Tag Archives: Cherubs

Update & An Idea

Happy day after Easter! It’s snowing here, which tells you why Jesus conquered death in the warmth of Jerusalem and not the nutso weather of Massachusetts.

I heard from a friend recently. She noticed that I’d stopped blogging, and wondered if that meant things were a bit, well…unbloggable. If I’d gone offline because life had gone sideways. That happens sometimes. But not this time, thankfully.  Things are good – normal, functional, surprising, funny.  Last week I was reading through a journal from 2016 and realized, Wow, I’d forgotten how hard things were then… 

Life right now is pretty groovy, comparatively speaking.

 

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Steve got a promotion!

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The Cherubs still  like me! (although #1 is REALLY not keen on taking family pictures in public – he humors me in exchange for blueberry Pop Tarts)

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This sign is still on our stove! Which I guess means that the award has not been rescinded.

In the midst of all this goodness, I haven’t been sure how to blog.

Mainly, I’m figuring out Cherub privacy. #1 & #2 are troopers about being featured in my chronicle of our life. They like the idea of helping other folks understand the ins & outs of adoption (especially in a way that doesn’t require them to stand up in front of people or speak). But we got to a point where every time I took a picture they’d ask, Are you going to put this on social media?  I don’t want them to feel that the pictures I take are always/only for online sharing, or worry that their friends might learn about their business (and bad hair days) via social media. I want them to know that I capture memories and stories for us, most of which no one else will see. (Unless they end up in the special file of  hilariously embarrassing pictures I’m saving for the rehearsal dinners before their weddings!)

Also, it reached a point where it felt weird to put some of the real-er stories (the ones with depth or tension, things that aren’t resolved yet) out there on the web for the whole world to see.

Finally, I had an idea. It’s not new or original, but it’s a viable road forward…

I’m going to experiment with email updates. It will be more private, and so can be more candid. It won’t be technologically fancy (there’s nothing wrong with fancy emails – I just don’t have time) I’ll start with once every couple of weeks, and include a hodgepodge of pictures & thoughts about all the stuff I’ve blogged about here – adoption, faith, books, fashion fails, things that crack me up (like the ongoing mystery of the American obsession with chickens…)

If you’d be interested in a test-run of the email, let me know. Obviously, no spam ever. I won’t sell your address or try to sell you stuff. This is just a way to keep communicating while narrowing the audience just a bit. Also, to tell more real stories, and push back against the internet pressure to only show the (staged) perfect moments where every hair is in place, all surfaces are clear, and the white board in the background doesn’t have two different misspellings of there/they’re/their. I don’t live in that world. But the world I live in can be pretty entertaining.

Like this note #2 Cherub left for our housekeeper at the hotel where we stayed for my nephew’s wedding:

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Life After a Big Fail

Cherub #2 looks a lot like Serena Williams. I suspect it will be a viable Halloween costume  for her for years to come. For that and a whole bunch of other reasons (the primary one being that Serena’s tennis is awesome), both Cherubs cheer for her now that they’ve discovered that I’m  obsessed with the four Grand Slam events and that we watch A LOT of tennis when they’re on.

Last month, as we watched the U.S. Open, they didn’t entirely understand the magnitude of Serena’s quest to win all four majors in a single season. They just knew that she almost always finds a way to win, even when things look really unlikely, and so during each of her matches, they’re going to hear at least one infomercial from me about the cool qualities of resilience and not giving up.  (They take these in stride and mostly manage not to roll their eyes).

They were surprised, along with the rest of us, when Serena unexpectedly lost her bid for glory in a match where the odds were something like 280/1 in her favor.

I thought they’d be devastated, but they weren’t. They were sad for her for approximately 15 seconds. Then they asked, “So when’s the next big tournament?”  “January,” I replied. “Oh good,” they said. “She’ll have a chance to rest before she gets back to winning.”

I. LOVED. THIS.  Infomercials PAYING OFF!!!

(Okay, truthfully, I can’t take credit for this; most of their resilience came factory-installed.)

Now, here’s my dilemma: I know that there’s a great lesson here about the importance of how we manage ourselves in the weeks and months BETWEEN epic loss and getting back to winning. I’m writing this to try and figure out what that is.

Yesterday, Serena announced that she’s pulling out of the rest of the season. I totally get this.  I’m 100% for taking a chunk of time to regroup after a big life disappointment.  I don’t even think you need to have some grand plan for your comeback while you’re mourning. Because you’re mourning, which by definition means you’re a terrible planner. But it’s helpful to assume that at some point, you will come back; that a day will come when you’ll be ready to face the world again, even if right now you can’t imagine how you’ll get there.

I’ve lived this again and again, and it surprises me every time.

– It happened when I failed at my first marriage. Even though I insisted outwardly that I’d never get married again, I knew in my heart that I wanted a second chance.

– It happened with my writing, when I abandoned the manuscript I’d lovingly worked on for years because I was pretty sure that following Jesus and being a New Age author were mutually exclusive options.  I still hoped I’d publish a book someday.

– It happened with rescuing kids from foster care. We gave it everything we had with Princess Peach, to no avail. But eventually (after months of mourning and healing) we circled back when we felt like God nudged us. There’s a set of siblings out there, He said. Go love them. So we did.

The successes don’t negate the pain of the failures. But noting this pattern – one only visible over a long time – has helped keep me in the present instead of the past. It’s given me a reason to be curious about the future (even if it’s only a sarcastic, cynical sort of curiosity in which I’m certain that my primary role on the planet is as an example to others of how badly things can go. At least I can succeed at that! I say. Note: you have to be really careful during these seasons if you have an Irish sense of humor).

It’s horrible to fail. We try to downplay this as a culture, tossing around sayings like “Fail fast, recover fast, learn fast, fail again fast…” (I’m mangling that motto, but it’s something like that), as if our failures are just part of the process, no big deal. Which is true if you’re a robot, or a computer, or deeply emotionally deficient. But if you’re not a machine or a sociopath, you’re going to need time to recover. As a former mentor of mine used to say, “The worst feeling in the world isn’t saying, ‘Wow, I blew it.’ It’s saying ‘Wow, I blew it AGAIN.'”

I guess this is what I want to tell the Cherubs: I haven’t orchestrated any of my second chances. Neither have you, nor will Serena.  There’s a limit to how much we control what comes our way in life. But the one thing we can control is to refuse to let our failure define what we’ll try in the future. We may have long nights of wailing and railing at God for letting so much heartbreak happen. But even as we wail and rail, we can hope for some new chance to try. And when we try again, sometimes we’ll fail. Again. But we’ll fail differently. And each new failure will, God willing, be bolstered by an assortment of wonderful wins. Over a lifetime, I think it balances out.