Friday, July 31, 2009

Genetics vs. ???

My mother and my daughter are almost identical in many ways. I'm not sure how it can even be possible to be so much alike since my daughter is adopted. It is almost like I am raising a child version of my mother. Not just the fact that both are dark haired with dark eyes. It is more than that. While I love my mother and daughter more than I can convey in words, these things they do annoy me. How did I end up with two people so much alike so close to me?

1) Utter disregard for organization. I knew that AJ was like my mother the very first time we colored together. Me, I take a box of crayons and try to keep them in some form of order, usually by the spectrum and by which needs to be used so that some aren't dull and some sharp. My daughter? She took the brand new box and dumped them out before I could say a word. She stirred them up and never looked back. My mother does the same thing, often dumping things in her purse or any drawer that can hold anything.

2) Lid? What lid? Neither one ever places a lid on anything. Toothpaste, ketchup, peroxide...if it has a lid then it goes without once they touch it.

3) Anything that is mine is up for grabs. When I was growing up, nothing was sacred in my room. Not because she was nosy, but because she might wander in, carelessly pick up my hairbrush, and then maybe not lay it down until she was, oh, at the barn. AJ does the same thing. I found my roll of scotch tape on the loveseat yesterday. Who knows why.

4) Obession with tape. This sounds crazy but they both are nuts about tape. I have to have a secret hiding place for my tape because if either one ever see it, it is gone. My mother has a tape dispenser that is for industrial use. She has already used a few and I don't really know why she needs it. I do know that it is loud and she can use it for hours on end. She has also wanted to buy one for AJ. I don't think she's old enough for a 'tape gun', as Mother calls it.

5) Both are fast food junkies. They are the only two people I have ever seen cry over the lack of fast food. Mother had a melt down when her arm was broken and dad was cooking. She couldn't drive, he hates chicken and pretty much the lived on tuna straight from the can and bananas for weeks. She called me in tears sayings, "I THINK I WILL DIE IF I DON'T GET SOME CHURCH'S CHICKEN TODAY". I had a similar experience with AJ when we tried to go 30 days with no McDonald's. After about day 10 she was crying, "I'm JUST A KID! I NEED McDONALD'S".

6) Both will take the advice of a stranger over my advice. How many times have I heard from my mother, "A lady in the check out line at K-Mart said....". Really? I told you that six months ago. Listen to me. AJ will do the same thing.

7) Both are nudists. Only at home. They hate to feel the confinement of chothes. It seems my whole life I have had to wait to open the door so that SOMEONE can get dressed,

8) Both are extreme animal lovers. I've seen my mother spend days without sleep just to try to save a newborn animal, be it calf, kitten or puppy. Nothing was really beyond trying. My daughter has the same love and compasion. Not a bad thing, but heartwrenching at times.

9) Sleep must be had. Both require at least 8 hours of sleep. If this isn't had, someone will pay dearly. Now, they may miss a night for something, but it will be made up. I promise. And if you wake them up before the required amount, you may as well wake a wild gorilla. Both can nap anything it is cool and dark. My mother has slept at the movie theater. AJ still falls alseep in the car.

10) They feel they have to right all wrongs done in their presence. Someone shoplifting. Mom screams for security. I wouldn't be shocked if someone shanked her, probably at K-Mart. Didn't follow Robert's Rules of Order? She will let you know. Or she would, back in the day. AJ does the same thing. Someone was picking on a neighborhood kid and she got up in their face and told them to leave her property and never come back or she would have a restraining order. The bully was about three times her size and could have squashed her. She also left me sister a note once about cursing. Funny.

There are more, many more. They cry when they have fever. They laugh at me when I can't find something. They hate a schedule. They don't want to be vegetarians. I've wondered if this is some cosmic joke, if God laughs out loud when he sees me looking for tape and a gift bag, only to find them crammed under her bed full of rocks. Who knows.

Monday, July 27, 2009

Rehab: Family Style

My mother has had two eye surgeries this summer. She was pretty much without any sight until her first surgery. She hasn't driven in a year, and has just stayed home. They live on a farm in Arkansas, and she has relied on my dad and brother to help her out. I won't elaborate on that point. Not now at least.

We all knew that she would need to stay somewhere to recover properly. She couldn't risk an infection and had to have three different drops four times per day. She also couldn't risk falling as she takes blood thinners for a heart problem. My dad was going to be working in the hayfield, and as any farmer knows, hay comes first. It was either stay with my older brother or come over here. SHe has stayed with them in the past and I did want her to come and try to relax here.

She agreed. I was not sure what to expect at first. To be honest, we haven't spent so much time together lately. We talk on the phone daily, even multiple times. But as far as doing lunch or Something about living 40 miles apart, me working, her not being able to drive, KIDS has all but put a squash on me having any type of social life. I didn't realize how much it adds to a relationship to see, feel, and laugh with a person in real time rather than just talking on the phone.

