Tuesday, April 27, 2010
She has the most amazing family. I love them more than I can say. Roo is so blessed to be their baby!
I think that's it for now :o)
Sunday, April 25, 2010
I was writing up a short (ha-ha!) version of my story for this guest blog I did. I don't know if it's super-cheesy or not, but I sometimes get all teary when I write and/or read my own story. Or tell my own story. Anyway. I had a box of Kleenex nearby as I typed, just in case. And I needed it. But not for the reason I expected.
When I got to writing the part where Roo met her parents for the first time, I started to cry - not for myself or any of the emotion I'd felt at the tie. I cried because I realized in that moment how amazing it must have been for P and M to meet their baby girl. I cried for what they must have felt, for the thoughts they must have had. I cried happy tears because that was probably one of the most amazing and happy moments of their lives, and in reliving that moment I was so super happy for them all over again!
That was huge for me. I used to cry for me, for what choosing adoption meant to me. I used to cry because I knew when I met P and M that I wasn't Roo's mommy anymore. The thought of that feeling, that quiet peace tinged with sadness, used to be what made me tear up.
Something has changed in me. I don't know when or how or why, but all I know is that for the first time when going over that part of Roo's and my story, I didn't think of myself for a second. And it is the most wonderful, freeing thing! I really am so truly happy for P and M. I am happy that they're Roo's parents. I'm happy that they got a baby last year - their baby.
I love them so much. I am more thankful for them than words can express. I'm thankful that, though Roo's story began with me, it will end with them. I wouldn't change a thing.
Saturday, April 24, 2010
From my journal:
“Good grief, you're a mover. Aren't you supposed to sleep in there on occasion? Give Mommy a rest?
I don't much care. I love knowing you're happy (I've decided they're happy kicks). I know you're warm and safe and cared-for as long as you're where you are.”
The baby discovered my ribs, and her little feet were almost always digging in. I tried pushing them away; she pushed back. It was uncomfortable but delightful at the same time. My emotions weren’t so cut-and-dry. I wrote in my journal: “I've felt weird today. Like I didn't want to keep you. It scares me. Especially because when I thought about, ok, say I don't keep you, it freaked me out. I'm hoping this is just some normal hormonal thing. Because I do want you. I want you more than I've wanted anything in my life. I love you so much already.”
My mixed feelings scared me. On the one hand, I did not want to give my baby up. I felt that, if I did, I would have nothing left. But every so often I found myself thinking that I really didn’t want to be a mom just yet. I felt selfish and awful and disloyal for thinking so. But I missed my antidepressants. I’d been taking them for 10 years before I got pregnant, and had to drop them all cold turkey when I found out I was expecting. My brain really noticed the absence, and it wasn’t happy. I told myself that having a baby would give me a bit more stability and routine, and that that would help.
I had strange dreams. I dreamed my baby was born a boy, and I was disappointed. I dreamed that I kept losing track of my baby, and when I tried to feed him (she came out a he again), he suckled weakly for a few seconds and then stopped and gave me a reproving stare. I worried that he would starve, and people around me told me that if they were his parents, he’d be eating normally. They were awful dreams. I tried to remind myself that they were only dreams, that my baby was indeed a girl, and that she would certainly eat when she was hungry.
All the pregnancy books said that crazy dreams were normal, which helped me feel a little better. The books also suggested putting together a birth plan. I found a fill-in-the-blank birth plan on-line and printed it out. It was six pages long, and I was quickly overwhelmed. There were too many things on it that I didn’t want to think about. All I really wanted was to get my baby out with as little pain as possible, and if the doctor needed to do something to help get her out, the doctor could do that. I wrote that on an index card and tucked it away to take with me to the hospital.
Braxton-Hicks contractions started up every now and then. It was getting harder and harder to sit comfortably. When I did sit, I had fun watching my belly roll around and wiggle as little hands and feet poked around. I watched American Idol that year, and I noticed that the baby seemed to dance a bit more when Danny was singing. I got a kick out of that, since he was my favorite.
I scheduled a 3D ultrasound for the last day of the month. There was a coupon in the Money Mailer, and my mother thought I deserved a special sort of thing like that. I so looked forward to it. I couldn’t wait to see my baby’s teeny-tiny little nose again, and get a better look at her face, and see if she smiled or sucked her thumb, and get a sense of what sort of little person she was.
