Why am I the only brown person in this family?

I was reading the book Ron's Big Mission, a book that I, as a white woman, can't get through without the white tears spilling all over the damn place. The story is about a little boy who is black growing up in South Carolina in 1959 and the day he took a stand at his local library demanding that he be able to check out books.

The positive side of reading these kinds of age appropriate books to my kids is that it provides an opening to a dialogue. X has flirted with discussion about skin color, but hadn't expressed dismay over his skin color compared to the rest of his family and extended family. He did this particular night, and we had what I hope was a good talk about how it's different even though it shouldn't be, and how it will be hard for him. I pointed out his other friends who are the only POC in their families, and he pointed out that a black kid at his school doesn't have white parents.  I also pointed out that his therapist is an adoptee, like him, and she was adopted from India.  She will understand why he feels uncomfortable sometimes and that he can talk to her about it as much as he wants. He can tell us all his big feelings too, and we'll do the best we can to help him.

The moment that I've been dreading as a parent has come, and whether I should have or not, I admitted that maybe Mommy and Daddy made a mistake when we adopted Baby Z. That maybe we should have waited longer for a baby who had brown skin like X so that he wouldn't feel so alone in our family. I don't know how that will ultimately play out, if X will resent Baby Z, or if admitting that was the right thing to do. I rationalized the placement by thinking, well, we've been waiting for almost 2 years and we've now been matched with 3 white boys despite our openness to race. I guess we can navigate this, because lots of other families do whether one kid is lighter skinned than the other, or whether there are multiple children of different races in the family. On the other hand, I know families that draw that line and say, my kids need other kids who look like them in the family. I don't know why I didn't draw the line, but I admit it was selfish to just want to be done with the process instead of being a forward thinker to years down the road. 

If I begin to think about the fact that we were open to adopting a baby of a different race to us in the first place, I begin to wonder if that was a good decision. When we were going through the process the first time, it was made abundantly clear to us that if we wanted to adopt a white baby, we'd be waiting a very long time. Considering it took 2 years of waiting to be matched with X, it's hard to think about waiting even longer. We were naive when it came to race relations today and we've both been woke to how far there is to go, especially in today's political climate. I'd say that despite the adoption agency we worked with being pretty good in terms of preparation for the realities of adoption trauma even in infants, they miss the mark on adopting children of a different race. I don't know that it would have changed anything for us given the length of both of our adoption waits, and in X's case, he likely would have been adopted by a white family because that's the harsh reality of adoption. White people typically have the means to pay for expensive adoptions. Adoption is inherently racist, taking brown kids from brown families and putting them into white families because we theoretically are better. I call bullshit. We aren't better, we have the upper hand when it comes to everything. 

 

You Know When

You're feeling so shitty about yourself and your inability to deal with your kids/career/family that you fly off the proverbial handle, tell your husband to fuck off ad make him so upset that he screams expletives all the way down the stairs?

That was my Friday night. 

 

probably hormonal bullshit.  

 

I don't know how to control it.  

Driving Home from the Airport...

I was traveling and spent my flight home watching "Pretty In Pink" for what I swear is the first time. (for realz!) Driving home from the airport, I hear an iconic song from my youth on the radio.  (Lovesong)

On a station I don't listen to because it plays music I associate with my parents. Now it plays music associated with people my age. 

You guys. I am f*cking old. It never ceases to amaze me when I have that flash of holyshitareyoukiddingme? 

 

 

Sick

“You’re doing too much, that’s why you’re sick” 

I heard those words last spring when I got influenza. My chiropractor was concerned that I was seeing him too much for injuries and that my body was too stressed. Thus began the slow mental journey to leaving Jazz.ercise behind in order to spend more time with my family on weekends. My job was ramping up and becoming a bigger stressor than I realized, and with increased travel, I finally tendered my resignation at the center last fall.

I joined a new gym, and we changed around our routine to accommodate early morning workouts for me. Everything was copacetic. I pick up the kids a little earlier and S gets to work out in the evenings. Everybody wins, right?

Now I’m sick. 3 viruses in a month. The first hit right before our Annual Meetings with the Region. I couldn’t travel, but dragged my sick, flu-ish body into the office to attend via videoconference. The meeting stressed me out beyond belief. Now that I’m a full year into this new position, I’m finding all the problems between my office and the regional office. They are huge.

The second virus was a rebound from the first one (lots of peeps around here have had similar experiences). I was pretty darn proud of myself for taking lots of oregano oil and zinc and Vitamin D so that it wasn’t too bad. That one hit during a project management training class that I also found to be stressful. Learning about project management only highlights all the problems I have between me and my counterpart in the region.

And now the third, coming off a week in which I had to get my boss to talk to the head of the office in the region in order to make sure that we could award a construction contract this fiscal year. Why did I have to get her involved?  Well, because after stressing over and over in meetings that we need to award in this fiscal year, the contracting person sent a schedule showing that she wouldn’t award until the next fiscal year. Team player everybody!

