All The Kings Horses and all the Kings men…Thousand Acre Heart Part 19

Thousand Acre heart is a story of adoption, of heartbreak, of redemption and of two hearts being reunited in love. There is no end to this story but you can start from the beginning HERE

The day I signed the adoption papers giving Jeffrey the life that he deserved, one I was fairly certain I wasn’t capable of giving him at sixteen changed me. For years I wasn’t the person I was supposed to be. I allowed myself to be shamed into silence and in turn I didn’t enter into friendships openly and honestly. There was a part of me that I kept under lock and key for so long that I wasn’t being all that I could be. Periodically I would trust someone enough to break down my walls a little but it was rare. I liked the anonymity of living in a big city and getting out of a small town where I was ‘that girl!” but my heart never really recovered. There was a void in me that caused a great deal of insecurity and I believe caused me to lack confidence in myself and in turn make some bad choices. For all the promises I made and broke over the years the most important one, the one I made to a bright eyed, dark haired newborn baby, I kept forever. “I will love you forever, never will a day go by that I won’t think of you” I have no idea how other birth moms feel or have felt but for me, I never gave up the worry that comes with parenthood. In thinking about him everyday of his life and not knowing if he was OK I worried a lot. I hoped his Mom kissed his skinned knees and tucked him each night and loved him more then anything in the world. I also felt an unmistakable guilt over the births of our girls. Almost as if I didn’t deserve the happiness or it somehow diminished the love I felt for the boy I couldn’t hold. When Jeffrey contacted me a healing began. His love and acceptance built a bandage for my troubled heart and allowed me to forgive myself for not being in his life. Knowing that he was happy, that he had a good life should have been enough. I didn’t dare ask or expect more but what happened between us was a natural progression that neither of us could have prepared for. It didn’t take away from my love for my children or he from his parents but it added to and enriched our lives in a way that has made me feel complete. I finally felt in the drivers seat in my own life, confident of who I was and owning the decisions I had made along the way, right or wrong because they had brought me here to this moment. Jeffrey and I conversed for about seven months. I talked about him to everyone who would listen. He in turn was probably feeling a little of what I felt for all those years. Unsure of who he was, not certain of how to embrace this craziness he had been thrown into without hurting his family. It was like navigating a country road without a compass. The maturity he continues to display in regards to all the decisions that were made regarding him, affecting him but without his knowledge makes it easy to forget that he is the child in all this. His faith in goodness and his kind spirit has helped guide me. We decided that Edmonton would be the best place for us to reunite face to face. With both of our families in Truro it would place a lot of unnecessary pressure on us and it was important that the reunion be about us. Mother and child. If I was asked to describe this process I would liken it to climbing a mountain. Slow and steady on the way up, marveling at the views, taking smalls steps, taking care not to fall, holding your breath sometimes because you are not sure what step you should take next, all the while knowing that the beauty was in the climb. Jeffrey landed in Edmonton on a beautiful Friday evening in September. Kirk and I had decided that I was going to go get him at the airport. Any advice that was given to me by well wishers all suggested the same, that the initial reunion should just be Jeffrey and I. The day of I was a complete mess. A bundle of frayed nerves. I couldn’t eat, hadn’t slept and my nervous stomach had me in the washroom every five minutes. Kirk poured me a glass of wine while I talked to a friend on the phone. I am not sure how many times he refilled it but my nervousness subsided, as did my ability to drive safely to the airport. Kirk insisted on driving but was going to stay in the truck. We arrived a bit early so Kirk parked and decided to walk me into the airport and keep me company but leave before Jeffrey’s plane landed. Plans are plans but even the best laid plans sometimes fall apart mid flight. Kirk was so excited for me, so thrilled to be a part of my life changing I couldn’t imagine him not being there when Jeffrey stepped off the plane. The waiting was excruciating. Kirk and I waited as close to the doors as possible, hand in hand, giddy with anticipation, as friends and family were reunited one by one. The plane emptied quickly at first and then slowly a passenger or two here and there descended the stairs. Kirk was hilarious through it all, keeping me upbeat, trying to convince me that the young Asian guy coming down the stairs was probably my son, or maybe the Hawaiian guy, or perhaps the 70 year old plaid loving granddad. After what seemed like an eternity my boy came down the stairs. He was bubbling over with excitement about the baby that he helped deliver on the plane. He detailed the account of the events that unfolded during the flight that led to him assisting in the birth of a bouncy baby. We were astonished and intrigued. It turned out the story was bogus, but a great ice breaker. Something weird happened and it happened very quickly, twenty years faded away until there was nothing separating us. What could have been, and should have been weird was quietly comfortable. Two hours and several cocktails later nobody would have guessed that years and miles and questions had ever separated us. Well wishing friends wanting to share in our excitement met us at the restaurant intending to have one drink with us and move on. It was an exciting evening for everyone and next thing you know we were all at their home bar, with all the makings of an all nighter! There was dancing and laughter, memories that would last forever. As the sun was coming up Jeffrey’s head lowered unto the bar and his eyes closed in much needed slumber. Somehow I helped maneuver my stocky, over six feet tall boy up the stairs and to a bedroom where he could catch a couple of hours of sleep. At twenty years old I tucked my boy in for the VERY first time. I stepped outside the door and tears of complete joy spilled over my cheeks. All the Kings horses and all the Kings men couldn’t have put me back together again but finally, for the first time in twenty years I felt complete.