The receptionist told me the ultrasound rooms could seat 8 friends and family members. I cried about that on and off. Because I didn’t have anyone – I went to my doctor’s appointments by myself, I got excited about the baby by myself. I hated feeling so alone. I knew it was my own fault for doing things wrong. But that didn’t make it any easier to take. I felt lonely and isolated and unloved, and I hated it. I wondered if my depression would be passed on to my baby.
“What am I going to do with you?” I wrote in my journal. “I wish I knew. I want to keep you. I think I will. But I want what's best for you, what's right for you. It's got to be best for a little girl to be with her mommy, right? Surely I'm the one who will take the best care of you.” Surely, I thought, I could understand her best, relate to her problems. Care about her more than anyone else ever could.
Despite feeling a bit alone, my 3D ultrasound was a wonderful experience. It was absolutely amazing! My little girl’s hands were up by her face the whole time. She had long fingers and toes, which I could see clearly as both feet were up by (and sometimes in) her face. I watched in awe as the baby in my belly grabbed hold of her tiny toes. It was go cool to feel her move and see it at the same time. And she moved, and moved. The poor ultrasound technician had to keep moving the little wand around to keep the baby from hiding her face.
I was enchanted, absolutely bewitched. My baby had the cutest, tiniest little nose, and my family’s trademark chin, and beautiful full lips. She was absolutely perfect. I watched, transfixed, as my baby tugged on her toes and rubbed her eyes and flexed her fingers and made funny faces. It was pure awesomeness. I was disappointed when my time was up. I was sent home with a picture CD, a DVD of the entire ultrasound, and handfuls of pictures printed out. I quickly found my favorites and looked at them the most. I loved knowing what my baby’s face looked like – that she had my chin and long fingers, and that she had such long eyelashes (they were clearly visible on the scan!), and that she had my wide, flat feet with chubby toes.
I rubbed my belly with renewed vigor. My baby felt more like a real person than she ever had. I talked to her more. Having seen her face, I felt a deeper connection. When I felt her sneeze or hiccup, I could picture what she looked like at the time, the tiny nose wrinkling, wee little fists clenching. It was magical. I wished I could have had a 3D ultrasound every day.
Tuesday, April 20, 2010
Fifty-three years ago, these two über-stylish folks ...
... were at a party. I don't know all the details, but I do know that at one point during the party, they got a phone call from someone at Quintard Hospital - the phone call they'd been waiting for. Their baby had been born, and it was a girl!
Some people might have been confused had they listened in on that phone call. The lovely lady was, after all, about eight months pregnant. Had the hospital called the wrong people?
Nope. Because their new baby was special. Their little girl had been born to this young woman:
They didn't know her name. They didn't know how old she was or where she lived or what sort of person she was. All they knew was that she had made the bravest, most selfless and impossible decision a mother can ever make. She had chosen to place her sweet, tiny baby girl for adoption.
I don't know the exact timeline of things. I don't know how long that newborn girl stayed in the hospital with the woman who gave her life. But I do know that young woman placed her baby in the arms of the lovely lady and asked, "You'll have her sealed to you, won't you?" And the lovely lady tearfully replied in the affirmative. She kept her promise. Many months later the lovely lady and the handsome gentleman took that baby girl to the Los Angeles temple and became her parents for eternity.
The young woman didn't know any of this. She never knew what had happened to the tiny girl she placed for adoption. She had no way of knowing anything about her - whether she was happy and safe, whether she had a good life, whether she succumbed to a childhood illness, whether she'd been disfigured in an accident, whether she believed in God ... she never got pictures or visits or letters or updates. When she handed that newborn to the lovely lady, she said goodbye forever.
I wonder where she found the strength to do such a thing! What a brave, noble choice. I am so thankful for it. I am thankful for that impossible courage. I am thankful that she made that choice. That darling girl ...
... grew up, of course, to become my mother.
From her birth mother, my mother got tenacity, strength, courage, a handful of quirks and of course the DNA that gave her hazel eyes and brown hair and a body that stopped growing taller at 5-foot-2 and a laugh that gets goofy when she's tired. And from her mother, she got love, patience, kindness, loyalty, responsibility, joy, knowledge, a love of God and a strong testimony of the Gospel ... and the odd annoying habit, of course. My mother is the incredible woman she is today because of both of her mothers. The mother who grew her and gave her life and sacrificed so much for her, and the mother who is her true, real, forever mother, the one who raised her and loved her and cared for her and taught her and took her to the temple.
