Tuesday, February 24, 2015

An open letter to a bike thief.

Dear Punk person who stole our bike,

What you may have seen as an invitation to us was just an open gate.  Maybe we left it open in a moment of forgetfulness or maybe it was just naive to think we had to close it to keep people off of our property.  I wonder what you were thinking as you strode or drove down our driveway.  Did you notice the apple trees had been pruned?  Did you see the chalk drawings on the cement?  Did you notice the kids bikes also & considering loading them up in the back of the trike?  Were you hoping the neighbors dogs wouldn't bark? Were you surprised when the motion light came on illuminating the carport where our trike was parked?  Did you stumble on to it or did you know it was there?  I wonder what has happened in your life that  you are out in the middle of the night sneaking around people's backyards & taking things that don't belong to you.

What you didn't see were the memories we had in that trike.  The time my  70-year-old mom tried to ride it but it looked like it would tip over each second she was on it.  You didn't get to hear the laughter than ensued from that.  Nor did you hear the glee that my kids had every time they rode in the back & we were going downhill.  You didn't' see my husband painstakingly measure out & cut the back seat/trunk to specific specifications. You didn't see the glee he had when it worked! Nor did you see him sand it and paint it so that our kiddos wouldn't get slivers.  You didn't see my kids get their picture taken by it when my husband rode it with them to Bike-to-school-day.  You didn't see the blanket in the back or the fun we had with it.   You didn't see the Christmas my husband's mom gave it to his dad. You didn't see my husbands dad give it to him.  Fortunately for us those memories are for keeps.

You also missed out on seeing the fear in my kiddos eyes when we said it had been stolen at night while we were sleeping.  You didn't get to hear the millions of questions they asked all coming back to "why would someone do that?"  You didn't hear the panic in their voices as they asked if  you were coming back for their bikes.  You didn't stick around to see my husband striding down the street looking for you.  You didn't see the frustration in his eyes as he's hard a hard couple of days & this didn't help.  Nor did you see me snicker as I realized it had gotten a flat the other day & given how heavy that trike was I am glad it wasn't an easy getaway for you.

What you may not know is that I'm rooting for you.  I am hoping you'll have a change of heart.  That you'll know you don't have anything to prove & that you won't be one of the 85% of bike thieves in our county that strips bikes down for parts or tries to sell them elsewhere.  I am hoping that you'll bring it back that when I glance out the window I'll see it parked happily back in it's spot.  It isn't so much about the bike at all, but about how I want to my kids to know that a bad decision doesn't make a bad person.  I want them to grow up knowing that poor decisions can be made right again.  Maybe I'm being naive again but if hope is seen as naive then so be it.  Regardless we will get over this make no mistake about that.  It was after all just a bike.   You on the other hand I'm not so sure.  This may have been a first time for you or maybe it is a series of times that now has landed you on a path to bigger things.  What I wanted you to know was that it's never too late to turn around.  To trace back your steps & begin again.  That's why I'm rooting for you.

The person you stole from last night.

Friday, February 20, 2015

Girls just wanna have fun.

What did I do last night?  Oh you know.  The typical mom thing.  Met up with some girlfriends & under the cloak of darkness went to the new playground in our town.  Complete with headlamps & all.  We went to try the new zip-line out.  For ourselves.  With no kids.  As I prepared to leave the house with my headlamp & beach towel (because let's face it I am a mom & the seat might be wet so we'd need a way to dry it off) my kids were protesting in the whole unfairness of it all as they readied themselves for bed.  My oldest couldn't figure out for the life of him why I needed to go to the park at all much less at nighttime?  It dawned on me that the poor kid doesn't even know that moms like to have fun too.  He has been just as perplexed with my annual trip to the roller rink.  I love roller skating but for some reason I  just go on my birthday.  Like for some reason since I am having a celebration it is allowable to enjoy myself.  For some reason I think roller skating isn't permissible for me any other time.  Anyone?  Maybe it isn't roller-skating or zipping at a kids playground for you maybe it's crafting or skiing or horse back riding.  Whatever it is why do we limit ourselves? Why do we hold back as moms content to create fun experiences for our kiddos or our families but when it comes to ourselves we hold back?  We dismiss.  We put-off.  Or maybe it's just me & you all have it figured out & are out having a ton of fun. If so, call me!

