Tuesday, May 22, 2012

Figured it Out

I think I just cracked the case. Finally. Sitting here at my desk at work, I just figured out what has been wrong with me lately. I struggled so much with the fact that other single women my age raise their children JUST very much that I had to justify to myself why I couldn't raise her. I told myself, over and over, that she wouldn't have had an amazing life with me. I wouldn't be able to provide for her the way I would want to. I wouldn't be able to give her everything she deserves - and that includes a stable, two-parent home. I had to basically brand this onto the inner side of my forehead in order to be able to get up in the morning. Whenever I got any confidence about the matter, any inkling that I could have raised her, or I could have made it work this way or that, I would start to regret my decision. I can't handle that pain. Right now I'm just numb. I shouldn't still be numb. In order to "dumb myself down" enough to believe that I did do the right thing for her and she will hurt so much less without me, I've wiped away any bit of self-confidence I had in every other aspect of my life, too. None of my clothes look good on me. My hair never looks right. My makeup never flatters me. I know I am an intelligent person, I know I could have been a great mom to her. I convinced myself I must not be worthy of being a mom. She would never have gone without her necessities or love. I KNOW she deserves better than just the "necessities." I also KNOW it's not just about material things, it's about security, and family. But I have security, and I have family. Not a picture-perfect family to raise a child in, no, and she would have had an in-and-out dad, but my parents wouldn't have left us homeless. Whenever I realize this, I just start to get angry - at everything. If it's not about money, or material items...why was I not "qualified?" Why was I not "good enough?" I love that little girl more than anything or anyone in the world. Why did I think I wouldn't be able to give her enough of it? Why did I think she would go without? I wanted her to have better - and there certainly is "better" than me out there. But I can't figure out how to balance it. I can't figure out how to stop hating myself for the decision I made. I feel like I either hate the decision I made because I feel that I must have been good enough, or I hate myself because I've convinced myself that I'm the lowest of the low and I was no good for her. It's the hardest thing in the world to realize that you weren't good enough for your own and only child.

Sunday, May 20, 2012

Gift-planning, 6 months early!

I know it's a ways away, but I'm already putting some thought into what I should get Miss Arianna for her birthday. I want to have time to save up, if need be. I 'stole' a few good ideas from some of the girls on the Facebook support of which was to create an American Girl Doll that looks like your child (particularly your daughter). I wish you could create the doll from scratch - I can't find one that looks *just* like her. Growing up, I had three - Samantha, Kit, and then one that was supposed to be "me." She had medium-blonde hair and blue eyes, and looked considerably like me - if I were a 2-foot tall, lifeless, plastic doll, that is. They have a much larger variety of dolls now than they did then. The one that looks the most like her is the one with "medium skin, curly dark hair, brown eyes," even though her skin is a little lighter than this. I know I loved my dolls as a child..I learned how to french-braid hair on these dolls! Hence why the "me" doll is now downstairs with tangly, bushy (absolutely ruined) hair.

What do you guys think? Is this a good idea, or should I do something a bit more age-appropriate? Do you know of any good sites for customizing dolls or other toys?

Saturday, May 19, 2012

Simple Quote I Love...

Oh, how I wish I had a recording of her heart beat. I don't think I'll ever hear a more amazing sound in my life.

Friday, May 18, 2012

My Mother's Day

Mother's Day weekend was surprisingly okay. Much better than last year, although that makes sense. Saturday was my self-proclaimed "me" day...I got a manicure, pedicure, and my eyebrows done. I went by myself, something I normally don't do, but I just wanted to be alone and relax. It was actually really nice.

On Sunday, My grandmother came over and we had a nice dinner and watched a movie with my mother. My mother made turkey or ham or something along those lines, so I had my usual "vegetarian" dinner:

My mom gave me some new beads for my Pandora bracelet, including an "E" which is the first letter of Arianna's 'new' name.

...and an Alex and Ani bracelet with the same letter. Apparently these are the "new thing," according to her!

I did give in and decide to meet up with her father. It was honestly against my better judgement and I know many people won't approve of this, but whatever, I did it and it's done. It was my decision and I did what I felt was right in my heart. Did my head agree? No, but we can't always listen to our heads, can we?

