Tag Archives: adoption

To 31 year old Luc (if you have issues with cavities):

Note: If 31 year old Luc does not have issues with cavities, please totally disregard and immediately destroy the following babblings.

Dearest 31 year old Luc,

very tired mom

Mom under the influence of exhaustion (mental and physical).

I love you. You know that. You were always a high-energy, strong-willed child. You know that too. Strong-willed children can be tiring. When you were two, you caused mayhem. I’d sigh, “Aw Luuuuc…” and you would double over with laughter. I used to have a private Jerry Maguire joke with myself during times of friction; I would think to myself, “You deplete me.” But, no matter how frustrated or exhausted I became, I always made sure to tell you that I loved you without condition.

So, about the teeth. The guilt is really getting to me. I know I should scrape myself off the floor and brush your teeth after you brush each time, but the inevitable battle… Ohhh the inevitable battle. I just… It’s just… I never do it. I won’t say I can’t do it because we’ve all seen the You Tube videos of the blind or deaf, one-legged and/or no armed, three-toed hermaphrodite puppy climbing Mt. Everest while singing “Nearer to Thee.” Or something similar. Can’t is a big word. I could, but I don’t. I hold myself accountable.

The thing is there are a million things, like teeth, that I need to scrape myself off the floor to take care of: that bump in your nose, hair cuts*, pink sludge, soy, bathing, ash attacks*, pedophiles, room tidiness, holey socks, playing Wii until your eyes glaze over and you forget how to swallow, and on and on. I can find two degrees of separation from any activity and DEATH. Because I’m a Mom. It is a mother’s curse to know that everything can lead to permanent damage. God gave us the superpower of foresight, but He didn’t provide any antidotes!!!

You will probably read this and feel resentment. You might even show it to your future therapist. And you’ll both agree that I should not have let a 7 year old’s temper tantrums dictate my behavior: She should have ignored the rage, and brushed his teeth after he brushed. At least once per day, right? I mean couldn’t she manage even once per day??

No, 31 year old Luc and his future therapist, I can’t manage once per day. I can manage once per week. Usually.

But, no 7 year old can possibly comprehend the permanent consequences of dental hygiene!

I know. I tried to explain them to him.

But that’s insane!

I know that too. I’m sorry.

Sorry?! Say sorry to TSA as their wands go crazy over a mouthful of fillings!

If that would help, I will. Maybe. If I have the energy.

You really are unbelievable, you one-sided conversation having nut jo—

Don’t you talk to your mother like that!

I’m not!! I’m reading this! YOU are typing it!!

I need you to check your tone, son.

You are not a sane person.

I realize this. And sometimes I cling to one of the benefits of being an adoptive mother: I can claim with near certainty that enduring my neuroses is better for you than enduring [insert negative unknowable alternative]. It’s a low bar, but a moderately comforting one. Also, I know you know, and your future therapist knows, and you know your future therapist knows you know I love you. And love conquers all?

In conclusion, I love you very much. I’ve made sure you know you are loved. Your daily hygiene is an acknowledged suboptimal situation. But I love you very much. And I love you. Did I mention I love you?

Now, who wants ice cream?

*It’s a black thing.

Racial Reconciliation & Racial Fatigue

Our church Life Group is reading “More Than Equals: Racial Healing for the Sake of the Gospel” by Spencer Perkins (black man) and Chris Rice (white man).

I’ve been trying for so long to wrap my head around how racism perpetuates. And who am I to speak on this issue now? The more I read, learn, and experience, the more confused I become.

Before we met last week, I thought my experience living in a black neighborhood, joining a black church, and signing my son up for sports with black teams had educated me about a portion of the black experience. I know how it feels to be surrounded buy people who look alike, but different from me. They were all so beautiful with their rich chocolate skin, magnificent curly/kinky hair, glamorous full lips and high cheekbones. And I was so pasty with my chalky caucasian skin, boring flat hair, skinny fish lips and pointy nose. I thought I understood the worry of trying to “pass” in order to fit in and keep my social standing so that my son could have black friends and grow up within black culture.

