Saturday, May 11, 2013

In Which I Don't Write For A While And Explain Why

So I haven't blogged in about a month.  Many of you have e-mailed me or left comments asking how we're doing, which I really appreciate. 

And the truth is, we're doing okay.  Not wonderful, but okay.

Don't worry; it's not Connor.  He's fine.  More than fine actually-- he's thriving right now.  It's just that it turns out that this parenting two kids thing is kind of tough.  I know, who would have guessed, right?  It's without a doubt the best thing I've ever done and I have zero regrets, but I'm not going to pretend it's all roses and sunshine over here.  Our daughter is dealing with some really big feelings, and she's still developing the tools she needs to handle them.  Things are slowly improving, but it's a process that's going to take a long time.  She's a fantastic kid and a survivor, and she's learning and growing in leaps and bounds every day.  But we are definitely experiencing some challenging parenting moments right now.

So one of the reasons why I haven't been blogging is that I've been trying to figure out where my boundaries are in terms of transparency and honesty versus being sensitive about respecting our daughter's privacy.  I've always been a fairly open and frank blogger in terms of how I write about my experiences, but I want to make sure that what I'm putting down here is something that "Ellen" will be okay with having in the public eye.  Once her English improved to the point where I'm sure she understood what I was asking, I had a discussion with her about how comfortable she is with me writing about her.  She gave me pretty much free reign.  That's a tremendous gesture of trust in me on her part, and I want to make sure I honor that. 

So I'm still hashing out exactly how much detail I'll go into in regards to exactly what issues we're dealing with around here. Please bear with me on that one, okay?  I don't want to give you the impression that they're life-threatening or anything out of the realm of the ordinary for a child adopted at an older age; in fact we were expecting to potentially deal with much greater issues than what we've seen, and for the most part our girl is doing beautifully.  But the fact remains that she is facing some pretty significant challenges emotionally and behaviorally.  I do want to keep in mind that anyone can see this blog, and I don't want to write anything that might be potentially embarrassing to her in the future if, say, one of her classmates was to stumble upon it.

Another thing we've discussed in recent weeks is exactly what our daughter would like to be called on here.  She's decided to take an American first name when we finalize the adoption in July, and after a bit of experimentation and a lot of poring over baby name books she seems to have settled pretty firmly on one.  She'd like me to start calling her by that name on the blog, and since it's not currently her legal name that isn't a problem in terms of our agreement with our agency.  So she's chosen the name "Eden," and I'll be referring to her here that way from now on.  We'll see if that's still what she wants to go by come July, but she seems pretty stuck on it.  In the meantime, Eden it is! 

Goodness knows she has much better taste than I would have if I'd been given the opportunity to name myself at fifteen.  I was heavily into a hippy-dippy bad poetry phase at the time and probably would have named myself something like "Ebony Rose Skylark Meadowsong."  It would not have been good.

Anyway, now for something completely different.  It's time for a bit more transparency on another topic, which will also help explain my recent absence from the Internet.  I kept this concealed at the time for a variety of reasons, few of which apply anymore, so now I can share.  Savvy readers might have noticed that pictures and writing about Jer dropped off sharply a few months ago.  I think I mentioned once waaaaaaaaaaaay back in 2010 that he was taking prerequisite classes in preparation for applying to the army's Physician's Assistant Program, and then I never said anything about it ever again.  What I've been neglecting to mention for, um, a while is that he applied, and he was accepted (of course, as the man is brilliant-- not that I have a biased opinion or anything), and he started up the program last July.  It happens to be on the other side of the country-- down south in Texas.

And we, of course, couldn't go with him.

Connor doesn't sweat, and taking him down to live in an area that gets to 115 degrees in August would be a Rather Poor Parenting Decision on our part.  So we made the extremely difficult decision to do the long-distance marriage thing until the first part of Jer's PA school is complete.  We're then really hoping he'll be able to get a special dispensation to move back up this way for the second phase of PA school.  I'm so proud of him and he's been doing very well in school, which is no surprise.  I also miss him terribly.  He's been gone for about ten months now, and we have about eight months left to go.  In other words, I've been doing the sort-of-single-parent thing for nearly a year now. 

This is not particularly fun.

We talk to him every day, of course, and Skype when our lousy Internet connections allow for it.  He's able to visit us during semester breaks as well, which is pretty fantastic.  And he's not deployed, which we're very grateful for.  But it's pretty hard not having him here, and I'm definitely being stretched in a lot of ways.  As a result, when I'm not dreaming about Jer being home again, a lot of my current fantasies involve going away for a whole weekend to some little Bed and Breakfast with a maid, a 24-hour tea and chocolate service, a large bathtub and a suitcase full of books.  And I would go there By Myself.  To be All Alone.  And it would be marvelous.

