Love Notes to Humanity

Yesterday, before my boys left, we stopped at Barnes & Noble. It was crowded with the remains of Holiday folks. I waited by the magazines while the boys looked for their books. I remembered years ago when I moved to Asheville how that store was my saving grace. When the winter hit hard that year I was stuck up on the mountain and my only outlet was to come into town to the bookstore. I had been stripped of all monetary means. A friend and I bought an old motel that took everything I had. She went off to work for the winter and I was left with two teenagers and a deep isolation that pushed my soul into a spiritual awakening.

The mountain taught me invaluable lessons. The motel endorsed those experiences. At the time I didn’t recognize how priceless those obstacles would become. I learned to trust my intuition. I was snowed in more than I could ever imagined. I spent time without electricity and water. And I knew not one soul.

My outlet was coming into town once a week if I could make it down the roads. I packed a bunch of Post It notes and typed up letters. I would sit in a hidden corner of the store and write inspirational notes to put in books and magazines. In the mental health books I would leave “You are magnificent. You are here to make the world brighter.” In the glamour magazines, especially those for teenagers, I would leave something along the lines of “You are more beautiful than any photo shopped girl here. You are here to make a world a better place.” And on and on I would go around and just post the little love notes around the store. It filled me up with joy.

The letters I called, “Love Note from the Universe” I would fold and place in the windshield of cars in the parking lot. Those were longer. And deeper. I would watch from the second floor of the store as people would grab them. Some would open them up and read them, always checking around to see if they saw anyone. Many times they were thrown on the grown or crumbled up in their car.

I had the time to do these things. I have lost my way with busyness the last few years working full time, raising small children, taking care of lives (especially mine). They aren’t excuses. It’s just the way it’s been. It’s a different journey now, but yesterday I ached to start again doing those things that touched the core of me: going to the homeless shelter and having coffee; taking books to the VA Hospital; gathering stories from all walks of life. I ached for a moment so deeply for those simple acts of kindness that my chest felt like it cracked open. I gasped for a bit of air and recognized my soul’s call. I know it well!

This new year I plan on being more present with humanity. I vow to write Love Notes to Humanity and share all the stories from around my world. We are united by the act of connections, feeling acknowledged, listening, and knowing we are not alone on this journey.

The other day I was getting in my car from the supermarket. It was drizzling. An elderly couple was in front of my car. He held the umbrella and was trying to get his partner into the car. It was sweet to witness. I wondered at that moment how many years they had been together. He actually kissed the top of her fragile hand when she got in and closed her door, getting a bit wet then slowly dragging his feet to come around to the driver’s side. And without words, their story became mine. Love Notes for Humanity. Their actions became the driven force to go home and be gentler, more loving, and accepting of whatever was to come with all the buzzing from the holidays. A few times this week I have returned to that elderly couple in my memories. I smile thinking of their lives. And I am blessed to have them now become part of mine.

You are part of mine by just being here. Never, for one moment, do I take that for granted. I love you. May you also begin to collect and create love notes in your life from all of humanity. We need more of that!

On Being a Mother

My sons came home for the holidays. They always do regardless of where they are. I’m grateful for this. They are amazing men. They gave me the reason to mother them and so many others.

I was told from early on that the likelihood of me bearing children was minimal. The older I got the less the chances. So I showed the doctors that I don’t take no for an answer. I had Nelson at 20. Patrick at 22. Several miscarriages and lots of health issues didn’t stop me from bringing these two souls into this world.

We grew up together. I was a single mom for a long while with them. When I left their father he ran the opposite direction and never saw them again. We nurtured each other. We grew up learning the ins and outs of parenting.

These boys taught me unconditional love, patience, letting go, humor, and how to be a conscious soul through a very human experience. Their love for me and each other has been magical.

When I began adopting children they never complained. They opened up their hearts and shared their home with little strangers. My sons, not once, asked me to please stop. They never felt jealous or pushed aside. And even now with two little ones at home all I witness is unconditional love and tenderness. They are my heroes.

They go back home today. This mama heart is tender this morning. I will miss their pure intelligence and intellectual conversations. Their laughter. Their own banter that’s hysterical most of the time. I will miss their inspirational and motivational pep talks to me about how I need to be sharing more stories and creating a forum for the world to learn from One another. They are techie. I’m not and they show me this and that…sending loving thoughts while challenging me to think outside of my comfort zone.

My head starts to feel overwhelmed but they truly are looking out for my best interest.

You know when you recognize your job as a good parent? When your grown children want to come home and just be with you. I’ve done my best and they’ve exceeded any kind of desire I’ve had for them as adults. Happiness comes out in every laughter and tear. Every touch and hug reminds me that I’ve been so deeply blessed with love. True love without ever judging or criticizing my choices. And I have done the same for them.

Be gentle with your children. Allow them to do whatever they need to do in order to learn and evolve. It’s not our jobs to get in their way. Our only job is to be there to love. And love is all there is….

