Samuel Jerome and Richnightder

Samuel Jerome and Richnightder
Our boys in Haiti

Monday, February 14, 2011

Guess who's birthday it is today? Guess who had a birthday yesterday?

My baby boy, Jerome turned 7 yesterday.  I am admittedly a lot sad by this.  Although he's 7, it's only his second birthday.  One of the gazillion bad things about having been an orphan is that your real birthdate is unknown and the biggest, suckiest thing is that living in a creche, no one takes the time to celebrate your birthday. 

When Gina found Jerome, dying of disease and severely malnourished in that horrible orphanage in Port-au-Prince, she saved his life that day, by taking him to her creche, the one we were working with.  He was placed on antibiotics for 30 days, fed 3 LARGE meals a day, loved, bathed, educated and had consistency in his daily life for the first time in his short life.  Gina randomly made up a birthdate and chose February 13th which is the day before her own birthday and her son's birthday.

What's coincidental about that is that Marc's birthday is Valentine's Day and now our youngest son, Jerome is the day before Marc's.  Somethings are just meant to be.

Marc is celebrating his birthday by going to work like every other day.  Which secrets be told,  he loves.  Tonight we'll have a pork roast if it defrosts in enough time.  Lack of planning on my part for that little boo-boo.  And since it's Valentine's day, he might just get lucky!

Back to my little Jerome.  Yesterday at church everyone at the 8:30 service sang happy birthday to him and he was tickled.  We also brought 100 homemade cupcakes to share with all the Sunday School classes as of course, he has friends in all of them.  He'll have a kid party as soon as the weather warms up because he wants a swimming party at the water park which is a smidgen impractical when the weather is snowy. 

Jerome is amazing for many reasons, but the most impressive is that this kid should be riddled with massive issues regarding attachment, anger, loss, PTSD, you name it, he should be burdened with it.  Before he came home, we prepared thoroughly for all the issues he might have dumped on us.  What we found was a kid who was just so damn happy to have a family of his own he jumped at the chance and relishes everything a family is.  He is firmly attached, understands that a mom and a dad love differently than an aunt/uncle/friend, etc.  and knows that family is forever.  He beams everytime I tell him I love him and randomly hugs me and says he loves me and loves his family.  I feel pretty confident that as it approaches the 2 year mark of his homecoming, Jerome has miraculously avoided the myriad of problems that he by all rights, should have had.

I believe his happy, generous soul is a gift from God.  I believe he had angels watching over him and that his life has a fundamental purpose here on this planet.  If anything, he has served a purpose by filling this family with a sense of joy and the ability to laugh at nonsense.  While God gets the biggest atta-boy for Jerome's good nature, the creche of the Infant Jesus also gets a huge credit.

The kids there were taken care of, fed, bathed (twice a day), had clean clothes, clean beds, an immaculate large facility, playground, a fantastic teacher, healthcare, to include Jerome's opthamologist and eyeglasses, and nannies that cuddled and kissed boo-boos.  Granted some of the discipline was done in Haitian style, but somehow, out of the 70+ kids that came home from our creche, I know of only 1 that has RADish issues.  One nanny was Atilla the Hun by my standards and my boys dislike her with a passion, but even with Elta's pa bon behavior, the kids flourished inside a cement walled oasis of calm predictability.  Outside, daily life in Haiti stumbled on, but our kids were somehow insulated enough to allow them a semblence of normalcy. 

No orpahange is a good substitute for a forever family, but for my youngest son, who never even knew what a family was until 22 months ago, he was given a second chance at life and a family when Gina saved him and brought him out of misery and certain death to her creche.  What inconsequential occurrences led to Jerome's  path connecting with ours?  How could I have been so lucky to have crossed paths with this little soul so full of trust and hope?  I don't begin to understand the master plan of my life, but I do know that all 4 of my kids were gifts from God and were destined to be my kids even before I was a twinkle in my mom's eye. 

I often wonder about Jerome's birthmom.  I will never, ever know who she is, how old she was, or if she is still alive.  I look at my little boy and see a happy, smiling face and wonder if that came from his first mama?  Was she a contented soul like he is?  If she is still alive, I hope she feels in her heart and gut, that her sweet baby boy is a true treasure to a family far, far away. 

My baby was 7 yesterday, and yet it's only the second birthday of his life.  I've missed so much and yet look forward to his future anxiously.  I wonder what great and joyous things lie ahead for him?

Thursday, February 10, 2011

A mullet, for real dude

Somethings are sadly still occurring in this world; racism, cancer, world strife, and mulletts.  Who stills does this to their hair?  Obviously in North Dakota, people are still choosing to do this to themselves for some unknown reason. 

Besides lycra stretch pants and fuzzy slippers, mullets seem to be required attire in this neck of the woods.  Now I will add that everytime I see this choice in wardrobe and clothing, I am at Wallyworld.  'Nuf said.

