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Monday, February 24, 2014

On being 18

Dear Zach,

It all happened so fast. I can't believe this day is here. I can't believe you're 18.  Tomorrow.  I still have one more evening with you as a not-quite-so-grown up.

18. It sounds so old, so grown up and so ready to leave the house.

18 years ago today I was hugely pregnant with you and completely miserable.  I looked like a bloated, beached whale. I had just endured four weeks of medicated bed rest. I was jittery, hot, pathetic and I ate everything and anything. I took pregnancy eating seriously.  I gained 45 pounds in 35 weeks.  I was not a pretty sight and I couldn't wait to get on to the next phase of life...Motherhood. I had no idea what that entailed but it had to be better than where I was.
Enter you....

Oh wait, that's not you!  But it's what I saw when you came screaming into my world. You, my sweet love, were ugly as sin. Sorry for the honesty, but it's no lie. You looked like a Sleestak. Ugly. Pointy head. Big unseeing eyes. Body parts I couldn't identify. U. G. L.Y.

But then something remarkable happened. I fell in love. From the first minute I held you, to my very first kiss on your forehead. I was in love ~ with a Sleestak, but you were my Sleestak. Pointy head and all.
The road to motherhood, with you, was not paved with rosy streets.. Where I wanted this...

or this...

I got this...

And life with baby Zach was harder than I ever imagined. Sleepless nights. Colicky cries. Screaming. Shrieking. Wailing. Gnashing of teeth. And that was just me. It was brutal. But then another miracle occurred.  You smiled.

And it was a smile just for me.  And I fell in love all over again. You, my sweet, won my heart from the inside out.  I can't even tell you how much your sweet smiles and baby giggles made my heart sing.

From there you just kept getting cuter and sweeter. 

You, my darling, first-born, are everything I ever wished for in a child. I can only hope you can be as blessed, as we are, with such fabulous kiddo of your own (but not right now, or any time soon, maybe a long time down the road ~ you know, like 20 years or so).  

But here's the rub, as of tomorrow, you're  no longer a kiddo. In the eyes of the law, you will be an adult.  

I have to tell you, I really miss baby giggles, sweet little smiles, chubby cheeks and snuggly, little boys. I have to come to terms, though, with the fact that we no longer have a sweet, snuggly, little one. We now have a young man on the verge of adulthood, who still smiles that same infectious smile and who has kept my heart in the palm of his hand for 18 years.  

I love you, my love. My your journey into adulthood give you as much joy as you've given me. But I do have to say, I wish 18 didn't have to come so soon.

With much love.

Sunday, February 16, 2014

He forgot one

Yesterday I sat reading the paper and I stumbled across a small article about Pope Francis' advice for a long and happy marriage. I kind of skimmed over the article with a slight eye roll wondering how in the world an unmarried man could ever be someone whose advice about marriage I could take seriously. As you can probably tell I don't put too much stock in someone (even a Pope) who has never been married and hasn't ever experienced the day-to-day realities of married life. Let me go on to say I truly appreciate Pope Francis and all he has done for our Church, but I still question any never married person giving marital advice. So I flipped the page and started in on another article. But something kept niggling ant the back of my brain. I just had to check and see what he had to say.

I turned back to the article. And I was surprised by what I read. It's how Stan and I have tried to be with one another, in our marriage. I'm not saying we've always done things perfectly. In fact we've both failed each other in a number of ways. But what I am saying is that we've tried to live by the advice Pope Francis gave...

Please. Thank You. And I'm sorry. They're basic manners. Human kindnesses. A way of validating one another to the world.

But who knew they were the key to a long and happy marriage? We all teach our children these three sentences, but sometimes we, as married adults, don't make sure to keep them at the forefront of marriage. Stan and I do. It's the one thing we do often and with abandon. It's one of the things we do well.

Not only do Stan and I say Please, Thank You and I'm sorry to each other. We make sure those three sentences are in our children's vocabulary as well. All of our children know the importance of those three sentences.

