This Saturday, one year ago, we met our son. It was beautiful. It was awkward. It was rushed. Three days later he moved in with us. We were wrapped in a blanket of bliss and bewilderment, and marveled at him as he explored our home, his new and *forever* home. Everything felt foreign. Us to him. Him to us. Our home with a child in it. The enchantment of becoming a family clouded my feelings of how difficult it really was to shift into the role of motherhood with a toddler, one who had an unimaginably difficult start. I lost 25 pounds that first month, but I didn't notice until my pants no longer could be held up by a belt. I was too excited, too tired and too overwhelmed with motherhood realities to do things like eat or sleep. Everyone told me how great I looked.
In our foster parent certification courses, we were told to expect it to take a few months for things to settle, for us to be like other "normal" families. That seemed reasonable. Realistic, sure. I didn't understand then what I have now come to realize that for us there will never be a normal that compares to traditional concepts of family and child-raising. Our starkly different introduction to becoming parents has been mirrored in our experiences in raising our son.
As I reflect on the year past, our first year as parents, I can confidently say that in spite of the laborious months in preparation for foster-adoptive parenting, nothing could have adequately prepared us for the experiences we soon faced. They were more wonderful than I ever imagined: the first time he hugged us; the first time he called me Mama, and not in the way he called anyone who fed him "mama," but in a term of endearment reserved just for me; when he fell down and he ran to me for comfort; watching the love of my life become an incredible father. Our reality also was, and continues to be, more difficult than I could have ever comprehended.
One year later, I no longer feel like the babysitter, although people still assume I am. Our son is settled in our home and is strongly attached to us, as we are to him. He sleeps. Thank goodness, he sleeps. The days have become increasingly easier. The pieces that at first didn't seem to fit now slide together just so. Though I am learning that my experiences as a mother change like the temper of the days. This phase requires extra doses of caffeine and bourbon, (in moderation, of course).
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I've never been quite sure what I wanted to make of this site. Writing here has often felt uncomfortable, nerving. In this space developed with the intent to be a creative and personal outlet, I've hesitated to be too transparent - thinking too long about every word, preventing it from serving as a release. It's tempting to paint an image of life's joyous moments, and frightening to reveal life honestly in such a public outlet. Though I am a firm believer in the humble virtues of wabi-sabi, in "the beauty of things imperfect, impermanent and incomplete." In order to embrace life's imperfections we must at first admit to them.
I hope that in space I may write a narrative that speaks volumes of honesty, to create an aesthetic animated through the daily moments of bliss, as well as those of great difficulty. I can't promise that I will write here regularly, or often. I can't promise my writing will always be fluid and grammatically correct, or my photos visually appealing. But I will always share from the heart.