Wednesday, August 31, 2011

Thank God for Quesadillas

I don't cultivate picky eating in my house.  It's one of my pet peeves, when people are picky eaters, particularly when they are the type of picky eater who enforces their pickyness upon the rest of us. 

You know the type.  Everyone's getting pizza?  Oh, no.  Well, we can only get pizza if you get a pizza with a very little sauce and extra cheese, and please ask them not to season the crust.  Otherwise I don't want pizza.

Ugh.  It makes me furious.  Anyway, not only do I find it respectful to the chef and any group you're eating with to quietly eat food outside your comfort zone, but it is also a matter of necessity in my home.  Cooking is not on my list of priorities...eating is...but not cooking.  This sounds counter intuitive, but I have done just fine most of my life eating like a "bachelor" as my Dad dubbed it.  Cold pasta out of the fridge?  Perfect.  A sandwich for dinner again?  Sure.  More Mac 'n' Cheese?  Yum.

During my illustrious career of non-cooking I've also come to the revelation that almost ANYTHING tastes good in a tortilla (and heated in the microwave for 30-60 seconds).  I would love to kiss the person who invented the quesadilla, although I'm sure the feeling wouldn't be mutual since I've bastardized their beautiful creation for my own purposes.  So many options for filling a tortilla...turkey and cheese; chicken, onions, bell peppers, and cheese; squash and cheese; apples and cheese; turkey and cheese and salsa for the Mexican version (haha).  You get the drift. Tortilla + cheese + almost anything else = delicious.

There are times when I feel the social pressure to be the wife, and now mother, that cooks great meals, but I just can't bring myself to invest in the art of cooking...aren't there better things to do with my time?  Why spend hours investing in something everyone scarfs down in 20 min (let's be real, 10 in my house)?

The other night I made stir fry (from a frozen mix of veggies, frozen fried rice from Trader Joes, and frozen boneless skinless chicken breasts...yes that's a lot of frozen).  It didn't taste particularly wonderful.  Mostly because I turned the chicken breasts into rubber ( I don't know, it may have had a little to do with becoming impatient and finishing them off in the microwave).

Anyway, here we were sitting at the table, all three of us chewing and chewing and chewing on those blasted chicken breasts and I sent up a little prayer of gratitude as I saw Andrew and Little Man wearing out their jaws on dinner.  It's a blessing to have non-picky eaters in your house, particularly if you are the kind of person who doesn't care much about cooking.  I'm really grateful that God blessed me with a husband who eats just about anything and never makes me feel bad for sometimes making quesadillas multiple times a week (they were TOTALLY different kids, OK?)! 

So, even though at times I still feel intimidated by women who are great in the kitchen, I've learned to embrace my MacGyver-like skills at just getting by in the kitchen.  It often involves random ingredients present in the refrigerator, tortillas and a microwave but you sure don't see us wasting away do you?  Thank God for quesadillas and non-picky boys.  Life's too short to spend in front of the stove.

Hmm, I wonder what's for dinner tonight? :)

Monday, August 15, 2011

Terrible, No-good, Infection-in-Your-Ear, Pee-in-Your-Pants Day

I woke up tired today.  I couldn't sleep last night, and mornings with a two-year-old come much earlier than I'd like.  Well, I'd prefer mornings didn't come at all but then I'd be dead, and that's no good.  The morning was uneventful; however, since his schedule has been all out of whack because we've had family visiting (yay!) and because he's been sick...he cries if the wind changes direction. 

We had an appointment for Little Man at the doctors for a possible ear infection at noon, which worked perfectly with getting him home by about 1 or 1:30pm for a nap...then Mama can take a nap too...lovely. 

Not lovely.  After getting to the doctor's office we're told the doctor had to cancel all the appointments that day and we'd have to wait hours for another doctor to see us, or make a new appointment many days out.  Frustrating.  They suggested urgent care.  Ugh.

Driving away I made some phone calls trying to find a Walgreens Take Care Clinic since the thought of sitting at a local urgent care for 3 hours didn't appeal to me.  So, I headed to south city to the nearest clinic since they said there was currently only 1 person waiting!  Yay! 

Not yay.  We arrived and I started filling out the registration on the computer only to have a peepee crisis and have to run off to find a bathroom.  By the time we got back to check in there was another person ahead of us and then we were informed that their lunch break was from 1-2pm...which started in 20 minutes.  So, we could come back at 2:15pm.  WHAT?

OK, this isn't going to be fun without a nap but we'll find somewhere to have some lunch and walk around.  Panera was only a few minutes away so we headed to get French Onion Soup in a Bread bowl.  Yum.  Things are looking up until..."Mama, I have to peepee.  I have to peepee..." in his pants.  Are you serious? 

I grabbed him and rushed to the bathroom leaving our food on the table, hoping that my bad day wouldn't be made worse by someone taking my food away!!  Some wet wipes and a change of clothes later we're back at the table and our food is still there!  Phew. 

