Just a quick story I wanted to share before I get into this challenge…
Lately, when we are out and about as a family, it’s me on one side with a baby in the Moby, Callie on the other with the other baby in the Infantino, and Mary smack in the middle of us both, holding our hands. We look like that around our neighborhood, at the park, at the grocery store, walking on the Avenue, pretty much everywhere. People always comment on our family and how cute our kids are. More recently, people have been lingering longer and asking about the babies, and our family, and somehow it always comes up that Mary “looks like the perfect combination of both of you! My goodness!” But we never really know how Mary is gonna react. For a long time, when people would say, “And these are your moms?”, she would quickly counter with, “NO!!! They’re not my moms!!!” and that soon turned into, “Not my REAL moms, but my foster moms!” But lately, she doesn’t say anything. She sorta shrugs and smiles her shyest smile, and then looks at the lights on her sneakers, or changes the conversation quickly to take one of our attention away from engaging in the conversation. At the grocery store Sunday night, a women and her very pregnant daughter approached us, and as they were admiring our family commented to Mary that she’s beautiful and that she has my nose and gap and the my big round eyes, but that she has Callie’s complexion and eye color and freckles. She couldn’t believe how well we did that she looked “just like the both of us!” (I’m still not sure whether or not I should be offended about this, but we’ll just say Kudos to social services for literally, a PERFECT MATCH!) I noticed her withdrawing at that point, and shifting from one foot to the other, so we said “thank you and have a nice day” and went about our grocery store business. Callie and I talked about it and her behavior when we got home. We weren’t sure whether or not Mary felt uncomfortable and was withdrawing or if she wanted us to acknowledge her as our daughter. So yesterday morning before school, Callie had a conversation with her over hairdo’s and shoe-tying.
Callie: You know how people ask if you’re our daughter?
Mary: Mmm hmm…
Callie: Well, we’re not sure what to say, so we wanted to ask you! We don’t want to say we’re your “moms” in case it makes you upset because we know you have your other mom too, but we don’t want to say “foster moms” because we love you like a real daughter, so we just wanted to check and see what YOU wanted us to be called. What do you want us to say when people ask us?
She thinks about it for a minute before answering and then, smiles, but quickly looks embarrassed and nervous…
Mary: Moms..just regular moms….
And that was it. We are officially, in her heart, her moms…
I don’t have very complicated goals at all. I mean, I think we all have those universal goals…good job, family, nice house, car, you know the usual stuff, but really I just have one real goal, and it’s one that I have lived by for as long as I remember.
“Make someone laugh every day”
That’s it! The other stuff in my life, all those material things, finances, jobs, those things all come and go. They are here one day and gone the next. One year I had over $10,000 in my savings account and the next, I was splitting Ramen for dinner with my best friend. But the one thing that has never faded from my life, is the laughter. It resonates! And even in my darkest times, it’s the laughter that stands out the most. It whirs around, tickling me from the inside out. I know how it has illuminated the hollow person that I was for so many years. Laughter can makes someones day, especially those days where it seems like everything’s amiss. My goal, every day, is to share laughter with as many people as I can.
And speaking of which…How many tickles does it take to make an octopus laugh?!?! TEN tickles!!!! ::drops the mic::
Day 14-A picture you love
This is probably my all time favorite picture of me and my best girl. It’s so simple, yet everything about it reminds me of our love and how it came to be. We fell in love right in that spot, on a rainy summer day, while we fished and talked about life, and heartache, and love, and work, and family, and everything that two young people getting to know each other could talk about. It was there that we cemented out love, and threw out anchors in the water hoping to never drift away from one another. It was in that same spot that I set up candles and dropped rose petals on the coldest of winter days to propose. It was there that we told Callie’s parents that we were having twins. The same spot where Mary caught her first fish, and we knew that this kid, regardless of what happened, was definitely meant to be in our lives. And this will be the spot that we will teach our boys to swim from, and where they will also catch their first fish or net their first crab. This one particular spot, in between dock fingers, has become “our spot”, and this picture, no matter how infrequently I see it, always brings a smile to my face and makes the offspring of the offspring from the original butterflies years ago, hatch from their cocoons and flutter all over again!