Today, on my mother's birthday, I am more thankful I can say for both of my mom's mothers. Because of her birth mother, I had the strength to place my Roo. And because of her mother mother, MY mother is an amazing, smart, strong woman, herself a good mother and an inspiration to me.
Happy birthday, best mother of mine. I love you.
Monday, April 19, 2010
There's also a bonus for the first 50 people who get there. I won't be one of them; I've got something going until 1pm. But I'm going to find a few nice things in the afternoon for my mum for Mother's Day.
I'm not completely altruistic, of course. I can't be one of the first 50 there, but by blogging about the boutique, I'm entered into a contest to win a gift bag, too. I hope I win!
Win or lose, I'll be at the boutique that Saturday, doing my part to support adoption! You should go, too.
Sunday, April 18, 2010
One thing she always emphasizes is that adoption was an enormous blessing for her. Her parents were supposed to be her parents. She grew up with the family she was meant to have. Being adopted never made her feel any less; I can vouch for that. I always got the impression that my mom was her parents' favorite, as a matter of fact. My grandma always told my mom that she was a joy. How blessed is my mom to have such a great family? I don't doubt she was meant to be theirs. My grandma knew it, too. Her family must have thought she was crazy, adopting a baby when she was seven months pregnant. I'm so glad she did!
My mom had to leave after her part because she had a flight to catch - she's in Canada for about a week visiting my brother and his wife and their sweet little kids. I stayed. For my part, of course, but for the rest of it, too. I LOVE adoption academies. There is such an amazing spirit there and I always come away feeling like the luckiest person in the world to be a part of them, and a part of adoption in general. There's just something very special about the people there - those who can bear witness that God puts people in the families they're meant for in a very real way. I don't think I've heard an adoption story yet at an academy that didn't give me chills.
I was on the birth mother panel with Tamra, who placed more than 12 years ago and who is one of my favorite people, ever; and Krista, who placed about 6 years ago. It was a little intimidating for me to be the one with the most recent placement, and the most open. But it was good for me, too. One thing I tire of is having my placement compared to others that might be more open, and having people think that there's something wrong with me or with my couple that we're not as super open as some others are. I think the birth mother panel helps people to see that just because each level of openness is different, doesn't mean they're any less than or not as good as another level of openness.
The level of openness I have with P an M works incredibly well for us. It's what we're all comfortable with, and I know that we're mature enough and communicate well enough that if something needed to change, it would. But it's great the way it is now. I get very regular pictures and video and updates, and visits when I need them, and we're all happy.
I don't feel like Roo's mommy. I tried to emphasize that on the panel. A lot of these couples who are certifying for the first time are very anti-open adoption, because it scares them and intimidates them. They just don't understand it. There are no boundaries blurred. Roo knows exactly who her parents are. I feel more like her aunt, and she's my favorite niece. I love her more deeply than I can say, but I'm not her mama, and I haven't tried to be. That's not my job. I didn't place her for adoption only to try to be her mom.
I so love to see opinions and thoughts change. I love to see couples understand how amazing openness can be (if that's what works for them). Obviously, Tamra doesn't have an open adoption. I admire her strength and courage. I don't think I could have done it without the promise of openness. She did. She's a hero of mine.
I probably sound like a gushing moron, but I just LOVE adoption academies! They're emotionally exhausting but oh so worth it. The Spirit is so strong there.
I think it's funny how my little flying leap off the straight and narrow has helped me feel God's love for me so much more acutely. My testimony is so much stronger now that it's ever been before. Adoption is an integral part of God's plan for his children. I am so blessed to be a part of it!
Roo's daddy gave me a CD full of pictures from the past few months of Roo, many of them including Roo's sister. The two of them are the cutest things ever. They love each other so much. I hope that they'll always be good friends. I like to picture them in a few years walking hand in hand to primary on Sunday.
