A reply to: A letter from Kaitlin
What a happy surprise it was to get your letter!
I’m so happy to hear from other moms, especially ones with two-year-olds!
Aren’t they funny little people?
Some days, it seems like I spend hours watching Jena. I’ll sit down near where she’s playing, intending to do some work or something productive, and then, before I know it, hours have passed, and what have I accomplished? Mommy time. That’s all!
When I write it like that, it makes it seem like “mommy time” isn’t important. But it is! I know it is. It’s just that I’ve got this habit in my mind of marking off my tasks: Did I finish a painting? Did I write more in my book? Did I pay bills or clean house or go for a jog or do yoga? And many days, the answer to all those questions is no. Because what did I do? I watched Jena. I played with Jena. I talked with Jena.
Oh, I sound like a terrible mom, don’t I?
I mean, I have fun doing Jena-stuff all day! I love it! It’s just that it’s fun–it’s a pleasure! So my work-ethic mind beats me up a little bit, saying things like, “You didn’t get anything productive done today. You’d better get something done tomorrow.”
Hmmm. I think maybe I need an attitude adjustment, don’t you think? Because, really, Jena-stuff is the most important thing I could do. As another mom of a toddler, do you agree?
Oh, I’m so sorry for spilling everything like that! I mean, this is my first letter!
Let me try again.
Kaitlin. Thank you so much for writing to me. I’m so impressed that you’ve got three kids and a grandbaby and you still have time for a pen pal! You must have learned some time management skills.
You’ve definitely learned parenting wisdom! I found your letter so supportive and reassuring.
I guess I should probably update my profile. I wrote it months ago, and you know how quickly kids develop at this age. By now, most of the problems I described in my profile have been solved!
It turned out that Jena was speaking Urdu, which she’d learned at the refugee camp in Turkey, and once we realized that, it didn’t take long for her to start picking up English. We talk all the time now, and most of the time, we understand each other.
I guess now, my biggest challenge is trying to discover who I am in my new role as mom. It’s so easy for “being mom” to take over who I am and I lose “being Meadow.” Do you know what I mean?
I’m sorry for sounding so selfish. Today, this is something that’s been on my mind.
You had a few questions for me. I am single. I’ve never been married, and I’m pretty inexperienced in that whole arena. I’ve been more focused on my education and simply the experience of being, really, rather than on “being in a relationship.”
My decision to adopt Jena was pretty immediate. I mean, of course I had to think about it, but it seems like my mind went into hyperdrive and I thought it through in a hundred different variations in about twelve seconds.
You see, my friend Jordan works with a refugee center here in Windenburg. My education is in folklore, so I’d stopped by the center to talk with some of the refugees to learn more about the oral culture and traditions in the camp for a paper I was writing. When I walked into Jordan’s office, there was Jena, sitting on the floor, and she looked up at me, and I felt an immediate connection.
I picked her up and held her while Jordan and I talked.
The next day, Jordan called. Long story short, he wanted to know if I was interested in adopting Jena. Of course I wasn’t. My dad was committed to sustainability, and he drilled into us that the only solution worth pursuing was the sustainable solution, and of course, adoption is not a sustainable solution for the refugee crisis.
But before Jordan could even say, “She has no one,” my mind stopped talking, and I felt rising up from the soles of my feet this big giant “YES!”
I have so much. I’m so fortunate and so privileged, and I’ve done nothing at all, whatsoever, to deserve this good fortune, and maybe, maybe this time, it was more important to do what was right for one little girl, one other human being, than to try to solve all the problems of the world in a sustainable manner.
I think I made the right decision. Even now, when I’m trying to find the balance of being me and being mom, I think it was the right decision.
I mean, all I have to do is look at Jena.
And I also think that figuring out how to be a mom is a pretty great endeavor. I mean, look at you! You’re a mom and a grandma, and I can tell you’re a really great friend, too.
I’m so sorry for dumping all my challenges on you! It’s been such a day!
Next time, you share your challenges with me, if you want, and I will do what I can to help you feel better!
You know what? Writing all this to you, and now, listening to little Jena play, I feel like it’s all going to be OK!
Thanks, Kaitlin! I can’t wait for your next letter, and I’ll try not to be such a crazy person when I reply!
Lots of love,