our sacred exchange

Today being National Adoption Day, we pause to give thanks for the son who completed this family circus and for those who stood along side us nearly 14 years ago…supporting us, encouraging us, holding us up especially when it was hard because, in the beginning, it was hard in so many ways. Today we celebrate our family and every other family created and completed thanks to adoption.

We look at adoption as a very sacred exchange. It was not done lightly on either side. I would dedicate my life to this child. – Jamie Lee Curtis,


no tricks and different treats

Ah, teenagers!

For so many reasons, Daniel just was not feeling Halloween; and like so much that is right now my youngest child, my only son as a teenager, I just wasn’t sure how to feel about it all. But rather than wallow in the sadness and melancholic feels that come when your babies grow up I decided to punt because any mom of teens knows that is what you do a lot when you’re raising up these teens.

That doesn’t mean that there was no candy.

Ya gotta have candy…it’s Halloween.

But for something completely different, tourists were our chosen costumes.

Tourists in San Francisco.

As touristy as we wanted to be all day long!

Perfect day in the City by the Bay.

I’m a damn good punter.

Meanwhile, the grand ghouls represented the Family Circus well in the Trick or Treat trenches

…as Marceline, the Vampire Queen from Adventure Time…

…and Dorothy Gale.

the privileged

In the header above this post it says, “living this circus life what else would I be doing but juggling”. I say that all the time about this life of mine. Of course I am not the only one out there trying to juggle with work, life and family. We all do. Even Paul Ryan struggles with work/life balance.


Yes he does.

When tapped for consideration to take on the job that no one seems to want, The Speaker of the House, Mr. Ryan presented a list of conditions. Given that it has become such a thankless job monitoring a legislative body that can’t seem to get anything done that doesn’t involve yet another investigation on Benghazi or Planned Parenthood who could blame the guy? Among other things, as the father of three young children who flies back to Wisconsin from Washington D.C. almost every weekend to be with his family, he made it very clear that he is not willing to accept the expectation of the extra time that he must devote to travel and campaigning for other Republican Party members.

I cannot and I will not give up my family. I may not be on the road as often as previous speakers, but I pledge to make up for it with more time communicating our vision, our message.

Of course he received praise for making such a bold statement as a man in a position of national power because that’s not how it is usually done. Sheryl Sandberg praised him on her Facebook page:

The Lean In Award of the day goes to Paul Ryan, for saying he worries how becoming House Speaker would affect his children, “who are in the formative, foundational years of their lives” – and that he won’t do the job unless he can still make them a top priority.

We need work to work for parents – and having leaders who weigh responsibilities as fathers as much as their responsibilities to their jobs shows all of us what is possible. ‪#‎LeanIn‬

What a guy! Family first.

Except for the facts that are Paul Ryan’s politics. In 2009, Ryan voted against a bill that would have given federal employees four weeks of paid paternity leave. Ryan has also proposed cuts to child care subsidies for poor parents. At the same time, however, he’s often said that more poor people need to be in the workforce and combat what he sees as a “culture problem” where they don’t value work. Ryan’s GOP caucus blocked President Obama’s attempt to mandate paid parental leave in both the public and private sectors here in the US. We’re one of only three countries in the world that doesn’t guarantee new parents paid time off from work to care for their offspring.

What a guy indeed!

If Ryan is tapped for the Speaker’s job, I am sure that he will be able to enjoy the privilege of maintaining a work/life balance that many Americans can not even try to imagine. While he is attending his kids’ school functions or enjoying sporting events with them, many parents will be at work while they balance focus on their job with the guilt that they are missing their kids’ soccer game or not being at home caring for their sick child or anything else that working American parents must juggle while trying to maintain a sense of work/life balance that is nothing like Mr. Ryan’s, Ms Sandberg’s or anyone else in their circles who can make such a bold statement to their employer before they head home early to hang out with the kids.

Sorry Mr. Ryan, you just might be a really awesome husband and father but I can not applaud you; not when millions of working Americans are denied the very privilege you enjoy because of your politics and voting record.

kids are assholes


It had to be said.

Sure they are cute…too-too cute. But they rob us of our sleep, our bodies, our patience, our sanity and then they grow. They grow up much too fast.

From this adorable, cuddly, cuteness…

To this still adorableness but oh-so opinionated and exhausting human being.

Then before you can even begin to catch up on the years of lost sleep, they rip your heart out as they pack up all their prized possessions and with the help of their very best friends, load it all up and celebrate…yes, celebrate because they are moving…moving more than 700 miles away.

Oh yes they did!

She hasn’t been gone 12 hours and I am missing her much too much. So I shut her bedroom door, took the cat to the groomer, went for a long run, ran all kinds of errands and…

missed her all the more.

Don’t imagine that yours will grow up much, much too fast before you are ready? Scroll back up and look at those first two photos. Don’t blink, don’t pause because those adorable little assholes whom we adore more than anything in the world won’t wait.

poolside chatter

Sometimes the most challenging conversations with your child are the times when you are least expecting it. On a long drive down Highway 17 as the sun is setting, the kid is going to ask questions about sex…because you driving down a twisty, winding mountain highway is not nearly challenging enough. Or when you are gripping tightly to the steering wheel while driving up Interstate 5 in a windstorm it will be the perfect time to ask why their grandmother, your Mommy Dearest, never calls or writes or visits. So it would follow that while you are lounging by a hotel pool, your son will float up to you and pose a question that is guaranteed to make you sweat…not because it is over 100º even as the sun is setting…not because you are experiencing your usual round of hot flashes that come without warning and literally leave your hair and clothing soaked…if only! Nope. He floats up to the edge the pool where you are lounging, smiles and…

Hey Mom, I was wondering…do you think my biological parents loved me?


So begins one of those hard conversations, the ones that make you sweat. Still I can’t shy away because this is Daniel discovering his story. He already knows our story of when he completed our family circus and it is a great story; he’s the first one to tell you that. But as he begins to discover who he is, as all children do as they grow up, part of that self-discovery includes his story before he joined this circus.

Do you think that they loved me?

So , taking a deep breath, I tell him yes. Because I was his nurse the day that he was born, I am privy to some of the more intimate details of his parents and his biological mother’s pregnancy.

Yes, son. I am absolutely certain that your biological parents loved you so much while they were pregnant with you.

Big tears fill his eyes as he slowly sucks in his breath. I hold myself back from reaching out to hold him tight. I wait. I wait to let him guide this narrative like I have learned too many times the hard way to do with the hard conversations with all of my kids. He exhales then meets my eyes.

But I was so, so tiny and so, so sick and they were afraid so they asked for someone to be brave for me like you and Dad. Right?


But they did love me?


He looks away discreetly wiping away the tears then looks back at me and smiles widely.

I’m glad that they loved me.

Me too, son.

Then he reaches out to hug me, hug me so very tight. Now I’m the one fighting back the big tears filling my eyes. I know that I was brave enough to be his mommy when he was so, so tiny and so, so sick in the NICU; but god help me, I need to even braver for conversations like this because I am certain that there will be more to come. I’m thinking that for now, I will avoid drives on mountain highways with him alone in the car…for now.