Tag Archives: parenting

Dear Other Two Moms:

The other night my daughter asked, “Were you happy I was your baby? Was I cute?” Granted, she probably suspected that this question would stall bedtime at least another fifteen minutes as I cuddled her and told her the story, again, about how it felt the first time I saw her. The vivid memory of sitting at the Eastern Orphanage in Korea anxiously waiting to meet my daughter. Finally, the counselor pointing to a woman walking in with the most beautiful baby girl on her back … “That is her.”

fish

They both are still surprised when a stranger can guess one of them is adopted. 🙂

I have told my daughter (by adoption) and my son (by birth) that there isn’t one of their stories about how I came to be their mother that is more special than the other. They are completely different stories, but both include joy; some pain points; worrisome moments; and the delivery of the most incredible gift, unimaginable love, and biggest responsibility of my life. (The toughest part comes in the work and exhaustion of raising them!)

With two children who came to me in very different ways, it is important to me that I celebrate and share with them their individual stories and how it makes them unique. One part of my daughter’s story that I have shared with her is how she has three different moms who each love her very much. This “mom circle” includes her birth mom, her foster mom and me (her mom). In fact, she was told this story from before she was old enough to even understand the words that I was saying. This story also led to her infamous self-introduction: At the age of four, we were at the first day of swimming lessons. A girl walked up to her and said, “Hi, I have a new purple suit.” My daughter responded, “Hi. I have three moms.”

So with the timing of National Adoption Month and soon to be her seventh birthday, I want to attempt to write a note to her other two moms whom I share with the great honor of this title. Since, I have no way to actually get a letter to them, I decided to blog it. Perhaps they will feel the energy of it. Or someday when we go back to Korea as a family, or if Chloe ever seeks them out, it can be shared. Or maybe, it is purely for me to know that I have recognized them and documented something in their honor. So, with that said, here I go.

love

Dear Other Two Moms:

First and foremost, I want both of you to know that you are and always will be important to both her and me. You are not forgotten.

Birth Mom, I didn’t know you at all except through a few forms from the orphanage that you filled out which shared some basic information about your life and the adoption decision you made. I haven’t read these to our daughter yet, but I will as she gets older.

Foster Mom, I did meet you. Our last day in Korea when you passed her to us for the final time and watching you say goodbye is etched in my mind. Our daughter loves to look at the photo album you sent with us that chronicles her nine months in your family. One of her favorite photos is of her 100-day celebration.

Secondly, if either of you ever do actually read this, please know it could never be enough or say enough to acknowledge and thank you for the sacrifices you both made that brought her to my life. So perhaps consider it more of a note in time with an update and a few facts about how she is doing.

braid

Rapunzel makes for a perfect braid model.

If our daughter was writing this, I am sure the first thing she would mention is “I can braid!” At the moment, it is what she sees as the most exciting, self-appointed goal she has reached. It has beat out the excitement of learning to read which happened around the same time. Her dolls, herself and me are always adorned with different braided hairdos. She would also be sure to mention that she is going to have a piñata at her birthday, is one of the fastest runners in her class and is also really good at the monkey bars.

Actually, she would go on and on and on. She talks a lot. There have been multiple times where she finally takes a breath and then notices, and comments, that I am not fully listening anymore. I have told her honestly that sometimes I can’t listen as long as she talks. She can wear me out.

Our daughter is beautiful. (I mentioned this in a past blog that I do work hard to make sure she is recognized for all her wonderful attributes beyond just this.) She is also smart, funny, and extremely flexible … freakishly flexible. She likes to sing and actually can hold a tune. (She wouldn’t get that from my genes). She has lots of friends and is a bit of a tomboy. Though she prefers sparkles and dresses when she races her brother and his friends.

cute

She also has attitude.

She does like to tattle. Her flair for the drama can cause the tiniest touch from her brother to create the loudest wail from her. (Though granted, half of the times the wails are well founded and caused from more than a touch). They have bonded as siblings in the truest form. It is a love/hate relationship. But no one better mess with her but him!

I am working with her on not lying to get out of trouble. “You saw me wrong” or “You heard me wrong” is her usual defense. She does not like anyone to be angry with her. Though it doesn’t stop her from doing things that may make us angry. When she is in trouble, it is usually turned around on us and we are told how we hurt her feelings by being mad.

korea friend

She goes to Korean camp with her friend who we first met in Korea.

