again. Still. It stung my pride, too. Why didn't she want to know me, the daughter she'd borne and selflessly given up? Perhaps her thoughts of me - if she thought of me at all - were that I would only be, had only been, a burden.

I drove myself and my parents crazy with all my theories and ponderings - broke all of our hearts with my disappointment and suddenly shaky sense of self. To escape, I hopped on a train and headed to Sam's for the holidays. Dove into his arms and stayed there - forgetting, basking, healing - until the day before New Year's Eve.

My parents were delighted to have me home. They listened with rapt attention as I spun tale after tale of my time away - where we'd gone, who we'd seen, how much we loved each other...and on and on I went, their chatty, happy, slightly-crazy daughter, returned.

Finally winding down from the long trip home and even longer update, I sat on the stairs, ready to say goodnight and haul myself off to bed. And then, casually, oh so casually, my Mum fixed me with a look I'd never seen before. Sensing a secret, I tossed a quizzical glance at my Dad, whose eyes were suddenly dancing.

"By the way, Elizabeth, " she said, drawing the words out slowly, through her Mona Lisa smile, " We're having some special guests this week."

"Oh, yeah?" I smiled tiredly through a yawn.

"We received a very interesting phone call yesterday, " my Dad began, gazing idly at the amber liquid in his glass, letting the moment build as I waited for the rest of the story.

I waited. And waited. And waited...

"A man called Jerry rang, asking if we had a daughter named Elizabeth..."

"Your mother," blurted my Mum, unable to contain her excitement any longer, "She's coming for lunch on Tuesday!"

I blinked.

And just like that, the wait was over and life as we knew it would never, ever be the same.

Sunday, March 27, 2011

Do You See Who I See?

One of the most entertaining joys of being Mama to the Reds is playing the "Who Does He Look Like?" game. You know the one - where you study family photos and try to find your own nose?

The second I laid eyes on my tiny, fire-haired Matthew, I thought, "Wow! The McLennan genes are strong - he looks JUST like my father-in-law!"

Five years later, he still does, until  he turns a certain way and then all I see in my cousin, Aaron. Or me. Most people think he looks like Mark, which he does...except for when he doesn't.

Luke was the spitting image of me as a baby, but his dimpled smile is one he shares with Mark's sister. These days, I don't know who he most resembles although eerily, something about him reminds me of my brother. Most people think he looks like me, which he doesn't...except for when he does.

The Reds, looking like each other.

 Both boys will need glasses (You're welcome, children. Mama loves you.) and possibly braces ('re welcome.) but their hair, when long, is curly like Mark's and they have also inherited his impossibly long eyelashes, so all is not lost.

For someone who has spent their entire life looking like Uncle Bob or Great Aunt Suzy, the "Who-Does-He-Look-Like?" game is an eye roll-inducing one. But for an adopted person, this is an endlessly fascinating way to pass time - my Mum and I LOVE to gaze upon my children, seeing who we can see. She is the only person in the world who GETS how exciting this game is and it makes me love her all the more.

Baby Bellymonster
I didn't look like anyone until 17, when I met my birth mother and maternal bio-family for the first time. After that, it seemed as though I looked like everybody. Frankly, I was amazed that I'd never suspected, since one of my cousins attended my high school and we could have been twins. Weirdly, having spent years wishing I knew whose eyes I shared or who loved words like I do, I suddenly longed to go back to the days of having how I look/act/sing/dance belong soley to me.

I don't know that I will ever tire of watching my children grow into themselves, but will admit that I am a wee bit obsessed with who ELSE's face they may grow into, too. I know, intellectually, that the Reds are entirely their own person(s) and it's not fair of me to attribute quirks of personality to them, simply because they resemble a family member who shares the same ones.

I do it anyway.

I delight in seeing the past and whispers of the future in their features. Though it drives my husband crazy, and will likely be fodder for the therapy the boys will one day seek ("My mother has never, EVER allowed me to be my own person. She kept waiting for me to lose my marbles like everyone else and she finally got her wish, here I am!"), I am comforted by this:

 If the boys become amazing chefs with a teensy pot-smoking problem, at least I will recognize them!

Play the "Which-Red-is-He" game: Matthew or Luke?

Tuesday, March 22, 2011

The Reds are Famous!

Well, ok...not really. Well, not at all, actually, but they made the paper. Here they are:

Reds at Play

Friday, March 18, 2011

The Adoption Experience

Have been thinking about the different ways to grow a family and wanted to share the bedtime story that my Mum told me, her chosen daughter,  throughout my childhood:

Once upon a time there lived a Mummy and a Daddy who were sad .

