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Archive for the ‘fambly’ Category

so, here is a primer on our journey as a fambly:  i took part in the second and third blogging for lgbt families day, with great joy and trepidation.  in the former entry, i mused about what it could would maybe possibly be like to be a family, as h and i navigated the murky waters of gay family planning.  our children were hopes then, far away stars.  and if they ever became flesh, would we do right by them?

in my latter contribution, i was on the cusp of motherhood, sixteen days away from giving birth to one judith marguerite.  as i considered the myriad emotions of imminent motherhood, i came to the conclusion that the bigness of it all was universal:  i was about to be a mommy to a newborn, our family was beginning.  we were no different than any other new family.

only, we were.  in the ensuing months, h and i worked with our (wonderful) lawyer to ensure our family’s protection within the great state of texass.  we signed our names to contracts over and over until our wrists hurt.  wills.  medical directives. donor contract.  and then the big one:  adoption.

i will be forever grateful for the existence of second parent adoptions in our particular county.  and i am relieved that, on paper, h is unequivocally our daughter’s mother, even though current law prohibits her name from ever being on jude’s birth certificate.  however, what will forever chafe me is the fact that, as we nested together as a new family–discovering the rhythm of motherhood and babyhood–we were often interrupted by the presence of a social worker.  our social worker is a good woman, and worked as our advocate, but still.  in the middle of such an intimate, sacred season in our lives, we had to spend afternoons answering questions about our deepest and darkest selves.  even as the biological mother, i was not spared the background checks, the questions about my past, my family, my mental health.

several thousand dollars and six months later, we were finally recognized as the family we already are.

i’ll let you in on an insane little secret:  we’re about to do it all over again.  the money, the paperwork, the invasion of privacy, the standing before a judge. all of it.  because these two formerly kidless mamas, who, three years ago, hoped to be parents one day, are about have a second child.

as i round the corner of being a mother for two years now, i return to the overarching theme of so many blogs being written today:  aside from the weird extra steps i’ve taken to ensure the protection of my family, i don’t see myself as any different a mother than my straight counterparts.  my days are full of learning the ways of a mercurial toddler, worrying about whether she’s eating enough veggies, wondering how we’re going to afford to keep her out of public school, and staring slack-jawed as she learns to count and discovers her first sight words.   and we think about her little brother, due in just over three months:  who will he be?  what will he look like?  will he have an easy birth?  what will the relationship look like between brother and sister?

h and i are co-parents and partners and lovers and best friends.  at the end of each small glorious day, we spoon together and confess our squishy-hearted love and mama-bear fear for our children.  we try to recall our life before them, and find ourselves not missing a damn thing but the sleep and maybe some extra time to lounge about lazily.  we’re so very content.  so very blessed.  so very awake to all the life happening in our home.

our contentment, blessing and wakefulness are a force field around our family.  the ugly parts of the world can’t touch us.  we are fambly.  we are whole.

[note:  if you are new to the blogging for lgbt families event, do click on the badge at the top of this post for a list of all entries.  there are so many stories that should be known.  thank you.]

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for m.

this entry is for my wistful friend, m. she wrote a post about autumn in her yard yesterday, and it made me so very wistful for her.

my friendship with m is priceless. she has been both anchor and wings for me over the years. i love her fiercely. she has taught me all about the sanctity of the perfect cup of tea.

so we stayed with m in tennessee at the height of autumn’s glory. autumn never quite arrives in austin. the leaves hold a vaguely yellowish color until they’re brown, and then they all fall off their branches. though tennessee is no match for the pennsylvania wonder of my childhood, it’s still pretty damn majestic. it was a balm to embrace it with all my senses. and it was a gift to introduce it to my daughter.

m writes about the time of year when her grassless yard overshadows the perfectly manicured green yards of her neighbors:

in the autumn, after a good storm, when the trees shake off their leaves, my yard becomes stunning (well i’d go so far as to say jaw-droppingly gorgeous) – a wonder of nature. really. and we are the envy of the neighborhood. i smile and wave on those crisp fall mornings as my neighbors stumble towards their cars in the early morning light, hoping nobody will notice the dismal, dull state of their yard. hi there. i say. isn’t it a marvelous fall day. just look at these leaves. wow. well have a great day.

even with the rain and more rain this autumn, take a look at what’s talking about:

glory.

leaf lover.

genuflect

and, meet m’s dog, vincent, whom jude called “kitty”:
wild vincent.

