life is a long and difficult journey…be sure to stop now and then for a little snack

Where Have I Been?

Where Have I Been?

“You own everything that happened to you. Tell your stories. If people wanted you to write warmly about them, they should’ve behaved better.” ~ Anne Lamott

Aside from my previous post (about my recent “vaca”)  I have still been trying to physically recover (SO time-consuming)…and while doing so, I have been literally sitting on the edge of my sofa, intensely reading another blog; that of my friend, Deanna.   Such kindred spirits, we are.   She’s an amazing lady with an amazing story…HER story…why don’t you join me in reading what she has to share…you will never be the same – I promise.

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Just Call Me Momma Hen

Mother’s Day is just 2 days away.   Like many, Mother’s Day (in context with my mother)  has never been even remotely close to a Norman Rockwell picture, so I am ready for this weekend to be over.  Many have family situations much more difficult than mine (my heart goes out to you!)  All this emotion is going to send me to the Funny Farm for sure.

Getting married, I got an AMAZING mother-in-love, Carolyn “Mom” Battis.   She was the first Mom in my life to show me unconditional, Godly Motherly love; I truly love her and am always blessed by her.  When I became a Mom myself, my whole world changed in so many ways and  Mother’s Day is special for me and my boys, however…


My favorite flower – Shasta Daisies
Photo: wikimedia org

Having been adopted (and not having much of a relationship with my adoptive mom), and now in reunion with my first mom (since July 2011) with whom I have a great relationship, this day has become somewhat tangled.  My friend, Deanna, has summed it up best in her post, “Mother’s Day Weekend and What It Means to Me” .  Although I don’t blog often about adoption, if you knew me well, you would see that I definitely fit several of the descriptions she uses and it seems she always has such a great way to express what is on my heart.  (On a side note – Deanna & the Lost Daughters group have helped me walk through my reunion with my first family and one of the great things that have come from it has been this blog – re-creating Ree 🙂   

As a kid, I would secretly pray for my first mom, somehow knowing that she HAD to think of me on Mother’s Day.  As an adult, not only would I pray for all of my moms, but I would send something special to my mother-in-love (because sadly she lives so far away) and for my adopted mom,  I prepared the expected celebratory dinner either Saturday or Sunday (depending on when my sister has her because heaven forbid we all spend time together).  Last year, my first year in reunion with my first mom, I sent her a card.  I know, it sounds lame, but it was all I could muster in the midst of the furry with my adoptive mom’s never-ending emotions.    (Yes, I am always trying to keep everyone else happy – keeping the peace – like a good little adoptee.)  Unbeknownst to just about everyone, I always seem to be in an emotional tug-of-war between an angry adoptive mom (how dare you look for your “real” parents after all we have done for you, they didn’t want you!”) who wains between not talking to me at all (currently, it’s been a month without communication) and when she will decide to fit me into her life because she needs me for something…and a thankful first mom (with whom I just took an impromptu wild road trip with through 12 states).

This year, I wanted to do more, so I took my first Mom’s offer for the trip with her and I think it turned out pretty well (she didn’t kill me after spending 24/7 with me for 7 days, so that right there should tell you something 🙂 ) Unfortunately, I had to cut my trip a little shorter than we both expected; things were getting crazy at home and I had to go back to reality.    I was a bit disappointed because I was looking forward to having my very first Mother’s Day with my first Mom, and I know she was too.  However, it’s probably for the best, as I would not want it at the expense of my adoptive Mom, who would sadly see all of this as a direct knife to her heart (because my adoption is all about her).  Even though I cannot get my adoptive mom to understand any of this, she is still my Mom and I love her too.   Unfortunately, I am not the only adoptee that goes through this; adoptees feel like our life is like a continual  white water rafting journey without a life jacket.  There are many of us at this time of year (Mother’s Day and Father’s Day) that can feel like we are doing it without a paddle, either.

This year, I am jumping to shore, taking the chicken’s way out because of sheer emotional exhaustion, and allowing my boys to make Mother’s Day all about me…just call me Momma Hen.

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What Tried to Kill Me Made Me Stronger…

Three years ago today, my life was forever changed.  Many people get to have a life-changing day and each is unique.  As usual, since I can’t seem to do anything under the radar, mine was “right up there”.

Three years ago today, God saved my life; physically (spiritually, He did that back on March 21, 1989.)  The (very) short version of this day was that I went into the hospital with a major bowel obstruction and came out with open heart surgery, removing a very rare tumor that was inside of my heart.