And for the first time in maybe forever, I can picture my own children doing the same. I don't know when I'll marry and be a mother, but I know it will happen. God's time, not mine. Can I be super cheesy and end with a testimony? I am so blessed to have played a part in creating an eternal family. I will be forever grateful to have been chosen to bring Roo into the world; to have been trusted by my Father in Heaven to carry and deliver one of His precious children and then to find her family.
Adoption is the most amazing miracle. I am more thankful than I can ever say that it is a part of my life.
Friday, April 16, 2010
THIS just kills me. The whole article is a tragedy, really. This poor woman had her priorities so messed up. It hurts my brain just thinking about it.
But you know that kills me the most? This line here, where she says, "I knew, even before I rang Richard to tearfully break the news, that I couldn't have our baby. I didn't see how it would be possible to combine my studies with being a mother, and there was no way I could see myself being able to give a child up for adoption."
In other words, "Adoption would be too hard, so I think I'll kill my baby instead."
I swear, when I read that last sentence, I felt like I'd been punched in the gut. What utter selfishness! What arrogance! What cruelty! If it would be that hard to give a child up for adoption, wouldn't it be even harder to have that baby aborted? I just don't understand that.
And I know that nine weeks isn't considered late-term or anything, but it still makes me want to cry. At nine weeks, there's a heartbeat. There are fingers and toes. Organs and muscles are starting to function. Taste buds are developing.
Here's an embryo at nine weeks (I found this on Google Images, and I sincerely hope I'm not breaking any copyright laws; sorry if I am!):
And this woman, this poor, misguided, selfish woman, snuffed that out, because she couldn't see herself being able to give her baby up for adoption.
Oh. Em. Gee. My blood boils. That kind of egotism just stuns me. I'm at a loss to describe it adequately. Look, I know I get a bit gloom-and-doom here sometimes. Being a birth mom is tough! It hurts. It sucks. But is it worth it? Would I do it all over again? Absolutely. I would not trade it - or Roo - for anything on earth or in heaven. My pregnancy didn't exactly come at the perfect time for me. But not once did I think, gee, this timing sucks, sorry little embryo. End of the line for you. You're dead. I certainly never saw myself being able to place my baby for adoption. On the contrary, I thought that it would ruin me; break me. But I did it anyway, because I love her.
This woman didn't want to be a mother yet, and so she had an abortion. Urgh! I hate how many people think that the solution to an unplanned pregnancy is either motherhood or abortion. How near-sighted, foolish, and selfish! There is a third option, and it is a wonderful thing. Adoption changes lives for the better - for everyone involved. It's beautiful. I'm so thankful for it!
Thursday, April 15, 2010
*steps up on soapbox*
I try not to make assumptions. I really try. I like to consider myself a fairly logical person, and I almost always have a reason for what I think about something. I don't rush to judge. I collect evidence and, like Chuck Norris, I wait.
So although this may sound absurd, please keep in mind that I am not just imagining things when I say that I've come to this conclusion: other birth moms hate me.
No, seriously! They do. They absolutely do.
There are exceptions, of course. I know two or three birth moms who seem to think, for one reason or another, that I am a pretty cool person (and I love you ladies dearly). But they are in the overwhelming minority. I estimate that at least 75% of the time, when I encounter other birth moms, I'm met with cool indifference, if not outright disinterest and snobbery.
My local LDSFS office has a birth mom support group, and I've struggled to fit in there from the first meeting I attended. Two or three birth moms dominated every conversation and I struggled to get a word in edgewise. When I did manage to say a few words, one of two things would happen; either I'd get blank stares like I'd been speaking Portuguese, or someone else would immediately cut in to talk about their problems instead.
There was also this tremendous pressure to choose adoption, which I resented. Every week, the other girls wanted to know if I'd chosen a couple yet. And when I'd looked at a few, everyone critiqued my choices. When I decided I might single parent, no one in group had anything to do with me. Contact cut off, and I didn't get any phone calls or e-mail or anything. No one came to see me in the hospital. No one cared.
I started going back to group a few weeks after I placed Roo, and I hoped that since I was a birth mom now, things would be different. S had promised me that things were different. They weren't. Two or three women dominated the conversation, and I disappeared. Rarely was I asked any kind of questions about how I was doing, and no one wanted to hear about anything I'd been up to.
