Tag Archives: Eliza

Sweet Sand

Sweet SandIMG_1468

 

I went to the beach last week with my kids. After forcefully applying sunscreen to my two older boys they finally broke away and ran off, quickly gathering a group of kids for a wiffle ball game, while my five year old, Eliza, plopped herself down on the sand by the edge of the water and began digging.

Soon a stout little girl in a flowered bathing suit sidled up.

 

“Whatcha ya doing?” She asked.

“Building a mermaid castle,” my daughter replied. “Wanna help?”

“Sure.” The girl said, picking up a shovel, “I’m Ava.”

 

(Amazing: a bat and ball… a bucket of wet sand, apparently that’s all you need to spark a few friendships. We adults certainly have a lot to learn, or unlearn perhaps.)

 

The two little girls planted themselves not far from my chair and began to dig, chatting as they worked side by side: How old are you? Do you have a cat? How many teeth have you lost? Important stuff like that.

“My mom had a baby.” I heard Ava say as she flung a shovel full of sand into the air.

“Oh,” said my daughter, pouring a bucket of seawater into a hole.

“She’s my sister. Her name is Sophie. See?”

 

Ava pointed a few seats down to a woman sitting under a large umbrella with a baby sling wrapped protectively around her body.

 

“Do you remember being a baby?” Ava asked.

 

Eliza shook her head.

 

“Me neither,” said Ava, diligently digging. “But my mom said I was sweet.” She laughed, “She said that she ate a lot of sweets when I was growing in her tummy that’s why I came out so sweet. She’s so silly! What did you mom eat when you were in her tummy?”

 

I glanced up from my book, curious to hear my daughter’s reply.

 

Eliza shrugged, “I don’t know…Maybe mac and cheese?”

Both girls giggled.

 

The girls worked on, decorating their structure with broken shells and gathering some unsuspecting hermit crabs (excuse me, I mean mermaids) to occupy their castle but soon the tide began to creep in, the water splashing at the walls of sand until at last the mermaid castle crumbled. The girls shrieked as the shells swirled about on the beach and the freed crabs all quickly scurried away.

 

After a brief lemonade and snack break the girls recovered from their loss and happily skipped off to swim together in the ocean.

It was a good day.

 

Later that night back at the beach house after a dinner of charred hamburgers, a trip to the local ice cream shop, and an evening full of silly cartoons I laid down, exhausted, in bed next to Eliza, bits of sand scratching away at my legs and back. Blasted sand, I thought, always sneaking into the house no matter how much I insisted everyone rinse their feet with the hose, use the outdoor shower and leave their flip flops at the door. I tossed and turned trying to get comfortable.

 

Eliza rolled over, flinging her tanned arm across my chest and pushing her nose against mine.

 

“Mom,” she breathed. “What did you eat when I was in your tummy?

 

My heart dropped.

 

“On the beach,” she continued. “Ava said her mom ate a lot of sweet stuff when she was in her tummy and that’s why she’s so sweet. So… what did you eat?”

 

“Well…” I took a deep breath, giving a futile swipe at the sheets, trying to brush the irritating sand away, down, onto the floor. “You were never in my tummy remember? You grew in someone else’s tummy.”

 

“Oh, yeah…right.”

 

There was a long silence then as we lay there together in the bed listening to the soft whir of the overhead fan, little pieces of sand poking insistently at our legs, our backs. Invisible bits that never seemed to leave no matter how hard I tried to sweep them up and toss them away.

 

“Mom?”

“Yes?”

“I think you ate a lot of sweets too.”

 

I held her close.

“Me too sweetie. Me too.”

 

 

The Very Best Day

Sorry I have been neglecting my blog! I have been pulled into this NaNoWriMo thing and have become a bit obsessed.

NaNoWriMo, for those who don’t know, is a contest of sorts where writers are encouraged to write a novel of at least 50,000 words during the month of November.  Sounds easy? You think you can do it? Go ahead, I dare you.  This is hard work, almost like writing a dissertation in thirty days, but unlike a dissertation, it is actually fun. Also unlike a dissertation, there will most likely be no reward at the end, no cap and gown, no ceremony, but for some crazy reason I need to do this.   I know there is probably no way I will finish my novel in time but the contest has at least finally got me to sit down and put on paper a story that I have been mulling over for a long time.

More on that later.

November is National Adoption month and Saturday is actually National Adoption Day. National Adoption Month is dedicated to educating people about adoption and honoring those involved in the process: adoptees, adoptive parents, birth parents, foster children, foster parents social workers, judges , etc. Whew! It takes a village! Funny that November is Adoption Month because November 17th is Eliza’s, my youngest child, actual “home to stay day.”