But Pope Francis forgot one, and to me, it's almost more important than those three.

I forgive you.

That one sentence is what life is all about. We all fail sometimes. We all stumble occasionally. We all screw up fantastically. But what sets some people, marriages and families apart is the ability to forgive.

When our kids were little and they were mean and nasty to one another, as siblings can sometimes be, we would always make sure an apology was given and forgiveness granted. Sometimes it took a while for forgiveness to be granted. We never forced any of the kids to accept an apology if they didn't mean it. But they had to say, "I'm not ready to forgive you yet." They had to figure out how to forgive and truly forgive.

I've even had them say to me, "Mom, I'm not ready to forgive you, yet," on those occasions where I really hurt their feelings, their pride and their soul.

But in this house we have always granted forgiveness.

I'm kind of surprised Pope Francis forgot that one.  It's the basis of what he stands for. But that's OK. We all screw up, even Popes. So I'll forgive him and help to spread this one for him!

Oh, for the love of our children....

Thursday, February 13, 2014

What I do

As we sat watching the Olympics tonight this commercial came on the TV. Lucas asked me, with a very wry smile on his face, "So, Mom, what do you do?"

I replied with a similar wry smile and a whole lot of sass, "Ah, Lucas. What do I  do? Well, my sweet. I do something very fun. Whole worlds and whole characters are created and destroyed by my hand. You see, I make stuff up." Enough said.

Oh, for the love of my children...

Tuesday, February 11, 2014

The War (The Beginning) Chapter 2

Here is Chapter 2 of my next book. I wanted to introduce you to both of my main characters.  I am in love with both of them and hope you will be too! Remy is a little harder to love but I think as you get to know him, you'll love him too!  ENJOY!!

Chapter 2

She knew something good was coming. Her parents asked her to come right home after school. They said they needed to talk to her. They had something important to tell her and she couldn’t wait. She knew it had something to do with “the talk” but she didn’t care. She remembered when her brother went through it years ago. He came out of the kitchen elated and so happy. She wanted to experience that joy herself. And today was the day. She turned 14 yesterday. It was the same day her brother got “the talk” so she knew today was the day.

Ettie moved quickly after her last class ended. She wanted to beat the kids out of school. She had already been to her locker and packed up what she needed for studying tonight. She was ready to leave. Ettie had a smile on her face as she turned to leave the classroom.

Her heart lurched in her chest as she saw the three boys standing at the door waiting for her. These boys were never nice. She wasn’t sure what she did to make them dislike her so much, but she could tell by the way they were standing there that they were out to make her afternoon miserable.

Ettie waved goodbye to her Social Studies teacher, Mr. Sanderson, and headed toward whatever was coming.

“Hey, Yeti,” the ringleader of the group said to her as she left the classroom and tried to pass them. Dennis Dobbins was the leader of this little pack and he was mean in  a way the teachers never seemed to notice. He seemed to have all of the teachers blinded. “Yeah, you heard me right. I called you ‘YETI,’” he said as Ettie tried to push him to the side.

“You know why we’re calling you ‘Yeti,’” another of the boys asked. “It’s because you’re shaped just like him. You’re a freak. Your arms and legs are monkey long. You walk just like him and your hair looks like his.”  He started to laugh hysterically at his words, as Ettie tried hard to get out of school.

“Hey, boys,” Mr. Sanderson said from behind them, “Is there something I can help you with?”

The boys all jumped at the sound of his voice and began to stammer, “Uh, gee no, Mr. Sanderson. We were just trying to help Ettie.”

“Sounds to me like you were trying to tease Ettie,” Mr. Sanderson said.

Ettie’s face was bright red and she was trying hard not to cry in front of the boys or Mr. Sanderson. All she wanted to do was get home. Her happiness had faded and she just needed the warm embrace of home to feel better again.

“I think it’s best, boys, if you stay here with me for a little while. I need some help straightening up my room,” Mr. Sanderson told them. He knew Ettie was a bus rider and the boys were all walkers so stalling them for a few minutes would help her get to her bus.