Thousand Acre Heart Part 18 The missing piece of the puzzle

The missing piece of the puzzle

Christine was excited to hear from me and she could tell that my heart was sitting in my throat making it difficult to form coherent sentences. She went ahead and did the talking and though I know it was her job to remain impartial and unattached the circumstances made it next to impossible. Any woman with a heart that beats inside their body would have found it difficult not to feel some sort of emotion if they were the one in charge of relaying information to me about the son I longed for for a great deal of my life. She told me that Jeremy had contacted her by phone because he had sent an email and hadn’t heard back right away. It turns out that his email was stuck in her junk-mail folder and he was pretty anxious to hear back. She told me his name was Jeffrey, I admit that initially I had a very hard time identifying with that, for 19 years he was Jeremy in my heart. She also told me his nickname was Jam which resonated a little better because the initials short for Jeffrey Andrew also represented Jeremy Allen. She told me about his family and where he grew up which was surprisingly close to where I had lived prior to moving to Edmonton. She told me he had played hockey most of his life as a goalie and that made me smile. I was drinking the information in like a thirsty traveler in the dessert but what I longed to know most was “Did he think of me?” Did he ever wonder where he got his dark hair and wondrous eyes from? Did he ever wonder if we had the same laugh, the same curiosity, the same smile? It seemed almost too much to ask. This woman had just given me so much in a short time, so much more then promised and more then I ever hoped to expect. Then she told me the information that I thirsted for. To her it even seemed incredulous. Unfathomable in this day and age, especially in such a small town she speculated.  He never thought of me. He never wondered in what ways we were similar or different.  He never laid awake nights and thought “what if?” The truth was, until the letter from social services came he had lived his life one hundred percent as Jeffrey Andrew, not wondering about the little boy Jeremy or the woman who had chosen to let another family raise him as their son. There had been absolutely no reason to look back because he was never told he was adopted. I gasped and Christine allowed me some time to feel everything that I was feeling. I cried openly. I cried for him and for his parents, I cried for uprooting his life and the pain that it would cause. I also cried for me. I felt a betrayal of sorts. It wasn’t the agreement,  albeit verbal, his adopted mom had promised to give him a letter from me when he was old enough to understand. I cried at the thought that had I waited for him to search for me that day would have never come. Among the tears were tears of pure happiness, for the gift of today. My boy was healthy, happy, well adjusted, that was everything a mother could hope for. Christine told me that Jeffrey wanted to forgo the normal progression of things and have direct contact with me. Over the sound of my beating heart I heard  that he had written me a letter as well and she was about to forward it to me. She wished us luck. Her job was done. She was cutting me loose. This woman who had been my anchor in a sea of churning emotion was turning the Captains hat over to me. I was scared and excited sitting at my computer waiting for his email to come through. I must have read it a thousand times. My heart felt things I can’t even begin to explain but I know I was a little bit crazy. I typed a letter back quickly and that is where our “new” relationship began. It was a continuation of the one we forged in a hospital room with me promising to love him forever.

I woke the girls up for school and very quickly dissolved into a teary emotional mess. The talk I had planned in my head for months came out in choked waves while I blew my nose and wiped the running faucets that had taken over my eyes. Their immediate reaction was to cry as well. Their young hearts couldn’t quite comprehend. They wanted to know if their brother was okay and could he come live with us. I told them that wasn’t possible…what did I know?

I can’t recall my conversations with my husband or my mom on this day. It’s lost somewhere in my heart so they can feel free to weigh in if they remember. I am sure they won’t discount the fact that I was a little crazy. Maybe everyone is on the journey to becoming whole.

Jeffrey has from the beginning encouraged this blog and has agreed that I can share some of our correspondence.  I will share some of our initial correspondence with you but I have blocked out some names in the interest of everyone’s privacy.

♥♥ Michelle

Feb 4, 2010

Michelle,

As soon as i read this letter i had so much to say, and wanted to send it so fast. I only got it today. I didn’t think I was going to be so enthusiastic before i read it. My parents named me Jeffrey, I go by Jeff. Most of my friends call me Jam , its my initials and it caught on in high school. I just found out i was adopted less than a week ago, im still kind of in shock.

So my name is Jeff, I’ve always been fairly popular lots of friends. Im alot like you in that I value memories more than things. Nothing is better than a good story. Id like to think I have lots. My thing growing up was Hockey. I played goalie mostly and I was pretty good. I was always kinda a leader on my team ive had some of my best times playing hockey. I did good in school until highschool , I cared more about hockey and work. But I graduated at the end of last year.

After I graduated I took off To Banff with one of my best friends XXXX. Our friends xxxx and XXXX were living there and we went to stay with them. The plan was to get Jobs but i got homesick really fast ,so we went home. I feel like i learned alot from it though. And while I partied pretty hard and had alot of fun.

When I came back i decided that I wanted to go to college to become a youth worker which is what im doing now. School is pretty great because i love that im going to be doing something for a career that makes a difference. Im not working right now because at the start of the school year I was on a Juniour “C” hockey team and i couldn’t find a place to work around school and hockey. My goals right now are to do good in school and get a part time job, and work full time in april when im done school for the year. Im really a fun loving guy who lives for the weekend. I love your husbands silver patron shirt thats in one of the pictures!

I have a great family. My mom and dad XXXX and XXXX and my younger sister natalie. Besides the fact that they kept this from me for so long, they really are great. They always spoiled me and gave me more than I needed. I’ve lived in the same house here alll my life, but id like to get on my own as soon as i get a job and school done with. My dad was kinda like one of my best friends growing up and most of my memories with him are going to hockey rinks all over the place. My mom is a really caring person. My little sister natalie is 16 and she is awesome, we haven’t fought at all since we were younger. She is a pretty blonde and really smart. She only found out the other day when I did too. I guess when my parents adopted me they didn’t think that they could have kids and 3 years later they got lucky with my sister.
Finding out was such a shock but I’ve taken it really well i think. I’ve been on and off with my girl XXXX for a while now. ( I say my girl cuz i don’t know what to say because she hates being labelled). We Kinda just started seeing each other again just before I found out, and having her there for me is a big part of the reason i’ve been able to take it so well. I believe that things happen for a reason and every decision can effect so much. I believe in Karma and positive thinking. You should read the book ” The Celestine Prophecy”. It talks about how good things will happen and how things will work out if you just follow your intuitions and be led by coincedences. I think that’s why XXXX and me seemed to make a mends at the perfect time before I needed her. I also believe that’s why you knew to do the right thing when you decided to give my parents the gift of their first son. I hope your guilt goes away because your decision allowed me to have a great life. I really believe that your love and good thoughts have made a difference to me on some level. I’ve always been pretty lucky and I think you having me close to your heart probably had lots to do with it. Knowing that you worried about me dispising you for the decision you made me feel so bad. My parents not telling me didn’t make me mad at first… I lost trust in them.. but knowing that I was doing so good and you had to worry all the time makes me kinda mad at them. Thats what really struck me when i read the letter you sent me. Doing what im doing in school helps me understand the courage (i can only imagine) it would take to do whats best like you did. You didn’t deserve to have to worry for all that time.

You guys sound like you have a really good time! Kirk seems like a great husband by how you talk about him. Morgan and Haley are so beautiful. xxxx said she thought Haley looked like me. It’s crazy to think I have two little sister I didn’t even know about. Id like to know more about them. Do they know they have a big brother somewhere? When are their birthdays? I always find coincedences relating to dates and i guess im really into that stuff. Is there anything you can tell me about my father?