This morning after my kids had awoken I said "Aren't you going to ask me if I had fun?"  And instead they said "Was anything broken?"  They were much more worried about whether or not my friends & I had left their playground intact (we did) than they were about me having fun.  And I don't really fault them on that as I think we can all agree young kiddos do have a hard time seeing past themselves & they aren't used to seeing me have fun.  They are used to me running errands, taking care of things, going on walks, and reading & doing a few exercise videos here & there.  They don't see a lot of mom having fun just to have fun.  Sure I have foot races with them in the yard.  I roll down the grassy hills with them.  We have a ton of fun together...& I am not trying to take anything away from that or lessen it in anyways.  I am just saying maybe it's time to give ourselves permission as moms to have a little more fun?  Just because.  Because it's a good thing to model. Because it helps make you feel a little more alive.  Because fun can be thrilling & it can help us to dream & remember what we like to do apart from lovingly care for our families. It helps us to see ourselves more as an individual rather than just are role as mom . It helps our kids see that we are more than just a mom.  Being a mom is a big part of who we are & what we do.  But, isn't it okay for their to be a bit more?  Isn't it okay to take a few trips around the rink feeling the wind fly through our hair & enjoying the music just because?  Isn't it okay to holler in the night on the zip-line with your friends cheering because another friend went super fast?  I think it's more than okay.  I think it would help us to take ourselves less seriously.  And when I refer to "fun" I dont' mean take up a new insanely expensive hobby that requires certain clothing or equipment.  I mean lay on your back & notice the cloud shapes.  I mean go discover a new trail with your girlfriends.  Whatever it may be chances are that when you were a kiddo yourself you found it really fun.  Hula-hooping, bike rides, swimming, twirling in circles outside, we can still do these things.  (And I hear you friend who is sighing or rolling your eyes as you read this because the stage you are in with your baby or your toddler really doesn't allow for time away or time to yourself much less even going to the bathroom alone, but hear me when I say this is not forever.  There is a time just around the bend that although it may be hard to see it is coming & you will have free time again.  I promise.  Hang in there.)  For the rest of us there is  room in our full & busy lives to add them in.  They won't take away from anything & they might just make us better moms.

I'd love to hear what you do for fun or if you aren't doing it yet what would you like to do?

Thursday, February 19, 2015

What's Next

It took me by surprise.  I didn't even see it coming.  I was clicking away eager to be done with the insurance inquires & to enjoy my quiet since my four-year-old was napping for the first time in years.  (It was sacred time if you know what I mean).  As I clicked once more I only saw the "Congratulations & welcome to the Ethiopia program". I paid no attention the the 10+ attachments or the long letter that followed. I simply saw that & I sobbed.  Like instant puffy face sob.  On the floor but trying to be muffled since said four-year-old was napping kind of sob.  I didn't have anyone to share it with.  I was able to savor it.  To soak it in.  To exclaim.  To wonder.  To Praise.  I actually said "Shut-up!" to the computer before I fell to the floor in a puddle.  I really didn't' believe they would accept us.  Whether was an act of self-preservation for my heart or I just really believed that I was utterly taken aback by their decision to allow us to move forward.

Once I collected myself & called my husband I was able to look through the attachments & the letter.  The forms to come, the fees to pay, oh my. I still don't know how it will all get accomplished.  I still don't know how it will all work out.  I still don't know if she'll love us right away or not.  I wonder about her favorite color. I wonder about her parents, siblings, aunts & uncles.  I wonder if she'll be so mad that we took her away from her country & her sights & sounds & smells that were familiar to her.  I wonder if she always be sad & miss those she's lost or who lost her.  I wonder where I'll take her to get her hair done & if she'll mind that I'm not very girly.  Basically I'm all over the place.  These are things I've wondered for a bit but haven't allowed my heart to go there.  I am free now to hope a little & plan a bit.

