Renovation Mode

Guys, Mommy is a destruction queen! For the past few weeks she has been working day and night in the basement of our house to, “get it ready”.

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For a while I didn’t really know what that meant but I do now and it’s a pretty amazing thing. The mom’s have decided that it’s time for me to have some siblings! That’s right, you heard it here first – we are trying to make our family bigger! The mom’s (especially Mommy) have even working on all of the paperwork that they needed to update their home study and our file has officially moved into the hands of our adoption worker Mary. The mom’s keep telling me (and themselves) that it may still be a long adventure until my new siblings come home but the first big hurdle has been passed and so we’re starting to get ready!

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So, while we work on renovating our family, Mommy has also been hard at work renovating the basement so that our new house can fit new family members – apparently they will need bedrooms too. She’s been pulling drywall down and tearing down the ceiling tiles. She’s pulled up 2 layers of carpet and another 2 layers of floor tile and now it almost looks like we have a blank slate. The mom’s keep throwing around words like “wiring” and “plumbing” and Mama C keeps asking when she can have a fireplace (Mommy keeps laughing at her too). It’s all pretty crazy – I don’t even recognize it anymore. She may be my “stay at home” mommy but she is clearly the hardest worker mommy around!

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The Flu, the Army and A Little Extra Physio

Do you know what I’m not such a big fan of? Throwing up.  I mean, technically I do it all of the time, I’m kind of awesome at it, but when I’m not expecting it and it happens all night when I’m supposed to be sleeping I really really hate it.  The mom’s called it a “bug”, which is a really horrible name.  I’ve seen bugs and if that’s what I had then I want to take that up with someone!  The mom’s tried to explain that it wasn’t really an actual bug but a horrible stomach thing that knocked each of us (plus a few other casualties – sorry Randall’s!) on our butts.  First Mama C had it, and we thought she was just faking it to enjoy staying in bed for one whole day, but then Mommy got it a few days later and she passed it along to me! It was seriously bad people…seriously.  Our bodies shouldn’t do things like that, it’s just not right.

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We were a bit worried that this bug would interfere with the big adventure we had planned for the weekend.  You may not know this, but my Pa is a very cool guy.  When he was younger he was in the army and got to go to places called “Korea” and “Japan”, and he hung out with a whole bunch of army people called the third battalion of The Royal Canadian Regiment.  Well last weekend, this other cool guy, Prince Phillip (who is actually married to the Queen!), came to Toronto to give these guys a new flag (it was called presenting them with their new colours, but I guess they’re not as smart as I am because it was clearly a flag).  What made it especially cool was that Pa got to be there and got to sit up close and watch it all happen.  So, the mom’s and I met up with Auntie CC, Uncle Rico, Thor, Ollie & Gramma, and we went to watch the Prince and Pa hang out with the army.  It was so so busy and I was still a bit cranky because of the “bug”, so I didn’t get to see a whole lot of the ceremony, but afterwards we got to watch a military parade and we got to see so many army guys! There was lots of bagpipes (Pa really liked those), and drums (Pa liked those too, he used to play a big bass one), horses and swords and even a canon! I really liked that part – there were so many colours and music.

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I took it nice and easy this week, to make sure that I was feeling all better, but then today the mom’s surprised me with a trip down to Sick Kids.  Luckily I wasn’t there for a bad reason! The mom’s had been asked if I could be a volunteer for a course for a group of physiotherapists.  They were learning something called NDT (neurodevelopmental treatment).  This kind of treatment helps kids specifically like me – with both some physical and neurological challenges.  I got to work with the instructor, an amazing woman named Jane Styler-Acevedo from Acadia University, who was super patient and kind and knew instinctively that I needed some extra time to figure things out.  We worked on trying to get me moving from sitting and standing, because I’m finding it very hard to figure out how to do that, especially because I don’t like using my hands.  By the end of the session, the mom’s had some good ideas of how to keep working with me, plus everyone in the class clapped for me and spent a long time telling the mom’s how cute and adorable I am.  It’s hard work trying to make my body do the things I want it to so that I can be independent but I’m getting very frustrated at not being able to do it.  I keep reaching for things and get very annoyed when I can’t get to them and I hate being strapped into my high chair to eat now because all I want is to be down on the floor playing! Hopefully the things we learned today will help.  Keep your fingers crossed for me okay?

