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Back to One

4 Jun

ME: Days off are hard to come by. I was hoping for a little more fun and relaxation when I put in to take today off for my birthday a couple of weeks ago.

CAREY: I know, but Little Man is sick and can’t go to school. That’s the way it goes.

ME: I’m not trying to complain, it’s just a bummer. Stuck at a Pediatrician’s office.

CAREY: Well, maybe later this evening we can do something fun.

ME: Really?

CAREY: Yeah. We can all watch a kid’s movie together. Then we can play that owl board game he likes so much.

ME: …

CAREY: What.

ME: Nothing.

CAREY: What.

ME: Well, those things aren’t fun.

CAREY: I know, but Little Man is sick. That’s the way it goes.

 

She’s right. That’s the way it goes these days. When you have a four-year-old living under your roof, your schedule is more or less spoken for.

You know? I should rewind a little.

My triplet blog has become a reliably annual affair. It’s not that I don’t think about it throughout the rest of the year. It comes to mind often. Six years ago today, we met and lost our triplet sons Rudyard, Desmond and Oscar. I think of them every day and even now I’m occasionally hit with a surprise pain, almost no warning. Gut shot in the middle of a meeting or during my morning commute. You grit your teeth and ride the red wave. You get through it.

And even though grief is never really, truly over, a few years ago we made the decision to move ahead to the next thing. We’d try again. We weren’t, as they say, getting any younger.

Admittedly, my heart was only half in it. And maybe nature knew, because, after about a year and a half, it became clear that our prime fertility years were behind us. Specialists assured us we were ideal candidates for all manner of treatments and procedures and Just say the word, you’ll be in Healthy White Baby Country lickety split.

But on that issue I was firm. My personal philosophy was such that expensive, medically heroic measures in the name of fertility were difficult to justify in these troubled times. Literal millions of children are in desperate need of loving homes inside our own borders, not to mention the profound need overseas. Understand, that sentiment isn’t meant to indict or alienate my good friends who have participated in fertility treatments (all great, loving parents). In fact, the vast majority of triplet parents in the world partly owe their full quiver to advancements in fertility science. But for me, personally, I couldn’t do it.

So, then… what? Overseas adoption? Foster care? Maintain our DINK status and run out the clock, insulated by disposable income?

I’ll spare you the blow-by-blow of the months and years of vacillation, the tears, the arguments, the starts and stops. In November, we completed our certification and became foster parents to the coolest kid I’ve ever met, a tow-headed four-year-old. I wish I could share his name, his face and his story, but alas. Here’s the best I can do:

Christopher back of head

Carey and I love him. Truly and honestly. When I looked at the remains of my boys six years ago, I remember my own heartbreak about the fact that they’d never grow to become strong, healthy men with big hearts and wise souls. But I look at this kid each morning and it’s my continual prayer for him. “Create in him a clean heart and renew his spirit.” My biggest priority is helping him become the sincere, confident adult my own boys never had the chance to be.

But here’s the thing, and this shouldn’t go unsaid: when we mention our Foster Parent Adventure to people who know about our story, they’ll often give us a satisfied smile and a knowing nod that seems to say, “Yes. That makes sense.”

I promise. It doesn’t.

This journey is the exact opposite of intuitive. Take two reasonably intelligent adults who met and lost their three children on the same day and offer them the chance to involve themselves in a situation that will almost certainly end in tears and heartbreak. A situation fraught with added stressors in the form of court dates, mysterious behavior issues and government accountability. And that’s not even mentioning the surreal experience of saying the word “yes” on a phone call and, two days later, having a four-year-old you’ve never met with issues and traumas and stories you have no idea about dropped off at your house.

“Thanks for parenting him. We’ll let you know when it’s time to give him back.”

It’s a beautiful and difficult thing. I always wondered what sort of a father I would be and I’m finally finding out.

(On a scale of Awful to Awesome, I’d rank my current dad skills at an “Iffy” with signs of slow improvement.)

Again, though, this kid is amazing. I could go into detail, but to sum up: his life is difficult, but he loves it anyway.

Six years ago, I wondered what my future life would be. Could we find or build a situation that would replace what’s lost, that would fill the hole?

Nope. No dice. But maybe that’s okay. This is a whole other thing. A scary, weird, unnatural, fun, frustrating, exhausting, hilarious, ridiculous other thing.