Mom was able to relax. She made herself at home and we had a big time. AJ is very much like my mother (even though adopted) and they both spent the first rehab time eating junk food and doing things I don't like. But we all had a blast and mom rested. She also realized that she was blind when she began to see again.

Her last surgery wasn't as successful. She came back to stay and had to be extra careful with the eye that might never see. We were all worried but within a few days she had some vision and some energy. She was up and ready to do all the things she has been missing out on the last year. Instead of afternoon naps with her like the first surgery, she was sending me on errands and having me go to the store for her.

She also couldn't stand that we had about 50 lbs of tomatoes from the garden and no time to can them. She began to cook and she cooked and cooked some more. She had three days of cooking and I don't remember seeing her so happy in a long time. We also loved the great food and wonderful conversations. I keep playing many of them back in my mind long after she has gone home to Dad.

She has heart surgery in a few days. Of course, I worry. I want her to come back and stay again. Maybe we won't expect her to cook this time.

Sunday, July 26, 2009


Yesterday AJ and I volunteered at a local Wellness Fair. I was representing the Child Welfare Board of our county. I volunteered to help and was appointed to the board last year.

Hopefully these events will bring awareness to our area of the great need we have.

1) We need donations for our rainbow room. This is an emergency resource room that caseworkers pull to help a child who has just been removed. So many kids need clothes, diapers, formula, shoes, ect. This room is ran 100% on donations nd by volunteers.

2) We need to help our kids in foster care. Yes, foster parents get money put it is not much. These kids also need school clothes. Our board gives $75 for back to school clothes and supplies. That is a joke, really. I'm about to lay out $600 on a clarinet in a few weeks and foster families get no help for that. The need for these kids is endless. Camp, senior rings, prom, Easter, ect.

3) We need foster/adoptive families. This is the hardest thing you will ever do. It is also the most rewarding.

My rewards have been indescribable. I have a daughter who is beautiful, talented, and smart. She is funny and sensitive. She can sing, dance, and write. Her story will soon be published in Chicken Soup For The Soul. I can go on and on.

What I want people to know is that there is a need and you can help./

Saturday, July 25, 2009


I can't remember where I left off. Pretty much, Mom has had two eye surgeries, one was successful, one not. The Dr. wasn't sure she would even have vision in the one eye. I wasn't sure it would ever look normal again. Thankfully, she can see a little and it looks OK.

AJ is fine. She's glad to be home from church camp. Dale and I had one day where we were both off and child free and we spent it baby sitting my 5 month old nephew. We are wild.

I also took pictures of a brand new baby. He was precious. I could take newborn pictures all day everyday.

Mother and I (mostly her) have been canning salsa. We still have about 50 lbs of tomatoes to go. I'm ready to give or throw the rest away. I couldn't have been a pioneer woman.

Wednesday, July 15, 2009

All By Myself

This hasn't happened in years. I'm all alone. (if you don't count the animals)

Even more rare, Dale and I will have two nights and days alone and he is off work for them. We pretty much plan to stay home and maybe go eat. We are exciting like that.

AJ is at camp. I do hate to let her go at all because it seems to mess with her attachment. Last year was her first year to go and she did fine but was so afraid that somehow, we sent her away for good. She knew better but it was a thought somewhere deep in her mind.

This year she has a cell phone and can call. I also made her cards for morning and night to open and read. I tried to say "I miss you but want you to stay there" as best I could.

So here I am. I have dishes to do. Aren't you jealous?

Wednesday, July 8, 2009

Giving Care

Giving care is not the same as being a caregiver. My mother is having eye surgery and will probably be coming to stay with me a few days. Not a big deal for most people but she is on huge amounts of blood thinners.

I'm not a good nurse. I can stop blood and change bandages, but I'm not good beyond that. I'm compassionate and will sit with anyone at the hospital for as long as I need. But I don't have what it takes to be a nurse. Even when AJ was on the crutches for a few days, I was frazzled by the noise.

So, Mom will be here for a few days. Part of me is really looking forward to it. Part of me dreads it. Ack.

Saturday, July 4, 2009

4th of July 2009

So far, a great day.

Friday, July 3, 2009


I haven't left the house at all today. I was going to go get groceries but I had a bad start to the morning with AJ and she has pretty much slept all day. She got up twice but went back to bed. She didn't even eat lunch. That is unusual for her. I think the night of missed sleep and a few pain pills in the last few days have caught up with her.

All in all, I think her attachment to us is very good. Older child adoptions have to work on attachment and bonding. We did, it was hard, and I may write about it all someday. My point in talking about it now is that when something like this happens she tends to regress a little in the attachment area.

She wants me in her sight at all times. If she goes to the bathroom when we are out, she wants me with her. If she is here, she wants to be right under me. If I try to do something else I hear, "Mom, don't you love me and want to take care of me?".

These days are hard for me. She clings and whines and I try to be patient. To be honest, I was happy that she slept so much today. I then felt a load of guilt so I didn't enjoy it all that much.