Friday, December 29, 2006
Dosvidaniya! 2006 Privyet! 2007
Well, between the Holidays, no school and planning a trip to Disney in two weeks, my blogging as been on the back burner. The last few days, as I have been trying to find a home for all the Santa booty, I have thought about this past year. 2006 held many firsts and many AH HA moments for me.
2006 was the year my youngest began school full time in kindergarten. It was exciting for her and a bit sad for me. Mind you, I have no baby envy or yearning for the younger years of my children or for more children. It is just that the time has gone by so fast, just as I have always heard that it would. I feel as if I can remember every day and minute since she and my son entered our lives. Since I would be hard pressed to tell you what I had for lunch yesterday, it amazes me that all the days of the months of the years of their lives still sits front and center in my mind.
2006 was the year I marched closer to 50 than 40. While so many seem to fight that progression or float down the river of Denial, I am actually loving this time in my life. I like who I am and where I am. I can accept what about me is average and normal while at the same time dance to my own beat, be different, be confident about myself , my opinions and how I am doing as a Mother and a wife. I can still sing all the lyrics from the songs of the 70's and 80's while at the same time sing along with James Blunt and 5 For Fighting. I can like CMT better than MTV and still prefer a good book over a great DVD. And I am very open about my love affair with my minivan or as I like to call it, my FUV (Family Utility Vehicle).
I accepted that no matter how much I diet or don't, exercise or not-I stay a solid size 10 and have not wavered from that in the last well, 10 years. I like to cook and I like to eat. My blood pressure medicine is a daily reminder that I need to put forth some effort in the name of health. Funny, once I decided that I would regularly go to the Y and exercise, not for a smaller waist or firmer thighs but for a stronger heart and less obstructed arterial system and to avoid a hip fracture in 20 years, I am much more diligent about going. And because I am not judging my progress by my advancement toward Skinny jeans but by the numbers on my blood pressure machine and my labs every 6 months,I feel very good about how I am doing and that is a much more motivating than string cheese, a rice cake and a bowl of lettuce. Besides, when necessary, squirming into a pair of Spanx is an instant 10 lbs. weight loss. Besides , my body has gotten me a lot of great places in life, keeps up with two very active children, stayed married for 25 years, done everything I have ever asked of it,kept breakdowns and tune ups to a minimum and is good for many more miles. What's not to be Proud of.
2006 was a good year. My daughter learned to read and she is writing in her journal and diary everyday. Still not sure what a 5 year old could possibly have so much to write about but she goes nowhere without her notebook and a pencil .Sometimes annoying and can perch on that last nerve . Which leads to one of my resolutions for 2007, more patience with her endless ENDLESS questions and HOW DO YOU SPELL...She has become a sponge for knowledge and I know my duty is to keep it soaked. My son has progressed very nicely and I am so proud of him. Everyday he does something to amaze and amuse me. He is such a joy and makes waking up each day an adventure. Today he said several 10 and 12 word sentences, which is grand way to end and begin a new year.He is also becoming a one man band after having received a trumpet, saxophone and clarinet for Christmas to go along with his many drums and keyboard. I am hoping for a Phil Collins and not a Tommy Lee.
We also started taking them camping this year. Tent camping. Just as I did as a child growing up.
I never imagined how wonderful this new activity would be for our family and for our children.
It's a lot of work, a lot of planning and has given us so much more in return. Time away from phones and TV and distractions. I hope that they remember these camping trips the same as I remember the ones from my childhood. The carrying on of traditions is one of the infinite rewards of parenting that I hope every parent does. Creating new traditions and passing down old ones. The definition of family to me.
This year has been a rough one in the Russian adoption arena.I so pray that this next year brings some calm in the process and many children finding homes. I hope that the families thinking about Russian adoption and those that may have been scared away come back and hear the words of encouragement from those of us that keep chanting for you to stay the course, it will all be so worth it.You might think it odd that I am still so involved in following the journey's of others to their children in Russia because my own adoptions are so far in the past. I believe having been through adoption twice, two very different adoptions of two very different children,that I can relate to so many who are on their own journey's now or contemplating it. I feel compelled to share our story, commiserate and encourage others and hope that I can share in their delight and magic of bringing a child home forever. This year I have had the privilege to share in the emotional, heartbreaking and rewarding journey of a couple who live hundreds of miles north of me, whom I have never seen or spoke to other than through the Internet, yet I have felt every tear, frustration, moments of despair they have been through as well as the elation, joy and magic of them meeting their new daughter. I have thought about them daily for months and shed my own tears when they so graciously sent pics to my email address from Moscow of their precious little "Cupcake". What they do not know is how their sharing of this most private and personal time in their life as opened up a line of communication with my own daughter about our adoption of her. By relating to her what they have gone through in their quest for their princess, my daughter now has a unique understanding about our journey to her and she is so excited about another little Russian angel finding her own Mommy and Daddy. No story book or esoteric conversation we might have had would equal or have the impact that sharing in the journey of another little girl waiting in Russia in real time has done for her.
So to them, I thank you. While it may have seemed that I was Paying it Forward in sharing my experiences, you are doing the same for my daughter.
Godspeed for your return to bring her home.
I feel the same about sharing my son's differently abled life with others. Parent's I will never know who share their lives of raising a child with PDD have helped me immensely. I have learned and embraced this year ,the concept of sharing and being open about your life, your struggles and times when you are at an emotional cliff, if you reach out and just talk there is always someone out there who can lift your spirits, recharge your determination and remind you of all the wonderfulness in your life and in your child. And when you hear that you have helped or inspired others it spurs you on to be better and go that extra mile each day. My son continues to be a huge inspiration. His imagination, his laughter and happy spirit, his love of the outdoors and any sport that involves a ball. He never ceases to amaze me in that he has always reached every goal we have set before him. As much as I am his teacher in life, he teaches me more everyday about the spirit and the potential in all of us and other lessons too numerous to count.And when the sun sets each day he is really just a regular 7 year old boy with dirty hands and scruffy knees who wants French Fries and ketchup and to play in the tub until the water gets cold.He tells me I love you Mommy and Good Night,Don't Let the Bed bugs bite.
And my daughter writes in her journal everyday "Today was the best day of my entire life" because every day is the best and that she loves me the Mostest and more than M & M's.
What are my New Year's Resolutions for 2007.
Not that many actually.
To be more patient at times,to say Yes, more and No, less.
To live in the moment, be fully present in the Now and not think so much about Tomorrow
To Exercise more, not necessarily eat less....
To Laugh loud and long and often
To schedule one on one outings with each of my children more often.
To Thank God each and Every day for everything in my life, the great and the good,the bad and the ugly.
Most all is great and good, a bad every now and then and ugly rarely rears it's head.
To look into my children's faces and marvel at the magic and miracle that brought these two children from thousands of miles away to be my son and my daughter and how perfectly we all fit together.
The Freeman Family of Four
Look out 2007
Here We Come

