Two

Dear D,

Today you are two!

On June 27, 2014 you said your first unprompted “I love you,” and my heart burst. We were camping, I was at the car and you were inside the tent with “MY Daddy” as you call him. You said “Mommy?” and I said “Yes, baby girl?” and you said “Yuv oooo!” and as I responded with an “I love you too!” I realized that it wast the first time you ever said that to us without being prompted by someone else. And I cried a little.

May the sunlight find your face
Even when the rain does fall
And get back on your feet again
Every time you slip and fall
Keep your heart wide open
And always taking in
And even when it’s broken
Be strong enough to fix it up again

Your words are increasing by the day. You emphatically state “MY Daddy” when you see your Dad, and my heart bursts some more. Watching your relationship with him grow has been beautiful. You love to dance on his feet, and sometimes only his hugs will do. He does “fly” where he zooms you around the room, and “Wee” where he flies you over my head. You hug his leg when he comes home from work, and every morning when I get you ready you say “My Daddy? My Daddy eat? My Daddy work?”

Oh little baby girl
Sweet little baby girl
I wish I could hold your hand in this great big world
Oh little baby girl

I don’t know what this world holds you for you, or for us. Of course I hope one day you’ll be officially ours forever, and we can drop the “Foster” in front of our Mom and Dad titles, but I can’t guarantee it. What I can guarantee is that we love you (to the moon and all the way back) and we always will, whether you live with us or not. You have made us Mommy and Daddy. You have captured our hearts. I want always to protect you, and although I know I can’t always, I will try.

And I hope your hands are steady
And never need to make a fist
And I hope that when you’re ready
You get one never ending kiss
And I hope that deep inside of you
There’s a sweet eternal song
And I hope the words are pretty
And that you’ll always sing along

You love to sing, to dance, and to headbang in the backseat to any song with a good beat. I love that you love music, because it’s so much of who I am, who your Dad is, who your Grammy is.. heck, all of our family is! You also love to give “huggies” to “Skeeer” and “Spiiiinn” and “Boch” who were formerly known as Skeeter, Master Splinter, and Spock.

And I hope your friends are many
And your laughter’s always loud
To help you when you’re lonely
And pick you up when you’re down
I hope your eyes shine bright love
And learn to see the light
Take the time to listen
Decide yourself what’s wrong or right

You are still figuring out your world. You get easily upset when you think I am leaving without you, and you struggle with transition. You are slow to warm up to people, but once you do, you charm them easily with your easy laughter and beautiful smile. You are making friends and like to play. Your favorite games involve putting your dolls to bed, being a doctor, and pouring tea. It’s amazing to see your imagination grow!

Oh little baby girl
Sweet little baby girl
Be strong in this great big world
Oh little baby girl

Baby girl, you are 2 today. I am honored to witness this day and celebrate all the wonderfulness that is you. I will read you “The Night You Were Born” and we will whisper and wiggle through the book, but truer words have never been spoken. You Are Loved.

DCollage

*Lyrics “Baby Girl” by Will Hoge

Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment

She

She is fierce with determination.

She easily cries, and she easily moves on.

She laughs with abandonment.

She expects that I will catch her when she leaps, or throws herself backwards.

She likes cheese, tomatoes, juice, cereal, and pretty much everything else except spicy food.

She plays with her hair when she’s tired.

She loves her baby dolls, but during the hour of destruction will throw them to the floor and run them over with her plastic shopping cart.

She loves bubbles, but calls them bubbies (please don’t correct her).

She dances all the time, and sometimes only she hears the music.

She hugs my leg, when she’s “hiding” from Casey.

She likes peek-a-boo, Pat-a-cake, giving high fives and fist bumps.

She twirls and swishes around when she’s wearing skirts.

She grunts at you if she disagrees with your requests.

Her laughter is infectious.

We met her on April 14, 2014 around 5:30 PM.

It was supposed to be a 2 week “respite” placement.

We almost said no.

The timing was bad. I was leaving my job (literally the next day) for a new one. And did we really want to open our hearts for just two weeks?

But the unbelievable happened, And now? Now, we’re hoping for forever.

Forever isn’t guaranteed though, as it is with the foster care system, so we’re just loving her  every. single. day. (for the rest of her life, whether she is adopted by us or not).

She is magic.

Blog friends (if anyone is still out there), meet D.

She is little.