Places, everyone. Back to one. Let’s change things up a bit, try some improv. Everybody set? Still rolling? Sound speeding. Quiet, please. And:

Action.

Diction

25 May

CAREY:  _____’s a good name for one of the boys.  I like it, but I don’t know.  It might be hard for him to pronounce when he starts talking.

ME:  You think?

CAREY:  Well, what if he has a speech impediment or a problem with his Rs?

ME:  Mm.  I suppose that’s something to consider.

CAREY:  I had a really hard time with my name growing up.  It was embarrassing!

ME:  “Cawey May Moyew.”

CAREY:  It’s very common!  Of course, you never had to worry about anything like that because, ohh, little Jeremy Bear pronounced everything perfectly!  You even beat up your poor little sisters for saying anything wrong.

ME:  It’s true.  I’m not sure what to tell you, I was blessed with perfect diction.  I just assumed it was how the world worked.  To mispronounce was an insult to the gift of language!

CAREY:  Ugh god.

ME:  I’d look around, thinking, “you freaks know how to speak!  You’re being lazy!  Show a little respect and maturity, would you?”

CAREY:  Well, there is some truth to that…

ME:  What do you mean?

CAREY:  All right, I’ve never admitted this to anyone, but I… hh.  I sort of, I don’t know.  Listen, I’m not proud of this.

ME:  What are you talking about?

CAREY:  There was a girl, I think her name was Tiffany.  This was first grade.  She was just so cool!  Really cute, you know, all the boys liked her.  And she knew it, too.  She had the perfect little clothes, everything.  She wore this puffy white coat all the time.

ME:  Like Savannah Smiles, before she gets kidnapped?

CAREY:  Uh.  Sure.

ME:  Well, technically, she wasn’t kidnapped.  She ran away and was hiding out in the back seat of these felons’ car.  But her parents put out this reward for her and… y’know, the story gets pretty sophisticated.  But, yeah, puffy white coat, I get the picture.

CAREY:  Anyhow, this girl, Tiffany, had a speech impediment.  She had trouble with her Rs.  And for some reason, it just made her even cuter!  She could do no wrong!

ME:  Man, c’mon, don’t tell me…

CAREY:  Well, they put me in speech therapy and it cleared up the problem, but sometimes I’d, you know, for convenience, I’d pick my moments.

ME:  You dropped your Rs for status, you little climber.

CAREY:  It was a real low period, I admit it.

ME:  Cawey May Moyew, gaming the system!

CAREY:  If you’d seen this Tiffany and her outfits, you’d have understood.

ME: I wonder what she’s doing now.

CAREY:  Probably something glamorous.

ME:  Either that or hooking.

CAREY:  That’s possible.  She was always fancy.

Fat

19 Apr

WIFE: It’s really been hurting my feelings lately and I know you’re only kidding, but it’s very hard on me and you should know that.

ME:  What do you mean?

WIFE:  All the jokes about how fat I am. I know what I look like, it’s not funny!

ME:  Honey, I haven’t made any fat jokes about you!  What are you talking about?

WIFE:  You have!  The past week or two especially, it’s gotten really bad.  Like when you said, “too bad you can’t fit into that dress.” That’s–

ME:  Okay, hang on.  That’s not what happened.  You’ve been talking the last several weeks about having a hard time fitting into any of your clothes because of the belly.  And when you  said something about not “fitting in” with other pregnant ladies, I said, “like the skirt.”  It was a comment about the belly, just goofing around!  It wasn’t a “you’re fat” kind of thing!

WIFE:  How is that not a fat joke?!

ME:  I guess I just thought belly-specific comments were okay.  It’s not like you’re letting yourself go or becoming unattractive or something.  Look at you, you’re beautiful!  A big belly is what’s supposed to happen!  It’s good!

WIFE:  Well, it’s hurtful.  I’m thinking of telling Danielle about some of your shenanigans.

ME:  Augh god, please, don’t tell Danielle.  She’ll never let me off the hook.

WIFE:  You don’t know what this is like!  It’s not comfortable!

ME:  Okay.  Okay.  Listen: I’m sorry.  Those comments are insensitive and I apologize.

WIFE:  Yeah, but you’re going to keep making them.  You think you’re clever and you can’t help yourself.