The boys turned to walk back into the classroom with one last look at Ettie. Mr. Sanderson stayed in the hallway for a minute as Ettie tried to compose herself.

“Thank you, Mr. Sanderson,” Ettie’s voice was barely audible as the words passed her lips.

“You’re welcome, Ettie. They’re not the nicest group of boys and I thought they might be looking for trouble when I saw them outside of my door.”

“I thought all of the teachers loved those three,” Ettie asked.

“You know, Ettie, most probably do, but I can see through them. You need to get moving to make your bus. Let your parents know what happened here today. They need to know we took care of it and that I know what’s going on. Tell them they can call me if they want to. I know they’ll help make you feel better and get that light back in your eyes.”

Ettie had to admit she was feeling drained and somehow she felt like part of her light had gone out.

“Thanks again, Mr. Sanderson. And I’ll make sure to tell my mom and dad.”

Ettie left the school building and headed toward her bus. She didn’t really want to talk to any of her friends so she picked a seat as far toward the front as she could. She was happy that she was a little late for the bus, it meant the back seats were full and she didn’t have to make any excuses for why she wasn’t sitting with her friends. She had a busy afternoon ahead of her once her bus dropped her off and she wanted to concentrate without the normal young, teenage girl chatter.

She walked quickly from her bus stop to her house, turning to wave goodbye to her friends as she headed up the front walk. Ettie opened the door to feel the warmth of her home hit her. Her nostrils filled with the familiar smells of her house and she let the feeling soothe her. Her shoulders relaxed as she stepped into the entry hall and called out a greeting.

“Hi, I’m home,” she said.

“Hi, Sweetheart!  We’re in the kitchen waiting for you,” her mom’s voice rang through the house with a lyrical lilt that Ettie loved.

Ettie walked quickly through the hallway filled with family photos and pieces of art she and her brother created through the years. Ettie’s heart lightened a little as she rounded the corner into their kitchen. There was a pot of tea on the table with a plate of cookies beside it. Her mom opened her arms to give Ettie a hug and that’s when her tears fell and the story “Yeti,” the bullyboys and Mr. Sanderson came tumbling out. Her mom smoothed her hair as her father paced around the kitchen angry and irritated.

“I think I’m going to take a little drive over to Dennis’ house and have a little chat with his parents,” Cael Ivers said.

“No, honey. Let’s just let Bill handle this. I know he has it under control. If it happens again, we’ll go to the administration,” Pheobe Ivers said to her husband.

Ettie was a little surprised to hear her mom call Mr. Sanderson by his first name but her surprise was overshadowed by feeling mortified at the thought of her parents coming to school and possibly making things worse for her.  

“Please, Dad,” Ettie said, “Please let me work with Mr. Sanderson. It’ll be much better that way. Besides, school is almost over we’ll all be going on to high school next year. And Alex will be there.”

“Honey, you know Bill. You know what a good guy he is. He has the absolute best interest of all the kids at heart. Remember how good he was to Alex when he was bullied at school.”

Alex was Ettie’s older brother who was now a junior in high school. Ettie was confused. She didn’t know her brother was bullied. He was always seemed so big and strong and tough.

“What do you mean Alex was bullied,” Ettie asked.

Pheobe Ivers turned to look at her daughter with her dark blue eyes looking a little sad as she said, “Alex became the target of some boys at school when he stood up for a little girl with learning disabilities. They didn’t like that he was defending someone different so they started to try and make Alex look bad. He was doing OK, being teased until they went after the girl and then he got in trouble. Mr. Sanderson saw the whole thing and he was there to defend Alex,” Ettie’s mom said.

“Wow, why didn’t I know that?”

“Well, Yvette, you were in second grade and you weren’t too involved in middle school stuff at the time,” Ettie’s dad said. He was the only one who called her Yvette. Alex started calling her Ettie when she was a baby and it stuck with everyone, except her dad. He was the only one who could call her by her given name without making her feel like she was in trouble. She loved the way he said it. His voice was deep and rich with a slight Irish accent hidden beneath the surface so her name sounded almost magical when he said it.

