Tuesday, June 26, 2007

Nothing will ever be the same

I haven’t posted anything substantial for awhile because, well, I just haven’t had the time. I’m sure most of you can relate. It’s not like I have hundreds of folks waiting with baited breath to hear my next rant, so who cares, right? But I’ve found myself with some free time (at work no less) and here I write.

I probably should have posted more about brining my son home. I’ve decided to call him Gallo, as in el gallo (the rooster). I do this for two reasons: a) I have the most adorable picture of him in the bathtub with a soapsuds mohawk that makes him look like a rooster; and b) Gallo is a popular beer in Guatemala of which I was able to partake a few of and really enjoyed. So he’s officially Gallo.

The infamous “pick-up” trip was full of so much excitement and anxiety rolled into one. Thank the goddess for xanax! We all know I hate to fly so a little pharmaceutical help makes the journey so much easier for me and even more so for Mr. Beans. We arrived on time with no worries and were expecting a full night’s sleep before the arrival of Gallo and his foster family. Guess again! We arrived at the hotel to be told they would be here in about an hour! We ran upstairs, brushed hair and teeth, changed clothes and voila! They arrived.

His foster family was amazing. It was obvious how much they loved Gallo and were sad to see him go. He was placed in their care when he was three days old. Now, 7.5 months later, he was leaving. They brought a beautiful picture of him with angels superimposed around his face. On the back was a message saying how much they loved him and wished him a happy life. They included their address and asked that we keep in touch. I promised that I would. Letters and pictures are the least I can do to show my appreciation for caring for him all this time. That may sound flippant but what else can I say? Foster families understand that the children they are caring for will one day leave to go to another family. I’m not insinuating it’s not heartbreaking each time a child leaves. I’m only implying they understand, at least cognitively, that the day is coming. I am happy to continue this connection for Gallo. He may never be able to locate the family that brought him into the world, but I can do my damnedest to maintain the relationship with the family that cared for him during his first few months.

We visited for some time and then said our goodbyes. The whole scene was unbearably painful. I remember the pain I felt when we visited having to leave him and return to the U.S. without him. My only solace was knowing I would return, sooner or later, to bring him to his new home. This time, there was no solace for his foster mother. This was it. She had nothing more than my word that we would stay in touch. I can’t fathom what she was thinking or feeling at the time. I can only live up to my word to remain in contact.

The next few days went by so quickly. The details of the embassy visit are irrelevant to most. I’ve recorded them for Gallo’s questions, should there be any. Unless you’re going through the adoption process in Guatemala and are interested to know what will happen during your visit, I’m sure you aren’t interested. Short version: We spent the weekend bonding. We went to the embassy on Monday. It took four hours. We returned Tuesday afternoon and received his visa. We left Wednesday morning and arrived back at home, safe and sound, a little after midnight on Thursday. I have no positive comments for Immigration folks at the Charlotte airport. (perhaps I’ll elaborate in a later post). Suffice it to say, I wouldn’t recommend using that airport to return to the U.S. Go through Atlanta or Houston – better chance they know what they’re doing.

April was a blur! I stayed home thanks to lots of personal leave accrued during my past decade of being a state wage-slave employee. It was nice to have the time to bond with Gallo. Mr. Beans was finishing up classes in his last semester of law school. My mother, Grandma, was able to come and visit a few days. Then, Gallo and I traveled to the coast to visit the rest of my family. Everyone fussed over him and spoiled him rotten! I was happy we were able to visit for a whole week. I truly miss my friends and family, as well as my hometown. A few weeks later we traveled to visit Oma and Opa, Mr. Bean’s parents. They were thrilled to see Mr. Beans and Gallo. I was thankful the visit was only three days. I only wanted to kill Oma once. (This implies a good visit.) Upon our return home, we all came down with the rotavirus! I don’t wish this on my worst enemy…. okay maybe King George….. but seriously, it was awful! I’d like to blame this on visiting the ILs, but I can’t be certain. It was going around the pediatrician’s office the week before and it’s likely we picked it up there. Who knows? Thankfully it only took Gallo a week to get over it. Mr. Beans unfortunately suffered through it for almost two weeks until it finally subsided. Me? 2 days, baby! Ahhh, at least my immune system isn’t falling apart!

Rush forward to May: Law school graduation! The entire clans, on both sides, made the journey here to WhiteyMcWhiteville to see our genius Mr. Beans receive his Juris Doctor. I was so proud of the man. Considering the tumultuous happenings of the past three years and yet he still made it through. We got married; Katrina destroyed everything we owned; I moved here to WMW and started a new job; we started and finished Gallo’s adoption. All of this during his three years of law school - unfuckingbelievable. Truly, the man is a wonder. He’s now consumed with studying for the bar exam… and being Mr. Mom. Every day I marvel at his ability to care for Gallo. I don’t mean emotionally because that’s a no-brainer. I mean the actual day-to-day physical care of this child. He has the patience of Job. It’s sad to say that I’m impressed because he’s a guy. I know it sounds stereotypical. It’s just been my experience that fathers aren’t usually the “hands-on” caregivers that mothers are. That’s not the case here at Casa de Beans. Papa is the primary caregiver; Mama is the bread winner. And so it goes, until the bar is passed and a job is found.

Gallo is, of course, the most amazing child on earth. He’s now 10 months old. He’s crawling, pulling himself up, standing without assistance and certainly about to take his first steps any minute now. He knows “mama” and “papa” and can say them somewhat discriminately. He knows “bottle” and “doggie” but won’t say them. He’s got six teeth with number seven trying to rear its ugly head. His hair is so long if one more person asks me when I’m gonna give him a hair cut I’m gonna ask when they plan to loose weight! (as if either question is the inquisitor’s business!) He’s at the 95th percentile for weight and 75th percentile for height. He sleeps through the night (at least 12 hours) and takes two, 2-hour naps during the day. When he’s awake, he’s “balls to the wall” (as Mr. Beans would say) until he goes to sleep. He’s big and happy and healthy. We couldn’t be more thrilled he’s finally with us!

Reality-ville? I’m exhausted. Mr. Beans is exhausted. This is hard. This is trying. Some days I wonder “what have I gotten myself in to?” Some days I don’t think I’m gonna make it. Some days I wish I could just pull the covers over my head and just go back to sleep. Most days I’m in tears about something I’ve done or said or not done or not said to Gallo. Yes, at the end of the day, it is all worth it; but that doesn’t mean it’s all moonbeams and fairytales. It’s Motherhood and it ain’t always pretty.

So there’s the boring “catch-up” post. Sorry it’s so long. I guess I really have to get better organized. So much of my life pre-Gallo has taken a backseat. I know all the moms out there are saying, “Um yeah, what did you expect?” Honestly, I expected nothing less. I’m just taking longer than I would like to get into a discernable rhythm. I’m sure I’ll get the hang out it sometime. Every day I’m finding I understand more and more and feeling less and less confused about my role as mom. I should figure this thing out in oh…. 50-60 years??