Don’t Judge an Act of Love

We got a call on May 28th, 2014, from the Department of Social Services. My granddaughter was going to be removed from my daughter. I had two hours to go get her.

I paused. Even though I suspected and intuitively knew it was going to happen there was still a shock factor to the words.

My husband, then fiancé, without hesitation said while I was quiet with the investigator, “Where do we go pick her up?”

A few hours later she was in our care. This was his first child. She was my seventh. Her mother had arrived at nine years of age from Romania into my care. She has mental disabilities, bipolar and a rainbow of other disorders that have caused mayhem throughout all the years I’ve loved her. And, oh my gosh, how deeply I love her. She continues to teach me on a high level of compassion.

So we picked my granddaughter up at the agency. We had nothing but a box of diapers and bottles. They handed me formula and a car seat. We ran to get a playpen. We had to get some extra clothing. At the time our finances were also super tight. I had my last child home who was graduating high school the following month and would be turning 18 in August.

People always make two comments to me that shake me up. I wonder how humanity has made it this far. First one is “Did you have another option than to take her in?” (This is asked many different ways).

Second one is “I don’t think I could do it.” (Sometimes this is implied as if we are some kind of heroes. We are not. We are humans)!

It doesn’t matter what anyone thinks because until the event shows up no one really knows how they will react.

It took two and a half years of waiting and fighting to adopt her. Finally on December 1st of 2016, she was ours.

My daughter got pregnant with her second child and I heard from a woman in her building who took my number down from borrowing her phone. My daughter at the time was four months into her pregnancy. I felt it. She’s in Florida and we are in North Carolina. I would hear from her periodically. Since she got pregnant I heard from her only twice and when she did call I would ask and she would lie.

Her baby was born in April of 2017. She was alone. She didn’t know who was the baby’s father. I called social services and begged them not to let her take the child home. It took 10 months for anyone to do something. By this time he had been terrorized by her new boyfriend, had gotten pregnant again with her third and finally the county removed him from her care.  We got the call two months after he was removed, right around the time he was to turn one years old.

I was asked by the social worker if we wanted him. I was completely torn. My husband and I were to leave to Peru for my 50th birthday the following week. The social worker told me it was a long shot. I went home and shared with my husband who immediately said he wanted the baby boy. Our little girl needed a sibling. I called the social worker and told her we would take him. It took another six months of fighting with the system to get him. It was excruciating and exhausting. And, once again, the comments began with folks who believe they have the answers. “Not again! You aren’t going to take on another one…?”

Yet, something had changed in my life from all my other adoptions. My circle of friends are supportive. They are tribal. They gathered together and helped make this a wonderful experience. For the first time after seven other children, I had a baby shower. I was shown support from many. The few who had negative comments weren’t in my immediate life anymore. I changed and, therefore, my circle changed.

I won’t tolerate negativity any longer!

Our hearts determine our lives. I don’t judge anyone for saving a child. I can’t. I have learned after eight of them that I am here to mother many. My husband is an incredible father. This is his first rodeo and I’m navigating the challenges and struggles, the love and sleepless nights, the snuggles and cuddles, the reward of seeing two more children saved from a horrific situation. As for my daughter, she will continue to do whatever she wants to do. She’s allowed to because the system is corrupt. She lost her third child (immediately that she was born) and the baby is thriving in a beautiful home.

We are made from love to give love away as much, as often, and as freely as possible.

Adoption is a personal choice. Taking kids into your home is a remarkable way of giving back to this world. It is not for everyone. It’s not easy and these children are traumatized. They need assistance and patience. I ask that when you hear someone talk about adopting, or fostering, you can save the judgment and recognize the magic that’s happening to those little souls. You get to shape your perception and your words carefully.

Our lives are all connected. Each one of us. How you act and react is felt through the waves of consciousness. So…let’s be love.  Let’s be examples for the new generations. Let’s live through acceptance and awareness. You don’t know what’s in store for you tomorrow. You just never know what curve ball will be heading your way.


Letting Love Live

This morning I had a memory of the first time I was stung with uncensored and unconditional love. I’m sure I had hundreds, or perhaps thousands of moments, but that evening seemed to stand out loudly.

My husband and I had been dating for a few months. I spent the night at his place. We had made love and only a candle lit the room. He had fallen sleep on his stomach. I turned over and saw him. The light from the candle enhanced his back muscles. I gasped. He was beautiful. I looked at his bare back in pure delight. Tears formed and I allowed for their release. He was sound asleep. I became very aware that he was mine, for however long that would be, and he was lovely. Not just because of his body but his sense of humor. I was falling in love. I was falling into a known territory that felt remarkably unfamiliar to all others.

I traced my fingers on his back softly following the shadows. He woke and turned over to his side while I kept rubbing him with my nails. At some point I fell into a slumber wrapped by his arms. The next morning as I drove the hour and twenty minutes home, I kept thinking of that moment that allowed me to fall so profoundly that every cell in my body felt the expansion of love. I literally felt a huge break in my chest.