One day, a fairy godmother appeared to Mummy, who was sitting in her garden, feeling sad.

"Mummy, why are you crying," she asked?

And Mummy replied, "I am sad because I haven't any children to love."

The Fairy Godmother smiled gently and squeezed Mummy's hand, "You wait right here, Mummy. I'll see what I can do."

And off she flew.

Mummy and Daddy waited and waited and waited. Every day, they waited for the Fairy Godmother to return but as each day drew to a close and she didn't appear, they grew sadder still.

And then one sunny day in May, the Fairy Godmother appeared, holding a pink bundle in her arms. It was a baby girl and Mummy and Daddy were so happy because finally, they had a child to love.

And do you know who that baby was?

Baby Elizabeth, meeting her parents for the first time.

In coming days, I will tell my story here because it makes me happy to share it and because lately, I've fallen into conversation with adoptive mothers (and one bio-mother) all of whom seem comforted and buoyed by my experience. Stay tuned!

Thursday, March 17, 2011

Happy St. Patrick's Day 2011

At the end of the rainbow, here with my very own magic leprechauns:

May love and laughter light your days,
and warm your heart and home.
May good and faithful friends be yours,
wherever you may roam.
May peace and plenty bless your world
with joy that long endures.
May all life's passing seasons
bring the best to you and yours!

Sunday, March 13, 2011

Moments of Grace

This morning, Luke was so naughty at Mass, I had to take him outside, where I gave  him a stern lecture as he shivered, finally still and coatless. Back in the pew, I prayed only that we would make it through the service without a temper tantrum. (Mine or his - I was uncertain who might lose it first)

Came home and sorted laundry, ignoring the bathroom and my husband equally. Made the beds, didn't change the clock and wondered how Sunday EVER became known as a day of rest?

Daddy fed the children chips for lunch and as I was washing up at the kitchen sink, the pipe underneath burst. Cursing, I looked skyward: "Seriously? Is this IT? Is this how it's supposed to be?"

And then, in frustration - desperation? - I shoved a bucket under the tap, scooped up the Reds and tossed us all out the door:

Watching them run off their cabin fever and splash through puddles wearing their Sunday coats, I laughed out loud and finally, relaxed.

"No, my child," I could almost hear Him say. "This is how it's supposed to be."

Saturday, March 12, 2011

Drive-by Heartbreak...

Today's "GAH!" moment, brought to you by Luke:

Dinner time: I'm at the stove, Luke is twirling about behind me, pretending to be Luke Skywalker, Matthew is begging me to let him stir and chop and the dog keeps getting underfoot. Typical supper time chaos, right?

Out of nowhere, this from Luke:

Mummy, why did Uncle Andrew die?

Me: Uh....
Matthew: Because his heart was broken, right Mummy?
Luke: His heart broke, right? Broke right in half?
Me: Well, his heart was tired because his heart was sick. Uncle Andrew's heart didn't break, Luke. It just stopped working.
Luke: But why?
Me: I don't know, Lukey.
Luke: We miss him, don't we Mummy?
Me: Yes, we do.
Luke: I am so frustertrated with Uncle Andrew.
Me: Why's that, Luke?
Luke: Because he's not here to love me and play cars.
Me: Oh.
Luke: And it makes you cry that he died. And Matthew, too.

Which both Matthew and I promptly did, while Luke twirled out, a Jedi knight once more.

Ain't that just a heartbreaking mess of a conversation? As usual,  I was COMPLETELY unprepared for these random questions. Drive-by heartbreaks.

Methinks that this will be a Baileys-in-hot-chocolate kind of evening...


The Sound of Music

I have discovered that I know every. single. word to Justin Bieber's "Never Say Never".

I cannot yet harmonize or do the Smith kid's part, but my children can.

Oh, yes they can.

Just call us the Family von Bellymonster.

Thursday, March 10, 2011

Welcome to Parenthood: Part III (Sleep and Learning to Love Mess)

Missed Part One? Go here: Welcome: Part One

Wanna re-read Part Two because it's mostly about boobs? Go here, perv: Welcome: Part Two

Re: Part III

I am too tired to write about sleep and my dishes still need to be washed.


Wednesday, March 9, 2011

Welcome to Parenthood: Part II

* This is Part Two of a piece written for my neighbour, who has recently had her first child. For Part One, go here: Welcome to Parenthood: Part 1*

Breast vs. Bottle

This is a doozy - deciding whether to formula-feed or breast-feed. Since I've done both, I feel compelled to offer my opinion about both methods, both of which were the best decision that I could have made for my child. The formula-fed child is gorgeous and healthy and I loved watching him grow into himself. The breast-fed child is gorgeous and healthy and I loved watching him grow into himself.