The school communications from X's school have also been annoying. They ask us to volunteer 15 hours a year per family, so I signed up to help plan a big celebration thinking I could knock out as many hours as possible all at once. Well, I'm new to the PTA system and the divisiveness between working parents and stay at home parents. I was never tapped to help plan, yet they kept sending out all these e-mails about needing volunteers. In my most rigid and stressed state, I got bitchy about it, complaining to my friends and S and being really annoyed by the whole thing. What's the point of signing up at the beginning of the year if the damn PTA is just going to take the reigns then ask for parking lot volunteers 2 weeks before the event?  I'm now volunteering to take tickets for 2 hours. What the hell ever. I should be fine with it, but that's part of my ISTJ'ness that always gets me. My brain: "They had a sign up at the beginning of the year, what's with not contact the people who signed up in the first place? Who the hell is running this, and why are we getting information from 3 different places to put together the whole picture!" Plus, the after school program sent out an e-mail last Friday saying they were going to have a Valentine's party but didn't say how many kids were in the program. When I asked on Monday, I find out it's 40. I had to get 40 more valentines for X to give out because I don't want him to left out due to poor communication. It brought the total to 71 total between his kindergarten class, his teachers and the after school program. *headdesk*

These can’t be coincidences, or maybe they are?  I exercise regularly, am good about getting sleep. I’ve been unplugging more and more at night due mostly to the state of this country and the wholly unfit person in the highest office. My diet is pretty damn good, and I've reduced drinking to weekends only. So, what’s up with getting sick like this one right after another? It’s like my body isn’t really recovering so I can’t fight off whatever virus is brought into my house by my cute little germ factories.

Clearly, I need more therapy to help me separate my job from my self-worth. But even that stresses me out. I spend so much time at appointments for therapy, for chiropractic, for Baby Z’s latest foray into ear infection combined with Impetigo that I constantly feel like I’m spinning. S is only 6 months into his new job and his leave balances are so small that all kid related things fall to me (especially because I travel and that’s a hard ship on him and his hours) 

I don’t know what the answer is. But today I'll go home sick an hour after getting to work.

If You Have a Child Of Color Who is Adopted

Things that should be high on your to-do list right now: 

1) Get them a passport and make copies for you and your child to carry at all times.  

2) If they are an international adoptee, make sure you have their citizenship papers. Read here for more information: 

I can't believe I'm writing this.  

Dropping the Ball

X is supposed to do some reading every night. Now that we're into the second semester of kindergarten, this also includes reading a book (Spanish) he brings home from school. He's supposed to practice it at home, and on Fridays read it to his class.

ha.

The first week he had to read the book and bring it back to school we were on top of it. The second week, Baby A got an ear infection the same day I was to travel for work. Because, of course. On the Friday of that week, I asked X if he had read his book to the class. Nope. Why? S didn't remember to have him practice in between dealing with a sick and cranky 2 year old, and no one remembered to bring it back to school. That's pretty much how it goes these days. It's a constant dropping of the ball. We read to both kids at night, but we aren't necessarily teaching X how to do homework. It's damn near impossible for me to have him sit down and do anything when we get home. I leave work earlier now, but it's still a scramble to get dinner cooked and us fed before bedtime. Couple that with X being soooo tired every day lately and these things fall by the wayside. Now that travel has started, it's going to get worse.

*sigh* Sometimes I feel like the worst parent ever. 

#MicroblogMondays - I Marched

In the past I haven't been vocally political because to me it seemed that no matter who was in office, generally things went along status quo with some changes, but nothing major really seemed to occur. (the tide began to turn when we went to war after 9/11, but not enough to make me rise up.) Maybe that's my white privilege bubble talking, and I'm sure that's part of it. However, this past year the unthinkable happened and a reality tv star became our President. 

So I marched on Saturday January 21, 2017 for my son who is brown and for my fellow women. We all deserve equal rights and equal pay.

If these developments have taught me anything, it's that I can advance as far as I want to in my career. I think, I mean, I'm not a man...but...

I also got a manicure for the occasion.

I also got a manicure for the occasion.

Emotions Need an Out

There's some therapy happening around here that is outside of my usual therapy. I'm not going to talk about it on my blog because it's not my therapy per se. However, what I can talk about are insights I'm gaining in how I was raised and how I stuff emotions because I wasn't allowed to express hard emotions growing up. A quote I heard today was "Emotions need to get out somehow". 

As I sit here with super tight neck and upper back muscles that haven't responded to active release therapy, I'm thinking it's something more. This may not happen so regularly, I may not be so tense in general if I knew how to release emotions. 

I like to say that my default emotion is anger, but that's not a primary emotion as it turns out. My default emotion is shame and I use anger as a cover. I've identified major shame spirals that I find myself in from time to time. What I'm wondering now is if my entire existence is one small shame spiral after another leading to stress and tension that several times a year results in massive knots. The kinds of knots that wake me up at night as I try to change position, and that leave me in constant pain for a couple weeks until they finally work themselves out with the help of various modalities. 

Thoughts like these are leading me to the shoulds. Should go to yoga more, should try meditation, should break out the coloring book S gifted me. The shoulds build up more tension. The cycle repeats.  

#MicroblogMondays - Challenge

I'm not into resolutions, but challenges and goals tend to motivate me. For example, the goal to complete a 100-mile bike ride. That got me on my bike on days when I was tired or sore or just not feeling it. Generally, my goals will be activity related to keep me working out and in shape.

I didn't set goals for this year, and I may or may not do any big bike rides, choosing to wait until I have a chance to get on my bike in the spring. 

Challenges on the other hand...I need to challenge myself to do all kinds of things, and have started with the low-hanging fruit:

Only drink 2 days a week

Writing that down feels like I'm admitting I have a problem. I don't have a problem, other than spending a stupid amount of money at our friendly neighborhood liquor store, and my expanding waistline.