ME:  No, I won’t.  It’s done.  Seriously.

WIFE:  Everything just keeps getting bigger and bigger and it sucks.  My belly, my face, my boobs.  And it’s only going to keep going!

ME:  I know.  I know.

WIFE:  I walk around and the insides of my legs are all chafed and sensitive!

ME:  Oh, chub rub?

Contribution

2 Apr

WIFE:  Can you turn that off?  I think I want to go to bed.

ME: You don’t want to watch the end of this?  I think it’s almost over.

WIFE:  I can’t keep my eyes open.  Just pause it, we’ll finish it tomorrow.

ME:  Well, I mean, I think there’s only… okay.  Sure.

WIFE:  C’mon, I’m tired.  I can’t make it.

ME:  I know, I know.  It’s fine.  No problem.

WIFE:  No, what I need you to say is, “oh, honey, of course you should go to bed.  You should get as much rest as you can.  You’re working so hard carrying our three precious little ones around.  They need so much right now and you’re doing all this by yourself.  Whatever I can do, darling.”

ME:  What do you mean “all by yourself”?  I contributed something.

WIFE:  Yeah, but I’m doing this all day, every day for months and months.  Your contribution was, what, five minutes.

ME: …

WIFE: …

ME: Ouch.

WIFE: Ten minutes at the most.

Triplets ≠ Cancer

14 Mar

We haven’t really blown our big news out to the world yet, believe it or not. We’ve only told our immediate family and one or two close friends. Er, and the internet. But other than that, no one.

But, man, it was hard enough to keep the news to ourselves when the wife discovered she was pregnant. And it became nearly impossible when it was confirmed we’re having triplets. Of course, that was weeks ago. And I’ll admit it, my final decision to create this blog to begin with was largely motivated by the fact that, damn it, I have to tell someone or I’ll pop.

Our plan is to go public with the news at the end of the first trimester, which is coming up in a couple of weeks. With the wife’s Lupus, the risk isn’t necessarily reduced at that point, as it is with normal pregnancies, but it’s still an important milestone and, I don’t know. We’re waiting. That’s all.

Keeping the news from my work is becoming problematic. I’m an advertising art director, which is a very busy job. Lots of long hours, evenings, weekends, little flexibility. Thus far, I’ve made it to every OB appointment the wife’s had and I keep blaming my time off from work on “doctor visits” due to a heretofore unnamed “medical situation”. It’s inevitably going to have to come out sometime soon, but, for now, I’m keeping the hounds at bay through vaguery.

Of course, now everyone I work directly with thinks there’s something direly wrong with me.

ME: I wound up canceling that Austin trip this weekend I told you about, but I still need to take Friday afternoon. Just letting you know in case you need to reach me this weekend for approval on those comps.

BOSS: Ok. You’re not going to Austin?

ME: No, but I can’t be in Friday afternoon. It’s, y’know, that medical thing I mentioned.

BOSS: I see. That’s still, uh, going on then.

ME: Yeah.

BOSS: …

ME: Sorry to be so vague about it. It’s just kind of a large, well, issue… and I only just told my family about it a couple of days ago and we’re… trying… ah, to get our heads around… it.

BOSS: Jesus. Are you okay?

ME: It’ll be fine. I’m sure it’ll be fine.

BOSS: Uh huh.

ME: I’ll be glad to have a conversation with you in the coming weeks to fill you in on what’s going on, but right now…

BOSS: No need! No need! None of my business! Whatever you’re comfortable, uh…

ME: Oh, no, it’s fine. I just can’t–

BOSS: Sure sure! No problem!

ME: Well… okay, then. Sorry.

BOSS: No no. You’re fine.

ME: …

BOSS: But, listen. Ah… I have a close friend who, ah… I mean, this may not apply to you at all. In fact, I hope it doesn’t. I mean… well. I don’t know. I’ll just say it: I have a close friend who’s battling cancer right now. And, man, it’s just a huge struggle. And I’m familiar because I watch what she’s going through. So, I understand if that’s… well, I mean… not saying that’s you… but if there’s anything even similar. That’s. Hm.

ME: Thank you. I appreciate that.

BOSS: Of course, yeah.

ME: It’s not cancer.

BOSS: Good! Phew!

ME: …

BOSS: …

ME: Well, I gotta take off.

BOSS: Have a good one.