She dresses herself in crazy, unmatched outfits and gets really sad if you suggest she or her outfit is anything but super cute. She loves Littlest Pet Shop but is “not that into” Hello Kitty anymore. She is proud of being Korean and loves to make and eat Be Bim Bop and Japchae. And, there is nothing quite like being caught up in one of her laughing attacks.

There are many moments in my life with her during which I think of you both. I want to know more about the stories behind the photos we look at together. I often reread the adoption forms hoping to catch something that I missed last time. When I am filling out her medical forms, I want to ask you about her family history or if she had the same reaction to colds when she was a baby. Sometimes, I just want to ask you both to tell me, in your own words, how you made such brave and selfless choices. One of you to give her a life you couldn’t provide and one of you to make sure she was cared for and loved till we would arrive. Both of you having to say goodbye to her. Once in awhile laying in her bed, I close my eyes and wish I could show you how she is doing and hopefully you would feel proud or content in the choices you made and the path you provided her. If nothing else, make you giggle hearing some of her perspectives and comments.

I am not a perfect mom but I love her. I want you to know that you both helped to create an incredible girl. I also want you to know there is no way to be eloquent enough to express all that I would like, nor anyway me to be able to cover the full spectrum of all that is her.

Thank you both for making the decisions you did which provided me the opportunity to be one of the three moms blessed to play a part in her life. I hope she gains strength by having received all of our love different ways and carries it with her always. Please know, I don’t take it for granted that I am the one who received the most with her as a constant in my life, thanks to both of you.

As I tell her every night, I love you to the moon and back.

Forever,

The Third Mom

Stormy interviews KitKat…

It’s KitKat’s turn to write a blog post, but she’s been felled by a bad cold lately and I suspect her Muse has abandoned her in pursuit of a chaise lounge on some distant beach. Therefore, to jumpstart the writing process–and inspire happier thoughts–I’m going to interview KitKat for this week’s post…

KitKat, what is the biggest splurge you’ve bought for yourself?

Shoes! Shoes … boots, sandals, etc. … have always been my thing. I can’t pick a pair where it was a bigger splurge than others. But anytime I treat myself to something extra special or just can’t resist the temptation, it seems to be in a shoe store. They make me happy.

I have talked myself into a shoe splurge for many reasons: I can rationalize needing them for a special event. Or, though they are expensive, it is a pair I can get lots of use of. I don’t have the exact same color or style. Or, I have a similar color or style and love them, so I need another. I am on a trip and may never see a pair like them again. I deserve a reward for finishing a tough project. I need a pick-me-up when things aren’t going well.

It sounds a little pathetic to admit, but shoes make me feel good. I can spend hours in a nice shoe store. I enjoy the entire experience of browsing, admiring shapes and special touches, and trying them on (even when I don’t make a purchase). Plus, I have never regretted a pair I bought.  There are only a few rare things in life that prove to be such a constant source of joy and passion.

My dream job would be to own a beautiful shoe boutique. It would be shoes that are for a splurge, not a necessity purchase. A place to come and spoil yourself, because we all need and deserve it sometimes.

I feel like shopping – it has been a horrible winter and I need a pick me up!

What’s the nicest compliment you’ve ever received…and why did it mean so much to you?

That is a tough one. Though I like compliments, I am horrible at getting them. I never feel like I deserve them. But on the flip side, they mean so much to me since I don’t give them to myself.

One I remember distinctly was when I visited my dad and stepmother in Colorado. My son was young, probably two or three. He has always been a handful, and I never felt like a natural at parenting. (I still often feel like I am pretending to be an adult capable of raising children.) During that trip, we visited one of their friends. As we were leaving, they told me that I was a really good mom. I don’t know why it struck me intensely, but I remember it bringing me to tears for the next few days thinking about those kind words from a virtual  stranger. Parenting is such an overwhelming job with so many unknowns. It just felt good to hear I was doing okay at it.

See?, There is an example of my compliment taking – turning “good” into “okay.”

What one thing do you hope to teach your son about how to treat women?

Right now, I am working hard to teach my son about his own self image and liking himself—things I expected to be going through when my daughter hit her teens. I didn’t know boys struggled with many of the same things. And, it’s so much harder for them to express it. It just isn’t as acceptable or talked about.

