Monday, June 27, 2011

This is my life now, and I love it.

We had a BBQ for M this Saturday. Some people didn't show up, but the ones that mattered did. Friends and family came from faraway to help us celebrate the new addition to Team Paxton. M was a little withdrawn. He gets nervous around strangers. (Stranger Danger as he would tell me). So he would take off on his own and ride his RipStick around the park until he felt like coming back. He did start to loosen up towards the end. My friends and family are amazing so they didn't push him too much. He bonded with my BFF Terri as he tried to teach her to ride the RipStick. Until she biffed it. Which, actually made them closer I think. He's getting closer to my sisters. Bit by bit. It takes time. He has reason to be apprehensive. It's OK. We have the rest of our lives.

 He's such an amazing young man. He has so much good in him. He is witty and charming when he wants to be. And around us he is totally relaxed and we get to see a side of him no one else does. It makes me feel good to know that he can feel safe with us. Safe to be himself. I do sometimes catch him in an unguarded moment, like if he accidentally breaks something, or makes a mistake. I see his defenses go up, the worry pass over his features. He waits for the backlash, maybe for me to blow up? I understand that wariness. I remember it well even after all these years. So in those moments I laugh it off, help him fix it/clean it up whatever it is and I rub his back or head and say, "Bummer dude. No biggie". And I see the relief on his face, in his body language. Hopefully someday he will understand that this is his safe place. He never has to worry about our reactions. Whatever he does we will deal with it. Hopefully calmly and with patience and love.

We were talking the other day about something or another. Some sort of paperwork we have to do or rule we have to follow and he said, "just until after the adoption right?" It made me happy that he still wants us to adopt him. Yes, I sometimes worry he will change his mind. He's old enough to do that. I worry he may decide we aren't good enough for him. 4 more months. I count them down with bated breath. Will he still agree to adopt us? Will the courts judge in our favor. I can't wait until he is all mine. We get lengthy court documents that mention his family stating they think he shouldn't be adopted. I read it over and over. What if the courts agree? I couldn't take losing him. I love him too much already. I see the love he has for Sara. It's the little things he thinks we don't notice. The way he plays slug bug with her, then when he hits her too hard he rubs her arm gently. Or when he's lying on the couch and she sits at the end and he rubs his toes on her. Not even realizing he's doing it, but craving that physical contact. She's his mom. She's the one he's embarrassed to be seen with at school, just like a real mom, cuz like he told her,  "don't feel bad some boys just don't like to be seen with their moms". He made them matching friendship bracelets. "These are mom and son wristbands", he said. And he hasn't taken his off.

Sara was so nervous that they wouldn't bond. She didn't need to worry. He loves her, anyone can see it. And she is a great mom. She does the shopping, always getting him his favorite things, she does his laundry, we take turns straightening his room up behind him. She takes him swimming or to play basketball. When he has a hard day she talks to him and always seems to know the right thing to say. I feel like that's my weak point. I don't know what to say sometimes. When he tells me he's mad at his previous foster mom I want to reply, "yeah she's a bitch!" But I don't so I kinda stumble around trying to be politically correct. I hope I get it figured out soon. I don't want to be the weak link. He loves to tease me about how old I am. "Ancient!" he tells me. "Like 1000 BC". He thinks it's hilarious. I'm like oh thanks, next time I need to feel bad I'll just remember you said that. "You want me to write it down?", he laughs. Yeah, he's a smart ass. I think he get's that from me.

Thursday, June 16, 2011

Boyo Boy Being a Parent is Hard

It's not like I didn't know. I prepared as much as humanly possible. We took about 40 hours of classes for preparation. We are taking another series of classes right now. It's a good refresher to the initial classes we took.

We learn all about behaviors and how to decode them. And boy does our boyo exhibit some behaviors. We tease that each day we aren't sure which son is coming home from school; withdrawn, moody, hyper, aggressive, funny, sensitive son. We get them all. Each day we prepare ourselves. Each day we deal with it. Some days we are firm, some days we use humor, every day we use love and acceptance and understanding. Doesn't matter which boy we get each day, we love him anyway, because at the end of the night when we put him to bed as a family and we get hugs and I love you's, even as timid as they are, we know that we are a family. And family is forever. And we go to bed happy that we have a son to love.

Friday, May 20, 2011

A son and Iron Man jammies, best day of my life!

I haven't been keeping up with my blog. I'm like that though, I lose interest or get distracted, or lazy, whatever. But here I am. A lot has happened since I last wrote. A LOT!

Biggest news, I became a PARENT. Yup, that's right, a parent. And I have to say, it's been exactly 2 weeks since we brought our boyo home and I love him with every fiber of my being. I look at him and I marvel at how perfect he is. When he smiles I get the proudest feeling. Because he didn't used to do that. Smile.

I can't get into particulars, we are bound by confidentiality laws until our adoption goes through, but I can say, he wasn't very happy where he was. And now, he's a normal, though sensitive, 12 year old. He plays video games as often as he can get away with, and with me as a parent he gets away with it a lot, because I dig video games too. So I'm either playing with him or watching him and offering suggestions to help him. I read the screen while he slaughters zombies. He's too busy blasting away to read.