She is fierce.

She will move mountains.

Dalilah Bucket

 

Posted in adoption, blogging family, family, growing up, infertility, joy | Tagged , | Leave a comment

Destination

30 minutes of driving.

Enough time for about 10 songs. Sometimes the same song on repeat 10 times.

Some mornings tears prick at my eyes. Triggered by words strung together and put to music touching my heart in a way that’s a little too close to the surface.

Some days I count every mile, and sometimes I arrive at my destination with minimal memory of the drive.

Some days the sun is shining, and I sing out loud.

Some days I ride in silence, my thoughts racing… creating a whirring of their own. My heart races, and worries rise to the surface.

Some days I can’t stand the alone-ness. So I call anyone I think might answer and talk to them until the car is in park again.

It is my time. I treasure it and loathe it at the same time. I look forward to it and dread it all at once. It is mine, even though the destination is always theirs.

The morning commute.

Posted in Uncategorized | 1 Comment

2 Months Gone

Winter 2008 015

You can shed tears that she is gone,
or you can smile because she has lived.
You can close your eyes and pray that she’ll come back,
or you can open your eyes and see all she’s left.
Your heart can be empty because you can’t see her,
or you can be full of the love you shared.
You can turn your back on tomorrow and live yesterday,
or you can be happy for tomorrow because of yesterday.
You can remember her only that she is gone,
or you can cherish her memory and let it live on.
You can cry and close your mind,
be empty and turn your back.
Or you can do what she’d want:
smile, open your eyes, love and go on.

—David Harkins

Posted in Uncategorized | 2 Comments

Things I Want to Remember

Dear Casey,

I want to remember the pure love in your Dad’s voice when he told us he’d been going over to have coffee with your Mom at the funeral home every morning since she passed away. Although in the moment I couldn’t think of anything sadder than that image – it was really a gesture of love. He didn’t want her to be alone. Their love has always inspired me, and in that moment I’ve never been so in awe.

I want to remember holding you the night we buried your Mother. You cried. I cried. And we fell asleep with tears on our faces – but together. Always together.

I want to remember buying our new car, sitting in the parking lot of the mall, laying the seats all the way back and looking through the moon roof at the night sky. Talking, laughing, wasting time. Being us.

I want to remember showing up to see Frozen (the Sing Along) and realizing we were the only ones in the movie theater. Oh wait, we’re supposed to take that one to the grave. My bad.

I want to remember the moment that we found out we were officially licensed as foster parents. I texted you immediately and didn’t stop smiling all day. One step closer to being Mom and Dad. One stop closer to family. We came home that night and my Mom started the annual silly string fight. We were ambushed. She’s going to be a great Grandmother. And you are going to be an amazing Father.

I want to remember always how you look at me in the morning when our eyes first meet. You are bursting with love for me and I feel it. Thank you for always letting me feel that.

I want to remember the way that we did 63 Random Acts of Kindness to honor your mother. It was the best thing we could have done to celebrate her life – we spread joy throughout our world, and inspired others to do the same. We’ll never know who was affected by our kindness that day, but I have no doubt everyone who was touched by it spread it on. You are brave, and giving, kind and loving.

I want to remember the day we first opened the sunroof in the new car, and drove down the road, putting our hands through the window, singing at the top of our lungs and laughing. Feeling free. It’s priceless.

There are so many things I want to remember, these are only a few. Thank you for our continued adventures.

I’ll love you more tomorrow and even more the day after.

JennCaseyHoteChocolat

 

Posted in Uncategorized | 5 Comments

Unpacked

It only took 1 year for us to unpack everything since moving into our house. We finished last weekend and it feels like a weight has been lifted. What was left were the unnecessary things… pictures, memories, decorations. I forgot how actually necessary those things are for my soul- I’m happy to have them back hanging on my walls.

****

I’ve been writing letters to Casey’s Dad every week. You know the snail mail kind. He’s not on Facebook, he doesn’t love texting, and if Casey talks to him for 5 minutes on the phone that’s a long conversation. So I decided to write letters. Just about our weeks. Good things, bad things, all the things in between. I’ve added my Uncle and Dad to the list of men-folk that receive the letter. I hope to write 52 of them this year. Every week. So far, so good.