“Ettie, honey, if you’re alright now, I think it’s time we get down to our talk, don’t you,” her mother asked. Her mother’s voice washed over her like a soothing balm, as tiny butterflies danced in Ettie’s stomach. She was a little nervous, and all of the sudden she felt shy at having her father sit down at the table. But she squared her shoulders and sat down at the head of the table in the space they left for her. She was ready to have “the talk.”

Monday, February 10, 2014

The War (The Beginning)

This is the first very raw chapter of my new Young Adult book I'm working on. It's about two 14 year olds who find out something very interesting about themselves and how they have to follow a much different path than any they ever imagined.

Like I said, this is very raw and unedited. It will change and be tweaked as I get further into the story, but I want to see what you all think!

I hope you enjoy it!!

Chapter 1

He got up from his chair in his last class of the day, dreading the thought of going home. He knew it was time to have “the talk” and he had no desire to sit through such a horrendous experience with two of the worst parents on the planet. His face grew red and hot at the thought of sitting at the kitchen table listening to his parents go on and on about something they really had no business discussing with him.

“God, I don’t want to go home,” he said as his kicked the leg of the chair. “I can’t believe they think they know anything about what life is like. They’re so old and ancient and lame and pathetic…” his voice trailed off as he noticed his teacher staring at him.

“Remy, is there something I can help you with,” Mrs. Masterson asked as he straightened the chair.

“No, Mrs. M. I was just checking to make sure I didn’t leave anything under the chair,” the little white lie rolled off of Remy Belrose’s lips without hesitation. He was skilled at making those around him believe whatever he wanted as soon as he wanted them to believe it.

Remy walked to the door of the classroom and headed home to listen to words he didn’t want to hear from people he didn’t want to be around.

On his way out of school, Remy met up with three of his friends who teased him mercilessly about him having to listen to his parents give him “the talk.”

“Wow, man. Don’t you think you’re a little old to have your parents tell you about the birds and the bees?” 

“Ooooh, Remy, you get to hear all about you know what from your mommy!”

“Aren’t you a little old to have to listen to that kind of stuff from your parents or are you still just a baby?  Does Baby Remy still need to learn about his changing…”

“SHUT UP! Will you all just SHUT UP! It’s bad enough that I have to listen to it, but you guys don’t need to be jackwagons about it!  I’m out of here,” Remy said as he stormed off in the direction of his house.

Once he left his friends, Remy’s normally quick footsteps dragged as he walked the last of the four blocks from his middle school to his house. Remy’s fists clenched and unclenched the closer he got to his house. “This is so stupid,” he said as he picked up a rock and threw it as hard as he could against the tree outside his house.

His stone was almost ready to strike its target when he saw a squirrel sitting on the tree where the rock was ready to hit. Remy wanted to watch the squirrel fall to the ground but something inside of him willed the rock to move and it missed the squirrel or the squirrel was much quicker than the rock.

Remy felt so conflicted as he stepped into the house. He wanted to watch the squirrel die by his own hand, but at the same time he was relieved it got away without a scratch. His mind was replaying the scene in the front yard when he heard the voice. His mother’s voice sounded like Styrofoam grating together as he remembered what was about to happen.

“Remus Belrose, GET IN HERE NOW,” he heard his mother’s disembodied voice carry through the halls of their large, cold, impersonal house. He hated the sound of his name on his mother’s lips. He told all the kids and teachers at to call him Remy. Only his parents called him Remus. He couldn’t stand the name.

Remy walked through the dark hallway full of ornate statues, priceless art, lush Persian rugs and a vast collection of antique weapons. Remy hated his house. It was full of dark shadows and eerie noises. It was not a place of comfort and warmth. He felt a sick kind of lonely whenever he was in his house. He loved going to his friends’ houses where there was light and warmth and laughter. He lived for the days he was invited over to someone else’s house and he dreaded the days his friends wanted to come over to his house.