I try to explain to my boys that this could take a while.  A long while.  I fret that maybe they don't' understand what we are about to embark on.  Then I have to wonder, do I?  I have to remind myself of course I don't!  We've never done this before.  Sure we started & stopped many times but to actually be at this point is a first for us.

So what comes next?  Lot of paperwork.  Like lots.  We are in what the agency refers to as the "paper-chase" phase.  That leaves little to the imagination.  Then the home study.  Which I can't even go there yet or I'll get worked up in a tizzy.  Right now it's just best if I only do the next thing as I was already thinking of how we needed to make sure no light bulbs were burnt out because obviously that is a sign of a neglectful parent, am I right?  Oh my poor husband.  What he is going to go through as that approaches.  His honey-do list will have a list.  We would love to have you along with us on this journey.  I may over-share (fair warning) but your questions are welcome & your encouragement & prayers are crucial.  So I am off to buy a ream of printer paper (& some light bulbs) , settle in with my signing pen & do the next thing.

Friday, February 6, 2015


It was a night I just needed a word.  Like a thirsty person in search of a well.  Anyone?  All day my head & heart had been a flutter.  Flutter may be too sweet of a word.  Maybe more like being hit over & over with a battering ram.  We've been in the process of deciding whether after talking about it on & off since 2007 if we are finally ready to proceed with adoption. Obviously we're a little slow.  Too many years of fears & feelings of inadequacy have side-tracked us making it easy for us to talk ourselves out of this amazing possibility.  We now know that you don't have to be any sort of super-hero, green lantern or otherwise, to adopt.  Nor do you have to be made of money although that would make the fundraising a whole lot more doable. You just have to be willing.  Willing to jack up your so called "comfortable" life.  Willing to see what loving others really means for you.  Willing to take a leap.  To lean in & trust.  We just don't want to talk ourselves out of it this time.

So back to the thirst.  I was just up to here with not knowing if we were doing the right thing.  Would it be financially responsible?  Would I really be okay if adding another kiddo meant no vacation ever?  Would I be okay with consignment store threads & goodwill finds?   Even though we'd already submitted our preliminary application to the agency.  Even though we were poised & ready for the next step.  To apply for the Ethiopian program.  Hoping they would welcome us in with open arms.  Even though I was still going back & forth & second guessing & wondering & figuring the figures.  Thoughts again creeping in of "Who do we think we are?  Why us?"  were just enough for me to wish we had a bottle of wine in the house or at least wish my husband wasn't working nights  so that he could be here to wrangle our two sons because I'd.had.it.  But there was no wine & no husband so alas my fellas & I sat down to read their bedtime story out of the Jesus Storybook Bible.  Best kid's Bible of all time.  I have learned so much from this sweet book which constantly brings it back to Jesus page after page.  I whispered in the quiet of my soul, "Lord, Please"  My son chose the story of Jesus feeding the 5.000.

  "But they were wrong.  Jesus knew it didn't matter how much the little boy had.  God would make it enough, more than enough." 

"And Jesus knew the One who in the very beginning had made everything out of nothing at all.  How hard would something like this be for Someone like that?"

Really?  Really?

Do you not love the times when you know?  You just know that you know that it was meant for you.  It puts it all in perspective.  Who am I to fuss over whether or not this is a sound financial decision or not?  Will I just trust?  What is another kiddo to feed to Someone like that?  Sound naive?  Maybe.  To me it sounds like trusting & believing & trusting & believing some more until our daughter comes home.

So here we go.  We are going to be submitting our application to the Ethiopia program & hoping it is accepted.  We'd love your prayers.  We'd also love your kindness if we forget to show up somewhere or if we double book ourselves (sorry friends) or if you run into us & we are all wild-eyed from being up to our eyeballs in paperwork & my hair hasn't been properly de-frizzed.  If your one of our friends who's gone before us on this adoption journey we'd love to hear from you.  You advice & your what I'd wish I'd known when...  But most of all we just want to thank the Lord for this opportunity to build our family a little bigger in this unique & special way.  We are beyond humbled & we are hopeful.  So let the journey begin.