Friday, April 23, 2010

Austin the Epic

It was almost 12 years ago that we (my husband and I) waited at Providence Hospital for our son to be born. His birthmother, a 16-year old girl, was in a dark room, with me and about five of her friends. She was receiving and answering calls until she was 9cm dilated. Weird.

I was in the room, while my husband sat in a waiting area, appropriately enough, reading science fiction. I ran in and out of the room to give him updates.

"Breathe!" a nurse instructed the birthmother.

"You!" she shouts back.

About six hours, and a muscle relaxant later, our birthmother produced Austin the Epic. He had a big head and skinny legs.

Knowing that I was to be the mother of this adopted baby, the nurse handed him to me, after weighing him and recording his ABCAR scores.

"Oh fuck!" I heard the birthmother whisper under her breath.
I moved swiftly to give her her son, but she wouldn't take him from me, so the nurse became the middleman, and sheepishly took Austin the Epic to the girl who just gave birth to him.

I left and started to cry. To say that this is not how I envisioned parenthood is an understatement; anger and sadness instead of happiness.

Eventually Austin the Epic would become our son, but not then. My husband and I were outsiders in the most important event to happen in our lives.

Three days after Austin was born, we were allowed to bring him home. His other mother wanted to have some time with him at the hospital before offering her goodbyes, and we granted her that request.

For the first year of Austin's life, I felt like I was babysitting him. I think I finally felt like his parent the first time he threw up on me. Now I know I'm his parent, because he's 12-years-old, and like any pre-teen, doesn't want to be seen with me.

Monday, April 19, 2010

The Pot Calls the Kettle Black

Almost every Friday, I am part of the Positive Reinforcement Committee at my son's school. What does that mean? Well, it means handing out dog tags, and chains to kids who basically do what they are supposed to do: take responsibility for mistakes, remember homework, be courteous to other students.

When I started doing the job at the beginning of the school year, the kids swarmed me like bees at a honeycomb. Now no-one is interested. The kids have bored of the dog tags. Some may wonder why middle schoolers need positive reinforcement in the first place.

Still I love going, because I get to see the kids, and it takes me back to when I was a kid. I especially enjoy checking out what they wear. On Dress Up Day, for example, plenty of boys dressed in suits...with high tops. Some girls attempted, and failed, to walk in very high heels.

Last week, there was a group of about three girls, and I couldn't tell if they were Amy Winehouse, Lady Gaga, or Madonna wannabes. They all had big hair, big bows in the big hair, and knee-high combat boots. Meanwhile many of the dudes sported High School Musical type male haircuts.

Back to boots, though. Uggs are all the rage. What are Uggs? Ugly boots that are more like slippers. Saw someone wear these with running shorts. Either I'm old, or out of touch, but I wouldn't wear that combination. Having said that, I'm as plain and frumpy as they come, and I never dressed in style, and still don't.

So this is the pot, calling the kettle black.

Sunday, April 11, 2010

I'm excited

Because my son is wearing pants to school, instead of shorts. A great transformation has occurred, overnight it seems.

One day he's wearing shorts and dirty shirts in 40-degree weather, and the next, he's wearing pants, a hoodie and shoes that aren't crocs. And if that weren't enough, he's showering AND washing his hair (and rinsing everyday). He also has discovered the wonders of using a messenger to carry his stuff. Before, he just carried several 2-inch binders, and a box of writing utensils in his arms.

I know the reason for this change, and I don't want to embarrass him. I'm just having a blast seeing him go through the stages of growing up.

Tuesday, April 6, 2010

Reelin' In the Years--

I wasn't expecting it, but I experienced a big emotional tsunami looking through my old yearbooks last weekend. All of our books remain in boxes in our crawlspace, and I needed to find a particular one that we'll read in my book group. While doing so, I found said yearbooks, and got the urge to pull them out and even read autographs my classmates were kind enough to give.

The pictures struck me first--once young kids, now middle-age adults. Some are grandparents now. Others are dead. More on that in a bit.

One picture that I loved then, and still do, shows a little 7th Grade boy eating a corn dog, whilst listening to music on 1980s-standard headphones, ignoring the buddies on either side of him.That boy is now a man with 16 years of experience at Intel.

As I flipped through more pictures, I came upon some of a friend(Christina) I made in
Kindergarten about 37 years ago. We remained friends through junior high and high school
She died of leukemia our Junior year, as did two other kids. She played on the volleyball team,
so there were many of her with her fellow athletes. What got me emotional was reading her
words to me. Her nickname for me was "spot" because I'm short. We went to separate schools
Freshman year. In many of her notes, she thanked me for my long-term friendship.

While her comments made me sad, others made me laugh at the adolescent goofiness that
produced them. Here are some of the better ones:

  • Let me be the first to sign your crack!
  • I hope you stay sweet!
  • Thanks for your help on the Africa crossword puzzle ( don't think I could do that now).
  • Next year, keep your hands off my french fries!
  • Hey Eden, I'm writing in pink again this year.
It also made me laugh to see what I had done to the yearbooks, including sketching some
mustaches on girls that scared me, or writing "bitch" on their pictures. Again, adolescent
stupidity. I also made note of the boys I thought were cute, but will always be worshipped
from a distance.

And then when I finished looking through the books, I got on Facebook and discovered that
the 26th anniversary of Christina's passing was near.

How coincidental that I had just been thinking about her.