It's amazing how it happened, we got a phone call from our social worker asking us if we were willing to take a 12 year old boy as an emergency foster removal and keep him for about a week until they could find a foster home to put him in. We aren't foster parents. We are adoptive parents who are part of the fost/adopt program, which means we are adopting a child from the California foster care system. But in an emergency situation we can take in a child from another family that uses our adoption agency under respite. Respite would typically be used in situations where the adoptive family had to leave suddenly, say for a funeral, and couldn't take the child. Then you would take that kid for a few days or up to a week, until they came back. This situation was different, but we were still willing to help out. So we went to pick up this 12 year old and we were both nervous, we didn't know anything about being temporary parents and we didn't know anything about 12 year olds. Most of the kids in our lives are under 8.

So we go get him, long story short, he's awesome! Two days later we contacted our social worker and asked what we had to do to keep him. She had to contact his two social workers from the county and his lawyer, give them our homestudy and wait for them to approve us as adoptive parents. We held our breath, we prayed, we hoped and we got accepted! One week ago we signed permanent placement papers! It was the single best day of my entire life. I got a son and Iron Man jammies all in the same day. Score!

So now we wait the mandatory 6 months, then we can petition the court for adoption. We can't wait. We are so excited. We love getting to know this boy. This amazing, sweet, sensitive, funny, kind boy with the most amazing smile and the cutest dimples. We love hanging out with him. We have serious talks about what it all means, what it means to be a part of our family, what it means to have two moms, what it means that family is forever and we will be here for him, and for his children. I talk about when he's 16 and what kind of car we are going to get him, I talk to him about what he's gonna do when he grows up and how he's gonna come home from college every holiday, I tease him that he's going to live in my basement until he's 40 because I don't ever want him to leave. He reminded me we don't have a basement. I told him I would start digging. I want him to understand that this is his permanent home now and that we are all a family.

I think he gets it, but just in case he starts to doubt it, I will keep reminding him. Last night as I hugged him goodnight and told him I love him, he replied back, "I love you too". Second best day of my entire life. Gosh I dig this kid. And I just can't wait to see where we all end up. I'm sure that the teenage years are gonna be fun, hard, crazy, frustrating and all that. I know it's not always so easy, he's a human being with feelings that will come out in all kinds of ways, some of which may not be pleasant. It's OK. Bring it on. I'm a parent now. I can handle it. Well, with a lot of help from my amazing wife, I'm pretty sure I can handle it. Cuz we've got this parenting thing down.

Saturday, March 5, 2011

The booger that chased me

On a three day get-away to Utah this weekend. Sara took my total cheapness to heart (completely ignoring the pinkie oath swear we had made to each other to not EVER stay in a hotel/motel that was less than $50 per night).

We took off like a herd of turtles and pulled into the Bates motel in St. George at 11:30 Friday night. I turned to her and said, "really?! How much did you pay?"

"$30 a night". I just groaned. I walked in the office and was immediately assaulted with a smell. Not to be bratty or anything but the smell was, I told Sara later, not American. Most people would say foreign or exotic, I'm not that verbose at midnight.

My nostrils constricted and I concentrated on breathing shallowly while filling out the old fashioned registration form. No fancy computers up in this joint. Tho' to be fair the 16 year old son came out and offered up the wifi password.

We got to our room (two steps away from the office) quickly and jumped in our jammies and went to bed. An hour later I feel Sara trying to meld herself with my DNA. Or maybe climb up under my skin in an attempt to find warmth. I'm not sure. All I know is that girl was attached to my back like a howler monkey all night. Which was fine. I was busy concentrating on sleeping on a slab of concrete.

Woke up the next morning to the gentle pounding on the door from housekeeping. Sara got in the shower first. After that I jumped in. Oh joy Luke warm water. I soaped up all my girly bits, yelled for Sara to open the shampoo for me while warily eyeing something on the shower curtain I was convinced was a booger. I tried to convince myself it belonged to my girl. That still didn't make it less horrifying. Here's the deal, I'm wide. Like my shoulders could be front linebackers for the Steelers. So trying to maneuver a small shower and avoid what may or may not be a glistening booger=not fun.

Meanwhile Sara gets the cap off the shampoo, hands it to me. I dump it in my hand and lather up. Immediately I yell out , "what's up with this shampoo, I smell like a Christmas ham!". Clove flavored shampoo?

I step out of the shower, look at Sara and say, "I don't know what's happening".

She's too busy laughing to answer. So far this is an interesting trip.

Thursday, March 3, 2011

How are you feeling?

My cousin texted me one day and asked, "how are you feeling?". I pondered for a minute and replied back, "mentally, physically or emotionally?" because really with me you just never know.

I'm a walking, talking mood disorder. Sure, I'm on heavy medication to stabilize that, but there is no cure, I still swing back and forth, just not as high and low, as often, mostly like a gentle swing porch swinging kinda way. But some days, oh those days, when I am up and down and up and down, it's hard. It's hard to live it and it's hard to live with it. I often think about my friends and family that have chosen to stick by me through all these times. How time after time they have displayed patience, annoyance, understanding and love. I can't even begin to express how much that means to me.