It was surprisingly a very nice time. Not too nice - not "I think I'm falling back in love with you and now I'm all confused because you treated me so amazingly this one night" nice - but very calm and peaceful. Very uncharacteristic of us as of late. We went to dinner and a movie on him (sounds date-like, but it wasn't), and then he gave me a really sweet gift and a card. I can tell he put a lot of thought into the gift...I was floored. It was so thoughtful.

It was a huge basket filled with a bunch of different things - some things I would use daily, some things that represent old jokes between us, and some things that are a bit more sentimental. Now, you wouldn't really think getting shampoo and conditioner in a gift basket would mean much, but the fact that he remembers which brand, type, and scent is my favorite means something to me. Sounds silly when I write it out! The card, of course, made me cry - he wrote about how he knows that a lot of what I have facing me is hard to deal with, but he knows me and knows that I have a strong spirit. He said that I more than deserve to be treated on Mother's Day, and he also said that even though this is one of the toughest things he has gone through in his life, he is glad that it's me who is the mother of this baby and that we are going through it "together," and that he is always here. I won't write out the entire thing, and I'm not one to normally even go in to that much detail, but it showed me that he (maybe, just maybe) is growing up a little. So funny to say about a man who is 10 (give or take) years older than I am, but I guess age really is just a number.
(And yes, he did color the boy in with a pencil on the front of the card and gave him curly black hair. If you didn't know, my daughter's father is African-American and she is bi-racial. Now you know!)

We had a few good conversations, which were needed, and he didn't try to pull any funny business. I think he respects the situation enough now to not try that with me. This doesn't mean much of anything really, I know I need to take it at face-value. So we had one good doesn't mean we will start hanging out on a regular basis again or even speaking on one. I'm grateful that it went well and I felt appreciated, but I'm not a fool (anymore). I did, however, make one teensy (huge) mistake. He called as I was pulling on to my street, to make sure I got home. I was tired from working all day and then going straight to meet him, and it was around eleven when I finally got home. I said that I was just getting home, and thanked him again. He told me that I more than deserved it, and there was no need to thank him. Then he said, "okay, so...I'll talk to you...sometime.." and I replied, "yeah, sounds good. I love you, have a good night," and before I could even realize what I had just said, he said "I love you too, goodnight." Old habits die hard, I guess. I couldn't believe I said it, and it was just that - habit. But he replied as if I had just said "hey, what's up?" and he responded "nothing." It was that natural. Maybe that was out of habit, too. Yeah, there are worse things...but that's a pretty big faux pas in the land of let's-be-civil-because-there's-a-kid-in-the-"picture"-land. 

Saturday, May 12, 2012

Friday, May 11, 2012

In Other News . . .

I am so thankful that it's Friday. This week was so stressful at work. I have only one week and four days to get through until I have a 5 day weekend! The 27th is Memorial Day and we have the Friday before off as well. Thank you, national holiday declarers. Thank you very much.
I put my letter in the mail for A's mom the other day, and it felt really good. I didn't do it to get something from her, not at all...but I am a little eager to hear how she feels about it. I hope she likes it, and I hope she knows it came straight from my heart. I didn't even do a first draft like I normally do for "important" letters, I just laid on my the rug in my bedroom floor and wrote until I felt I had covered it all.
What else has been going on? This past Wednesday marked two entire weeks that I have gone to bed without taking Ambien and still successfully slept like a baby. And I actually slept better and felt 1000% less robotic than I felt when I was taking it. I started taking it in October, and took it faithfully every night since. Yes, I slept, but when I woke up, I didn't really feel rested and I didn't really feel like 'myself.' Then again, I haven't been my old self for a while now...not that I necessarily want to be. My worst fear had started to come true, and I finally realized it: I was becoming addicted to it. There were several nights that I tried to go to sleep without it, but I would lie there and convince myself that I wouldn't fall asleep without it, which stressed me out even more than I already was, so I would end up taking it. I wanted to be off of it so badly. I've never liked taking medications, especially not for prolonged periods of time. Especially not for sleeping. One night, I went to take it, and realized the bottle was empty...I had forgotten to refill it. I'm a little ashamed to admit this, but I would up on my floor, looking for the one that I thought I heard fall the night before. To admit that I would have taken a pill that I found on my bedroom floor is appalling to me. Not that my room is dirty - that's not it. What's appalling is how loudly it screams "desperation." (Side note: I didn't find it). That night, I probably would have fallen asleep on my own, had I not been so stressed about not falling asleep because I didn't take it. I eventually got up and took a Tylenol, just to swallow something and try and convince myself that I took the Ambien. That. is. a. problem. No? So, fast forward a month or so, after I had refilled it once more. I fell asleep one night, on my own, without taking it or even thinking about taking it. Once I woke up in the morning and realized this, I decided that if I could do it once, I could do it again. So I didn't take it the next night, or the next night, and slowly I realized that I could fall asleep on my own and that maybe I had overcome the psychological side of it all (not the adoption, but the medication). Before I knew it, I realized it had been two weeks since I had taken it. I still have 5 left in the bottle on my nightstand, and I'm not going to throw them or the prescription away, but it feels so good to know that I don't "need" them.