Boris and Isolde Belrose waited for their only son at their massive kitchen table with the overly shiny surface and the gleaming copper pots hanging above. He could feel his face getting hot with anger again as he sat down at the table. He didn’t want to have this “talk” much less be sitting at the same kitchen table with his mother while they had this talk. The thought of his mother telling him about his changing body made his blood boil with rage.

There was no greeting. No “how was your day?” No hugs or kisses. Just a cold room filled with what felt like anger to Remy. Feeling their anger emanating through the air took away some of Remy’s own. He knew he was outnumbered and over-powered. It was time to accept his fate and listen to “the talk.”

He thought he knew what was coming, but what his parents began to tell him was unbelievable, beyond anything he could have ever imagined and not at all what he expected.

Thursday, February 6, 2014

Life with Lucas

Oh god help us's another Lucas post. I  have to say I it's easy to write about Lucas. He gives me plenty of material, that one.

I've been meaning to write this for a while, but today's shenanigans solidified the need to tell these stories.

A few weeks ago, as we were preparing to leave for Canada and hockey, I told both Lucas and Claire to talk to their teachers so they could bring any make-up work with them. Claire's response was typical Claire..."Already done.  All of my teachers know. They've already given me my work and I know exactly what I need to do."

The conversation with Lucas, on the other hand, went something like this...

Me: Lucas, you need to remember to go to your teachers and get your work before we leave.

Lucas: Why? Where are we going?

Keep in mind, we were going to Canada for Lucas.  It was his team's tournament.  We were driving 12 hours in a car to watch him and his team play hockey.  And he couldn't remember where we were going...

Me: (a few beats later) Umm, we're going to Canada.  Remember?

Lucas: Oh, YEAH!

Me: So remember to talk to your teachers tomorrow. OK?

Lucas: I'll try to remember, but I'm not sure I will.

Me: Well, write yourself a note so you remember, please!  This is important.  This could affect your grades.

Lucas: I'll write it now.

Me: Good!  Thank you.

And I wipe my brow with the back of my hand as I exclaim "PHEW" behind Lucas' back.

A little while later I walk into the kitchen to close it down for the night and I see Lucas' note ~ to himself.

Well, that about sums it up.  It's brief, to the point and not signed "From Lucas" as many of his other notes to himself have been.

On the bright side, he did remember to talk to his teachers and get his work so he was prepared for our trip.  Gotta look at the bright side.  

Fast forward a week or so.  

My mom was having cataract surgery last week and I needed to drive her there and home.  It was going to be early and dark.  I didn't need my dad trying to drive my mom, it would be like the blind driving the blind ~ no lie or exaggeration.  I didn't think I could have lived with if something happened and it's a huge part of the reason they're here ~ so we can help when they need us!  So I was her scheduled chauffeur for that morning.

I just needed to brief the kids.  I would be leaving far before anyone was up.  They were going to be on their own for breakfast.  Lunches would be ready and waiting on the counters, except for sandwiches in the fridge.  

Claire - CHECK!  She's got this handled!

Zach - CHECK! NO worries with him!

Lucas - Uhhhh...

The conversation went something like this...

Me: Lucas, don't forget your sandwich tomorrow.  I'll leave the rest of your lunch on the counter, but you're going to have to remember to get your sandwich out of the fridge.  

Lucas: OK, but can you write me a note?

Me: Sure.

So I did.  I wrote one and left it on top of his lunch and I wrote another and left it on the door of the fridge.  They both said almost the same thing...
He remembered his lunch.  Thankfully!

Now, on to today...

I'm sitting here at my desk.  I'm diligently working on my next book when I see a text from Lucas at 2:22.  School goes until 4.  He's texting me from school. That's a big no-no, unless the school is on lock-down or unless...

Lucas: You should most definitely pick me up.

Me: Ha! You're funny!

Lucas: This class is useless

I don't even know which class he's in at this point so I just respond ~

Me: No. It's not.  All classes have use.

