Tuesday, March 22, 2011

Last Post on Lampost

Public service announcements:

#1: I have the best husband ever. More on that later.

#2: This South Texas wind and humidity are brutal to this girl's already confused "Am-I-Straight-Or-Am-I-Wavy" head of hair. Haven't seen a good hair day in days, y'all.

#3: Apparently, when I first started this blog several years ago, the source I used to check the spelling of "Lampost" was not inerrant. Yes, I, with my Bachelor of Arts in English Education, and as a former member of Triton High School's renowned Spell Bowl team, have been living under the dark shadow of a MISSPELLED blog title. Can you even begin to imagine my humiliation? The source I used has scurried away into oblivion, and I'm left with my mouth agape in horror as I face the accusing stares of every other dictionary and spelling resource who did not pass on incorrect information. My sister, who was also a Spell Bowl contestant, noticed, though she failed to red-ink me. She thought I had a good reason for the misspelling. Something quirky and mysterious.

Nope. I just plain old misspelled lamppost. And then didn't notice for years.

I hope we can still be friends.

And this will be my last blog post at A Lampost Flickering. It is time to say good-bye. You can find me in better spirits at A Lamppost Flickering instead. In addition to the gross misspelling incident, Blogger has made new and improved updates, of which my old blog has not been able to partake, so I will enjoy the benefits of a restart. I've imported all my posts and pictures and comments over there in the land of Correct Spelling. Feel free to spell check them as well.

Last announcement, relating to #1 is this:

#4: My husband just gave me the BEST birthday slash anniversary slash Mother's Day present ever. All three of those special days fall within three weeks of one another, and the pressure is on every year round that time. He got an early start this year, and just couldn't wait to present me with his gift.

Okay, so are you ready for me to untie the bow and lift the lid?

A new camera! Oh, and it's not just any ol' picture-taker. It's the one I've been a-pining and a-longing for. I feel like a little kid with a big kid toy. I was so surprised. I may have squealed, "Are you kidding me????" I may have jumped up and down. I may have squeezed the stuffin' out of him. I may still be glowing.

But....oh. I've been playing. And learning. I'm rediscovering the love of photography.

He sooo got it right. I love him for getting me.

So you're now invited to hop on over to Lamppost to see some of today pictures.

Excuse me while I blow out this Lampost for good...

Sunday, March 13, 2011

What? It's March? You're Kidding Me.

February has so few days--a whole two or three fewer!--so maybe that's why that mini-month slipped away so quickly. All I know is my head's dizzy from the speed at which the earth is spinning. Our last spring in Texas is here upon us now, and I'm trying hard to savor every mild breeze soaked in delicious sunshine before hot, hot summer, sears its mark, "S" for sizzling, on our backs and foreheads.

So before one more month whizzes past me, I'm unloading on y'all. Here's what you missed:

*We started and finished a season of Upward basketball with Caleb and Gabe. (A quick aside: I can't say enough good things about the Upward program. Our beginner athletes had a great season pushing themselves to do their best, learning basketball fundamentals, and placing God at the center of it all. I'm already looking forward to next year's season.) We're so proud of our boys.

*We celebrated Lily's 5th year being a Fasnacht. What a privilege it is being her momma! As she gets older, she asks to know more details of the story that is hers alone, details that sting and create more questions than they answer. One question she asked that I will share with you: "Why didn't someone else adopt me?"
She and I stared deep in each other's eyes for a frozen-in-time moment. What did she mean? Did she wish she had a different mom? She actually told me that recently. I tried to keep my heart steady as I asked her why she wanted a new mom. "Because I want to meet new people. I already know you." She is a social butterfly, but it's hard to think that she might see me as just a name on her dance card, both sides of which she hopes to fill. "Sweetie, mommies are forever. You can't switch mommies." "Oh. Okay. But I do like to meet new people." And then she went off to play.

I searched the black depths of her eyes, this child that is so mine and so not mine at all, all the while speed-fingering through the note cards in my "Tough Answers to Tough Questions" file. I didn't have a note card for that question. What was she really asking? Was it: "Why didn't anyone else want me?" Or : "Why couldn't it have been someone else?" Or maybe: "Is it possible that someone else could have been my parents?"

I felt such a heart-searing, painful kind of love at that moment. A tight, squeezing, breathless hurting love. I wish I could fully answer that question for her. She doesn't know that she only had two days to find a family before her file was sent back to China, perhaps forever nulling any chance at adoption. But I DON'T WANT her to feel rescued. The last thing she is is a damsel in distress. The only answer I had for her: "Because I'm the mommy God picked out for you. And you're the daughter God picked out for me." It's rock solid truth. And it's the only answer I have for her right now. I'm so, so glad He did, though the hurtful part of that truth is the abandonment and great loss that had to come before God brought us to each other.

And the scary parts of that truth are like holding your child and looking over the edge of a cliff or at a busy road or at an angry, swirling river just on the other side of the footbridge and shuddering. What if I would not have checked that adoption agency's website until after the weekend? What if another family had chosen her first? What if we had thought about the financial battle and medical unknowns and hesitated? What if...we had missed those two days and somewhere in a sterile Chinese orphanage a little seven-year-old jewel, my precious Lily flower, waited day after day for what would never come? Shudder.

And so we celebrated Gotcha Day 2011. We did our usual dinner at a Chinese restaurant, Lily's choice. She took her choosing very seriously, and decided firmly on our old favorite, despite pressure from her brothers (and maybe a little from her mother) to try a new one that recently opened just down the road from us. She glowed with sweet resolve. We also gave her a gift that we had been saving from our trip five years ago, a beautiful tea set that I picked out in Guangzhou at a shop filled ONLY with tea sets. She loves it, much to my great delight.

*And immediately following Gotcha Day is Valentine's Day. Not much to say about that. Just a whole lotta love and card-makin' happened.

(Card-making ideas courtesy of Family Fun magazine, found here and here, with a few modifications.) And we had to drop Rob off at the airport in the morning for his week-long chaplain conference in sunny San Diego. The day of red was a little blue for this lonely heart.

Oh, and I made cupcakes. With funky chocolate hearts. Only they weren't supposed to be funky, but it turns out they had already made up their mind to go the way of funky. I went with it.

*Next on our backwards glance is Gabriel's 10th birthday on March 3rd. TEN. YEARS. OLD. I'm not sure I was ready for that one to hit as hard as it did. But his birthday came like a locomotive and then stayed in town for days. I'm talking parties and outtings and friends and more cake and cupcakes than perhaps all of his last nine birthdays put together. His gift from us was a trip to see the San Antonio Spurs play the Miami Heat with Rob and Caleb. He seemed to enjoy it. And the Spurs won, so it's all good. The heavy celebrating took the sting out of having to say good-bye forever to single digits, because we were birthday hung-over for like a week.

Happy birthday, one last time this year, to my happy Gabe.

I think you're caught up, now that your eyes are burning and your brain is numb.

Oh, and one more tidbit. My sweet sister started her first ever blog, Alphabet Momma, which is the absolute cutest title, considering she is a homeschool teacher and her six kids' names begin with the first six letters of the alphabet, even though abc order and birth order don't quite line up. Which means that they didn't plan it that way, until they discovered that baby six, Baby F, was coming along. Boy, were they happy she was a girl, because cute boy F names are a challenge to come by. Anyhoo. She has challenged me to be a more faithful blogger. I accept that challenge, Alphabet Momma.

And, just for making it all the way to the end, I'm going to give you a hint as to what is coming soon...my very first ever blog giveaway!

Stay tuned!