But then our group engaged in a mind-blowingly open discussion leaving me with the conclusion that I have absolutely no idea. The basic sentiment was similar to this…

When I was 15, my best friend was killed in a car accident. His mother and I found comfort in spending time together, and we grew close over time. I remember innocently, but horribly naively telling her that I thought I could understand a piece of her pain because my cat had died of cancer a few months before Trey died. She patiently explained that there was really no comparison between those losses. Now that I am a mother, I feel embarrassed that I made such a foolish comment. And, last week I felt equally foolish about thinking I could ever begin to comprehend the challenges of being a black person in a white man’s society.

In Chapter 3, Chris Rice spoke to this type of revelation and to the white person’s situation in the issue of racial reconciliation. He remembers (as I do with a cringe) thinking and saying ignorant things like: “I didn’t cause it, and I shouldn’t have to suffer for it.” And those people who don’t yet understand why that is an wrong way of thinking need to dig until they find the answer. “One of the character traits of a reconciler is a willingness to confront conflict…” and to learn how “vital it is to get everyone’s honest thoughts on the table. If they aren’t brought into the open and dealt with decisively, as (their) experience began to prove, they eventually boil over…”*

“Given the fact that white European culture is dominant in this country; given the legacy of racial discrimination that puts whites at an advantage in our society, even in the church; unless we make an intentional effort to affirm black leadership, culture and style, whiteness will always dominate.”*

“It was hard to accept the fact that if we left things as they were, with no emphasis on color, whites would eventually end up in most leadership positions. Yet we had learned that this was indeed the case.”

“Whites could go anywhere and find no doors closed. Here they needed to step aside, while blacks needed to step forward.”

I think one of the answers was stated really well by Dr. Ivory Phillips: “We will not begin to deemphasize white, we will just begin to value the qualities that blackness brings to the body.”*

“Whites often ask me, ‘How do I know when I’m really dealing with the race issue?’ ‘When you begin to feel uncomfortable.’”*

* These quotes are from “More Than Equals: Racial Healing for the Sake of the Gospel” by Spencer Perkins and Chris Rice. I can’t give a page number, b/c I have the Kindle version. All I know is that I read them in Chapter 3.

Black Pride

Reed was out of town last week on a business trip. Luc missed him SOOOO much. He sobbed every night and choked up every morning on the way to school. Thankfully, Reed is back. The boys are in the den wrestling (manese for “I’m glad you’re back!”). I thought the dog was asleep, but then I heard this ….

Luc: “The Captain is saying, ‘I’m rooting for this guy, so I’m gonna lick him just so he knows!'” (…followed by peals of laughter.)

The Pro Wrestling Hall of Fame "The Heels"

The Pro Wrestling Hall of Fame “The Heels”

Shortly after, a “Poop Break” was announced. Luc bounced into my office with a Lucha Libre library book. He wanted to show me how the match was going with a visual aid. He pointed to the losing wrestler on the cover of The Pro Wrestling Hall of Fame’s “The Heels”: “That’s what I did to Daddy. Except that’s more horrible because he’s black.”

Me: “Wait, why is it worse for a black wrestler to get hurt?”

Luc: “Because I always root for the black guys.”

I’ve got nothing. I have no idea how to respond to that.

– – –

A few months ago, Luc and I were waiting outside of the black barbershop. We chit chatted with a few passing folks. During a lull, Luc turned to me and said with a proud smile, “Black people are a lot cooler than white people.”

Me: “Uh, helloooo.”

Luc: “What.”

Me: “You just said that to a white person. I’m white, dude.”

Luc: “Sorry Mom-Mom, but it’s true. You have to admit it.”

The voice in my head started rambling: “He’s got a point. I mean based on the black people you have come in contact with lately, and the black people you expose Luc to, it’s really no wonder he thinks that! But you can’t agree, because that would be affirming his prejudice! But you want to encourage his confidence and pride in being a cool black man, but you don’t want to push him into prejudice! Maybe a bus will swerve onto the sidewalk and take you out and you won’t have to answer this one.”

Me (finally): “I’ve met a lot of really cool black people. And I’ve met a lot of really cool white people.”

Luc: “Whatever.”

What can I say? I’m not good on my feet.