Tuesday, March 29, 2011

Snowy's Special Secret

Today was beautiful... FINALLY!  It's been a long and cold winter and while I don't dare encroach anywhere near complaining (lest I be brow beaten with the statement of "I told you so" or "see, you didn't know what you were getting yourself into" or "I wondered how long it would be until you wanted your old life back") it's been an especially isolating time being at home.  Again, I wouldn't dare complain about having a year off to hang out with my son because I know how fortunate I am to be afforded this luxury BUT as a single parent, it's a shift.  I don't miss 99 OK more like 95% of the "stuff" but boy, when it's cold out and I've been house bound all day and the witching hour of feeding, bathing, story time and tucking in starts at 5:30 closely followed by lockdown after that, it starts to make a single girl feel a little like an island.  So with that said, the sun finally broke through in all its blue skied glory and gave us a couple of days of mud puddles, melting snow and glorious, glorious fresh air.  I still haven't figured out the trick to throwing the dogs ball in the snow (I've lost more than a few) but just going outside without 9million layers for 15 minutes felt like spring might soon be in the air.  Kudos to the SAHM's who enjoy years at home with their children but I'm not one of them... I've been a "working girl" for too long to give up the independence and fun of being a professional outside of the home.  I am so looking forward to having the nanny arrive so that I might remember the luxury of running into the post office without playing car seat scramble and 100 questions or what it's like to enjoy a drink with some friends without the mad race for home to relieve some friend who has stepped up to babysit or the sitter who should be at home in her own bed by now.  But I digress. We've been waiting for the right snow conditions to make a snowman and today was the day.  Corbin guarded the carrots like they were a prized possession and when I asked which one he wanted for our snowmans nose he told me, "No Mama, not one snowman, a snowman family!"  We talked about it and decided we would make our family - a Mama, a Corbin and of course a Lyric dog.  He has really started talking a lot about families lately.  He puts his trucks into families (all the tractors or all the cars) and makes sure his stuffed toys have their families with them at night.  He seems very proud of our family and told me one day at preschool pick up, "Our family doesn't have a daddy... but we have a Lyric and a Mama".  So today, as we made huge snowballs for our snow family I smiled.  Tonight at bedtime I brought out some new books that I dug out from the basement shelf (the upside to having so long to prepare for him coming home is the stashes of "things" that I bought along the way that I stumble upon).  There were 4 books and I had him choose which 2 he wanted to read.  One was, "Snowy's Special Secret".  I vaguely remembered buying the book in that it was a story about a polar bear cub and his Mother and something special that the boy does for his Mom.  To my surprise, the special secret that Snowy (the cub) makes for his Mother is a snowman family - him and his Mom... Corbin was delighted and with eyes as big as saucers said, "JUST LIKE US MAMA!!! HE MADE A SNOWMAN FAMILY JUST LIKE US!".   What a nice way to end my day... snowman family on our lawn and a boy dreaming of carrots and stone noses in the other room.  A good day - and finally some snowmen that we can be proud of :)

This one is for my Mom... finally... SNOWMEN just for you!

Corbin and his Lyric

I didn't plan on pictures but the neighbor came home so here I am no makeup and a ballcap - I think the snow rendition is a better looking gal!