On November 17th, four years ago, we returned to Boston after a wonderful and life changing trip to the Middle East. A trip I never would have taken if it were not for this one small baby with big brown eyes that called me there. I met members of my husband’s family that I probably never would have met, and saw things I never would have seen.  We were treated like royalty, marched around to parties and dinners, tasting wonderful food, visiting villlages, seeing ancient ruins and beautiful underground caves filled with pools of aqua blue water.  The people were so gracious and wonderful yet through it all I felt unsettled and anxious. A piece of me was far away, across the ocean. I needed my kids.

It was freezing cold when the plane finally landed in Boston, the wind howled and snow was whipping about.  We piled into the warm limousine that was waiting for us outside, and started the last part of our journey home.  The drive to our house seemed to take forever. When we were finally passing the shops on the main street of the town where we live, I looked at my husband and said, “Now, I can breathe.”

We pulled up to a house full of family, friends, and balloons.  Eliza was passed around, we all hugged and chatted, and I felt my heart come to a quiet, peaceful rest. The next morning, long after all the well-wishers had left, I awoke to a quiet house.  I picked up my baby and went downstairs. There were plates of leftover cake and empty cups scattered about. It was wonderful. Soon the other kids ran downstairs, there was breakfast to make and cartoons to watch and I thought… this is it.

This is the best day of my life.

And…that’s what I wrote about. The wonder of being a family, the sense that the real miracles of life don’t occur with lots of fanfare and glitz, (sorry Kardashians) they occur in those small windows of time when you just breathe in each other.

I thought I would honor this special month on my small little blog by reprinting the story I wrote about that very day.  This is the original book that started this whole crazy blogging-writing thing. It was published in Adoptive Families Magazine this past summer and I placed a link to the book on the sidebar of my blog, but I never really placed the book here for all to see.

I look at this book now and think, it really isn’t just about Eliza, it is about all of us. All of the pieces of our journey, our family, our friends, near and far that brought her to us.  I also think this book could just have easily been written for biological children as well, and I may just do that one day. Here’s a start:

I remember painting the walls a foamy green, and stenciling a school of silly fish on the nursery wall.

I remember sitting in the rocking chair, my hand wrapped around my big, bloated, belly, feeling you dance inside.

I remember daddy struggling to put together the crib, swearing that several pieces appeared to be missing and the directions only came in Chinese.

I remember the excruciating pain as your big head…

Okay, wait; maybe I should work on this book a bit more.

No matter how they come, plane, or pain, all my kids are special, all are loved. Happy Adoption Month everyone.

THE VERY BEST DAY

Mommy, tell me again about the best day ever.

The day the social worker called and said you could adopt a baby, was that the best day ever?

Well, that was certainly a very wonderful day full of wishes, and dreams and hope, but no, it wasn’t the best day ever.

The day you opened the mail and saw a picture of me for the very first time was that the best day?

That was without a doubt a truly marvelous day full of happiness, excitement, and joy, but that was not the best day.

The day you went on the airplane to come and get me and bring me home, was that the best day?

That was such an extraordinary day, full of luggage, and taxis and lots of rushing around, but no, that wasn’t the best day ever.

How about the day you held me in your arms for the very first time was that the best day?

That day was so very close to being the best day.  It was definitely a miraculous day, full of love, and wonder, and awe, but it was still not the best day.

The day you, and me, and daddy all came home and there were lots and lots of people at the house having a big party with a huge painted sign saying, ”Welcome Home” that spread across the whole front porch, was that the best day ever?

That day was utterly special, incredible, amazing, and fabulous! It was a day full of hugs and kisses, meetings and greetings, brothers and sisters, grandmothers and grandfathers, aunts and uncles, cousins, and friends, cakes and cameras and gifts, but still, still it was not the best day ever, because…

While all of those days were wonderful, marvelous, extraordinary, miraculous, special, incredible, amazing and fabulous none of them were the best day, because the best day, the absolute very best day ever, was the next day.

The sun came up,

the dogs barked,

birds chirped

and you were there

There were empty cups scattered about the house,

and paper plates with crumbs of leftover chocolate cake still stuck to them.

There were scraps of wrapping paper and brightly covered ribbons covering the floor,

and three clunky suitcases waiting to be unpacked in the corner.

And you were there.

Daddy fed the dogs,

got out the flour,

and cracked some eggs into a big bowl…and you were there.

I put on a pot of fresh coffee… and you were there.

Your brothers and sister came running downstairs and suddenly there was laughter and yelling and sticky pancakes

…and you were there.

The snow started to fall quietly outside… and you were there.

And what could have,

should have,

been just an ordinary day was suddenly

wonderful, marvelous, extraordinary, miraculous, special, incredible, amazing and fabulous because you were there.

Now that, THAT was the very, very, very best day ever!