Tuesday, February 26, 2008

Long-distance parenting to the ghost in my head

Our Gladney caseworker, the resplendent Mary called today, get this: to check in with us and see how we're doing. This is the second time she's done this in a week. I know people with other agencies who can't get anyone to answer an email, and yet we have the feeling that Mary and the other kind-hearted folks at Gladney are almost as emotionally invested in this case as we are.

She let me know that all the necessary documents are being successfully gathered for court on March 4th, and we talked about how to best prepare ourselves emotionally for any possible outcome, including that of yet another delay. I told her that I'm getting pretty good at this waiting thing, and that I'm settling into my current relationship with Baby A which consists mainly of trying to telepathically send my love to him across an ocean and two continents by staring intently at each new picture we get of him. As I told a friend a couple of weeks ago, this is the most difficult long-distance relationship I've ever been in.

Today while listening to Fresh Air on NPR (because I'm white and apparently, that's what we do), I heard this journalist named David Sheff being interviewed about the book he just wrote about his son's meth addiction. He told a story about a bad health scare he had where he woke up in a hospital bed unable to remember who he was. While the nurses were asking him his name, all he could do was think that this was something he should know but couldn't get to. What was trumping the retrieval in his mind of his own name was his overwhelming worry and concern for his son. While he didn't know who he was, he knew every detail about his son. All he could do was keep asking where his son was and if he was okay.

He said that it struck him then what it really means to be a parent: that the love we have for our children takes a higher place in our psyches than our own identities.

I then continued down the freeway bawling my eyes out, missing my exit, and going twenty minutes out of my way.

When I wake up in the middle of the night to pee or because one of the cats is walking across my face, I immediately think of Baby A. It takes all of half a second for him to enter my brain, even if I hadn't been dreaming about him. This continues through the day, even while I'm concentrating on something else. It's why I've called him here on this blog "the ghost in the back of my head." Is this normal? Do all mothers experience this? Are your children always in your minds like this or has this twisty-turny adoption done a number on my psyche?

Finally, for Mere, thank you again for the mustard greens. This was what I ate today: mustards from a can, some tomato-y, spicy Indian mush, and a piece of Dave's Killer bread. I got all fancy heating the greens and putting them on a plate. They actually taste better room temperature, straight out of the can onto my fork and into my mouth. Next time, I'll eat the whole can that way.
Oh, and in response to the applause of Ted's kitchen-building talents: yes, he is talented at home projects, but I do have to put the disclaimer out there that we hired a contractor to do a lot of the work. Ted didn't do it all alone, though he probably did end up doing almost half of it all.


mama becca said...

Yes, all mothers feel that way. Can't help it... just happens. He's you boy, even if not court-declared. Praying praying praying.

Amy B. said...

Yes...it is normal...to think of your baby non-stop. Once you let those little beings in your heart...they somehow take over. I love the story of the man that remembered his son when he couldn't remember who he was. That is the essense of parenthood for sure.


Stacie said...

I guess I'm pretty white too b/c I love Fresh Air - I did get to hear that today too. I was thinking about how this guy had talked to his son about drugs and even quit them himself when his son was born and then...well, you know what happens. I saw the book today in Starbuck's after our doc's appt. (Isn't it weird when things like that happen?)

Anyway, I think it is definitely normal. I think about Micah all the time and he's in the next room sleeping. I wonder if he's hot or cold, or if his binky fell out. It's like that saying that mothers forever walk around with their hearts outside of their bodies. Our hearts are constantly with our children - and it sounds like that is exactly what you're feeling. (I told you that you were already in the club!)

Love & prayers!

Lori said...

Stacie: that's what is called a 'breadcrumb' for sure. I think you're meant to read this book.

Kellsey said...

Hi, you don't know me. I have been lurking for a while. I went to high school with Jana (of Jana and Michael), and I have been praying for you guys since Jana linked your page.

Anyways, I am now a mother of two (3 year old boy and 1 year old girl) and I just wanted to echo these other fine ladies. Having them in your head and your heart like this is all I have ever known. I will admit that I have my moments when I forget that I am a mom, but they are so rare that I can count them on one hand, and they usually involve a glass of wine and a VERY good book. And, just like you, whenever I wake up in the middle of the night to go pee, I think of them and hope they will sleep well the rest of the night, hope that they will be healthy and not wake up ill (something they are a lot since my son started preschool and started bringing all the germs home), hope that they will know how much I love them, hope that they will know how much Jesus loves them, etc. I may not always have all of those thoughts in an explicit way, but they're there nonetheless.

you're normal, and while this adoption process has no doubt changed you and stretched you--oftentimes quite painfully--I don't think this particular thing is in any way the result of a number being done on your psyche. ;-)

Anonymous said...

I'm also a lurker, but wanted you to know you're in my prayers and yes, it's totally normal. From the moment you find our you're pregnant it's pretty much consuming and I imagine it stays that way until you forever. Praying that little A will be in your arms soon.

graceling said...

The ghost? Totally normal. Very motherish.

You are in the club. The ghost is your proof of membership.

Nicholas said...

Ditto, ditto, and more ditto to all the previous comments on "the ghost"... You may want to re-name it angel though!! :)

Meredith said...

Gurl, I'm glad you broke open those greens. Just let me know what else Miss Meredith can send you from the Deep South. I am serious.

Anonymous said...

I did not see where you had cornbread with those greens! I'll have to send you some more greens with some Martha White Buttermilk mix.

Lori, those constant thoughts in the back of your mind are the symptoms that precede the growth of eyes in the back of your head. You know all moms have them! Next comes the telekenetic sense that "quiet" is not synonimous with "behaving". =8.) You'll have little possums climbing through trap doors before you know it...!

Jana said...

I am white. I love NPR. But Terri Gross makes me NUTS. I think she's totally smug and pretentious. And, petty as this is, I can't stand the way she says "FRRResh Air!" It makes me shiver, and not in a good way.

Wow, that was strong. Thanks for letting me get that off my chest. I heard the show, too. It was good, despite the Gross factor.

Anonymous said...

What a gorgeous plate of food! I loves me some greens. And I'm curious about the killer bread.


Lori said...

Staci: Dave's Killer Bread is seriously the best bread I have eaten in the U.S. (I would say 'world' but that would mean it trumps all those perfect Slovak loaves). Dave is an ex-con who makes a good good product.

Anonymous said...

Ted & Lori -

I just went to Dave's Killer website. What are your favorite kinds of his bread? I may order some!


Lori said...

Staci--I usually get the 21 Whole Grains, but I also get the Powerseed, Nuts&Grains (in the fridge now), Goodseed, and Bluesbread. They are all so so so good.

Anonymous said...

I am a mother of a 19 year old that left home a month ago. When I stop doing busy work and let my mind rest it immediatly goes to thoughts of him. Yes, you are in the club Lori and it never goes away.
Love, Linda