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Other than all of those things, I’ve just been very very happy these days.  I’m chatting up a storm and trying to figure out different sounds.  I figured out how to knock on doors and now I like to think that everything is a door and I want to knock on everything.  I’ve been loving the spring sunshine and especially that we’ve been going on lots of walks with the mom’s and Gus.  I love spending time outside and trying to grab the bushes and leaves – they feel so funny in my fingers, but mostly I love to grab Gus.  He’s so nice and just lets me keep grabbing his fur and his mouth and his ears and sometimes even his teeth.  The mom’s say I’m lucky he’s so patient with me, but I think it’s just a bribe – if he lets me pull on him, he knows that I’ll keep throwing food on the floor for him to eat – we have a good thing going.

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For Keeps

I think the title says it all. As of 2:15pm, the judge signed the papers and officially said that the mom’s and I belong together for keeps. We all know that it’s really no different then it was yesterday, but it feels a little bit different. I have their last name!

I was incredibly lucky to be surrounded by the people who made this adoption all possible in the first place. Obviously the mom’s and I were there, but we were also joined by our adoption worker Mary, Gramma & Pa and Grandpa, of course my cousins Ollie and Thor along with so many other people who have been our biggest supporters over the last year and a half – Steve, Jason, Telly, Rita & Thano and Madison. And then, we the three people, Auntie CC, Theresa and Cathy (MeMa) who put their names on the line and told CAS how they thought the mom’s would be great parents and how they deserved the chance to love a kid like me. If they hadn’t done that and done it so well, then maybe none of this would have happened. For that, I know the mom’s are so so so grateful (and really, how could they not be – they got me out of the deal!).

It was a pretty amazing day all around, but something very surprising happened while we were in the court room that took us all by surprise and made the day even more incredible. We all filed in the room and the mom’s and I sat up at the front. It took a minute for the judge to start talking, and he started by welcoming us all there and telling us that adoption days are the happiest kind of days because they get to help create a family (he didn’t really need to tell us that). But then, he went on and told us that my adoption in particular was very happy for him because he was the judge who was there when my birth parents made the hard decision to let me be adopted because they wanted me to have the best home possible. He’s the man who really made it possible for the mom’s and I to be together. He told us that he remembered when my birth parents came in and he felt really lucky to get to meet me in person and get to see with his own eyes that I found a family who loves me so very much. He said he doesn’t always get a chance to see things come in a full circle and this was special to him. I know the mom’s agree with him and if I could speak I would tell him that he doesn’t know how right he is. Today, I feel pretty loved.

Parties and Brains and Zombies…oh my!

We’re having a quiet day here at home.  It’s raining outside and the mom’s say that makes people sleepy, plus I think I have this other tooth coming through and it’s making me slightly miserable.  I’m thinking about having another nap, but at the same time it’s kind of fun to watch the mom’s get so amused by me refusing to sleep and then fall asleep on the living room floor in a few hours.

It’s been a busy week for our little family.  Last weekend the mom’s threw a really big party  for me.  Originally it was called “Lily’s One Year of Ass Kicking” party, but then someone shortened it to just my “Re-Birthday” party (which frankly sounds nicer because I’m little and technically not aloud to swear yet).  We had an amazing time at MeMa’s house – swimming in the pool, playing Bocce ball in the backyard, eating delicious food and just hanging out with all of the people who were so supportive to the mom’s when I was so sick last year.  People were tricky though and brought presents, which was totally against the rules because it wasn’t technically a birthday party (don’t people follow rules anymore, geesh, kids today) but it was really kind of them.  I even heard a rumour that there were sparklers at the end of the night but someone fell asleep and missed out (okay, I’ll admit it, I fell asleep.  I’m so embarrassed).