You say that you only moved two years ago and you look really famillar to me. The girls too, but maybe you guys would anyways. When you lived here did you ever buy groceries at sobeys on robie street? I worked there for a long time. I hope that this letter clears your mind and takes all guilt off your shoulders! My email is xxxxxxx@hotmail.com cuz mail is pretty old school. I can’t believe i wrote all this without saying how jealous I am that you went to ACDC, UFC and go to oilers games. One of my best friends went to ACDC in moncton , and i missed getting a ticket. He says it was amazing. He’ll love it that you mentioned ACDC. Im a huge leaf fan but i’ve always liked the oilers too, they both could be doing alot better this year though! Im excited to talk more and your close to my heart now too. I’ll see if i can find a suitable picture but if not ill find some good ones soon. Jeff

Hi Jeff,

I love the nickname Jam. Nicknames are the best. Some of my friends call me Mich some of them call me Shelle and my best friend in London, Ontario calls me Po Po. That one is a long story!!

 

I was absolutely stunned that you replied so soon and you are right that mail is old school so this is a really great way for us to communicate. When Tina told me that you didn’t know that you were adopted I was so worried about you being shook up but you seem to be taking it in stride.

 

 I will admit initially I was a little mad at your parents too, I always assumed you knew that you were adopted and that they would have at some point given you the letter I wrote after you were born. Taking a step back I realize that people make decisions that are personal to them and I can no more judge their decisions then I would like to have all of mine judged. The most important thing is that they gave you a good life and if anything I am sure they thought they were doing what was best. If I can take one thing from that it is that from the beginning they loved you like their very own and that is what I wished for you always. I bet they are struggling with this a little as well. I am quite certain that they have their own feelings surrounding you and I being in contact so please be easy on them.

 

Your letter certainly made me feel so much better about a lot of things. As far as the worrying and the guilt it is part of life and especially Motherhood so nobody is to blame for that. You mentioned that your Mother and you didn’t always see eye to eye. I bet you Morgan (the oldest) can relate. We love each other to the ends of the earth but she likes to challenge me on everything and it is my job to make sure that she eats well, brushes her teeth, does her homework, is safe…..all the non-fun stuff, so a lot of the time Kirk gets to be the fun one!! I like to think my kids have a lot of fun with me as well. They love it when I act silly. Especially when we turn on the radio and play name that tune and dance. The kids are Beatles fans and Haley woke up at 2 am last weekend because Kirk and I were playing their Beatles Rock Band. We were doing the tour. Hehe. We had fun. We also have a “Rock Band….”band” Kirk plays drums, Morgan guitar and Haley and I are singers. Haley mostly dances and makes up her own songs. She also has to change her clothes 50 times for these events. She is quite a diva. She turns 6 on April 29 and Morgan will turn 11 on November 8.

 

Haley is anything but shy, she loves to sing and dance and act and do anything that draws attention to her. Getting ready for school this morning she was singing the Barney song and she would start out all sweet and then go into a “Metallica like “version. If you can imagine Metallica singing the Barney song??? Hmmmm…..She would like to be a ballerina and says she will eat carrots instead of chips. She loves chips!!!

 

Morgan is my cool rock chick. We have the same favorite song right now. Billy Talent, Rusted by the Rain. She also likes to write poetry and music (I think she gets that from me) She is interested in History, geography and would love to travel the world. We watch House Hunters International together so we can see what it would be like to live other places. We all love the Beach. I have family that live in Malgash in the summer and I adore it there. We all do.

Morgan is also a UFC fan. Her favorites are Forrest Griffin, Dan Henderson and GSP.I have a picture of me and Dan Henderson after he knocked out Michael Bisbing at UFC 100. He was cool and excited and I brought back a shirt that he signed from Morgan.

Kirk will be tickled that you like his Patron shirt. It is his favorite. I bought it in Vegas. He also loves Patron. I like Cuervo Gold just as well and it costs a lot less. Kirk is a good husband and the best Dad. He and I haven’t always had it easy, we have had our share of struggles but they were all worth it. We all have a lot of fun together. Kirk played football and Rugby until we left Truro. He played with the Saints the year they won the provincial Championships. He misses playing on teams and just recently has started to play a little Hockey with some buddies. He also got Morgan a stick and they play around at the outdoor rink down the road.

I was so touched that you said that your Dad was like your best friend. So you are a Hockey guy! We took Morgan to her first NHL game Oilers vs. Kings for her Birthday this year. She and Kirk are L.A. Kings fans. Kirk has been for 25 years so even though I was rooting for the Home team “The Edmonton Snoilers” I was glad that they won for him. I was a New Jersey Devils fan growing up. The Bear (that’s my fave radio station here) played a song this morning called “Wake me up when the Season ends” as a dig to the Oilers….to the tune of Geenday When September ends!! Hopefully the Eskimos will make good use of Jesse Lumstrom and make us proud this year. Haley loves the Eskimo games….she mainly likes the cheerleaders!

I agree with you on the Celestine Prophecy though I have not read it but will….I believe in the power of faith and positive thinking. I have many stories in that regard. I am not surprised that you are popular and have lots of friends….it rather runs in the family! You don’t have to worry about “party pics” and that sort of thing!! As I said we are still very social people and doesn’t everyone “Live for the weekend?” One day though you will have grown up responsibilities and I wouldn’t ever want you to look back and feel like you missed out on anything!! You have no reason to be Jealous about AC/DC…you will have plenty of opportunity to see them. They ROCKED. My top five concerts (I can’t put them in order) Eagles, Pink Floyd, AC/DC, Rolling Stones and yeah that is 4 but I saw the Eagles twice and they were sooo awesome both times. Like I said you have years to catch up and out do me and I hope you do. Don’t count me out yet though.

I was glad to hear about xxxx. It is a comfort to know that you have someone to help you deal with your feelings surrounding this. It is a pretty big deal and you haven’t had 20 years to think about it like I did. (Almost 20…April 10) My stepdad and my good friend and neighbour share your birthday.

I have tried to touch on everything…..you can ask me anything at all. Also let me know if you are overwhelmed or anything.

You asked about your father and I would like you to know that he is still in Truro. He remains to this very day one of my best friends. He and I are polar opposites but every time in my life when I needed someone he was always there. Everything that we went through had the potential to tear us apart but “You” are the glue that kept us in touch and caring about each other always.  We dated off and on for years but we were just not meant to be together forever in that way. I will love him always though and he and I have been in touch and he is grateful for news. He was quite worried when he found out that you hadn’t known you were adopted, he was worried about you being overwhelmed. He has a good heart. He was very popular in school too, lots of friends, he played football and he was popular with the ladies. None of them compared to me though!! Hehe. He was engaged but never married. He has a son that is 8 and he is a phenomenal Dad. He works hard and has for as long as I’ve known him. His parents divorced young so though he was his parent’s only child he has a ½ sister and step brother on one side and a ½ brother on the other side. He lost his Dad in the spring. I guess to sum it up….you come from good people.