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cookies and beer.

today, i feel like sisyphus. i do not usually write about work, mostly on account of the brave dooce who has gone before us. that, and my worklife is simply not that interesting.

but today (and yesterday, too, actually) i feel like sisyphus. since my return to work from maternity leave [read: when i realized i was now the breadwinner], i have taken that proverbial rock, and rolled it up that corporate hill with gusto. hell, i’ve even spent a whole lot of energy trying to implement ways to more efficiently roll the rock. ugh, this analogy is painfully tiresome. you know what is coming: every day i start over again. all the hopes of promotions, raises, etc are dashed, and the futility of my predicament is overwhelming.

i cried a lot yesterday. i have been quick to anger a lot today. all i want is cookies and beer, though not simultaneously. i was thinking something a little more progressive. mostly, i want it to be my turn to reach some sort of new career summit. i don’t feel entitled, just deserving.

if i write anything less vague, i’ll feel nervous. so i will leave it there.

this morning, i was a ball of nerves. there are so many bills to pay, and the layer to cover them all is ever-thinning. as i was readying to leave for work, h took me in her arms, looked me in the eye and reminded me of this truth: “you’re blessed”. i placed my hand on her heart, and repeated it. we are blessed. and we are going to survive this lean season.
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pee ess, i ate a cookie.

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seventeen hours.

so here’s a little story. our drive from austin to nashville took seventeen hours. straight. no stopping, aside from the odd gas/pee/food pitstop. the trip usually averages 13-14 hours.

we decided to drive overnight. that way jude would likely sleep through the bulk of our trip. that day, however, she refused to nap. she begged to go night night as we finished packing, an hour past her bedtime. i put her to bed for awhile as we loaded up the car, and she woke up wired before we could execute our flawless plan of moving her from crib to car without her waking.

and wired she remained for the next four hours, ie until nearly 2 am, as we drove into the rainstorm that would escort us all the way to memphis, ie 3/4 of the trip.

i confess that a little tylenol/benadryl combo action did the trick for awhile, finally.

yeah. so. that rain. it came down in sheets. i white-knuckled it on the highway for hours, barely going 45mph. it was just me and those asshole trucks on the road, and over and over they splashed past my wee hatchback at 70mph, leaving me blind and hydroplaning every time.

we did pull off at one point, and i was grateful for the free wifi at texas rest stops. the radar showed a slow-moving, large loop of dark green and red rain hanging out all over texas and arkansas. we continued onward.

by daybreak, the rain had slowed enough to be simply annoying. when jude woke up for the day, she was resigned to her fate of being strapped in her carseat for the rest of her life, and coped remarkably well. we’d brought along this busy cube thing of beads and numbers and letters and a squeaky phone and lights, and that kept her entertained. this toy is only for trips, and i cannot overstate the importance of the novelty-factor.

[bonus tip from jude’s gabby for trips with toddlers old enough not to choke on small parts: blow about $10 on cheap toys from the dollar store. introduce a new one every 1-2 hours. you will thank her forever.]

our saving grace for the jude-awake part of the trip? two yo’s:

the yo gabba gabba album
yo yo ma’s greatest hits

(ok, so it’s technically three yo’s.)

yo gabba gabba is jude’s favorite program. she sure does love those catchy tunes. over and over. she’d sign “more more more” as one song faded out, afraid that it would be alllll done forever. she is just now beginning to comprehend the wonder of repeat.

nothing works better than classical music to pacify my angsty child. yank that fm dial down to about 89.1, and whatever is playing will zone her out. the trouble with arkansas is that there are many hours with no classical stations whatsoever. i happened to have some yo yo ma on my ipod. and he alone kept my child from erupting into a wailfest.

i have no idea how to end this meandering post, other than to say this: we did finally make it to nashville, where it was sunny. and that night in bed, i had visceral dreams of hydroplaning. the end.