People, let's make America beautiful.  Keep your mullets safely restrained in your General Lee "Duke's" car, boys and everyone will feel better about the direction of our society. it one t or two t's?  Who knows?  But fighting chance that the dude sporting one doesn't know either.  And there you have it.  Simple thoughts from a simple gal.

Tuesday, February 8, 2011

God give me the serenity to accept the teen years

Madison is a very intelligent, bright, quick-study kind of gal.  She grasps concepts easily and is a voracious reader.  She is also L.A.Z.Y! 

When she was in public school she was always the straight "A" kid; you know...the one who never had to study for tests, but still got the 'A'.  When we began home educating, I could see that the material she was learning (or not learning) was very, very easy and she had just been gliding thru school.  It was a cake walk for her and she was not pushed to stretch her brain and see how far it could expand and what it could absorb.  Heck, she just informed me, 4 years after leaving public school, that even though she was in the advanced reading group in 4th grade, she didn't actually have to read the novel, the teacher read it to them.  Does anyone else find this more than ironic.  It was the advanced reading group...not the advanced listening group.  Heck, it wasn't even a difficult book for an advanced kid. 

My point here as I ramble is that public school teaches to the average child.  If you happen to be a student that excels or needs lots of extra accomodations, then sadly your educational opportunities will be greatly marginalized.  Sadly the outstanding educators in our system or woefully underpaid and have little respect or help in dealing with over-crowded classrooms.  There also happen to be teachers, laboring under that title that have no business in that profession.  I have seen too many who don't like kids, have little tolerance for kid antics and know not a whole lot more than their students.  For them, I think the door should hit them on their butts as they retreat from the classroom as they are giving true educators a HUGELY BAD REPUTATION.

My educational plan with Madison is to bring her to the point where college prep classes are no biggie.  She just finished reading The Autobiography of Miss Jane Pittman, by Earnest Gaines and I want her to be able to read a wide variety of literature and be able to infer meanings, contextual clues, historical references, etc.  She is perfectly capable of doing so, but she is LAZY!  Have I mentioned that before?  I asked her to write a 5-10 paragraph composition about how the experiences of Jane, regarding social structure/limitations and historical experiences relate to our current state of racism and bigotry.

Yes, I am aware that in 8th grade, I am pushing her to link her thoughts and coherently describe them in a narrative, but she is more than capable.  Have I mentioned she is LAZY!  She brought me a decent 5 paragraph composition with an outstanding ending, but the body of the text was jumbled, hurried and full of grammatical mistakes.  When I used my all-empowering red pen, she felll into a puddle of tears.  I asked her to change this, that, use a different word here, check for punctuation, etc and I got a full-on,  foot-stomping angry teen bemoaning her fate of having a too difficult assignment.  WAAAAAAAAA

How do I get her to see that I am asking her to do more than her peers in public school, but by no means am I asking her to do anything that she is not more than capable of achieving?  Her future is so bright and she is so full of potential, I just need her to harness it and not be so damn academically lazy.  Oh, did I mention she is lazy?

Tomorrow she finishes reading another chapter in her ancient civilizations book.  It is actually a Freshman college text and she is fully capable of grasping the material, answering the questions and explaining the details of it orally very well.  How can my baby girl who is so bright and capable, be so damn lazy when it comes to her academic future?  How can I put an OLD head on her YOUNG shoulders?  God give me the ability to live thru these teen years without running away from home!!

Tuesday, February 1, 2011

Whata man, whata man, whata mighty fine man..yes he is!

Early in December I went my P.E.O. Christmas party and received a bottle of Victoria's Secret Pure Seduction body lotion.  I've used it and like the scent and the silky feel of it on my dry, withered hands. 

Last week, Marc began using it on his hands and feet seeing as I had run out of Jergens.  The first day he went to work after using it, a couple of the guys commented on how good he smelled.  WTF?  This is a group of muy macho guys all gun toting, handcuff bearing dudes and they have the time or dare I say, sensitivity to comment on how another guy smells??  Marc told them he was wearing my VS Pure Seduction cream and that's when the story gets really creepy.  The past several days they all walk past his office, stop, and sniff him.  It appears they all REALLLLLLLY enjoy the way he wears his hand cream. 'Nuf said!

Tonight as Marc breezed into the house, he came sporting a Victoria's Secret bag.  He looked pleased with himself and when I looked inside I found another bottle of the super duper cream.  Of course what woman doesn't want to see her beloved husband walk in the door bearing gifts, but I had to question to myself, whether it's really for me or him.  Gosh, we wouldn't want those guys to be deprived of the sweet smelling scent of pure seduction on my man.  Nonetheless, I love the fact Marc took time out of his busy day to go shopping for me.  Now I've got to run and hide the bottle before he uses it all up on his rough, calloused hands, elbows and feet.  Golly, we wouldn't want those men feeling out of sorts before a search warrant.