I think I have to close this off at some point ….I could rattle on forever. You have lightened the weight that has been sitting on my heart forever and thank you so much for putting me in yours.

P.S.

Yes the girls know about you. Morgan is over the moon excited. She cried at first because she wanted to know that you were alright. She has thousands of questions!!

I hope to hear from u soon. Xo

Michelle

Making the Connection with you

Daily Prompt: The Stat Connection

Go to your Stats page and check your top 3-5 posts. Why do you think they’ve been successful? Find the connection between them, and write about it.Photographers, artists, poets: show us CONNECTIONS.

My top posts are all from my Thousand Acre Heart Series. I think it has been successful because I speak from my heart and I talk openly about Adoption,  marriage, motherhood and all my hopes, fears and feelings. I was pretty surprised initially with where my posts were being viewed.  My nine year old daughter freaked out that Hong Kong was viewing because that is Katy Perrys favorite place to visit!! I appreciate every visit and I know that know matter where in the world you are viewing from our hearts are similar. We have all felt the joy of a sunrise, kissed someone we love under the moonlight, felt hurt and loss but conquered it. We have all thrown our hands up under the same blue sky and said “Why me?” or thanked our God for his many blessings. In knowing this I write like I would talk to a friend.  I have said it before, there are no strangers here, just friends we haven’t met yet.People relate to Thousand  Acre Heart because I am you and you are me. We are characters in this world, playing our parts, navigating through lifes stuggles and triumphs trying to be the best we can be. When I write this series I think through my fingers, memories are coming back to me quickly and sometimes my cheeks are hot with tears and other times I am choked with laughter or overwhelmed with the lightness of love.  People relate to honesty,  truth and vulnerability and it has been very cleansing for my soul.

If you haven’t read Thousand Acre Heart but would like to you can start HERE

Michelle ♥

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Thousand Acre Heart Part 17 Grown ups

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It seems like it happened overnight, the carefree party girl, work to party,  party to live had grown up. Paying a mortgage and reading bedtime stories quickly takes precedence over dancing on speakers at the local nightclub.  Days turn into weeks, fade into monthes and before you know it years have passed in the blink of an eye.

I was in Nova Scotia for a visit when my baby boy officially turned into a “grown up” Unofficially he was just a boy under an adult label celebrating the right of passage otherwise known as “the legal age to drink” Generally celebrated at a bar with your inebriated “of age” friends and way too many suggestively named shooters! It was our last night in Truro and all of our friends were going out boozing at the old haunts. Chevys, Engine Room, The Mill. A fight ensued with my husband when I refused to go siting my dislike of bars. He begged me to make an exception and spend that last night before flying back to Edmonton partying with our friends. How could I explain that I could not party on this day. I was certain that my son would be out celebrating his birthday and his graduation into “legal drinking” I was certain I couldn’t help but look for him in every handsome dark haired young man, and even more certain that if I saw him I would know. What I wasn’t certain of was how I would react if I did in fact see the boy I had given birth to, here in Truro, nineteen years ago. So instead of trying to explain I sullenly refused to budge and spent the last night in my hometown with my parents, just as it should be.

On the long flight home Kirk badgered me into telling him why I wouldn’t come out. He was apologetic and understanding but I am positive that he couldn’t quite understand the depth of my feelings. I don’t think anyone but a mom who had given up a child for adoption could begin to.

That being said when we returned to our lives in Edmonton he questioned me further. He knew about the dog earred form facilitating a reunion that I carried around for the past nineteen years. He knew about the letter, a response from Jeffreys mom when he was a baby that had moved from purse to purse since I was a teenager. He knew about the void in my heart that no amount of love from him or the girls could ever fill.

He encouraged me to make the call to the number on the form. He did so delicately at first and I put it off and made all sorts of excuses. There was a storm raging in my heart and he recognized that but he didn’t understand.  Jeffrey was of age now and I could search for him. Why the hesitation?

I had thought about this for nineteen years and thought of almost every imaginable outcome. The one outcome I  never imagined but would now be forced to face was what if he had no desire to know about me. What if I never crossed his mind. What if the closure I hoped for all these years ended with a tightly closed door. I would have no other choice but to accept it. Bear it and respect his wishes. My heart was not quite yet prepared for that scenario.

It took some time, patience and love but with Kirks blessing and encouragement I made the call to Halifax Social Services and was put in touch with an updeat and realistic woman named Christine.

Christine quickly became my lifeline. She spoke to me as directly as possible but her tone was never condesending or negative. She told me the steps involved with the process and allowed my hopefulness but encouraged my cautiousness. The one thing she insisted upon was my patience.

I explained that my children did not know about Jeffrey and she said I should not tell them. If this didn’t go anywhere I would be giving them something and taking it away.

Christine called me almost immediately and let me know that they had an address for Jeffrey on file. She referred to him as Jeremy as I always did because that was the name I gave him. I had made a package with a letter I wrote to him and some pictures of all of us. I wanted him to see us, see that we were real and desperately wanted to know him.

Christine sent a  letter to him explaining that she had some information for him. He was asked to contact the office.

Things were moving a lot quicker then I anticipated which was good but dizzying.  I was transported back to a time when I was sixteen years old. I was in contact with Jeffreys biological father. We had maintained contact for over twenty years, I considered him a good friend. That would change but in my heart I thought he deserved the opportunity to be included. I was up and down like a teeter totter.

I was on the verge of tears constantly. The poor girls were confused because mommy was a basket case. I had to sit down with my bosses and explain why I could barely talk most days.

Christine told me that adopted boys are much less anxious then girls to make contact  with their biological families or at the very least they ponder it awhile before ever thinking seriously about calling.

She said six weeks after the initial letter she would send a Registered follow up letter. That way he would have to sign for it and we would know for certain that he had it in his possession.  She shared with me scenarios good and bad and everything in between to help prepare my heart. I remember the one possibility that I found implausible was that we would meet, not feel any reason to pursue or continue a relationship,  he may not be a good and decent person worthy if being in our lives. I had to consider it but I couldn’t fathom it.

I convinced myself to calm down a little. I was having heart flutters, insomnia,  episodes of euphoria followed by the lowest of lows. I needed to go back to being a Mom and a wife and wait patiently.

About three weeks later I came home from work and I had an important call from Christine.  She left an excitable message on my answering machine but her office was closed by the time I got it. (3 hour time difference 😦 )

We played phone tag for three days until I was finally able to contact Christine. It was about 5:30 am for me and I was laying in the bed that I had tossed and turned in and remained sleepless for days. Christine was about to change my life.