Monday, December 11, 2006
Christmas Miracles

So many Christmas happenings this last week.

First off I FINISHED my shopping,always a monumental moment. Santa was done months ago and I did a lot of it via the internet, then the extended family gifts and the always most important teacher's gifts and class presents(19 of the same thing for my son's class) and helping my Mom do her shopping. Mind you nothing is wrapped yet, but that's the easy part. Also the yearly Christmas Photo is signed ,sealed and mailed.It only took two days and about 75 shots but this time we actually got a lot of good ones and it was hard to choose. That in and of itself is a Christmas Miracle.

Also, this is the first time my differently abled son, has actually spontaneously ,unprompted and uncoerced said he wanted Santa to bring him something, as in " I want Santa to bring me a Trumpet" and you bet he will. For most parents they are inundated with their children wanting things and not being shy about voicing that and my daughter is no different. But my son has never really asked for anything holiday or birthday specific. Yes, he may ask for an Icee, or to go ride with the people(Escalator at the Mall) or go the the basketball gym(the YMCA).But this is the first time he seems to really get Santa and Christmas before the big day. He has always "gotten" the presents on Christmas morning. So another Christmas miracle for us.

Another recent joyous occasion was the acceptance of a referral of a daughter by an internet friend. I have never met her in person or even ever heard the sound of her voice. Yet through her blog and emails , we have connected on the adoption and awaiting parenthood level. I have followed, cheered, ached,cried and now rejoiced in her journey. Offering advice, which I am sure was hard to swallow at times, and Been there sentiments that I am sure she had trouble relating .When you are in the middle 0f your own journey, waiting for the call to travel, waiting to meet a referral and the heartbreak of having to refuse, you are sure that no one has ever gone through this before. No one could possibly understand.That your journey is harder, longer , more stressful and wrought with emotion than anyone's has ever been. One minute you are sure you will be the one in a million that will not work out, that you will return home empty hearted and destined never to be a Mom. And then in the literal blink of eye, all that changes. You see her, hold her ,feel her. Knowing in an instant that this is your daughter, the one you have waited an eternity for. The one you never lost faith in finding.Your tears are turned into laughter, your cracked heart is now beating full and strong and rapidly in love with this small person you have known for only minutes and loved for a lifetime.

Another Christmas miracle.

I am feeling very much in the Holiday Spirit this year in a non stressed and enjoying each moment kind of way.We have had a good year personally and professionally. My youngest started kindergarten and is thriving. My son is doing great , making good progress and is happy. My extended family is all still intact with no illness, deaths or other dire happenings. My sister got married and my niece started college and it is all she dreamed it would be.

It is easy to take all of this for granted and not stop and be Thankful for your blessings. I have found myself doing alot of that this past year. Maybe that added more to my restful spirit than I realize. It is such a simple thing, to take a second or two and send up a silent prayer of thanks for the small seemingly inconsequential things.There is a difference between being grateful and giving thanks and this year I have learned to differentiate between them. Giving Thanks is incredibly more satisfying to the soul.

I know my web friend is so grateful that her adoption journey has had a joyous finale.

I am Thankful that a beautfiul daughter has found her Mommy and Daddy.

I am endlessly Thankful for my two children and my husband.

Adoption and parenthood is filled with the lowest of lows and the highest of highs. It is hard to see the top of the mountain when you are down in the valley. Learning to be thankful for the ride up and down is the key.

As I bake Christmas cookies, enjoy our annual viewing of "Christmas Vacation" , wonder where I will put all the stuff they got after Christmas and start to think 3 weeks out of school for the holidays is a little much, I hope I remember to send up a little Thanks for each of those moments.

And if I can manage to still fit in those jeans in the New Year, that will be another Christmas miracle .