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!
2 months ago