To be continued. …

Thousand Acre Heart Part 13- OH BILLY

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A message I painted in my kitchen as a reminder to my family that they don’t have to be ordinary. Never be afraid to be extraordinary!!

OH BILLY

*bilirubin

[bil′iro̅o̅′bin]

Etymology: L, bilis + ruber, red
the orange-yellow pigment of bile, formed principally by the breakdown of hemoglobin in red blood cells after termination of their normal lifespan. Water-insoluble unconjugated bilirubin normally travels in the bloodstream to the liver, where it is converted to a water-soluble, conjugated form and excreted into the bile. In a healthy person, about 250 mg of bilirubin is produced daily. The majority of bilirubin is excreted in the stool. The characteristic yellow pallor of jaundice is caused by the accumulation of bilirubin in the blood and in the tissues of the skin. Testing for bilirubin in the blood provides information for diagnosis and evaluation of liver disease, biliary obstruction, and hemolytic anemia. Normal levels of total bilirubin are 0.1 to 1 mg/dl or 5.1 to 17 μmol/L.

I love the springtime when everything is fresh and new, trees are budding and color is being restored to the world. The anticipation of Spring is not unlike having a new baby. You experience all the stages and although full bloom is perfection you secretly want to enjoy each stage as long as possible.

We brought Haley home in the Spring.  The second week of May. She had to spend some extra time in the hospital due to sheer incompetence.  I had a male nurse who seemed like he was playing the part of a nurse in a reality show, and certainly not a good one!! I didn’t breastfeed with Morgan so on top of the fact that it was near impossible to try to breastfeed a jaundiced, sleeping baby I had lots of questions. The only answer I got from my nurse was a confused look followed by a muttered “You will be fine” as he walked out the door. The extent of his check ups were to awkwardly lift my blanket just to drop it as quickly and say “You are OK…right!?” I felt more then a little uneasy with him and suggested that maybe I could have a nurse that was familiar with breastfeeding. He ignored this request with a blank stare. I felt that he was not anxious for anyone else to know about his extreme shortcomings in his chosen profession. I felt slightly sorry for him until he dropped the ball in a very big way. My doctor left explicit instructions when he left for the weekend that if  Haley’s “billy” levels were up that she was to be put under the lights immediately.  The instructions were communicated to the ward staff, to me, and noted on my chart. It was cut and dry! When Haley’s test results came back with the inevitable news that her “billy” levels were elevated the course of action was clear. I am not a medical professional but I had been through this with Morgan and I understood the importance of getting her under the lights as soon as possible. Nurse Dolittle and I did not share the same of urgency in regards. I inquired about the lights, asked about the lights, insisted upon the lights, demanded the lights, but to each action I got the same result one would get from banging their head against a wall repeatedly. Upon my repeated insistence I was told the lights were in a construction area and could not be accessed. I asked for a doctor, another nurse, a passerby but my best option was hoping for a sunny day to sit her in the window. I left a note for my favorite nurse Beth at the nurses station. Beth had assisted with all my children’s births and she was amazing.  Unfortunately she had the weekend off. She woke me at 5 am Monday and I anxiously recounted my plight. I had spent a very stressed out weekend and I was as happy to see her as a five year old waking to find Santa. She assessed the situation in her head for mere seconds before heading out the door so fast her Super Nurse cape got stuck in the door. She returned quickly with a beautiful set of lights. She downplayed her Super Nurse skills when asked how she managed by replying, ” I lifted the plastic divider, I crawled under, I wheeled the lights out” So simple, so awesome. We both knew the damage was done though. If your broker calls and tells you to sell failing stock you don’t wait for three days and then wonder about the huge loss. There was time to make up so initially Haley was under the lights around the clock. Her “billy” levels needed to be brought down and she had continued to lose weight. I was scared and distraught. I can’t imagine how parents of children in Neo Natal must feel waiting for the tiniest of milestones. I just wanted to bring my girl home. I knew that even if the “billy” levels stabilized that Dr. Chalmers would never allow me to take her home until she gained weight. The nurses suggested taking Haley to their station so I could get some rest but I insisted she stay with me florescent lights and all! Breastfeeding continued to be an impossible challenge as Haley was too sleepy to bother with eating. If I managed to get her latched on she would fall asleep quite quickly and I would doze off and feel all sorts of guilty. I was fixated on getting her to eat as it was about the only thing I had any control over but my attempts proved to be pretty futile.  Luckily for me I never saw Nurse Dolittle again and I was blessed with a team of exceptional nurses to keep me calm and informed. There was a senior nurse on the Ward who appeared looming and more then a little scary. Her assistance was sought in getting Haley to eat. Her demeanor, at first overbearing, won me over and I knew quite quickly that deep down she was a soft nut in a tough shell. They hooked me up to a breast pump which could better be described as an industrial milking machine. It milked me, I bottled the goods and Nurse Notsoscary would coax precious Haley into eating little by little. She managed to get more into her in one feeding then myself and all the other nurses had for days. I felt the promise of progress. The steps were little but the more Haley ate and the more time she spent under the lights I was able to get her to feed here and there for short periods of time. I am thinking back to how incredibly delicate she seemed, tiny featured and curled up in the fetal sleeping position. I can vividly recall the news that she had began to gain weight. I was elated! It was a slight amount but it is the step we were all waiting for.  The next day I had our bags packed and I was ready and excited to go home when Dr. Chalmers popped in for rounds. He was happy for the progress but not satisfied with her “Billy” levels just yet. This game continued for several days where I would have us packed and ready and Dr. Chalmers would inform me “Not Yet” He agreed to release me but Haley had to stay. I wasn’t about to leave without her! One cheerfully sunny Friday Dr. Chalmers was feeling generous and noting with familiarity my packed bags he offered a compromise. Haley and I could go home if we agreed to come into the hospital everyday to get her blood work taken. The hospital was a fair jaunt for us but at that point I would have agreed to come to the hospital three times a day. I WAS FREE!!! FREE from four months of hospitals and FREE to go home with my family!

 

Doll on a music box

Haley performing Doll on a Music Box at Edmonton’s 2013 Kiwanis Musicfest Junior Musical Theatre

Annie

Thousand Acre Heart-Part Ten

Gracie Anne

Thursday was the beginning of a very emotional, edge of my seat couple of days. Kristy was induced on Thursday and the progression from labor to birth was pretty slow. If it was excruciating for me I imagine poor Kristy was ready to burst…excuse the pun.