I've kept this in for a few days, but I have to share. On Tuesday, I got a phone call from her birth dad, out of the blue. We do occasionally talk (about our daughter) but we hadn't in a while and we sort of left it at "we'll talk sometime...eventually..." and that was that. Anyways, he called and said that he had been thinking about what to do for me for Mother's Day (SHOCKER!!). Last year, he gave me a card, and while it was simple, it was sweet. We've been through a lot, he put me through a lot, and at times he hurt me to the core and worked my last nerve, but as a person, he is a good man. He's made some mistakes and hurt some of the people closest to him, but at the end of the day, he is not a bad person. I was flattered that he called to acknowledge the day at all this year. He said that he wanted to do a little more for me than just getting a card or a gift, so he asked me if I'd be able to spare a couple of hours to meet up with him because he wanted to surprise me with something nice. I have absolutely no clue what he is or could be planning. Dinner, possibly. I know many of you reading this are probably thinking "he just wants something," and honestly, the thought went through my head, too, and even though I have been with him (read: slept with him) a couple of times since the baby was born, I know he respects me enough not to pull that with me again. The couple of times that it happened were two too many, and it was a while ago. He wouldn't cross that line now. I'm not completely naive to him now, though. With his track record, it's tough to give him the benefit of the doubt all the time. But at the same time, I suppose I have to admit that I've wronged him in the past before, too. We've wronged each other and both tried to move on from it. I told him I would let him know. I want to go, but I don't want to make a mistake, either. I don't want to back track here, I need to move forward. I was flattered by the invite, and am honored that he wants to acknowledge me as the person who carried and delivered his child. I want, with all of my heart, to believe that he has good intentions. I'm torn. And I only have a few more days to figure it out...

Thursday, May 10, 2012

"I Would Have Loved to be Her Mom"

Through various links, I came across this amazing blog post today. Which led me to this even more amazing video:

Watch that and try not to cry! These birth moms are putting my exact emotions into words, which is a sentiment that I am sure will be shared by almost any birth mom who watches the video. This five-minute video made me cry happy tears as well as sad tears, and gave me an even deeper appreciation for my daughter's adoptive family...did I mention that this happened all in under 6 minutes?

Monday, May 7, 2012

A Mother's Day Letter (in the works)