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flowers.

the news about my empty womb came down at the beginning of my work day. to soften the blow a bit, h & j came to visit me for lunch.

upon arriving, jude saw me from 100 feet away, and for the first time ever, ran to me. with arms precariously raised and screams of absolute joy she ran and ran until she reached me. i scooped her up, spun her around, and she hugged me over and over while planting my face with loud wet kisses.

we walked to a nearby playground, and on our way, jude noticed some perfectly-planted-in-a-business-park-way lantana. “flowers” we said. “flowers” she said, in such a matter of fact way that it sounded just like she’d been rolling the word around in her mouth for weeks.

we slid down slides. she gave me pebble after pebble, one of which is now sitting on my desk. we snuggled and sweated. and i returned to work remembering that we are so very complete and lucky. and blessed.

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on timing.

we’ve hit a good stride in our home recently, with a toddler on a predictable-ish schedule, who is happy and growing and adored. h loves being the homemaker (in every sense of the word) mama, and i’m plugging along at work, hoping to move onward and upward. in a word, we are content.

and yet, we are in more and more serious talks about another baby. soon. well, realistically, it may not be soon. we could start trying tomorrow, and maybe we’ll have a harder time getting pregnant. but. we could (heh) conceivably have a child within a year. a whole new life. a whole new member of the fambly. are we up for this?

my uterus is going to sit this round out. h is ready to try, i.e. the subtle tick tock is crescendoing into jungle drums. familiar much? uncle g is onboard for another round. i can hear his parents squealing at the prospect of more grandchildren to spoil. it feels like we’re revving up toward ttc again…

are we insane to be considering the possibility of two kids in diapers? probably. does that mean we should wait until jude is a little older to try for another? i don’t know. it didn’t make sense for me to get pregnant when i did, and yet, here is jude. everything is in its right place.

midwife michele reminded us recently that there is never an ideal time to grow a fambly, and that if the world waited for it, we humans be an extinct species. she is probably right. (she may be trying to drum up repeat business, however…)

i waffle back and forth between these three thoughts:

we are messing with a perfect family dynamic.
the family dynamic will only become more perfect with any additional kiddos.
we don’t want jude to be alone, should anything happen to us.

i realize this entry is disjointed. sorry for that. but. i would love to hear your thoughts on:
a. deciding to have just one child
b. having kids close together vs
c. waiting to have more children

in the meantime, it’s so very inappropriate, but equally funny. may i present, babies havin’ babies….

babies havin' babies.

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yeah. re: marriage and more children…

yes, we are getting married. finally. we plan on driving to iowa city next month. jude’s gabby and pop pop will take care of her for the 4-5 days we are away. [gulp. can we really leave our baby for that long??] we’re still figuring out the logistics of pulling it all off. officiant, witnesses, getting a waiver the 3 day waiting period for marriage licenses, etc. not to mention lodging. it’s a haphazardly cobbled together plan at this point, and though i’ve at least got the time off from work, we’re trying to decide whether we really do have the funds to be traipsing off on a road trip right now.

i’ll be sure to keep you posted. we are so ready to go through with the actual marriage part of our marriage. even if it is hollow in the eyes of the texas legislature. we choose to see that piece of paper as a little weapon against the status quo. and should the momentum grow in states with a constitutional marriage amendment, maybe we can join a big class action suit. we’re investing in justice.