She was so tough. Jeffrey was there for the duration and was great about keeping in touch. It was exciting and stressful all at the same time. When things started to progress it was difficult being miles away. Beautiful Princess Gracie Anne was born at 12:14 am, Saturday April 6 weighing 8 lbs 6 oz and she was nothing short of PERFECT. I most definitely have a bias but I am not speaking with a bias, this baby girl is AMAZING!! I told Jeffrey to prepare for the moment she was born, I told him that it was difficult to put into words but that it would change him immediately. He said I was right, it was indescribable. He is madly in love with his little girl, holding her he finally knows what it feels like to hold his whole world in his hands. He wanted me to share in that. I wanted it to but I felt that it was best to allow his family that time by themselves. I know in my heart that it was the best thing for everyone. A girl who waited for nineteen years to meet her son can certainly wait. My heart ached though. More than I ever thought it would. I accepted all the milestones that I missed over the years but this one that was so special to him seemed almost unforgivable. So I decided that two weeks was the best I could do and I started searching flights. The girls are in a crucial time in their school year and Kirk is in the middle of a project up North so it was impossible for them to get away right now. With Kirk being away it makes it difficult to travel. I booked a short trip. I land in Nova Scotia, a place I still refer to as “Home” on April 24. A place I have not visited in four years. The moment I booked my flight home I was an emotional wreck. One way or the other it is justified, I get to see Jeffrey and meet his beautiful daughter (my granddaughter) Gracie. It almost feels like more than that. I have been in Edmonton for almost five years and I am a different person then when I left. I feel I am a better, more confident person and I feel like I left behind some bad memories in my little hometown and being there in my little hometown I may be forced to deal with all of my demons.

How funny and ironic that I am listening to the radio and Trooper is playing. In a roundabout way a Trooper concert is responsible for me meeting Kirk. I guess I should listen to Trooper “We are here for a good time, not a long time…”

Don’t get me wrong, I am beyond excited to go home but there are things there that I may need to face that could be difficult.

Three times in the last couple of days people have referred to me as “confident” I take that as a HUGE compliment but I also want people to know that I have the same fears as all of you. Sometimes I take a whole day to cry and reflect. I am now and have always been very led by my emotions. I draw confidence and strength from my family and experiences. I learn from experiences, I embrace change, I stick my foot in my mouth, I bite off more then I can chew. I fear not being good enough, I fear being too good. Since I met Jeffrey I have experienced a peace within myself that I never thought possible. I love me!! I would love to be thinner, richer, more cultured, wiser….who wouldn’t?? The things I would really like to change about me are more subtle but generally I am finally pretty happy with who I am. When I said I was led by emotions I wasn’t embellishing in the least, I am a person who FEELS everything. The most important thing is that I recognize learning experiences. With every tear, every goodbye, every hardship, every triumph I have learned. I like me, I am not afraid to be me. I share my wisdom and experiences with my children and I am not afraid to tell them how bad the world can be and I also am not afraid to let them know how wonderful it can me. I know one day they will spread their wings and fly away from me. They want to experience the world and I know that when the time comes they will grasp every opportunity because I told them they could. My family is where I draw my strength.

If it were up to Kirk we would have had several babies but I struggled with that. I loved Morgan more than anything in the world. She was my miniature bestie. I just didn’t want to take any time away from her being a baby. Since Haley wasn’t born till Morgan was four I am pretty sure you are all smart enough to question that! I was terrified. I really really wanted to have a boy. The million dollar family. We also all know that though you can replace things, you can’t replace people and there was a little boy with wondrous eyes taking up a huge amount of real estate in my heart.

I had had some cervical issues and the one thing that made me decide to have a baby is the thought that the choice might be taken away from me. All of the sudden what had been a priority for Kirk for years became urgent for me. Our friend worked at the doctors office and I remember how sad she was to tell me I wasn’t pregnant when I was certain that I was. It happened in good time though.

From the moment I had conceived Haley I knew there was a problem. I felt like I was holding a bowling ball between my legs. My doctor kept disregarding my fears but I knew something was wrong. I had had no “real” labors with Jeffrey and Morgan so it really should have come as no surprise when I found out that I had an incompetent cervix. When women know that we have a problem, we push, even when our doctors tell us we are fine and that as mine said “maybe you are no spring chicken anymore” (seriously) we know our bodies enough to know when their is an issue. I finally convinced my doctor to send me to an Obstetrician who noted that at 16 weeks my cervix was softening. She sent me immediately to the city hospital where they noted that my cervix was softening and they would see me again in a month. In a months time my cervix that had measured 12 cm had funneled open and now measured .5cm. That feeling of me holding a bowling ball between my legs was me holding Haley in by sheer will power. I need to mention that we did not know at this point that Haley was a girl. If we had a boy, he was going to be Lorenzo Douglas DeBay, paying homage to Kirk’s grandfather and my uncle who had died when he was quite young. He would be Loren for short. Haley came by her name in a truly unique fashion. Before I was even pregnant with Haley, Kirk had taken Morgan to a truck show and I was to meet them later (Big Stop, Truro Heights). When I got there I went to the store first to get lotto tickets and gum. The girl that waited on me had dark hair and big brown eyes, she was very pretty and friendly. Her name tag said Haley and I loved the name immediately. I found Kirk in the crowd with Baby Morgan on his shoulders and when I approached them he said “hey before I forget if we have another baby and it’s a girl, let’s name her Haley” Too funny, we named our daughter after the pretty girl at The Big Stop. Haley Jade Catherine. Catherine is after my Mom, strongest woman I have ever known!