After the party this week, I also had to go see my neurologist at Sick Kids to check and see how my brain is doing.  We got there bright and early and got my head all hooked up so they could take pictures of my brain activity while I was resting to see if I’m having any seizures.  And the happy news is, after waiting so long for me to fall asleep and then visiting my nurse Jane and getting weighed (I’m finally bigger than 20 pounds!!), I finally got to see Dr. W and she said that I look amazing! She said that my brain activity looks amazing for a kid who had infantile spasms! She said that we’ll switch to a safer medication for 1 year and then I can start to come off of it.  Fingers crossed everyone that my brain will keep being as healthy for the next year!

Lastly, I just wanted to show off my incredible new talent.  I’m getting really good at impressions – this is my version of Zombie Lily.  I’m tucking it away until next Hallowe’en…

Family, Fireworks and All Around Fun

Summer is really here and I’m finally beginning to understand what all the hype is about this season: it’s hot, the sun stays out way longer, and we’re always off doing fun things.  I don’t really like the part where my eyes keep watering and I come in from outside looking like I’ve been stung by some bees (an expression that I don’t really understand, but other people seem to get), but for the most part, I really like summer.

Over the past few weeks, Mommy and me (and Uncle Steve) have been hanging out at Grandpa’s house doing something called “renovations” – they don’t really have me fooled though, it’s just a grown-up word for big mess.  I have so much fun when I’m at Grandpa’s house – I get to go swimming in the river and we have bonfires at night.  The only part that’s not so great is that we’re away from Mama C because she’s at work and Mommy and I miss her a lot. But that also means that we get to come home to her and that always makes us both really happy.  This week we were up there with my favourite friend-family, the Randall’s (that’s MeMa’s family for those of you who understand my lingo).  They decided to take some time off and they all came up to play with me.  It had nothing to do with the river or the quiet or the canoe or the bonfires, right?

Summer also means that we get to celebrate something called Canada Day.  What I learned is that this is a weekend where we get 3 whole days with Mama C! On the Saturday we all got in the car and drove somewhere called Kitchener to see a whole lot of my family! When my great aunt Crazy Gail died, all of her brothers and sisters decided not to have a funeral but to have a big party instead (she was my kind of woman!).  Even though we were all still really sad that she couldn’t be there to be the centre of this big party, we still got to have a fun time just hanging out and being with each other.

Pa in his party hat....just kidding, he stole it from Thor!

For me, this meant finally getting to meet some (more) relatives that I hadn’t met yet.  I know I’ve said it before, but I have a LOT of family! I finally got to meet Aunt Helen and Glen, and Aunt Dot from “down east”, and then Uncle Earl and Aunt Sue from “out west”, and then more and more and more cousins: Gary, JP, Sarena, Darryl, Robin, Jamie, Jesse….it was just crazy! Someone also brought pictures from over the past few years and I got to see all of the Aunts and Uncles growing up, and then some of Mama C and Auntie CC growing up too.  I even got to see one from Grandma and Pa’s wedding day!

Snuggling with my new cousin J.P. (He has the same birthday as Mama C!)

At this party though, I also go to hang out with Auntie CC, Uncle Rico, Thor and Ollie! It was the first time that Ollie and I really got to hang out and talk – you know, just the two of us.  We had a pretty good talk and he tried to convince me that I could drink water from a cup like he does.  I’m still not entirely sure, but I’m thinking about it.

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Then I got to go swimming with Mama C and Uncle Rico and Thor, which was fun but very cold.  In the end Mama C and Uncle Rico played “kid swap” and I got to snuggle with Uncle Rico while Thor and Mama C went on a swimming adventure.  Then Ollie came in the pool too while I got out to hang out with Mommy, Auntie CC and Alexandra.  They were in the pool for so long that they almost missed dinner! I knew Mama C liked to swim, but where are her priorities?  In the end it worked out okay for me because I got to snuggle with Alex, which is one of my favourite things to do.  Every time she see’s me she gets more and more comfortable and this time she even tried to change my diaper…although she stopped fast when I peed on her!