In respect to how to treat girls, I would love to instill that perfect mix of doing all the gentlemanly polite things but respecting them as equals. I know many people don’t think the two mix. I do. I love being treated like a girl, but knowing my thoughts and ideas are respected and wanted. I can have a door held open for me as I walk into a meeting, yet still argue my point and be heard right along with the “boys” at the same meeting. I would like him to understand that delicate balance.

Looking not quite so far ahead and knowing what teenage girls go though and sometimes do to be liked, I would like to ensure he is sensitive about how girls feel and not take advantage of that. To be responsible and kind. Yikes! It’s a little freaky thinking that he is anywhere near an age where this will become a possible issue.

What one thing do you hope to teach your daughter?

At age six there is plenty of self love and admiration!

At age six there is plenty of self love and admiration!

To love herself. (That is really it for both my kids.) To feel secure and proud in who she is. To take care of herself first. Try new things , take risks and not to limit herself. To feel pretty, but know there is so much more than that to be proud of. To know she doesn’t have to be perfect. It is impossible. To know that she is still loved with any and all imperfections. Forgive herself when needed. Is all of that too much to hope for?

And to surround herself with good friends and to be one. Girlfriends can help you get through anything.

What are you looking forward to in the next month?

After breaking records in cold, snowstorms and school closings, I am looking forward to a Spring Break escape to Arizona. (Followed by a girls trip to Las Vegas the following month.) It makes me smile and I can hold on to some sanity when I think of seeing and feeling the sun again. Knowing that I’ll soon be sitting in my Arizona chair (or throne as I like to call it) is all that is holding me back from going to a tanning bed just to feel some warmth on my skin, no matter what the danger.

 If you could go back in time and give your 20-year-old self some advice, what would it be?
First, I would tell her to start enjoying that 20-year old body! Give her a few insights as to what happens when you double that age. It’s hard to think about all the years I spent picking apart my looks and shape, which were both actually pretty damn good in hindsight.

I’d also tell her to keep living life. She was a risk taker. She did some stupid things, but she was full of experiences. I wouldn’t want to stop her from even some of her worst mistakes because she provided me with a lot of unique memories and some important lessons. I will be able to shock my grandchildren some day with stories from my 20-year-old self.

I might even ask her to add a few more crazy experiences to her list.

If your 20-year-old self could visit you now, what would she be impressed by?

My 20-year old self would be glad to know I am still making time for friends,  fun - and slots.

My 20-year old self would be glad to know I am still making time for friends, fun – and slots.

That I am holding down a job and actually pretty successful at it. I don’t think she thought of herself as someone who would climb the corporate ladder. Especially becoming someone who would lead others. Being smart was not how she defined herself. I think she’d be impressed and proud of that trait developing, while still recognizing her quirky self. She’d like realizing others recognize and like the whole package too.

Lazy parenting tip

Sometimes after a long day at work, one of the worst commands I can hear is, “Play with me.” Worse yet, it is often self-inflicted from having snapped about no more electronics or instructed them to go find something to do.  To balance my guilt from not seeing my children enough with my exhaustion of work and family schedules, I have become a master at creating lazy parenting “family fun times.”

Tonight’s newly discovered lazy parenting tip: Balloon Challenge

This game is great if you have a few balloons handy. All you need to do is pour yourself a drink and plop down in your favorite spot. Once comfortable, then  challenge your kids to keep a balloon in the air. If it touches the ground they get a point. Kids can move and run around. Parents can’t get up (best rule of the game).

balloon

If it seems like you’re losing momentum and you still haven’t finished the magazine you’re flipping through (yes, you can play, drink, talk to your spouse and comb through a magazine all at the same time), simply add more balloons. How many can they keep up at a time? Not only does this game keep my kids happy, it lets me interact with the kids and be lazy all at the same time.

Some may be shaking their heads, sad at the fact I am not enjoying every precious moment with my children. Perhaps someday, I will look back with regret, nostalgic for the days of young children. But while in the midst of it, there is an unending amount of moments, so if I can grab a few for myself all the better. Plus, I figure it’s better than setting the clock ahead and pretending it’s bedtime.

The best testament to this lazy parenting tip: My kids went to sleep tonight talking about our fun family night and asking when we can play again. I like finding ways to be considered an awesome mom without much effort!