When I went to that second visit at the Grace Hospital in Halifax the doctors were concerned. I was 24 weeks pregnant, my cervix had opened up and I was starting to dilate. They took Morgan to play while they told me the news. I had prepared myself somewhat. I thought they were going to tell me that I needed to take it easy and worst case scenario they would put me on bed rest at home. I was devastated when they told me that I would be in the hospital for the remainder of my pregnancy and that it was essential that I was on complete bed rest. They told me that they thought I was in danger of delivering at any time and my baby had a 50% chance of survival. I was so scared and sad. I was determined to do everything I was told to do to ensure I delivered a healthy full term baby but the price I paid for that was high. Four months in the hospital away from Morgan (who was four) and Kirk changed me. I was fighting for Haley in the only way I knew how and in turn I shut Kirk out in a major way. At the beginning we butted heads because they wanted us to visit the Neo-Natal unit. They were quite certain that Haley would spend some of her young life in there and they wanted to prepare us for what to expect. Kirk refused! In his heart he refused to believe that Haley would spend a second in there. He had every faith that I would grow here big and strong and she would never glimpse the walls of the Neo Natal. Everyday they asked for us to come visit the Neo Natal, everyday we fought and Kirk refused. Every morning they updated me on her survival rate. When I got to the hospital I was 24 weeks and her survival rate was 50%. My goal was to make it to 27 weeks and her survival rate would jump to 60%. I had a private room and I could go to the washroom and I could bathe but not shower. I will never forget the time Kirk told the doctor I was spending too much time in the washroom and he and the doctor discussed me getting a catheter so that I wouldn’t have to get up to use the washroom. I am typing this through tears at the memory. I had been in the hospital for over a month now and Kirk and Morgan spent a lot of time with me there. Kirk had taken sick leave from work and they were at the hospital lots. The hospital was over an hour away from our home.They spent every weekend, all weekend with me. I never left my room. To go to the bathroom was the only place I ever got to go to be by myself. There was me, Morgan who was four and Kirk jammed in a tiny room that I never saw the outside of. I can remember he and the doctor discussing putting a catheter in like it was the most normal thing in the world. Sometimes I just went to the bathroom to sit there by myself. To sit, oh yeah I wasn’t allowed to sit. Sometimes I bathed two-three times a day! I wasn’t allowed to shower!It is quite possible that I threatened Kirk and the stupid Doctor with bodily harm. Lets just say I didn’t get a catheter.

We certainly had some sweet and funny times while I was in the hospital. One time Kirk let my parents keep Morgan and he brought me a scallop dinner he made at home. They were a little rubbery when he heated them up in the Hospital Microwave but the thought was there. He set them up on the little slide in table with a candle he had brought from home. He way trying.

I was going crazy about the Dairy Queen commercial for the Brownie Batter Blizzard. One night Kirk disappeared and returned about 45 minutes later with one for me. He had run blocks there and blocks back with no coat. It didn’t taste as good as I imagined but the gesture was incredibly sweet!

Every single morning I had to count Haley’s kicks for the first two hours. If the kicks were less then they were the day before a team of doctors would come look at me. There were three female doctors that I adored and they adored me. They even threw a party for me one day and brought me gifts. I got very attached to them so when the rotation changed and I had some clueless Strangers in my room, that was very frustrating.

In February Kirk was coming down to watch the Daytona 500 with me. He had gotten me a Dale Earnhardt Junior book, mug and a calendar to mark down the days. I had begged my doctors for permission and they finally agreed that missing the Daytona would do me NO good! It was agreed and written on my chart that Kirk was allowed to take me to the Family Room on a stretcher to watch. I was so excited all week. When the time came the nurse refused it. She was a short little red-headed nurse who looked like the grown up version of a cabbage patch kid. My favorite Doc Kristen had left a note on my chart not only giving me permission but also giving the nurses permission to call her for clarification. She refused. At one point she agreed to allow me to watch a couple of laps. It was my choice whether I chose the beginning or the end. She said and I quote ” Don’t they just drive around in circles for a while?” If anyone reading this is a Nascar fan you are certainly feeling my pain right now. Luckily my lovely cleaning lady who I gave treats to like Wurthers originals and other such things that people brought for me showed us how to hook up “illegal” cable on my hospital TV. C’mon…we were desperate!! My driver Dale Earnhardt Jr. won that race, his first Daytona win, three years after his fathers fatal crash at that very track in 2001. It was a great moment to share with Kirk, one of the few we would share in the months to come.

Later that evening the Red Headed Cabbage Page Nurse came to my room. Morgan was asleep by my side and Kirk was settled on his cot. The shifty nurse kept saying things like “That baby looks uncomfortable, you need to move that baby” Morgan was snuggled into me, some might describe her as “snug as a bug in a rug”! Nurse “care-a-lot” was in and out of my room with a degree of frequency that annoyed me. She was already on my bad side and after spending a month in this room it felt like my home, it was; and her intrusive nature was exhausting. After several fretting visits she said “You need to move that baby, she is not safe!” I looked down at sweet four-year old Morgan curled up beside me. My baby without question but she was not a baby by most people’s standards. Then I realized that on the other side of me was Morgan’s doll. I picked it up by it’s ankles and held it up in the air “do you mean this baby?” Reds eyes registered horror and then understanding and she shuffled from the room in embarrassment. On Monday when all my fave Docs stopped by to congratulate me on the win I felt slightly elated. I told Doc Kristen about Nurse No Fun and she was banned from my room forever. I had three more months to go to carry to full term so it only made sense to banish stress from my perimeter. There was a favorite nurse I had that would visit me at night when I was feeling down, she would bring me hot chocolate and Cheez whiz toast even when I insisted I was fine! I loved her and she became my new constant.

To be continued…

Thousand Acre-Part 9

Tender Moments
Tender Moments

Morgan Alyssa DeBay was born Nov 8, 1999. She was amazing. I had a healthy uneventful pregnancy but a tornado of a delivery. I went to the hospital because my fluid was leaking and within half an hour of sending Kirk to work and being told I wasn’t in labour or dilated I was holding our beautiful daughter. Speedy deliveries are great for several obvious reasons but overwhelming to say the least. The recovery time is quicker though because being in labour for hours is traumatic and you are deprived of sleep. Being as I wasn’t in labor the nurse told Kirk to go to work so I could get some rest. Luckily my Mom was on her way into the hospital as Kirk was leaving and she did call him to come back but he missed the entire delivery. His Mom made it just in time and was able to cut Morgan’s chord and help keep me calm. It was an exciting time. Kirk was so proud and I will never forget the way he looked at her, like she was a miracle that had transformed his whole life. For me I felt that I had been given a second chance. I pictured my babies face a lot in those couple of days in the hospital and hoped that somewhere he was happy and blissfully loved and that someday he would understand and be proud of me. Even though the adoption was closed it never felt like a closed book to me. I always felt that I would fulfil the chapters of my life and one day he would be a main character in it. It was probably extremely naive but it was a star that guided me through the darkest of nights.

nice Morgan

Morgan was a perfect baby and she fullfilled in me the need to nuture and mother. Kirk was a wondeful father, a child himself really so getting down on the floor and playing, and being silly was right up his alley. When you become parents there is a definite divide, or at least there was for us, Kirk was the fun one and I was the parent. These roles collided periodically and of course still do and I am certainly capable of having fun but I  don’t think my children would hesitate to name Kirk as the fun one if given the choice.