Whichever you decide, know this: She will grow and thrive and love you.


Formula Pros
1. Anyone can do it. Even your husband who may try to claim ignorance. Don't let him. He can and WILL feed the child you both created. So there.
1 b) This means you can shower. Alone. For at least 20 minutes, 25 if burping takes awhile.
2. It doesn't hurt.
3. You can eat tons of spicy food and drink a glass of wine celebrating parenthood without worrying that you're risking your child's future mathematical skills.
4. As long as you have water and a bottle, you can feed the baby pretty much anywhere.
5. Around Month Six or so, you can prop the bottle in your baby's hands and she can feed herself.
5 b) You can shower.
6. There is no awkward fumbling about with clasps on your bra or worrying about exposing yourself to passerby. Or your father.
7. It's good for your baby, providing valuable vitamins and nutrients and other such yummy goodness.

Formula Cons

1. It can be expensive. If you buy the ready-made tins, you'll pay for the privilege and the powdered stuff involves measuring and teaspoons, which is a LOT to deal with at 3 a.m.and you've been awake since yesterday.
2. It involves measuring and teaspoons and access to hot water at all times.
3. You may find that your child's sensitive digestive system does not appreciate certain formulas. Half-open and discarded tins of various formula brands will pile up alarmingly in your recycling box until you find the right one.
4. The poop of a formula-fed baby is, quite possibly, the worst smell known to man. Unless you've wandered into my house after Luke has filled his diapers, at which point, your baby's poop will smell like roses. I'm just saying.

Boob Pros

1. Breast milk is free.
2. Breast milk is always the perfect temperature and portable.
3. Although a light breeze going by hurts them, your boobs look absolutely fan-friggin'-tastic in ANY shirt    you own. Take photos because they will never be this high and smokin' hot again. Trust me.
4. It's good for your baby, providing vitamins and nutrients and other yummy goodness ending in "oxidants."
 5. If conversations bore you or you just want to drift off for 20 minutes, you can use nursing as an excuse to leave the room. Ditto for any social obligation that you resent having to fulfill: wedding, funeral, baby shower, Pampered Chef party...
6. You are, literally, growing a human being with your body. Powerful, heady stuff.

Boob Cons

1. Nursing hurts.
Holy mother of God, it hurts so much - in the beginning - that your toes curl at the mere thought of nursing and you've taken to hunching over while walking because every time your baby so much as whimpers, your milk lets down and you're simply assuming the position in advance. This too shall pass. Eventually.

2. Nipples.
Everyone will have an opinion about the state/shape/size/dimension and usefulness of your nipples. You will find yourself talking about your nipples with strangers in the ER, the Health Unit or the nursing room at Sears. Some of those strangers may even reach out as though they mean to TOUCH your nipples, especially women who've nursed so many children they consider themselves honourary lactation consultants.

Here are some examples of the sorts of things you will ponder or be asked. Or both:

Are they inverted? Why are there hairs on them?
Is the baby sucking them so that they look like a lipstick, and if so, is she creating the right shape for the nipstick, because it's supposed to matter.
Do your nipples bleed or itch and why are that woman's purple?
Is the baby getting enough nipple or not enough?
Does she prefer one to the other and in the name of all that's holy, will the ever stop feeling like they're on fire?

This too shall pass.

3. Thrush.
It's itchy and painful - like the yeast infection it actually is, just not in the spot you'd previously envisioned before reading this - and makes you crave bread and sweets and then you fart. A lot. (Which is neither here nor there, except that you may have noticed that since giving birth, farts ripple from areas of your body not previously known for flatulence. Anything you can do to alleviate that sort of weirdness is recommended.)

You can get a prescription for thrush, but it involves the coating of nipples and then rinsing before nursing, so be warned. Gentian Violet is purple and you coat it on your nipples before nursing, too, only the baby will suckle it off, which a) saves you from having to rinse your nips 5,678 times a day and b) coats her tiny, perfect mouth and rids it of any lingering yeast.

4. Mastitis.

Take the drugs.

Speaking of boobs....

S-E-X (alt. title: Are you effing kidding me?)

You're gonna have to do it again, sometime. Perhaps even sometime soon. If you have a wise and compassionate OBGYN or midwife, s/he will write a note to your husband, excusing you from sex for the next three months. It's unlikely, but s/he might, if you ply her with wine and chocolates first.