…hopefully in a month.

now, re: kid 2.0. no one is pregnant in our house. we’ve just been having more conversations about when and how. both our clocks continue to tick, and hilariously, it seems as though we are ovulating on the same day. so, about once a month, the conversation becomes a little more frenzied. and then the urgency passes and we feel like it would be insane to try right now, living on just my meager salary.

i do think we have come to an agreement that we will try to have another biological child, with uncle g reprising his genetic role. we have also decided to become involved with the foster system. we aren’t sure whether we’re heading down the foster/adopt route, or if we want to be a more temporary safe place. lots of question marks there.

i definitely want to flesh out this subject more, but i am distracted. our kitty, phineas, is missing. this is him, when he was a kitten:

green eyes.

he is a miracle kitty. here is a bit of his story. he was born an east side feral kitten, and grew to be a big, fat lazy (and healthy) house cat with the sweetest disposition ever.

we had storms the other night, storms with tornadoes in them. i think the weather freaked phineas out. and i’m pretty sure that our very-indoors cat escaped through the dog door. i hope he is in hiding, on the other side of our back yard fence, and will come home as soon as hunger outweighs fear. so far, however, there has been no sign of him. oh phinny-puss, please come home.

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1. i’m done pumping at work, i think. making 3ish ounces per day just isn’t justifiable for all the time and effort spent hooked up to the bovine machine.
it’s the end of an era. i wonder if i’ll ever play solitaire on my ipod again. i also wonder how much longer i will be breastfeeding, period.

…can’t dwell too much on that. or the fact that jude will be a year old in less than a week.

2. planning a wedding–however small and casual–is complicated. anyone know a fambly friendly judge in iowa city?

3. here’s a really cute pic of jude kissing her crying cousin, carlitos. does this mean she’ll be an empathetic big sister some day sooner than later? hmmm…
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six years ago, i happened upon your mysterious profile on a silly dating site. i had no hopes for anything “real”. you simply intrigued me with your words. we struck up a conversation, which led to a phone conversation, wherein i swooned at the sound of your voice. you know how it goes: you had me at hello. heh.

here we are, my love. six years later. wearefambly.

you are my heart. i can’t wait to marry you this summer.

i love you.
lub,
your bananie.

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love is.

christmas love.

bespectacled mamas.

pee ess, we need more photos of the three of us.

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been a while.

hello there, friends.

so once again it’s been awhile since my last substantive post, and i think it has a lot to do with a lack of momentum. because right now, the waters are still and shiny in my life, and it’s hard to come up with content that goes anywhere beyond, “wow, this is kinda nice”, but let me try:

wow, this is kinda nice.

little j has maintained her kick ass sleeping schedule for nearly a month now. sometimes she is an angry crier when we put her in her crib at night, but even on fussy nights, she usually puts herself to sleep within minutes. and mostly, she falls asleep while nursing, or waves goodnight when she’s awake in her bed. i harp on about this subject because after 8:30 every night, i get to be pretty obligation-free again. no work. no parenting. nothing but a little wine, perhaps some chocolate, and my special lady friend.

nice, right? right.

i like this pace. i am in a comfortable groove at the workplace for the moment, and my stress is minimal. despite the baseball sized hail damage to my car. despite the fire ant infestation of my house. i’m feeling amazingly…content.

the drugs must be working. i am so proud of myself for not languishing in the guilt of depression, for picking myself up and dragging my sad ass to the doctor. i know that i am the one responsible for this season of calm and contentment, and i feel empowered by that.

ladies and gentlemen, hear me now: there is always hope for relief. depression does not have to be constant and permeating. please don’t ever, ever resist help. they don’t call’em happy pills for nothing.

i am convinced that my brain is functioning now as it really should. i feel sober and awake and present. and so ridiculously grateful for every grace-filled moment with this danger baby of mine, who is fast turning into a girl. a girl who takes independent steps. a girl who cradles rubber duckies like baby dolls and coos at them maternally. a girl who grunts loudly for a bite of your steak. a girl whose favorite flavor in the whole world is black coffee (licked off my finger). i love being her mama.

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