The last few times I went I got some weird vibes from some of the birth moms there. Two of them stopped talking and stared at me when I came in. I think we all know what that means. These women are all Facebook friends of mine, and they are all aware of my blog. No one ever comments on my blog, or my pictures of Roo, or anything I say or do. They all comment on each other's things, but most of them seem to have decided that they hate me and once again, I've been cut off.
I won't lie to you. It hurts. It hurts bad. This is the one place I'm supposed to be able to go and feel like I belong, like people can relate to me, and like I can talk about things. Instead, I haven't gone in a month, and I don't think anyone misses me.
I've reached out to birth moms on-line, too. The thing to do these days as a birth mom is to have a blog, it seems. I've perused their blogs, I've commented on multiple posts, I've even sent supportive e-mail. And I've gotten bupkis in return.
It's not like I'm communicating with them because I want attention or some kind of response or that I think I should be on everyone's blogroll. I didn't have any grand expectations of becoming best friends with any of the birth moms I encountered on-line. But doesn't it sort of seem like common courtesy to say "hi" or "thanks" or something like that?
Sometimes I wonder if I come across as a little too confident or self-aware in my blog. This is going to sound really bratty, but I can't help that I write well! It's not like I sit around trying to find big words to use. I write like I speak. And you know what? I am super insecure. I need a little reassurance sometimes. I need to feel like I belong somewhere, like I have something in common with SOMEONE else on earth besides converting oxygen into carbon dioxide.
I adore all the adoptive moms who have contacted me. I really, really do. They have given me so much comfort and strength, and I don't know what I'd do without all the nice e-mail I get. But it would be nice to get just a little word here and there from some of my fellow birth moms, too. To know that I'm doing something right, that what I've said has some deeper meaning, that it's relatable, that it's ... blah. I don't know. That I am a good person, that I have value. That I'm not just blowing hot air. That I'm worthy of the love and attention they give to each other.
I'll step off my soapbox now. It's lonely up here, and I'm lonely enough as it is.
Tuesday, April 13, 2010
There is a contest *here* for a blog re-design, which I need desperately. I've entered about ten similar giveaways and I never win. Maybe my luck will change. Stranger things have happened.
Monday, April 12, 2010
Gave up her child for adoption
Placed her child for adoption
Real parent; natural parent
Birth parent, biological parent
His adopted child
Born to unmarried parents
Child who was adopted
Adoptable child; available child
Track down parents
Child placed for adoption
Not every person who has an adoption connection is going to take offense to anything found in the left-hand column. I think with a few of these items it's sort of like how some people to whom the terms apply prefer "black" and some prefer "African-American." And similarly, I find that while many people involved in adoption may use some of the negative terms, they don't like to hear those who aren't involved using them. Sort of the adoption equivalent of the "n" word.
(I'm probably going to get a lot of tripe for that comparison, but I stand by it.)
"Gave up" doesn't bother me as much as what I tend to hear, which is "gave away." I did not give my baby away. That makes it sound like I placed an ad on Craigslist or Freecycle. That said, I neither gave her up nor gave her away. I gave her more. And I use "keep" instead of "parent" on a regular basis.
I also refer often to "adoptive" parents, but not as any slight on them or to imply that they aren't really their child's parents. In the case of my blog, I use it as a means of identifying people who have adopted. Not in any negative sense. But for my part I feel that if I simply mentioned "parents" it would be unclear if I was referring to people who had children the typical way and for some reason really liked my blog anyway.
Part of the reason - well, all, if I'm honest - that I wanted to blather about positive adoption language is because of one phrase that just peels the enamel off my teeth: "unwanted pregnancy."
I want to rip my hair out when I hear that. Just because a pregnancy was unplanned does not mean it was unwanted. I wanted Roo as soon as I found out she was growing in my belly. I wanted her before then, I think. I always wanted her. I did not plan for her to get here the way or time that she did, but never, ever mistake unplanned for unwanted.
I hate "unwanted." It makes it sound like I chose adoption to get rid of my baby - I didn't want her, so I didn't keep her. Please, please, please don't use the word "unwanted." Adoption truly is about love. Make no mistake, no baby could ever be as wanted as my Roo. I grew her and birthed her and cared for her and placed her with her mommy and daddy because I wanted her more than I'd ever wanted anything in my life.