Saturday, March 26, 2011


Nine months.  The number of months a woman carries her child before welcoming him into the world.  Nine months.  Half the time my son spent in a baby home and half the time he spent in his birth family.  Nine months.  The number of months my son has spent here at home with me.  Just as amazing as the growth that occurs in a nine month pregnancy, it's been amazing to remember back to how much Corbin has grown and changed since being home.  Just today I was reminded by a team mate who hadn't seen Corbin since last summer just how much he's changed.  At first she didn't look to see whose child it was directing the group of boys in their game of chase and tag but laughed as he explained why it wasn't ok to go past the stairs to the others - "it's dangerous, noisy and my mom said no. We 'haffa play over there".  And off the troupe went.  She did a double take and picked up her jaw from the ground when he giggled and yelled, "MAMA!!! MAMA!!! That's MY MAMA playing soccer!" at me on the field knowing he was the quiet boy in the chariot from the summer sidelines after having just came home.  She just couldn't believe... he's grown so much and he never stops talking (I know... I know...).  I look back to the pictures on the plane and even listen to his little voice saying, "puppy, da... Mama...da... ooohhhhh Mama" in the video from 2 weeks home and am amazed.  Physical, emotional, confidence, language... exponential growth.  Part nutrition, part opportunity and part love (in no particular order).  I saw this little video and it first, makes me bawl and as I wipe my eyes... the last line of it gets me because that's my Corbin.  He's not the "little adopted kid from Russia" he's just a regular kid... and that is amazing.  When you start into this journey of adoption reading the books, blogs and websites (which by the way I can't recommend enough) you wonder how long it will take or how big the mountains might be that you will climb together as a family.  Nine.  Nine months... and he's just a regular kid.  I am so very very proud every day of my "regular kid".  That video is below... kleenex... you've been warned.

"Just" a regular kid

Tuesday, March 22, 2011

Distance makes the heart grow fonder

It's been stressful 'round these parts lately.  In a little more than 2 months I'll be back to work and all the required organization, finishing up and preparation is squeezing in.  No problem.  I'm on it.  Then there was a snag with my nanny application (I made an error) - no problem - I'm on it and things will be fine.  Then, I decide that it's time that I sell the home that my husband and I built which throws a bunch of emotional dust into the air.  I do my best to handle it.  Then, I take my friend and Realtor over to see the property and... my tenants have not been kind.  Every bit of flooring needs to be replaced... walls fixed... wood fixed... I just about cry.  That's it... end of my stress rope.  I wait until I come home to curl up in the chair and bawl!  Corbin crawls into my lap, wipes Mama tears with his hand and says, "You're dripping... Mama no crying - I kiss you and make you happy".  And I hugged him so tight.  I am all out of deep breaths at this point and perspective isn't something that I thought I could find... until my sister said she would take Corbin for the night and I could go get some air.  So I did.  I tucked him into his cousins bed on Sunday night and talked to him first thing in the morning... but he was too busy playing to notice.  Sunshine, skiing, fresh air... that always is a good day.  I have never skied with my iPod before but today, I didn't feel like making small talk on the chair lift - so I did what I said I would never do and tuned out or is that in?  The music helped to clear my head and then Mr. Chopra came on for a timely bit of perspective.  I started feeling better.  I logged some good mileage and my legs will thank me for it in the morning.   I wrapped up skiing and headed to Banff to pick up "a few of my favorite things".  Rocky Mountain soap shop - check, Evelyn's Coffee for a cookie and coffee - check, and a stop at the candy shop for a treat for my boy and a glorious, glorious surprise that made my day - check.  On trip one I lived on Tic Tac Bold fruit flavor and was so sad to find out they are discontinued.  Despite all of my efforts, there were none in the world (I even emailed TicTac to ask)...But today, lo and behold, there they were in all their glory. I bought pretty much every pack they had... oh yeah, and a semi truck pez dispenser.  I left Banff with a better attitude, clear head and a voice mail on my phone.  "Hi Mama, I miss you lots and lots.  I have BIG kisses and hugs for you.  See you in 3 minutes.  I love you!"... then my sister took the phone to ask me to let her know when I'd be back in the city.  That's a voice mail that's not getting deleted.  I got more than misty... I couldn't wait for him to come through the door and neither could he.  My sister told him to get ready to go and he said, "No, I stay here"... (uh oh... not a good sign for Mama!) to which my sister said, "But Corbin, Mama is waiting at home for you".   he responded, "where's my coat?" and headed right for the door.  He was so happy and cuddly to be home but told me all about his fun sleep over with his cousins.  We didn't read "2 books" tonight, instead we cuddled and talked... for about 3 minutes until he fell asleep.  I knew he'd be fine with the sleep over and all the fun times with the girls but boy oh boy, I haven't been that excited to see someone in a long time.  I waited at the window and couldn't pick him up fast enough.  In 2 days he'll have been home for 9 months.  He's had regular babysitters (albeit the strong majority is when he is already sleeping) and had one other sleep over but this one was a resounding success for everyone.  So now, I'm going to bed... after enjoying one more TicTac Bold :)