****

It snowed here in North Carolina. You may have seen on the news. Unfortunately for the kids around here, it was mostly ice with just a small covering of snow. And because it didn’t warm up for a couple of days, the area was pretty shut down for 3 or 4 days. There’s barely any equipment here, and the ice was very dangerous. I went out one day, and even though I have 15 years of driving-in-winter-weather-experience, I shouldn’t have been on the road. Ice doesn’t care about experience or what kind of car you drive. I got very annoyed with people in the North mocking the southern states about shutting down. After all, the south is just not equipped to deal with ice or snow. And no one down here was making fun of anyone in the North when hurricanes made it up that far. In fact, we had all kinds of people express concern for our families up North and feel very badly because the North doesn’t know how to deal with hurricanes. Stacey told me that Northerners are just meaner. Guess that’s so!

****

Well, as my mother would say, that’s all the news that’s fit to print from our place. Hope y’all are doing great!

 

 

Posted in Uncategorized | 1 Comment

Resolve

I have read so many posts about New Years resolutions. It is that time of year, the time for beginnings. The time for the notion of a blank slate. The notion that somehow the world is shining and bright, and that we have within us more resolve to follow through on January 1st, than we do on December 31st.

For me I just hope for healing and peace in 2014. I hope we will find peace in whether we can be foster parents or whether we can’t. I hope that time brings a level of comfort to Casey’s heart as we venture into the first year of his life that won’t include his mother.

My word for last year was “family” and while we didn’t add any kids, so it was not what we hoped for, it was about family in ways I had not imagined. Our family changed in ways we could not and would not want to predict. The lesson this year was – take nothing for granted, especially family.

It’s not that I don’t have any hopes for 2014. I hope to read more, and write more. To stop and smell the roses more. To live the ordinary and see the extraordinary within it. I hope to be gentle with myself and my expectations.

2014 will be a year of change and transition, but also of settling in. A constant ebb and flow – just like every year before it, and every year to come. So this year’s word? Kindness. To my family, friends, strangers. To myself.

 

Posted in Uncategorized | 1 Comment

Gone

“I’m never going to see her again. Ever.”

Your words fall into the air between us. Heavy with the weight of their reality.

Slowly, I shake my head. Left to right. Left to right.

I turn and look out the small oval window, as the airplane takes flight.

And we leave her here.

Buried in a casket you helped them lower into the ground.

Gone, forever, from our presence.

***

The reality hits us both at different times.

I bite my tongue when I start to ask, “Have you called your Mom today?”

Tears well in your eyes when you catch her smile, forever frozen in time, in a picture on your nightstand.

This Christmas will forever be the one where sympathy cards arrived, co-mingled with Christmas cards. . . both hung on the wall, because they were all sent with love.

The Christmas that the heaviness was felt just as much as joy.

The Christmas where I felt guilt for still having a Mom when you no longer have one here on Earth.

***

“She’s gone,” I say reluctantly as I turn back to look at you. My hand finds yours and you squeeze it three times as always – once for each word. I love you.

 

Posted in Uncategorized | 1 Comment

Merry Christmas!

Just a quick note from my new tablet with a wireless bluetooth keyboard (I’m so fancy now!) Here’s a couple of pictures from our Christmas! Hope your holiday was wonderful, I hope to be back writing more soon.

IMG_33482651398579 IMG_33473929543950 IMG_33447895899687

Posted in Uncategorized | 1 Comment

On The Day You Died

On the day you died, Casey woke up and told me that he had a wonderful dream about you. You were 20 years younger, and telling him about a wonderful meal you’d just eaten.

On the day you died, it was raining the morning.

On the day you died, “What a Wonderful World” came on in the car on our way to work, and I looked over at Casey – the tears streaming down his face mirrored mine as he whispered, “My Mom loves this song.” 

On the day you died, I cried all the way to work after I dropped Casey off. I couldn’t shake a terrible feeling.

On the day you died, I glanced at my phone at 11:47, saw a missed call from Casey, and knew you were gone.

On the day you died, the sun came out at noon and we wondered if you were lighting the day.

On the day you died we held each other. We cried, we remembered. We said so many “I love yous” as we tried to fill the void you left.

On the day you died Casey and I fell asleep holding hands, tears streaming down our face silently in the darkness.

On the day you died, the world didn’t stop spinning, but our world did– at least for a moment — as we took time to honor your time on this Earth and wish you well on your journey to the next.

 

Posted in Uncategorized | 3 Comments