When in doubt, ask the member of the adoption triad to whom you are speaking. "Does it bother you when I use that word? That phrase?" If it does, they'll let you know, and tell you which word or phrase they prefer. Simple as that. As in every other aspect of adoption, it is so important to be open and honest in communication. Which reminds me ...
Oh, and memo to H: referring to a baby as a "bastard child" just makes you look like a bastard.
Friday, April 9, 2010
I have, on more than one occasion, noticed a number of blog awards floating around. I won't mention any awards or blogs by name, since I read about 100 blogs on a regular basis (I need to get out of the house more). But there are "Kreativ" blogger awards, and "Beautiful Blogger" awards and awards with flowers on them, and teacups, and kittens, and mermaids and quilts and all manner of cutesy little things.
I once envied them - the recipients of those blog awards. I had it in my head that a blog award was validation; it said that the awardee (is that a word?) was delightful and lovely and that people liked them. I aspired to earn a blog award. I wanted validation. I wanted people to like me - and I wanted PROOF that people liked me. I wanted a blog award.
I wondered for a time if there was a website where people submitted their blogs for award consideration, like the movie folks do with the Academy Awards. I poked around, and as it turns out ... I couldn't actually figure out how on earth these awards were getting around, or how they started. And, eventually, I gave up.
But then a few days ago I started thinking again. I was doing a bit of reading and pondering on the topic of self-esteem and happiness, and I thought about how I like myself so much more now than I ever have before. I used to joke about it, but more and more I'm starting to think that I'm actually pretty awesome! (Don't laugh.)
And so I decided that if no one else was going to give me a blog award, I'd give one to myself - not just give it to myself, but make it myself. And it wouldn't just be any old teacup or patchwork award. I wanted something different and fun and quirky like me. Well, nothing says "quirky" like a chicken! I went through some of my winter zoo pictures and found a likely candidate, and opened it in Paint.NET. And so here it is, peeps: the Awesome Blog Award, featuring Captain Cluck.
I'm pretty awesome, and I have an awesome blog, and now I have a blog award to prove it! I bet that a lot of you (if not all of you) are pretty awesome, too. Wouldn't you like an awesome blog award, too? Sure you would. So Captain Cluck is here for the taking (although he probably needs re-sizing, something I'm too lazy for). Right-click, save, and knock yourself out.
You don't have to list any little-known secrets about yourself, and you don't have to nominate anyone. I'd get a kick out of it if you linked Captain Cluck back to my little blog, but I'll leave that to your discretion. You could also e-mail me with your blog URL so I'll know you're awesome, but that, too, is up to you. Self-confidence shouldn't come with strings attached! Captain Cluck thinks you're awesome. Don't you think you're awesome, too?
Wednesday, April 7, 2010
She is such a sweet, happy girl. When she smiles her whole face lights up. She has the most adorable laugh I have ever heard. It looks like her hair is developing a bit of wave (I would love it if she got my curls). Her little legs and belly are delightfully squishy. Aren't fat babies just the best?
I love that little girl more than I can ever begin to say. I am so thankful that she is sealed to her mommy and daddy! Roo thinks her parents are the best things ever. In the last video I got, she kept looking from one to the other, as though she couldn't decide which one to smile at.
I remember that when I met P and M, I liked them so much that I was very happy for them to get a baby, even though it would be my baby.
I still feel that way. I am so happy that they have not one but two sweet girls in their family. They are the best parents a birth mom could hope for. I don't think I say that enough, but it's true.
I think that's it for now :o)
Monday, April 5, 2010
Don't try to dissuade me, my mind is made up. I am a complete and utter idiot. It is 5am. Do you know what I've been doing for the past ... well, I'm not going to admit to how many hours, but do you know what I've been doing?
I've been updating my "Hoping to adopt" link list. For the past ∏ hours (that's pi, in case it doesn't show up properly). Although strictly speaking, pi is 3.14159265359 hours, and it was more than that. What's another mathematical symbol I could use? Come on, Microsoft Word, help me out here ... ℓ? ∞? ∑? ∂? Ω? Hmm ... well, let's settle for our old buddy i, the imaginary number. I updated for i hours.
I wanted to list blogs by state, first off. So I had to go through the blogs that didn't have a two-letter state designation next to them on my list.
I did that. I went through all the state-less blogs and added states where I could find them.