Thursday, March 17, 2011

Photo Treasures

For whatever reason it took me until yesterday to develop the photos on the 2 cameras that I left behind for the 5 months we were apart.  I think mostly it was because I was gifted the 61 pictures from the Baba's of Corbin during his stay at Casa De baby orphanage.  I got to see so much of his life and times.  The pictures of him in his crib smiling up at the camera, the one of him hugging one of his little friends and especially the oldest ones from not long after he came to live there will provide him as much history and "baby pictures" as we will ever likely have.  So back to the new pictures.  More than anything, I got to see that they helped him to remember that he was loved by a Mama who promised to come back.  Now I can't say for certain that he remembered me when I walked in that sunny day in May but I can now see that they did their best to try to keep showing him the photo album I left behind.  There are probably 8 pictures of him on different days looking at the book.  For me, this is a little piece of mind in demonstrating again that they truly do care for their children and that they want to help them understand as much as they can about life going on around them.
One of the most profound questions I had during the wait was "will he remember me?" - I'll never truly know if he did - he came out to me, smiled shyly and took my hand.  At that moment, it no longer mattered if he remembered me - all we had was that moment... and every one after it.  When we were home for 5 months (the same amount of time I was gone between trips) I pondered the question of if he remembered Anna from Khabarovsk - she was with him for only a few days.  My answer was probably not.  But Anna didn't give him a photo album full of promise and hope for a forever Mama.  I'd hazard a guess that he probably didn't really remember me but now it doesn't matter a lick.

Wednesday, March 2, 2011

Walking vicariously down memory lane

I can't help but wonder when the vividness of my trips to Russia will begin to fade and the details will become muted, replaced by the simple fact that I have a son from Russia?  When will the sights, smells, feelings of excitement and fear, terror for the awful driver, remembrance of the bitter cold and then the stifling heat lose their poignancy only to be remembered as I pull up pictures from my time there?  Not today.  Today I waited excitedly for the text message saying my friend is on line with details of her own to celebrate - today she met her son.  And, oh what news and what a celebration it is.  We share some of the same details - single Mama, traveling alone, KLM, Amsterdam, Marriott in Moscow, little 2 year old boy to meet... so when she tells me her stories, I often have the pictures in my head to go with them.  I remember my moments while I anticipate the excitement of hers.  And her moments... her son... let me tell you... he is perfect and beautiful and healthy and that giggle... oh that giggle!!!  Technology is amazing that this could all be shared on line from a hotel room outside of Moscow.  This little boy is everything and more this Mama was hoping for.  The sweet look of contentment on her face as she watched her son proudly carry around his photo book with HIS MAMA and his new home - priceless.  As we hung up on Skype I was left to my own recollection of Corbin's baby home in Siberia, walking in for the first time, the smell of bleach, the silence and the clickity clack of my boots on the tile floor, the door to the visiting room opening and him being led in by his hand... and time standing still. 

Thanks to my friend for sharing her moment and giving me pause to remember the details of my own.  I plan to spend some time today walking vicariously down memory lane as I can close my eyes and remember just how amazing it felt. I've wanted this for you since we stopped sharing pseudonym email addresses and watched helplessly as your dreams crumbled, only to be built up again culminating in the wonderfulness of today.  I promised there would be a moment that everything would make sense - that you would recognize that you are EXACTLY where you are meant to be, and the boy in your arms was ALWAYS supposed to be your son... and today, you told me I was right (I LOVE being right!!!).   Sharing this journey has already provided so many memories and I can't wait for our boys to be friends who make so many more.  Here's to turkey jerky, piva, vada e gaz, early early mornings and best of all, here's to YOU AND YOUR SON!  And, one last word (cuz I like to get the last word... and it's MY blog.)  I'll leave you with a quote... from the queen of quotation (edit: it's not MY quote - from Facebook... and I modified it... for my son and for adoption - now it fits our families :)

I may never know the meaning of life, but once my son was adopted, I felt my life had meaning. 
With love, Stacey & Corbin