Yup.  I felt like a celebrity; I was “the one with the tumor” that everyone in the hospital talked about.  Apparently no one, not even my renowned thoracic surgeon, Dr. Bartley Griffith, had ever seen someone still living with this type of tumor; he’d only seen it in a few folks in his 30+ years of practice and they were all in autopsy because the tumor killed them before it could be found.  There are no real symptoms to this kind of tumor; it was “accidentally” found when the MRI tech took a picture of my entire torso and not just my lower half, when trying to find out what was obstructing my bowels.  We all know that it was no accident  🙂  (side note – The bowel obstruction was caused by 2 very large tumors in my abdomen, which resulted in a surgery 4 months later, including a hysterectomy.)

So…now I am famous…in the medical journals at University of Maryland hospital and doctors and other medical personnel learn from the operation that Dr. Griffith did to my heart.  That is awesome and I am glad that others can learn from my experience. But, wow…I was the one fixin’ to learn the biggest lesson of my life…

God completely changed my life; inside and out.  Even with all of this trauma over a year of 5 hospitalizations, major surgeries, etc., I still felt a lot of inner peace like never before.   Jon had peace and I felt it from him; he is such a rock for me and the boys.  You can’t imagine how thankful I am for him.  God gave me exactly what I needed, who I needed and when I needed it/them.  No surprise since that’s what His Word says He will do; but for me, it was as if He was laying there right next to me that year – taking all the pain – physical and emotional – and that was not something I had ever experienced before.

Pain that I should have felt, I did not.  Extended medical issues I should have experienced, I did not.  Many, many signs of God literally taking my burdens from me.  Jon and Richard never left my side (and even though Tim was away at school, he didn’t miss a beat.)  Even my faithful Golden Retriever, Cody, laid right next to my recliner with me 24/7 and wouldn’t let anyone near me; my furry protector.  My friends stopping by (no small feat since I live in the boonies) bringing good wishes and meals to give my mother-in-law one less thing to tend to.  My amazing parents-in-law dropped everything and flew up from Florida to take care of me and tend to Richard, etc. so that Jon could go back to work.  My dear mother-in-law is a saint, that’s all I can tell you.  And my father-in-law, an absolute gem.  I don’t know what we would have done if they didn’t come for that first month to go through the worst of it with us; they are my angels and I love them immensely.

While I was living in my recliner for the year, God did some incredible work in me (I was finally sitting still long enough!)  In this time,  I went through psychological and spiritual steps toward healing, some quite painful, both inside and out.  Part of that healing included finding the rest of my family.

After finding out that my tumor was hereditary, and knowing how deadly it was, I just could not live with myself if I didn’t at least make an effort to find them and warn them – and yeah – would be incredible to “meet” them too.  Oh, I forgot to tell you…I am adopted!  Knowing what little I knew about my first family (born to young teen parents in 1964) in the past, I didn’t want to disrupt their lives, cause problems, etc.  Besides, I was not really anxious to open myself up to get rejected, again, from people that my adoptive mom told me didn’t want me.  But somehow, now I felt like it was time to open that door of my life, regardless of the outcome.  So with my husband and boys blessing, as well as love and support from 2 of my closest friends (who have always encouraged me to do this years ago), I started my journey…to find my former self.

My world was blown out of the water and will never be the same, in so many ways.  In a circumstance that I can only describe as God’s hand literally opening this door for me, I found them in about 15 minutes!  After the shock wore off and I stopped shaking, the subsequent months – and now years – have been full of love – and change – and acceptance – and rejection…nothing short of a Hallmark movie!  A great story for another day.


Although I usually wear the silver heart that Jon gave to me every day, this was taken on St. Patrick’s Day, and well, I was wearin’ my green 🙂

For me, today is a deep reflection of the chain of miracles that God did for me; beginning with the tumors, which satan meant to destroy every part of me.  Apparently no one told the evil man that I am 1/2 Irish and 1/2 Sicilian = very stubborn.  In more ways than one, God dug deep inside my heart filling a hole that only He can fill.  Now, I am stronger than ever, not physically (as I was left with some disability because of the tumors and surgeries) but more importantly, emotionally and spiritually.  To tell God “Thank You” is nowhere near sufficient…so I choose to thank Him by striving to make my life count for His Purpose even more each of these “borrowed days” that He has graciously given to me – to enjoy and love my husband, sons and extended family – and to love and serve others as I have always done but now with a new stride.  And I wear my “badge of honor” scar with pride.  I like to show it off because it gives me an opportunity to tell people what God has done for me…and I love to brag on my Heavenly Father ❤

(The words to this song bring on a whole new meaning for me know…I LOVE it…enjoy!  .  )

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What would you do?

Sometimes I wish I was still young enough to have children; I miss having babies to loveImage…What are your thoughts on this situation?

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