Friday, April 22, 2016

Music loses a great

I confess I didn't care that much when Elvis died.  I remember being in college and so many of my friends going beserk.  My younger sister was distraught.  Not me. There are about 3 of his songs that I truly like and while I respect his influence on music, he just wasn't my cup of tea. I mourned a life lost too soon but didn't feel connected.

Then there was Michael Jackson.  I felt a sadness, mostly for a life that seemed so fraught with trauma and pain that it overshadowed the amazing talent he had.  I did like his music, I admired his dance moves.  His Thriller album and Billie Jean were sound tracks for a time in my life.  Still my feelings didn't run to shock,or real mourning.

But yesterdayI heard that Prince died.  His music defined a large portion of my life.  He had the funk and soul influences that I love in music, and added a sensuality to things that felt so decadently "cool" to a young person.  I played the Purple Rain album till it was worn to death.  I knew all the words to When doves cry, and 1999.  I guess I liked that he always seemed to be an artist who was true to his own artistic vision--whether it was blatently writing slave on his face during his famous dispute with his label. Much like David Bowie, he was always reinventing himself, exploring new musical vistas.

Because I have been sick the past few days I spent today binge watching Prince videos on You Tube.  I relived the really great Super Bowl performance, and so many others.  But what I enjoyed watching the most were so many times when he was just jamming and rocking out with other artists.  Playing guitar while Cee Lo sang.  He did not sing at all but he was having the time of his life.  Music flowed through him like a river and it was so clear in every performance.

RIP Prince.  All the rain is purple tonight.

Tuesday, April 19, 2016

Patriots Day Fun

In addition to being a birthday weekend, it has also been a weekend when we began some house changes.  I mentioned to my wife that it seems like about every 5 years, there is some substantial change in how we use our spaces.  This appears to be one of those "change" years.

KC and Lissa concocted a plan to create a bedroom out of our storage room and then Lissa would move there and KC would move into Lissa's room. This allows all 4 of the kids who live at home their own room.  It is a good plan.  It is a plan that requires a LOT of work as the things in the storage room are by and large things we use.  Lots of camping gear (tent camping for 6 is not a small storage footprint!) There were other things too of course, but the gear is what has required the most thoughtful reorganizing and storage elsewhere.  Add into this mix the fact that our house is a 200 plus year old Victorian which was not built with many closets.

But we made great strides on that this weekend.  It is a move that will not be finished till sometime in June.  I refused to put a closer time line on this venture as our April and May are crazy busy.  I would rather work at it bit by bit and not stress.  The kids were fine with that; they helped this weekend and are just excited to see the space get revealed.

Between that and KC's various birthday festivities we were mostly on the go this weekend.  But I love that. And there were several moments where I could sit for 15 or 20 minutes with a cup of tea on our back step and soak in the sun and unusual warmth.  I am not prone to just sitting by nature so two or three such small interludes fit me perfectly.

Now it is back to the work and school world and our next holiday weekend will find us on our first camping trip of this year!

Sunday, April 17, 2016

Happy Birthday KC

A dozen smiles, a kabillion memories. . . our artistic, funny,sensitive and amazing KC is 12 today.  There is a mural, I'll try to remember to post a picture.  He wanted a star wars theme and has been painting with various family members for the better part of several weeks.  Rob made his cake which is in the shape of BB8 and is amazing.  Yesterday, he and Lissa spent the day with friends.  The other 1/3 of their KLB club hung out with us all day.  We went to a hands on science fair which had amazing things to do and learn about.  We went to the roller rink and spent 2 1/2 hours skating.  And we wrapped the day up at a local school playground.  More friends joined us (Facebook is pretty cool that way--just posting "at such and such a location" made it possible for spontaneous fun with other friends.)  

Today, we have church and then he has invited his girlfriend to come hang out for a couple hours. They want to practice their dances for recital and just chill out together playing Mine Craft.  Then we will have our family birthday party, has Nana will call to wish him a happy birthday and hopefully the reality that he is 12 will sink in for me!  It does not seem possible that the tiny, helpless little guy has grown, has thrived, and has become this amazing young man on the brink of teen years.  

This is not to say life is drama free.  His emotions are very close to the surface which is a good thing/bad thing.  And the surges of hormones definately make that roller coaster more intense.  But this morning when I hugged him he hugged me back hard.  Then he found me later for another hug and said I have to sneak 10 more hugs to him through out the day so that by days end he has 12.  They can't be all at once and they have to surprise him.  That is so sweet, it is so KC.  And I'll enjoy stealth hugs!