It looked messy; I didn't like it. I decided to list each state followed by the blogs that once had the state's abbreviation next to them. This took some time, but I was happy with how it looked. I felt that it was a bit neater, even if Utah was grossly overrepresented.
I looked at my list. There didn't seem to be many couples from Arizona listed. That bothered me. So I went to It's About Love and searched couples by state. Well, then, that was better. I checked each profile to see if the couple had a blog. I found a number of blogs for Arizona and updated my list. I was rather pleased with myself.
And then it occurred to me that a number of other states weren't well-represented on my list, either. So I searched by state again, first for California, then for a few Southern states. As with Arizona, I checked each profile for a blog listing. This took some time, but I finally felt I'd evened things out a bit and I was satisfied.
But then, I noticed a number of states I could search for that weren't represented on my list at all. Well, I had to do something about that, didn't I? Again, I searched profiles.
After an hour or two I gave up my pretense of looking for certain states, and began searching every state alphabetically. I skipped a few initially. Idaho had 100 couples listed, and I didn't feel like going though them. Utah had over 400 listed, and I wasn't even going to go there, as the saying goes.
I skipped 5 or 6 states because they had a lot of couples listed, and made a note of which ones I'd skipped, so I could go back to them later. My blog list grew, and I was terribly proud of myself for listing so many wonderful couples. Satisfied, I decided to get a snack.
Six Reese's Miniatures later, I started to think. That's always a dangerous thing, let me tell you. I still had the LDSFS tab up in my browser. Well, I thought to myself, Washington only had 35 couples. I could handle that.
Handle it I did, and I listed several more blogs. I turned again to the list of states I'd skipped. It hardly felt right not to look at Nevada, since it's right next to Arizona. And if I could handle 35 in Washington, I could handle 27 in Nevada. Again I skimmed profiles for blog listings. Again I added to my list. I was even more proud of myself, and treated myself to two more Reese's.
Now I only had three states on my skipped list. I can't ignore Texas, I thought. There were only 35 couples there, and besides, my dad used to live in Texas, and he'd always liked it there.
Idaho and Utah remained on my list. "I'll check them later," I told myself. The Discovery channel was repeating the "Mammals" episode of their miniseries "Life," and I wanted to see the elephant shrew again. The fact that it was nearing 2am didn't register as a reason to turn my computer off. I hadn't checked Facebook in nearly five hours, after all.
The tiny elephant shrew outran a lizard, and I cheered. I had a stick of string cheese and contemplated my productive night of blog-tweaking. I looked over my blog list again.
Oh, what the heck, I thought. I clicked on Idaho. 100 couples was only 10 pages of profiles. I could handle that! And handle it I did, checking each and every profile for a blog mention. I added several more blogs to my list while a baby elephant got stuck in the mud.
Finally, triumphantly, I finished Idaho. My blog list looked fantastic. And Utah was, after all, still the biggest list I had, so I didn't need to check profiles for links.
"The Deadliest Catch" came on. I got bored. A logical person would have gone to bed at this point. Well, actually, a logical person would have gone to bed hours ago, but I digress. I wasn't tired.
Wouldn't it be something, I thought, if I went through Utah as well? That would be a monumental achievement. I wondered if anyone had ever gone through the whole of LDSFS's couple profiles before, all 943 of them. Well, I thought, I'm more than halfway there already. And so, fueled by an unholy amount of refined sugar, I clicked. And clicked, and clicked. Utah had 428 couples listed. I did some quick math in my head - no small feat, considering that quick math is not a forte of mine with pen and paper. That was 43 pages.
No, no, I thought. This was madness. I needed to get to bed already. I was getting tired, and there wasn't anything good to watch on TV. But I'd already started. Okay, I thought. A few more pages. I'll do half.
I did half. I added link after link after link. My fingers flew over the keyboard and I half expected the letters to wear off on A, H, R, E, F, :, /, and ". Because, you see, I decided a number of years ago that I could remain morally superior to the latecomers to the blogging world (I started my first in 1997) by continuing to write my own HTML - ALL of my own HTML.
I repeat: I am an idiot.
It got to the point where I almost wept when a couple listed a blog. What IS it with you Utahns and your blogs? Will LDSFS in Utah not approve you to adopt unless you start a blog?