As I said Morgan was perfect. She was so beautiful and though she came early and in an extremely big hurry within a month I had managed to fatten her up and she was so healthy and chubby. At a little over a month old she was sleeping 8-10 hours overnight and she barely cried except whe she had gas or was constipated. The doctor insisted I keep her on Similac with Iron because she was born early but it made her constipated so my Mom suggested I give her a little prune juice. The operative words here being  a little. She loved it, sucked it back like she was Chelsey Handler shooting triple distilled Vodka on a sunny beach in Cabo. I felt like such a good mommy so I gave her a little more, and a little more….you get the picture. The next day I was visiting My Mom and I was cuddling baby Morgan on her lazy boy chair when all of the sudden she cooed, stretched her legs and then there was this massive explosion and everything was warm, followed by a very happy baby, two ruined outfits (hers and mine) and a head to toe bath in my mothers kitchen sink. To this day I have never seen anything like that. She was covered in shit, I was covered in shit, our clothes were destroyed. I never gave her prune juice again. 🙂

Kirk was a truck driver back then and he worked shift work, one week days and one week nights. Morgan became my little BFF and we did everything together. She brought me such joy.

Parenting Morgan was a happy time for me and I didn’t realize that Kirk felt left out or not needed. He spent a great deal of time either playing sports with his buddies or watching sports. I was fine with it I was rather busy and happy with life.

In November of 2000 I went Christmas shopping with a friend. I went ridiculously overboard seeing as Morgan was only a year old but I had so much fun doing it. I bought just about every princess toy and trinket available. When I got home I got a phone call from Kirk and he kept saying he had made a major purchase that day and he wasn’t sure if I was going to like it. I was positive it was either a truck or a truck part and I couldn’t have been less interested. Kirk spent a lot of time and money building 4 x 4 trucks to take to the mudhole and beat the guts out of them. After a third time he mentioned it I accused him of trying to start a fight and told him to lay off it I didn’t care.

He arrived home a short time later and interupted me in the kitchen. He was back on the kick “ask me what I bought, ask me?” Finally to get him to stop I halfheartedly asked him what he bought and he said wait I have to do something first. I turned around and looked at him awkwardly fumble in his pants pockets and then drop to his knees and say “Will you be my wife? Will you marry me” I said “yes” immediatley. We hugged and kissed and I allowed him to put the diamond on my finger and then I jumped up and down for a couple of minutes and then I asked if I could call people.

I called my Mom first and I didn’t get the reaction I expected. She made an off handed joke that spoke to her lack of enthusiasm about our engagement. She quickly apologized and we moved on. In my excitement I hung up and called my sister in law Kelly who was super excited for us but I was nagged by my Mom’s comment. My Mom and I have a good relationship and she always told me “never go to bed mad” That always stuck with me and we never really let any hard feelings fester between us. After the initial excitement of the weekend wore off I went to see my Mom and I confronted her. The conversation didn’t go very well and I left feeling worse. My Mom married very young and in that had experienced a lot of hardship and pain, she really truly just wanted what was best in me and at that moment was worried that maybe Kirk wasn’t it.

Kirk didn’t always treat me the way I deserved to be treated. He was a trucker with a trucker mouth and and often he lashed out without thinking and regretted it later. That worried my Mom because obviously she felt I should never be talked down to and Kirk was different then any guy I had ever dated. He challenged me in a way that nobody else had. I can say one thing with absolute certainty, I have never been bored.

I think maybe fifteen minutes passed before Mom called and we cried and made up. You can’t make people’s decisions for them but you certainly can express your concerns if it comes from a place of love. Her want and need to protect me was a Mother’s beautiful love. For the record Kirk and my Mom have a mutual love and respect for each other and if he raises his voice to me now she still doesn’t condone it. I love her for that!

I had a pretty long engagement. There were several reasons for this. We had originally wanted to elope and get married away and when we decided to stay at home and have a small wedding I was adamant about making sure that everything was paid for in advance. I didn’t want to go into our marriage saddled with wedding dept. We managed to accumulate debt quickly enough afterwards.

We had a small wedding on our property at home in July of 2002. It was attended by family and close friends and then we explored the Cabot Trail in Cape Breton for a week. We had a lot of fun. It was relaxing. We were staying at this gorgeous chalet and I got out of the shower one evening and Kirk was sitting in the Jacuzzi with champagne poured and the TV turned so he could watch “Return of the Giant Squid” on The Discovery Channel. So romantic. Fear not my friends that romance has not faded, we went to Grand Cayman Island in the fall and he had me curl up in the King size bed with him with a faint tropical breeze blowing through the window and watch “1000 ways to die” ! That show scares me badly. Eek

On both these trips we did have some very nice and romantic times. My husband is an information junkie and as such his choice of shows doesn’t always fit my mood. Kirk is by far one of the smartest people I now. It surprises people if you just meet him because he is a non suit and tie Oil field Supervisor  who has has more smarts then all the big wig office, three piece suit chair filler types combined. He is a deep thinker who absorbs info like a sponge and very little of it leaks out. He has forgotten more information then most people learn in a lifetime. Just this morning lying in bed I mentioned the Bermuda Triangle and he proceeded to dispell all my myths and tell me all the facts as he believed them. I was in awe but all I recall from the conversation is water, bubbles, porous. I simply cannot retain the information as he does. I absolutely loved history in school but have retained very little of it. Haley was giving us a quiz last light and asked in what year did Paris gift the statue of liberty to New York and Kirk correctly answered 1876. I don’t recall ever knowing that. I am quite obviously not smarter then my daughter the third grader.

Typing this I am wondering if that is a contributing factor to Kirks stress because his head is so full!! Hmmm food for thought. Speaking of food, mine is almost ready.

Before I sign off am going to share with you a little challenge I started with the urging of my longtime friend Sandra. It is a project (Orange Rhino) to try to give up yelling and learning to get your point across in a much better way. My 13 year old is a yeller and I have to yell over her. It gets us nowhere. I have gotten through last night and today. Morgan and Kirk both tried me. Haley said she was proud that I didn’t yell at sissy when she had a meltdown. Yay, almost through day one!! Join me in the challenge and I will share updates on my progress on here. The goal is to reach 365 days yelling free. Did I mention I am purchasing shares in wine!! LOl. Also follow my friend Sandra on her blog for updates and so many fun tips and tricks for busy Moms at www.mylittleboyblue.com

https://www.facebook.com/#!/TheOrangeRhino

Kirk is home for Easter for the first time in FIVE years. Do you think I can get through the weekend YELL free?? Wish me luck 😉

Happy Easter

I am also sharing this for you because I like it. Much to my dismay Kirk makes me listen to country but I like this “feel good” good ol boy song and it reminds me of our younger days in NS driving down the dirt roads.

http://youtu.be/Lb9q1ScC4cg