If you have any friends or relations who "did the deed"  before their six-week check up, make certain that they do NOT, under any circumstance, mention this fact in front of your husband.

If you have "that" friend or relation who insists that she made gentle love in the hospital bed mere hours after pushing a human being into the world through her vagina, stop speaking to her immediately. NEVER speak to her again. If YOU are that woman then even thought we're neighbours, you'll understand that I can no longer speak to you.

Let's say you did not receive a "get-out-of-sex" card and are dreading looking forward to a passionate reunion with your husband. Here's the truth:

It's gonna hurt. Maybe a lot. Maybe for several months afterward. BUT:

It gets better. You may find yourself buying stocks in lube and wine from the County, but it does get better.

I promise.

Now snuggle up with your daughter. Tomorrow, we'll talk about sleep and why housework is overrated.


Tuesday, March 8, 2011

Welcome to Parenthood: Part 1

*This is Part One of a "Welcome to Parenthood" piece I've been working on whilst waiting for my neighbour to give birth to her first child. Part Two to follow...*

My across-the-road-neighbours have just become parents. I haven't been over yet, wanting to give them the space to delight and coo over their perfect pink bundle, but I've had a present wrapped and waiting for weeks.

It's the card that's had me up nights, pacing the hallway. What to write? Something wise. Something witty. Something that says, "Hey there. Welcome to the toughest job you'll ever love," without sounding like an ad for the armed forces.

For Jessica

This is it. Her. Every triumph, every disappointment, every decision, every heartache, wrong turn, right choice, wish-upon-a-star and bitter regret has led you here to this moment, to THIS child and nothing will ever, ever be the same.

You will understand, possibly for the first time, what it is to love another person with your whole heart, without conditions. (You may now realize that you'd been previously misled, believing that your love for your  husband was unconditional. Phffttt. Whatever. The sooner such drivel gets taken out of wedding vows, the better off we'll all be. But I digress...)

Your marriage is forever changed - no longer are you a unit. You are a family. Allow your gratitude and overwhelming affection for your husband to buoy you on the days when you want to throw him out the window. Praise his efforts to dress or bathe the baby, even if he's doing it all wrong.  Tell him that men who wear babies - in their arms, on their chests, on their backs or on their hip - are sexy and that you read online that they resume marital relations sooner than the average. (This blog counts as "online" just so you know.)

A newfound appreciation for your loved ones may surprise you, but I urge you to enjoy it. There will come a moment, in the middle of it all, when it will occur to you that this is how YOUR mother felt when she held you for the first time. It will stun and awe you and you will, not for the first time but perhaps most profoundly, feel part of a powerful kind of sisterhood. Call your mother, whether she's across the country or just in the next room. Say, "Thank you for loving me this much" and watch her face soften and bloom. She knows.

Mama Lenses
Now that you are a mother, the world will shimmer with previously unseen beauty - you will smile at strangers more often and exchange a secret, knowing look with every woman with a stroller. Isn't it all so amazing? I am delighted to tell you that this feeling doesn't ever entirely go away.

Conversely, the nightly news will bring you to tears and you will feel crushing guilt that you brought a child into such a terrible, war-filled, violent, depressing world. Suddenly, every show on TV will be about a child/mention a child/have a cast of characters who were, at some point, children themselves and this will prove to be your undoing.

These feelings don't ever really go away, either, but you will gain some perspective around Year Three, when you are in Potty-Training Hell - a terrible and depressing place all of its own. See? It all balances out, in the end.


As you rock and snuggle her tiny, perfect form long, long into the night (or perhaps greet the day with her tucked up close, next to your heart) you will feel more like a woman than you ever have before and you will think to yourself, "I was born so that she would be, too."

You may also think things like, "If my tiny, precious angel doesn't let me sleep soon, I am going to KILL myself."

This too shall pass. Eventually, she will settle into a routine of her own choosing - you will learn to adjust your bedtime schedule accordingly. You will also learn to sleep standing up at the sink,  whilst eating yesterday's toast.

In the meantime, if you have any friends or relations who say things like, "I wish I had some advice for you. Mine slept like an angel, straight through the night, from birth," stop talking to them immediately. In the bubble that is New-Parent Land, there is no room for liars.

Welcome to Parenthood: Part II

Monday, March 7, 2011

The Reality of Being a Domestic Goddess

Daydream: My home smells of something yummy to eat at any time of day.

Reality: I have Luke, whose poopy diapers carve such a vile stench into the air, visitors have been known to retch and take their coffee in the ice-box we call "the porch."

