Category Archives: Parenting

Hotel Rwanda and Open Adoption Parenting

A few years ago I was teaching World Geography to middle school kids. We’d done a unit on the phenomenon of genocide, and at about the same time Paul Rusesabagina came to our city for a speaking engagement. I organized a field trip, and we all heard the first person account of the hotel manager who sheltered Tutsis in Rwanda in 1994.

Truly, his story is remarkable. At risk of his safety and that of his family, Paul Rusesabagina (played in the film Hotel Rwanda by Don Cheadle) used his connections and wiles to save more than a thousand refugees. Think the Schindler’s List of Africa.

paul rusesabagina and don cheadle

The audience was full of gushing praise for him. Each person who got up to ask a question at the end of Paul Rusesabagina’s presentation began with some version of, “You are extraordinary.” or “You are exceptional.” or “You are amazing — I would never be able to be so brave.” Continue reading Hotel Rwanda and Open Adoption Parenting

A Moment in Open Adoption Parenting

Tessa was distraught after a Halloween party for not getting the nod for a sleepover at her aunt’s house. The excitement of the kid-oriented haunted house, the disappointment about the sleepover, and a sugar high made for a meltdown.

I got her into the car and she continued to wail about how mean her dad and I are. My husband and son were in the other car (long logistical explanation), so Tessa and I had some rare alone car time.

The wailing changed tone as we headed home.

“Why can’t Crystal and Joe be my parents!? I have never even been with both of them at the same time!”

Whoa.

daughter wants to live with birth parents

Continue reading A Moment in Open Adoption Parenting

Show & Tell: Captured

Last week I showed my documentarian tendencies.

When Tessa was born, my friend Juli (scrapbooker extraordinaire) gave me a beautiful handmade calendar that she designed especially for my daughter.

So it seemed natural that I would add my kids’ journal entries to my nightly routine. Call it a.nal-retentive, obsessive or rigid (as my husband jokingly has), but I am happy to capture each day of their lives until they are able to do so themselves. As Mel suggested last week, I plan to turn over documenting duties to them on their 12th birthdays.

Tessa has 9 calendars so far (Juli’s creations are the two in the upper left):


Reed has 7 (and yes, the second child’s is sloppier; what’s it to ya?):


Thanks to my mom for filling in on the overnights she’s had them. And yes, the kids LOVE scanning a month of their lives and remembering an earlier time.

See what the cool kids are showing and telling over at Mel‘s.

Which is More Difficult?

This Momversation is a discussion about which is harder: being a mom or being a wife.

Dooce, having experienced post-partum depression, says that marriage was much easier, and she shares many good reasons why. She votes for Motherhood as the more difficult.

Finslippy says (among other things) that it’s easier to neglect marriage, making it the more difficult of the two.

GirlsGoneChild, who experienced marriage and children in rapid fashion, also agrees that marriage is the more difficult.

Dooce got more than 700 comments on this and has shut them down. There are conversations going on at GirlsGoneChild and at Momversation, but I was wondering what my readers think about motherhood vs wifehood, either in the concrete (you are a parent) or in the abstract (you will one day be a parent, and you give your best guess as to which will be more difficult for you).

Conventional wisdom might say that for Infertyls, motherhood will be incredibly rewarding after the long and tortuous route to get there. And that, consequently, achieving that hard-won dream would make parenting less difficult than marriage (especially a marriage that has been tested by IF).

But my own experience did not fit into that mold. Regarding marriage, I know how to navigate a peer relationship, a (mostly) rational relationship of (mostly) equals.

I struggled then, and I still sometimes do, with the irrational relationship I have with purely emotional beings. As they become more rational, parenting them becomes easier for me.

And in theory, I should be the One In Control in my relationships with Tessa and Reed, right? I am Authority and they should, at all times, defer to my more seasoned judgment. (Don’t laugh. My parents expected this of me, and I have forgotten that I rarely gave it to them.)

Smack! That’s reality hitting me upside the head on an almost-hourly basis. My kids DON’T stop fighting when I tell ask them to. They DON’T keep their dirty and clean clothes in different places. They DON’T accept my wisdom about not eating boogers as gospel.

Control is an illusion. Tessa and Reed just might have more of it than I do. It certainly seems like it at times.

These are some of the reasons why motherhood is, for me, more difficult than wifehood.

(Well, that and the fact that Roger cooks.)

So, for you, which is or will be harder — being a mom or being a wife? Please share why you think so.

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