I know I'm not the easiest person in the world to live with, and yet, my wife hangs in there, year after year. She nags me to take my pills, calls me out when I make up lame excuses as to why I didn't tell her I was out, picks up my prescriptions, monitors my intake so I don't end up like a celebrity tragedy minus the news coverage. She's just always there for me, even when I try to push her away. During my darkest times, I push and push and push, but every morning when I wake up there she is. I honestly would have left my crazy ass years ago. I feel guilty that she didn't and now she's stuck with me. I feel like a failure. I promised her a better future, now the future is here and it's worse. She should have left. But she didn't.

Physically I'm a mess. I'm trying to make that better. I've lost a lot of weight. About 75 pounds. I had to stop losing to try to let my skin catch up. Too much too fast is not a good thing. I'm working on building up the muscle underneath. I kinda slacked off, I keep injuring my hip. I so want to be a runner, but apparently my body just can't take the beating. So I'm going to shelve that goal, for now. Maybe later after I've toned up a bit.

I have arthritis, it sucks. It started in my early 20's which really just isn't fair and I let it control my life and used it as an excuse for way too many years. I took my health back last year. It's mine now and I have no more excuses. If I stay fat it's because I'm lazy, not because I have to. I know that now. I'm never going back. I may stay where I'm at now, but I'm never, ever going back.

Emotionally, it's about the same as the mentally. It fluctuates based on the mental status, but also just because I am really emotional to begin with. Like seriously I cry all the time. I cry at dog food commercials, I get teared up talking about my loved ones. I'm just sensitive. My grandma used to tell me, "you wear your heart on your sleeve", "you would give anyone the shirt off your back" and "you need to learn to toughen up or people are just going to hurt you". Yeah, I never could do it. So yah, I let people hurt me. I care too much, give too much, love too much, talk too much, hurt too much, laugh too much. Everything I do is just too much.

I'm guessing my cousin is sorry she asked.

Sticks and Stones...

I was thinking this morning about how as a society we are leaning so much towards the extremes. Hence the term extremist I suppose. But the politically correctness of it all gets confusing. I mean I'm not even sure if I'm allowed to call my black friends black. I don't like to say African American because what if they are from Jamaica? It's the same way with my Hispanic friends. Is it Hispanic or Latina/Latino? Unless you are specifically from Mexico you aren't Mexican. But then some Mexican's don't like to be called Hispanic because they are proud to be Mexican. See it's all very confusing.

Some people might say, "why even use labels?". Well that's fine to a point but if I'm at a party and I point at 4 girls standing by the wall and say, "That's my friend J, the graphic design one", are you gonna be able to pick her out? But if I say, "that's my friend J, the cute black girl". You might be more inclined to know which one I'm talking about. I suppose I could just say they one in the paisley shirt, but why do I have to censor my descriptions. I wouldn't be offended if you called me the white girl. The pasty one. The one white as Wonder Bread. The short chubby girl. The lesbian. The dyke with the cool hair. Whatever. You see I don't mind labels. Words can hurt but only if you let them. Dyke used to be a derogatory term, and to some it still is. But I believe that if you take ownership of the word it loses it's ability to wound. I own the word dyke. By taking it and making it mine I take the hurt out of it. Gays did that with the word gay. It used to be shameful, fag too. But by taking ownership of the words, they no longer have that impact, and now we call ourselves those things.

I was walking down the street with my girlfriend, holding hands, and some guys walked by and said, "dyke!". I just laughed and said, "why yes, I am". Because, seriously folks if that is the worst thing you can think of to call me, I'll take it. Of all the things you could call someone (liar, bigot, racist, murderer, psychopath, abuser, etc.), if the absolute worst thing you can say about me is that I'm a dyke. Well by all means I will take it. It must mean I am doing something right.

Thursday, February 24, 2011

"WHY do you know that?"

Driving with Sara the other day and she says, "those cars are stupid looking".

"Huh?, what?", looking up from my iPhone and glancing around. Then I spot it. "Oh the Nissan Cube?"

"Yah, they are just dumb. They look stupid. Except maybe the back window. That part is kind of cool how it wraps around. They look like they should be in a cartoon."

"Oh, yeah like Roger Rabbit."

"Or like that guy that does Cranium and Cadoo, you know it would fit in there..."


"...but then it would have to be the colors that match those colors, that would be cool..."


"...if it was in those colors."

"Pink, and blue and yellow."

"But not blue like Ally's new car. It would have to be that same blue like he uses."

"Baseman. Like a grayer blue, bright but not too bright."


"What, what?"

"What do you keep saying?"


"You keep saying it, what are you saying?"



"That's his name."

"Who's name?"

"The guy that designed the packaging for Cranium. His name is Gary Baseman."

"WHY do you know that?"

"Because he's a famous illustrator"

"But how do you KNOW that? WHO knows that?"

"I said he was famous. He's done a lot of magazine covers too."

"But why would you know that? No one just knows those things."

"I do."

"You're weird."