Lucas: Not playing games all class.  

Lucas: We are just listening music and playing games.

Lucas: AND we have to go to school on President's day.

With all of their snow days they've had, we just found out this afternoon that President's day is no longer a holiday.  It will now be a school day like any other.

Me: I know! That totally blows! But I thought it would happen.

Lucas: So pick me up?

Me: Can't you see the sign on my door? 
Lucas:  I would if I was home

Me: Hahahahahaha!

Lucas: I know I'm hilarious. Now I should get to come home.

Me: READ THE SIGN! I'm writing and I may bite you!

Lucas: Ok ok. So I don't have to go to hockey, right?

Lucas' team has been a train wreck for most of the season.  They did one thing right and they won a tournament taking us to Canada.  Other than that they have had zero, zip, none, nada, zilch and I mean NO success! Lucas and the rest of the team are ready for this season to be over.

Me: Omg. 

Me: Yes. You have to go to hockey

Me: It's your last practice before your last league game.

Lucas: hahahahahahahaha

Me: You're killing me, dude!

Lucas: Sorry. I'm done

Me: You're giving me plenty of blog material today. 

Lucas: Good

Me: Writing it now as a matter of fact.

Lucas: Lol

He just came in from school, laughing.  He walked to my door, put his face in a pain of glass and gave me his great Lucas grin.  I called him into my office. He came over to me, chuckling the whole time. And so I did what my sign on my door says I might do. I bit him.  Ever so slightly and lightly and through layers of clothes, but I did get my teeth on his sweatshirt.  He can't wait to read this blog, so I guess I better get it edited and posted.

Oh, for the love of Lucas....

Tuesday, February 4, 2014

When the big brother becomes the parent

Last night I had the extreme pleasure of taking a back seat to parenting and watching Zach make some magic of his own and hopefully give some lasting advice to his younger brother.

Last night Zach and I were going over some paperwork that needs to be submitted to finalize his acceptance into VMI.  In the paperwork there was letter telling Zach all of the benefits of VMI's academic program and how the academic center helps new Rats (that's VMI speak for the freshman class...nice, huh?) transition from high school study and work habits to VMI study and work habits.  Lucas sat listening and engaging in our conversation when the tide turned a little and Zach started talking to Lucas about what he needs to do to succeed in high school so he, too, can get into VMI.

Lucas talks about where he wants to go to college and he does, indeed, have his sights set on a military academy. Zach knows it.  Last night Zach capitalized on Lucas' desire to follow in his brother's footsteps and his proximity to our conversation.  The boys started talking about transcripts and school schedules for next year and it went something like this...

Lucas: "I'm going to take online PE this summer so I can take another....oh, crap what's the word?"

Zach: "Elective?"

Lucas: "YEAH!  That's the word!  I'm going to take this cake walk of a class so I can get an easy A."

Zach: "Don't take easy classes just to get an A.  It doesn't look good on your transcript.  You have to take AP and honors classes if you are seriously considering any type of academy.  They don't want to see crap on your transcripts just for good grades.  They want to see hard work and good grades."

Lucas: "Well, I think it's best if I keep my GPA up by taking classes I know I can get an A in.  How is it going to look good to get a C in something hard when I could get an A in something easy?"

Zach: "You have to go with the hard classes that interest you.  You love history so you should take AP European History.  Or take psychology, but don't just take crappy, easy courses.  It's not going to get you anywhere."

Lucas was still trying to win the battle of easy A's versus hard C's, but it didn't work.  Zach stuck to his guns, talked over me and parented Lucas better than Stan or I ever could have.  I couldn't be more proud of the big brother who became the parent last night.  Lucas needed it and so did I.

Oh, for the love of my children...

Monday, February 3, 2014

We're almost the same

Dear Lucas,

Ah Sweet, Love.

We've been talking a lot lately about when you were little and growing up. I look at you and I see so much of me. Our personalities. A little goofy, a lot silly and a whole lot loving. It's amazing to me how much alike we are.