Sunday, April 10, 2016

Hard Questions

The term "hard questions" or "hard conversations" for most of my friends seem to be those that parents have regarding changing bodies, sexual identity, and relationships.  We have those too,but being an adoptive parent means there are other hard conversations that are unique to adoption.

We've had a bunch of them.  Conversations about finding first families.  Conversations about feeling conflicted or angry and me. Or at first mom.  Conversations about loss and genetics. Abandonment. But yesterday KC learned that he was born drug exposed and for me, that was my hardest one to date.

It happened because of an ad.  We went to Maine to visit my mom and had Maine radio on in the car on the way home.  We'd been singing along to some pop songs and an ad came on.  Lissa was asking me a question about stopping for ice cream and I didn't really hear the ad till it was part way in.

It gave statistics on the number of children in Maine born drug exposed and went on from there.  I felt my breath catch in my throat. It was that moment when you just knew the question was going to come.  And it did.

My worry was that KC would be upset and we were driving, in relatively busy highway traffic.  In a car full of his siblings, who like all kids vary wildly from highly compassionate to oblivious.  He immediately asked "was that what happened to me."

I said that it was, and it was why he and Mom Y share a birthday. She had been very careful during her pregnancy (which is true) but on that one night she celebrated and made a choice and used crack. This made her go into labor early and he was born that same night.  I added that this was part of why he was in the NICU after he was born.

And that was it.  I waited for tears, for angry words.  (like most kids, KC has a fairly intense sense of right and wrong and holds adults to a high standard.)  He has always crafted a little story for himself of how when he was a baby he wanted to see the world so much he decided to come early.  I have always allowed that, and I wondered if he would bring that up now.  Nope.  He just meshed that new info in with the old and went back to trying out the new sketching pad and pencils he got from Nana.

And there were no bad dreams last night or sleep problems, so I am inclined to believe it really is okay.  I am sure that we will talk more in the days and years to come.  I am sure there may come a time when it may cause pain.  But I hope that he is able to see that everyone makes mistakes, and that Mom Y's love for him comes through in her letters. And that our love is always there enfolding him.

Thursday, April 7, 2016

Going to get my hair did!

Time--free time that is, is that rarest of commodities lately.  Work is very busy, we are in the midst of audit cycles right now.  College is winding down for the semester for Rob, but he has projects and special things associated with wrapping up the semester that are demanding his time and attentions.  Also raising havoc with our otherwise predictable train schedules.

We are coming closer to dance recital weekend for the youngers and that has also made for extra scheduling challenges.  KC is in the production number at the end (as well as 5 dances) so he has extra practice sessions at the school on days and times that we don't usually allocate to dance.

My homeschooled kids have more friends than I probably had in my entire 12 years of public school and weekends have been peppered with birthday party invites.

Fiona has been home for visits, some have been good, others have been a struggle for her.  Overall I think she is doing better than she has in quite some time.  But I also have some first family issues that may require my attention.  It's not bloggable and what's going on is not a danger.  But it still requires some input from me.  And it feels odd to have some of the first family coming to me and saying that they needed my help handling a situation involving another family member and Fiona.

My wife's business has been off the hook busy and so when I am home I have tried to take on more of the house chores to lighten her load.

But tomorrow?  Tomorrow is a day with a big chunk of it carved out  You all have no idea how weird that is.  My idea of "me time" is reading while I wait up for Rob to get home from work.  I finish my piece work by 10 or 10:30 and read till 11:30 when he gets home on Friday and Saturdays.  And as much as I love to read, well a body needs a bit of pampering.  So tomorrow I am taking the day off from work and getting my hair done.

Done how? Haven't a clue.  I have "bad" hair.  Unlike my girls hair, my hair doesn't stay where you put it. It is thin  and lifeless. It has no body.  It has well,no pizzazz. I'm not thinking tomorrow will give it pizzazz but at least it will be a nice cut and maybe highlights or foils or something daring and decadent to welcome spring.

It's not going to take all day but I will use the rest of the time to do all the chores I normally allocate to Saturday. This Saturday I am taking the kids up to Maine to see my mom.  We usually go for Maple Sugar Sunday but this year that fell on Easter so we didn't go.  Christmas Eve was when we saw her last.  I had planned to go up in February or March but for most of February and all of March one or the other of us was ill.  She is old enough now that I don't want to risk bringing germs so we waited for spring and better health for us all.

Busy?  Sure, but blessed also!