Wednesday, July 16, 2014

That Final Piece

This morning we stepped into a courtroom with a mixture of butterflies and confidence. You can't help but feel nervous when standing in front of a judge but we also felt the surety of having done our part. The paperwork, the waiting, the post-adoption visits with the caseworker, all the medical paperwork we had to fill out and send in, the emails and calls to ensure everything would go through. The hassles with the insurance company who just could not understand why we didn't have a social security card or birth certificate for our son, as if we are the first people ever to adopt a child. But today it's all done. Today we stand here before this woman who has the power to make everything final. Legal. Done. 

A dear friend of mine with three adopted children recently posted a profound quote:  

"A child born to another woman calls me mommy. The magnitude of that tragedy and the depth of that privilege are not lost on me." 

As we stand here today, I remember that. I etch it into my soul. So many people like to focus on or emphasize that fact that we have done something here. That WE have been saviors in some kind of way, rescuers. For me, it never feels that way. It feels like we have brought a child into our family, just like anyone else, but maybe in a slightly less "regular" way. I look at my child and see the huge losses that have already been stored up in his baggage- his birth parents and their extended family, his foster family, whatever life he might have had without us -good or bad. I hear his belly laugh and get sucked into those gorgeous brown eyes and wonder who he looks like and whether one of his biological parents laughed like that. We'll likely never know. But we didn't do any rescuing or any hero work here. We are simply parents; flawed, exhausted and grasping for a daily dose of hope and grace, just like anyone else. 

So today, the magnitude of that quote hits me. The depth of the privilege it is to call this child son, to embrace the responsibilities, challenges and joys of what it means to be his parent, that he is irrevocably, legally and (like he has been from the moment he was placed in our home) heart-rendingly ours. That there are already significant tragedies in his life that we'll have to work through together some day. 

But the point is this: we WILL do it together. Today it's final. It's done. The final piece of a dream. With a few short words and under the smiling eyes of a judge, we were pronounced a family. 

It feels really good. 

Wednesday, July 9, 2014

Backyard Transformations

You know that one thing that drives you crazy from the moment you move into a new place? Yeah. Welcome to my gravel pit.

I'm not sure what this was used for in the past- speculation includes a base for a pool, the spot where a playground existed (and I'm guessing, caused many skinned knees) and, well, really that's all we can come up with. I knew from the minute we moved in that I could only put up with it there for so long but I also know we'll probably only live here a few years which puts expensive landscaping projects at the bottom of our to-do list. What could I do that would cost almost nothing and that I'd be able to pull off myself?

After thinking and sketching, I decided to go simple. I chose to move the black borders in a few feet, creating a more circular area for the gravel and moving all the gravel to fill it in more deeply, creating a place for our fire pit and patio furniture. I extended the edges of the space left behind to wrap a little around the patio to create some curves and then tilled, supplemented and fertilized the dirt left behind.

Once it was finally warm enough, I planted tons of seeds, a combination of annuals, herbs and vegetables.

A few months later with Wisconsin's glorious sunshine and steady rain and here you go! We've been eating sugar snap peas straight off the vine for a week and are waiting for the zucchini, squash, cucumbers, cantaloupe, basil and cilantro to ripen soon.

We enjoyed the 4th with the fire pit going and good friends around it, with the scents of marigolds, dahlias and ripening tomatoes wafting around us, not to mention the singed marshmallows the 7-year-old contributed to the evening.

Lost cost, just a little sweat and tears and I've got a patio/garden!