Daydream: I am the kind of woman whose cardigan-over-a-white-t-shirt-and-jeans ensemble looks fresh and casual, but pretty. Pulled together. Polished.

Reality:  I am often too lazy to shower first thing in the morning and end up grabbing a hooded sweatshirt and jamming a baseball cap over my unwashed (but pigtailed) hair. Like Red from Fraggle Rock, only fatter.

Daydream: I am the kind of woman who, when you pop by unannounced, is sipping a chai tea at the table, listening to son read aloud, whilst sunlight streams through the (streak-free) window and classical music plays lightly in the background.

Reality: Yesterday's coffee reheated in the microwave for the second time has grown cold. While  First Son refuses to sound out the word "cat" and carefully arranges his features into blank nothingness,  I am red-faced with frustration and jabbing at the letters on the page, screeching, "You KNOW this one. Yes, you do! You do SO! Sound it out, NOW!"

The classical music station is drowned out by Second Son singing "O Canada" while he bats a tin-foil ball across the living room with his father's golf clubs - ones he has been implicitly told not to use...

Daydream: My workspace is clutter-free save the pretty fabric-covered basket meant to temporarily hold bills which are paid on time and immediately filed into their appropriate and cross-referenced folders.

Reality: At any given time, our huge desk is covered with artwork, cold coffee cups, dinky cars and for some inexplicable reason, pieces of dry dog food that the even the dog won't eat. The fabric basket IS the filing cabinet and I think I put paid bills away sometime in 2008, two houses and one city ago.

Daydream: High-backed antique settee plus chaise lounge, lovingly restored in luxury fabrics grace my front room. Soft wall-sconce lighting spills onto my gleaming hardwood floors and fresh flowers from the garden brighten every room.

Reality: Aztec-design on 25 year-old couch that is a hand-me-down from my parents. Sags. Springs are shot and I cannot for the life of me get the mustard stain off one arm. Perfect for bouncing on. The floors are indeed hardwood, but are dotted with paint from the previous owner's love affair with bright, happy (read: psychosis-inducing) colour. My  floor lamps are from Sears and tilt at alarming angles by day's end.

Garden? What garden?

Daydream: Children who cover their mouths when they cough, don't giggle when they toot, sneeze anywhere but DIRECTLY AT THE COMPUTER SCREEN while snuggling as Mama types and who pee into the toilet.

Reality: Farting is hilarious to my children. I have no idea why. Their father is the same way. I can't explain that, either. Snuggles are good - I'll take 'em when I can get 'em. Luke's pee forgets to listen and poop happens, right?

And you? What's your reality?

These are the days...

Belly: Luke, where are you pants?
Luke: They got wet.
Belly: How'd they get wet?
Luke: The pee wouldn't listen.

These are the moments, my friends. The moments that make me laugh out loud and fall in love with my son all over again. Yes, indeed. These ARE the days.

A conversation with Matthew, shortly after the pee stopped listening:

Matthew: Did you know that I kissed Alison 7 times?
Me: Really? Seven times?
Matthew: Well, only two times today. She wasn't too into it today.
Me: Yeah, girls are fickle like that.
Matthew: Does fickle mean they're hard to understand?
Me: Yes. Yes it does.

Thursday, March 3, 2011

To Whom it May Concern:

Dear Baileys,

God bless you, inventors of bliss-in-a-glass. Thank you for tiny, perfect, quiet moments at the end of those days which are neither perfect nor quiet.


Dear Bell Canada,

There are only 337 days left until my contract with you expires. To say that I am delighted about this would be an understatement.  Hallefreakin'luhiah!


Dear Murphy's Oil,

This morning, my son coloured on my oak desk with marker. This afternoon, he coloured on the hardwood floor with a different coloured  marker. About an hour ago, he took two markers to the coffee table.

Your product not only removed every spot, my house smells amazing. God bless you.


Dear Crayola,

Washable? I beg to effing differ.


Dear Sons,

This week is NOT a no-yell one. That was LAST week. Just because last week's no-yell efforts were dismal failures, that does NOT automatically mean that the following week will be about making up.

This week is about getting through.

Despite the yelling, colouring, hitting, shoving, tattling, throwing, jumping, whining and inability to get through a bath without splashing water, I love you both with all that I am.

Remember that. Forget the rest.


Dear God,

Thank you for today and for my sons. Without them, I might never learn the things I should: patience, consistency, letting go. Hope to pop by this Sunday.


P.S. Please bless the Baileys and the Murphys. They saved my floor and my sanity.

Dear Elizabeth,

You are a work in progress. Remember that. Forget the rest.

The best is yet to come.