OK back to lunch defiant child starts not listening.  Several instructions and a warning later I lift him up and place him in a time out beside me where he starts wailing and holding his arm going "Oww!!"  What?  Do kids know instinctively to do these sorts of things in public to mortify their parents?   Is that lady looking at me like I just hurt my child?  "'re fine."  I pat his little head trying to look extra loving to reassure the sceptical onlooker, but the wailing continues.  Time to pack up our stuff (peed clothes wrapped in paper towels and all) and rush to the van where he can sob through his time out without scrutinizing glares.  Take that, kid.

Well, it's all of 1:15pm.  Now what?  Guess we'll go to the park across the street.  Running and sliding ensues until, "Mama, I have to peepee, I have to peepee!!!!!"  OH MY GOSH WHAT IS THE DEAL?  He hasn't even had drank much today! I have no more spare clothes and there's no bathroom so we run for the tree line, wrestle into position....nothing.  Seriously?  His accident has made him overly anxious..

Well, at least it's time to head back to the clinic.  We make it back in time to go to the bathroom AGAIN and wait for another 30 minutes.  We get called back to see the doctor.  Yes, the end is in sight!  A prescription for his ear infection and several stickers later we're headed to the car where...he screams bloody murder for 10 minutes because he didn't get to put his sticker in just the right spot before we left.  Sigh.  What a day.

Redemption came, however, when tonight we were all in his playroom watching Little Man drive his llama around in his car.  Then he yells, "No, baby.  It's OK.  I'm talking to Mama and Daddy!"  He's always talking to and ordering around this imaginary baby so Andrew asked him, "Where is this baby?"

"In the carpet!"  He shouts.  Well of course. 

"What does the baby look like?"  I asked.

"Handsome.  Baby, so handsome."

We laughed until I almost cried and Little Man chuckled, pleased with how hilarious he was.

And there you have it.  A terrible day, not so terrible now.

Wednesday, August 3, 2011

A Different Kind of Family

My skin is varying shades of light depending on the season.  In the summer I crave the bronzing effect of the sun to scare away the pasty white pallor that sets in over the winter, but even when I do not heed the warning of the medical field and sit in the sun for hours, you wouldn't think I was anything but Caucasian.  My soon-to-be son, however, does not have my complexion.  His skin is the color of smooth coffee, distinctly different in shade from either Andrew or myself.

Before becoming a transracial family I did not think much of the fact that we would most likely be welcoming a child of color into our home.  Race was not an issue for Andrew and I in adoption.  I underestimated the fact that this is not always the case for others.  Sure, people might be curious when they see us together but this is the 21st Century!  I didn't realize that people's curiosity would often lead to prying questions and condescending assumptions.

It has been just over a month since we met our little guy and only 2 1/2 weeks since he moved in full-time and we have already encountered the world's perspective on race.  Although the courts have yet to make it final, he is already our son in our hearts and we just feel like a normal family until people stare at us in public...then I more or less feel like a normal family with weird people staring at us. 

The fact is that people are very blatant with their curiosity, even in this age of political correctness.  Yesterday, while standing in line at the bank in our community a man asked me if our little guy was my son.  Clearly he was just a little curious and making conversation, but, really?  "What do you think?" I want to say as my big Mom-bag weighed down my shoulder and I'm telling him to stop running around and stand next to me every few seconds.  However, I smiled and kindly answered in the affirmative.

A few weeks ago a lady approached us and asked if we had adopted.  "Where is he from?," she asked.  When we said he was from "here" she almost looked disappointed, expecting us to say Ethiopia or something I suppose.  And, on yet another day, a couple told us "It looks like you do so well with him."  Um, he's our kid, should we not do well with him?  We just smiled and nodded as we walked by.

On one hand the opportunity as a family to live out God's call to be the Body of Christ with no categories or divisions is exciting.  I pray that our family will be a beacon of light and love and that we can be a part of breaking down barriers in the world and in our community and, sadly, in the church as well.  

But, on the other hand, it makes me feel protective of my soon-to-be son, even defensive.  I know there will be a day, sooner than I think, when our son looks at me and asks, "Why isn't our skin the same color?" and one day after that, when he asks again he won't so readily accept the answer, "Because God made us that way."  As he gets older, when someone indelicately asks me in public if he is my son, I dread what look I might see in his eyes.  Will he be ashamed, thinking there is something wrong with him?  Will he be frightened and confused, wondering if the color of his skin could ever make him not my own? 

I want race to matter to my son in all of the positive ways and none of the negative.  I want him to embrace his beautifully dark skin and celebrate his ethnic heritage and identify with people doing awesome things in the world that look just like him.  I also want him to never think he is anything different than an expression of God's awesome creativity and to never feel alienated or of lesser value in the world and the Kingdom of God.

Life's harsh realities won't always allow this to be the case, but I pray that God gives Andrew and I grace as people point out in front of everyone (including our child) that he looks different than us and I pray that God will give our little guy a strength of purpose and security in our love but most importantly in God's love that will never allow him to be shaken.

There are beautiful things ahead for our family and my greatest hope is that we navigate the challenges in such a way that glorifies the Creator of all people, the Artist that uses so many colors to declare His vast beauty.   I pray that as our family grows people won't just see how different our skin is but how alike our hearts for Jesus are.  I want people to notice that our family is different, but not because we check different boxes when asked our race, but because we are a family on mission for the Lord bringing God's healing and love in a broken world.