I was getting crabby and bitter, so around 4am I decided to take a shower. Dell laptops do not cool themselves well and my lap was getting sweaty. The break didn't do me the good I'd have hoped. I saw blogs when I closed my eyes. The phrase "We're a fun couple!" echoed in my ears.
Less sweaty and a bit more relaxed, I returned to my computer. I added link upon link. The English language started to look funny to me. Quotation marks turned into Sanskrit. I spent five minutes pondering the shape of a lower-case letter A.
And then, the inevitable happened. I'd finished profiles number 381-390. The end was near! I clicked on "next" and waited for a list to appear. I was puzzled when I saw the page that loaded. I hit F5. Same thing. Disbelieving, I looked at the page before me.
40 couples from the end, my search had timed out.
I laughed the laugh of the damned. I wept. I pounded on my keyboard. I had another stick of string cheese.
I may not have broken any records. To paraphrase Elaine Benes: They say no one's ever made it to the end of the list before. But gentlemen, I tell you now, I have come as close as anyone has ever gotten.
I clicked through 900 profiles.
And now I'm going to bed.
Friday, April 2, 2010
Part of it, I think, is it fit in with my schedule. And I've already taken Book of Mormon and a couple of other classes that were offered on Wednesday night. So I went with BEM.
The class consists of me, two or three other singles, and about 12 couples, both engaged and already married. I should have expected that, I suppose. But do the couples have to be so physically demonstrative? I get sick of the constant nuzzling and intertwined limbs. One girl spent about twenty minutes running her fingers through her fiancé's Grizzly Adams beard. It reminded me of the way apes will groom each other. It was nauseating on many, many levels.
I don't sit behind them anymore.
Anyway. The last time I went to birth mom group (2 months ago, give or take), I left early for Institute. L, a dear friend of mine, said she wanted to go to Institute with me. Well, I thought, that'll at least be another for the Bitter Singles side in my class. And L is awesome. So we went.
I wish I'd checked the schedule first. Class that night was on intimacy and fidelity in marriage. Not, strictly speaking, about the law of chastity, but it sort of turned into that. It was awkward. Sort of. L seemed distinctly miserable, and I can't say I blame her. I thought I'd be miserable and uncomfortable, too.
But, wonder of wonders, I wasn't. Not once. For the first time since I took a flying leap off the straight and narrow 2 years ago, talk of chastity and marital intimacy did not make me feel like trash. It was amazing! I was able to listen to the material and read the student manual and take things in the context of my future relationship with my husband. I didn't sit there and feel like I blew it, like I was chewed gum, to borrow an analogy, from an irritating object lesson of my youth.
I wished L could have had the same experience. As we were leaving class, she mentioned how awkward the lesson had been for her. How it made her feel like crap. She asked if I'd felt the same.
"Well, sort of," I lied, feeling that tact and sensitivity were more important than honesty. And I wondered why it was that our shared experience had produced such different results. I thought about it for a few hours and I think I know what it was.
I used to feel like L did. I used to hide at the very mention of chastity. I used to feel like there was a scarlet letter on my chest (an "s" for skank). Like I was a horrible person who had done horrible things (my words and feelings here, not L's). I felt acutely that I had let down my Father in Heaven. That my Savior had had to suffer a little more because of my stupidity.
But I spent the better part of a year repenting, and being obedient, and in February I went to the temple and received my endowment. What a blessing it has been, and how grateful I am for my Savior! I know more deeply than ever who I am, and why I am here, and what I can make of my life. I know - I KNOW - that I have been forgiven for what I've done. God doesn't just forgive us, either. The scriptures say that He will "remember them no more." How awesome is that?
And I find that, the more time passes, the less I remember them as well. Maybe that's part of why my Institute lesson didn't bother me. The sins that I committed belong to a person I'm not anymore. Why should talk of intimacy bother me? I will have it someday with my husband. I am worthy of an eternal companion. I don't always believe it, but it's true just the same.
Tonight, in my other Institute class, my teacher ended with his testimony of the Atonement. "Our Savior loves us," Brother N. said. "He is glad He could suffer for us. He would do it again." I thought that was profound. It's easy to fall into the trap of thinking that Jesus died for us because He had to, because we are all rotten people who mess things up, and that maybe He isn't too happy about it. But He is! He wanted to. He did it for us because he loves us. I think it's wonderful.