You and I.

Once upon a time, I was a little girl and I made friends as easily as I breathed air. I never hesitated a minute to ask for a new friend. As I grew older, I became more cautious and a little shy in my friend finding. But back in the day, before I knew how to be shy I was boisterous, all encompassing and anything but shy.

When you were little, you never knew a you all people were simply friends you hadn't met yet. You're favorite thing to say was, "I made a new best friend today." And you meant it. Everyone was your best friend, even if you didn't know their name. Now, you have reigned yourself in a little. You're a little cautious and more than a little shy.

I never wanted that for you. I wanted you to stay the same friend-finding, boisterous, all encompassing and anything but shy boy. But like me, you turned inward a little.

It shouldn't surprise me that you turned inward a little. As a baby, you were content to sit in your swing and entertain yourself. You enjoyed your own company. Every morning I used to stand outside your bedroom door and listen to you talk and talk and talk. To yourself. Not to a teddy bear, or a blanket, or a toy. Maybe you were  talking to your hands or your toes. Your sweet little babbling voice went on and on and it always made me smile. It didn't matter what you were talking to, you were just content to talk alone in your crib.

So it really shouldn't surprise me that you became a little introverted. But I wanted you stay like you were. Don't get me're still the same goofy, boisterous and supremely fun loving young man who strives to be the comic and clown, but you only show that side to those who know you well. Now people have to earn their way in because time and circumstances have altered things a little. You're a little more reserved and quiet around those who don't know you. The time and circumstances weren't anything big or bad, just growing up stuff. And growing up causes changes.    

A couple of years ago, you and I were driving to school and we were talking about grades and school. We were talking about your ADD and your meds and how that is a part of you and your life and your learning style. A look came over your face as we were driving. You let your funny boy mask fall just a little and I saw the struggle. I felt it when I looked at you. It was the look of a young man who might see himself as a little different than his peers. I saw the look of someone who can look at life from the outside. I thought I saw the look of someone who sometimes feels a little like they are on the outside. I thought I saw myself in you, yet again.

And then you cemented what I thought I saw when you said, "Mom, sometimes in class I just don't get something. I look around and I see everyone else understands what the teacher is saying and I just sit there. And I feel so..."

Your shoulders slumped a little, the light dimmed in your eyes and my heart ached for you as I said...
"Stupid?" And I finished your sentence for you.

"Yeah. Stupid."

You and I went on to talk about how smart you really are. We talked more about your ADD and our similarities. I told you I struggled the same way. I still do. There are times when I look around and see everyone else nodding in unison at something someone has said and I just don't get it, whatever "it" is. And I feel stupid. Maybe that's why I pulled back from being that boisterous, all encompassing and anything but shy girl I used to be. And maybe that's why you have too. But I have to say, I'm glad we have each other to lean on in those times when something just goes right over our heads, for those times when we feel just a little on the outside.

Fast forward to a few days ago. You came strolling into the kitchen while I was in the process of fixing something to eat and I asked if you'd like something. You responded by saying, "No thanks.  I just put wax over my bracket." I understand. Boy, do I understand. Once you get the wax over the offending bracket you don't want to do anything to knock it off. The pain of brackets and wires slicing into sensitive cheeks and gums is a pain I never want to endure again, nor something I would wish on my worst enemy, let alone you. We talked about warm salt water rinses, the best wax to cover sores and I told you to let me know if it gets worse or doesn't heal. I told you I'd make you an appointment to have something done or at least get you a prescription of the magic medicine I used when I had my braces on. I told you what a miracle drug it was for me and you said, "Mom, we're almost the same person, I can just use your prescription." And my heart smiled.

I like having someone who is almost the same as I am. I like it a lot. I've waited a long time, to have someone almost the same. As an adoptee, I always wanted to hear that someone looked like me, talked like me, walked like me, acted like me. My biggest wish was to know someone who is almost like me. My wish came true and I'm glad it's you.

With love,
Always ~