On Sunday, it was actually Canada Day! Everywhere I looked people were dressed in red and white (except for me – the mom’s made me wear my rainbow dress and said something about Pride – they seemed sad that we weren’t going there).  During the day we went to Stan Wadlow Park and walked around and saw all the vendors and food, Blinky the Police Car and all of the rides that were set up.  We didn’t stay too long because it was very hot and I needed a nap, but we went back at night and that was the best part.  We met Uncle Steve and Telly and Rachel and after they all bought some food, we laid around on a big blanket.  Then, when it got dark, there were fireworks!! I love Canada Day! Uncle Steve couldn’t get over how quietly I just sat and watched the colours and the mom’s seemed pretty happy about the fact that I was obviously watching them as well (sometimes I think they like to be reassured that my eyes are working hard).

 

Happy Lil-Aversary!

One whole year.  Guys, it’s been one whole year since I came to live with the mom’s.  It’s been a crazy, whirlwind of a year, but I think overall it’s been pretty amazing.  I feel so lucky to be living with my mom’s but really, I think that they might be the really lucky ones.  They keep talking today about how much I’ve grown, how big and strong I’ve become and how I’ve come so much further than most people thought I would last August.  The mom’s and I were talking about doing a big dinner/party to celebrate my anniversary but in the end we decided to have a really big party in August – to celebrate everything: my adoption, our family and mostly that I’m here, kicking butts and taking names.  Life is good.

So Long, Farewell…

A mom post tonight….

I know that there’s been a higher ratio of Mom:Lily post’s lately and I promise she’ll be back in the writers seat soon, but just one more for now.

This was our first mother’s day – our first, real, mother’s day.  We had a few people celebrate with us last year, as we knew right around the holiday that Lily’s birth parents and Children’s Aid had picked us to be her family, but this was the first year that we got to wake up in the morning, look at her all wrapped up in her black and white blanket made by her cousin Connie, and celebrate being her mother.  It was an amazing feeling.  One that I’ve wanted for such a long time.

(Lily didn’t really make this cookie, but our amazing friend Cathy did and it’s just one of the reasons we love her in our lives)

But this mother’s day, like many others past, is tinged with sadness.  Obviously it was our first mother’s day without Jess’s mom and that was odd.  Just this time last year, we had decided that for future years we would bring both of our Mom’s together for the day so that we never had to choose between them.  Sadly, life chose for us.  Life this year, just in the past few days, also decided that it was time for my Aunt Gail to leave us too.  This has left a hole in me that I haven’t quite figured out how to fill.

I wish that I was a talented enough writer to really explain to you what it was like to grow up in our family.  Many of you know that my mother is one of 17 siblings, which in today’s society, is a huge huge number to wrap your head around.  But beyond the strength of my grandmother to raise such a huge family in less than ideal circumstances, what amazes me most about them is how close they are even with such a huge age difference between them.  We were never the family that only saw each other on holidays, we were constantly in and out of each other’s lives.  I always say that I was raised by The Aunts, the women who were either related by blood or marriage, who set the most amazing example of how to be great mom’s – there are characteristics of each of them that I hope to bring to my own version of motherhood.  I love them all, but at the same time, what’s been breaking my heart is that Gail was mine.  Now, with 16 Aunts and Uncles, it also means that I have a LOT of cousins, and so maybe calling her mine (especially when she had her own son) is a bit selfish but I always felt that it was true.  It was her lap that I would crawl into when we were all sitting around the table talking – I would play with her rings and be amazed that her fingernails were so long and were real.  I loved watching her style her hair or put on her make-up.  I loved going to visit her at work and was so proud that she was my aunt.  When my friend Adrienne and I went out to PEI to visit when we were in university, I was thrilled when she pointed out how alike Gail and I were – that we tapped our fingers and the table the same way, that we both had ridiculous laughs that usually ended in snorting or that we both tried to make people feel at ease by making jokes – usually lighthearted, somewhat inappropriate and often self-deprecating.

Like everything else in life, it’s with a loss that we realize how much we truly loved.  Knowing that she’s not here leaves me feeling empty and not sure how to share that with anyone else.  I know that so many other people are missing her as much I do, or even more, but for now it just feels like my own grief, one that’s not ready to be shared.