The gears have been turning and spinning in my brain for a couple of weeks now. I was trying to figure out what I could get for my little one's mom for Mother's Day. Everything I thought of was either cliche or not fitting. The last day that I saw them, she gave me a necklace with our daughter's birthstone on it and told me that she had one for Arianna for when she's older, too. She wrote me a beautiful card to go with it and when she got to the part about the necklace, she said "Of course, it is her birthstone. We cannot thank you enough for your selflessness and this necklace in no way represents how grateful we are to you, because there are no words or objects that we could say or give to you that would show how much we love you. You and ----- both have matching ones, and we will explain the significance of her necklace to her for the day that they (and you) come together again." (God, I could cry just typing that.) So, the idea of birth stone necklaces was out of the question. Then I started thinking about mani/pedi/spa day gift certificates, but that seems too generic. Don't get me wrong, it's a great gift, and I know she deserves to treat herself to a "me" day. I posed the question to some girls in the support group last night, and I got the most perfect response from one of them. Kari - if you read this, you rock! She suggested I write her a letter! I've been meaning to do that for the longest time, but I just haven't done it. I was too focused on writing to my little girl and writing back to emails from her a-mom that I never took the time to actually hand-write her a letter. What better time than now? I will probably keep it personal and private, because I think even the most sentimental things become cheapened a little when they're publicly read or written, but I can tell you that I am going to thank her for giving our daughter everything that I couldn't give her and more. I know I talk a lot about the hard side of things on this blog - how much it hurts sometimes, how it KILLS me sometimes - but I never really talk about how much I truly love this woman and her family (but especially her. There is a bond you share when you are both mothers of the same child that's not really explainable to anyone other than another birth mom or adoptive mom). I could go on for days about how I feel about her family. I know I went through a really rough time from January to March of this year, what with the waiting for photos and the broken promises, but that's water under the bridge now. I haven't forgotten, but I know life gets in the way sometimes. All that matters is she followed through on her word. It may have (okay, it definitely did) taken longer than I would have liked it to, but she came through.
Okay, I'm going to go get some paper and a box of tissues and lock myself in my room and start writing...

Sunday, May 6, 2012

Self, make it through the week, please.

1 week til Mother's Day 1 week til Mother's Day 1 week til Mother's Day. One more week of sappy commercials and even sappier Lifetime specials...I can do it! Mother's Day is so bittersweet for me. I love and appreciate being recognized by those who send me well wishes on this day, but it doesn't take away the sting that the "holiday" brings on at full-force. It is the one day that I can be acknowledged as a mother, yet I have no child to celebrate with me. More to come on this, I'm sure...

Saturday, May 5, 2012

"Go Away"