I don't want to make it sound like things are falling apart around here.  They aren't.  We're actually having a lot of wonderful moments.  In the past month Connor had his birthday, took his first step ever in a walker (and then got very surprised when we started cheering and refused to do it again), Eden got her ears pierced, went roller skating, and discovered the wonders of fresh-picked corn on the cob from the farmer's market and I've spent a ton of time playing out in the garden.  So there's actually been some really wonderful stuff happening around these parts.

But in the process of trying to avoid talking about Jer being gone and figuring out what to say or not say about Eden and also doing the eight bajillion things that one does as a parent of a seven year old and a teenager, blogging started to seem less like a pleasure and more like extra work.  And if there's one thing I don't need around here right now, it's extra work.  So I stopped and took a step back.  And it was only yesterday that I realized I was beginning to genuinely miss writing here to you, and I knew it was time to start up again. 

So sorry for disappearing on you all like that.  I'm still here, we're still trucking along, and I'm still going to write about it.  No guarantees on quality, but I'm going to do my best to get back in the habit of writing every day. 

Thanks for being patient with me!



Fiona said...

Nice to see you back Jess.
Your life sounds kinda crazy, but ti also sounds like you are dealing with it in your usual ebullient style.
And I love the name Eden (and laughed at what you would have chosen at the same age - my own choice would have been equally hideous I'm sure).

Christine said...

Glad to see you back, but please take care of yourself and only write when you want to. No obligations! You have a lot on your plate, but we're sure you're handling it beautifully.

Herding Grasshoppers said...


My respect for you (always high) just doubled. Or tripled :D And Happy Mother's Day, while I'm at it!

Oh, I totally understand that fine line we walk regarding writing about our kids. When they were little, no problem. But two of mine are in their teens and I want to respect their desires. (But also don't want to appear like we're all Perfect and Shiny and Everything Is Always Fine...)

Anyway... LOVE the name of Eden, and can't wait until things are finalized and you can show photos of her :D

Julie G

Chloes Mom Mary said...

Happy Mothers Day Jess! And, it's great to read an update, lots of exciting things and lots of challenges for sure. Looks like you are being your amazing self and dealing with things well. I hope you never feel obligated to write. Life gets busy and while we always hope all is well. we understand you can't always write.

Take good care of yourself.

Anonymous said...

So happy to read that all is well, with the little (well not adult big)loves of your life keeping you very busy, and the great man you married working hard toward a new career.
The update is priceless. Thank you. smg-KS

Anonymous said...

You are simply remarkable. You remain one of my greatest inspirations, and I've never even met you!

Those children are mighty lucky to have you as their mama. Keep eating chocolate and reading junk fiction - you more than deserve it.

A said...

I second or third or fourth other's expressions of respect and admiration for how you balance all the demands on your time, energy and ingenuity
so beautifully. And Eden's a great name!

Anonymous said...

I am SO glad that everything is okay with you guys. I wanted to comment on your last post but didn't want to pry in case something was up.

So many things to say about this post!

1. CONNOR! Way to go on the walking, little dude. Also glad he's feeling well. Hopefully you guys have been taking advantage of your AC if your weather up there has been anything like down here in Portland lately.

2. Eden is a great name, and I too am super excited to see photos of her. I know that she's probably experiencing feelings that I'll never truly understand, and I really admire her for being so brave in the face of so much upheaval.

3. If it's finals time for Jer, I hope the poor guy's not too stressed out.

4. Finally - and please pardon my language - you're kind of a badass. I'm hoping you get some time to yourself and some tasty chocolate sometime soon. :)

I'm so glad to see you back! I've missed your entries - you have a distinctive "voice".

Simply, Sarah said...

Wow! You have a LOT going on! I'm so glad to read your posts again, since you give me greater perspective on our challenges.
I am not surprised you're rocking the "single" mom route so well, and hope the 8 months go by quickly.
Eden is a wonderful name too. :)

Sarah said...

I'm glad you're back. My morning cup of coffee and I missed you, but we understand that taking care of big things with your hands and your heart comes with less time to type. I'm just one of your friendly quiet readers who would love to consider herself a member of your fan club. Much love as you walk through these long days with your little loves.

Julia said...

Hey! I've been missing from the blog world myself lately, so I certainly can't criticize, but I'm also very glad to hear from you again. That said, I also understand the need for space, time, and boundaries. Eden is a lovely, lovely name -- and fits in nicely with your gardening proclivities! (Let's hope you're never banished from Eden.) And a huge woohoo on Connor's walking. I'm sorry you're having to go the single parent route these days, which must be exhausting, but hopefully you've got services in place to help out and give you some relief.

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