Then I started to freak out. I felt I was losing myself. How could I? I’ve done this dance many times before. I had given all of me for years and not been reciprocated but what amazing lessons I had learned. I regret not a one!

As I watched the stretch of mountains ahead my heart felt a tingle and a pull. I was safe to fall. I was safe to rise towards the delight of being me…my authentic self without censoring from a man. The sun was rising over the landscape and I knew I had permission from the heavens to just feel the love that was to grow. I remember this many years later. I remembered it this morning as I watched him sleep in his stomach bundled under warm blankets.

Driving over the mountains that morning I recalled twenty years before when I was dating a lovely man. After we made love I fell asleep in his arms. Sometime after that I woke to him watching me sleep and the blinds wide open. He said, “The moon looks beautiful on your back. It makes your freckles look like stars!” He meant every syllable of that sentiment.

I buried my head on the pillow in embarrassment. I had a hard time taking in any kind of compliment.

I had never been seen…Or so I felt. He saw me. And when he died a year later a part of me died with him. Now noticing my new lover and his divine essence naked in front of me I felt all the love in the world that had been given, shared and exchanged. I felt it intensified and released in my soul. It wasn’t just a physical or emotional connection. It was a spiritual one.

At midlife I was finally me without apologizing.

And I allowed for all that was to come. He was mine then. He continues to be mine now. It has taken a tremendous amount of work and dance to stay in that love but it’s been so worth it. Because that’s what marriage entails. We are on the other side of that mountain of uncertainty and doubts. We are led by stars and candlelight through the darkest of obstacles.

We are in it because of the raw vulnerability from one another. We show up not always in perfect lighting. It’s in the unmade beds, crazy sleepless nights with kids, messy days, hard obstacles, little moments and unconditional love without judgment. It’s real life naked and fully clothed behind closed doors. I’m blessed.

Love Because

Every so often I get a message from a stranger asking for advice on their children. I answer simply with “I am sorry. I don’t know your sweet child. I cannot help you.” Then I suggest that they check out a nearby therapist or doctor. The reality is that I am not a license therapist and cannot evaluate anyone, especially children.

Now, if you want to know about fairies or theories on the multiverse and parallel dimensions, I’m your girl. If you want to laugh and hear me go off on some quantum tangent about how we are here but in other places…I am your girl. I can talk about consciousness all day, every day.

I can offer you empathy through your sorrow. I can hold sacred space for you. But, I’m not a child psychologist. I have experience in mental disorders from my own perspective of raising several children with challenges. That doesn’t make me an expert. And every child is unique.

So, if I come across as some kind of mother expert for raising children please note that I am not. Believe me when I tell you that I am clueless. Even after eight kids I am still making my way through infinite lessons…often times pulling my hair and cursing in my inner voice.

I am here for you if you need a shoulder. I am no expert at absolutely nothing but loving you. That…I…can…do!

**I don’t know who wrote the beautiful quote. It’s absolutely yummy.

Move Mountains

This morning on the way to school, Kali asked me, “Mama, why does the moon follow us when we are in the car?”

Me: The moon is magical that way.

Kali: I’m magical too.

Me: Me too.

Kali: Yeah but you don’t move mountains (apparently she believes she does…and I giggled at her superpower).

Me: Have you ever seen me?

Kali: Wowwww. (deep sigh and admiration).

When a four year old believes that she has the power to move mountains you better allow her to believe she can change the world and you will help her. Our conversation went right to how we can do whatever we want to make this world a better place. Cause we got this!

She gave me a high five and we agreed to move all the stones together.

Just a Matter of Time

We headed South a week ago to pick up our new baby boy who is 17 months old. It’s been an intense few months. One legal fight after another. He’s adjusted from the first night and we are blessed. It was just a matter of time before the questions would start from our four year old about her new baby brother!

Kali: Mama, who is my baby’s mommy? Is it Kara (I don’t know why she thinks it’s my friend)

Me: no, baby girl, she’s not his mommy.

Kali: who is his mommy and why didn’t she want him? What’s her name? Where does she live?

Me: she couldn’t keep him. She’s sick. Her name doesn’t matter right now. She’s not healthy enough to have him. So he came here that way we can give him a good life. And love him a lot.

Kali: mommy, he will be loved. Forever and ever. And she cannot have him back. (She says this as she’s holding on to him tightly).

Me: sometimes people are used to physically have babies so others can give them the love they deserve. Not everyone can be a mommy or daddy. Not every should be.

Kali: then he got in the right house. You and my daddy are great for the job. And he has a big sister and many other brothers.

**********

People think compassion is taught but compassion, like love, is a gift we are born with. We get to feed it and help it evolve but we are born with compassion, kindness and love. The rest is learned behavior. If a four year old (who has never wondered how she has two white parents) can feel the love in her family there is no reason the rest of us can’t just tap into that energy across the world.

Look for the divine in everyone.