Right before I got out of work on Thursday, I had a conversation that both baffled me and made me want to smack someone at the same time. Luckily it happened a few minutes before 5:00, which is when I leave. See, I have a photo of Arianna on my desk. It's been there since the day I started working at this company, and I love having it there. It makes me smile throughout the day. Every now and then someone will walk by and say "she's adorable, who is she?" and I usually just say "my daughter," and for the most part, they keep it moving. I went back and forth about whether or not I should keep the photo there, because (a) simply saying "my daughter" leads them to believe that I am raising her, and there is a huge risk of someone asking me something later on down the road that I cannot answer... (b) it is usually not the time nor the place to go into the 'adoption' discussion because I've realized that people either give you that sympathetic look, become extremely awkward and don't know what to say, or a mix of both... and (c) I refuse to lie and say "my niece" or something along those lines. I'm proud of her, I love her, and I feel that if I want to have a photo of her on my desk then I will have a photo of her on my desk. I don't discuss much of my personal life at work - I'm not really friends friends with any of the girls there, so we usually keep it professional and we don't have much time for joking around anyway.
So - back to Thursday. A woman, who is probably in her late 40's/early 50's, came over to my desk to ask me to look up a case on my computer. As I was doing it, she said "who is THIS!? She is beautiful! Look at her hair!," and I said thank you and told her it was my daughter. (This is usually followed up with - "oh, what's her name?" or "how old is she?" and that's that.) This woman said "I didn't know you had a daughter!" I just sort of smiled at her and kept looking for the case. By that, I mean, I just let her talk, because she was talking so much I couldn't get a word in anyway. She was being so nice, talking about how cute her smile is and just throwing compliments out left and right. She asked me how old she was; I told her one and a half. She asked me her name, I told her the name that her a-parents gave to her. After all, that is her name now. She asked me what her dad looked like, because she didn't look much like me. Meanwhile, thoughts were spinning around in my head because I kept thinking, 'I need to tell her...but I'm so afraid to make it awkward..' but before I could even say it, she says "Is she really your  child!? I just never knew you had a baby. You never talk much about her at all - like, you never say 'motherly' things!" and then she leaned in and whispered, "plus, you look too young to have a baby, you know?" That right there sort of flicked a switch in my head and I got defensive. I am 24 years old. Is that on the young side to be a mother? I guess so - ideally I wish I had waited til I was 28 or maybe even 30 to have my first child, but that does not make me too young to have a child. I know plenty of girls my age that have 6, 7, 8 year olds. I didn't even know how to respond to her, other than to use that as my opportunity to tell her the truth. I told her that my little girl was adopted, and we are not raising her. The look on this woman's face went from judgmental to 'oh shit' in 10 seconds or less. She apologized up and down for the things she had said; and I told her that she did not need to apologize, because she didn't know. I knew she didn't know, so it was fine. She kept saying she never would have pushed the issue of me not talking much about her, had she known. I told her not to worry, and I meant it. It would have been one thing if she had known - but how could she have known? She never would have said those things if she had known. I knew that. So I told her over and over not to worry.
She carried the conversation on, asking me if her dad (she meant birth father) is still in my life or not, etc. I didn't go into much with her...I just told her that he and I speak when it has to do with her, and that's it. She asked me how I get the pictures, and I told her that we keep in fairly close touch and talk regularly. This is where the  conversation gets stupid. She asks, "how do you keep in touch? I mean, how do you communicate with them?" I told her, "Facebook, email, phone, and skype, for now." After I said this, she gave me this crazy look and made that infamous 'hummmpf' noise and said, "Wow, that's odd. Usually they want the parents to go away, and I can see they can really raise them as their own" and she sort of giggled. My blood instantly started boiling and I know I was bright red. I did not even know how to respond to her. Do I try to educate this woman on how ignorant she is being? I didn't really want to go down that road, especially not at 4:58pm. I wanted to leave, right then. I get that she is older, and when she was my age (or younger) a lot of adoptions worked that way. Women signed the papers and never heard from the adoptive family again. I also realize that I am probably naive to a lot of things that others are passionate about and could innocently say something that could be portrayed as ignorant simply because I honestly don't know any better. But I don't see any excuse whatsoever - whether you aren't familiar with a certain subject, or you truly believe what you are saying - to look someone in the eye, someone who just told you they placed their child for adoption, and tell them that it's odd that they are kept in their child's life because you wouldn't want that person in your child's life if you didn't birth your child.
Maybe she meant no harm by the comment, I don't know. I can't see how she didn't, but whatever. I will never look at her the same way again. I was cursing myself the whole way home, because I brought it on myself by having her photo on my desk. I promised myself I would take it home with me the next day so I wouldn't have to deal with stupid comments anymore. Then I realized that, no, I would not be taking the picture down. No, she isn't "mine" mine, but she will always be mine. Makes no sense, right? Except it does make sense. I should be able to have her photo there, in the privacy of my own desk, if it makes me happy...and it does make me happy. Regardless of the stupid, ridiculous comment she made.

Wednesday, May 2, 2012

18 months...

Little Miss is 18 months old today! An entire year and a half has gone by since the day she was born. Sometimes I feel like it was just yesterday, others, I feel like it was centuries ago. I feel like 18 months is a milestone. She's really not a "baby" anymore but she's not quite a toddler yet, either. Even though she's as tall as her three-year-old brother ;)

I created an email address for her last year. Only two people have the address - myself and her birth dad. I'm the only one with the password. I promised him that I wouldn't read anything that he sends, in the event that he sends anything at all. It will be hard (I'm still a little nosy by nature when it comes to him). I wanted to have a way to feel like I was "talking" to her on tough days, good days, and all of the days in between...especially holidays and her birthday. Whenever the day comes that she and I can have a relationship of our own and she is old enough, I will tell her about it and give her the password so she can go on and see everything I've written to her. I'm still going to write hand-written letters, as they are so much more personal, but I wanted to have the email as well. I like the idea that they are dated and timestamped and all of that, so she can see exactly when I wrote it, down to the hour. She's always on my mind. I constantly hear songs or read poems that remind me of her, and those are the things that I send in a quick email. Or sometimes I write to her as if I'm writing in my own journal. Sometimes I send it, others I don't have the courage. (I know I can go in and delete anything I send at any time, but that sort of defeats the purpose!) I just sent her a Happy "1/2 Birthday" email and pasted the lyrics to the song above in the email (because who knows when youtube video links will expire?!).
I hope one day she can treasure these things.