Whew! It seems like a lifetime since I last wrote for the blog. Summer was crazy busy and just flew by. The kids are back in school and I feel like I have a life again. I think the summer of 2015 is going into my record book as a pretty great one, albeit it did have its moments. Where to begin…..
Let’s start with Sylvia’s adoption. That’s right, we adopted Sylvia for real! We spent 2 ½ years of being stuck in limbo while the state Court of Appeals and Supreme Court determined whether her birth mother’s parental rights termination was indeed legal. When our attorney called to say that it was officially over I truly can’t put into words how I felt. I started jumping up and down while attempting to dance around the house all the while crying and laughing. Then I held my breath for the next month and a half until we sat in court and made it official.
Sylvia always seemed like a member of our family, I really don’t remember much of our life without her around. But as any foster parent knows, there is always a sense of disconnect. I think it is a defense mechanism in case the child is removed for some reason. I always felt that she was our foster daughter, not our daughter (yet). I maintained a bit of distance in my heart, and I knew I was doing it. While I knew the law was on her side, not her birth mom’s, there was always that sense that a judge could make a decision that would take her away from us. As we sat in court on July 24th to adopt her, our attorney said something that was like a light switch in my heart. She said that adopting our daughter was the same as if we had her biologically. That we were responsible for caring and loving her, just like Jackson. While that sounds like a no brainer, it really put it in perspective for me and for the first time I knew I had a daughter. I know no one is going to show up on our door and take her. They can’t. She’s all ours! I feel myself opening up more and more to her and creating new traditions with my daughter. For example, we have started coloring together at night. Sylvia is really artistic (and I am not!) and loves to do art projects. Coloring is something I can pull off so we have bought a couple of fun coloring books and sit down at the table at night to color before bed. It’s pretty cool.
As for Sylvia, well she has seamlessly adjusted. Honestly, I think she felt like she was a Klim this whole time so the adoption was just about changing her name. No big deal. She’s pretty resilient that kid. She did however opt to add another name. Her birth name was Sylvia Storm. So she added another middle name to it and her name is now Sylvia Storm Kira Klim. Kira was the girl name we had picked out when I was pregnant with Jackson. Now we have our Kira. As Sylvia says “Double S, Double K”.
A couple of weeks after we adopted Sylvia we headed to Montana to watch my baby nephew Joey marry his longtime love Megan. I was 13 when Joey was born. I changed his diapers, fed him his bottle, watched him learn how to ride a bike, helped him with his homework, witnessed his teenage years (when he would only talk in one word sentences), saw him graduate from high school and college and turn into the pretty cool man he is. It was an amazing weekend. Joey and his wife love the outdoors probably more than anyone I know. They got married in a place called Paradise Island, an island surrounded by the waters of the Clark Fork. Megan arrived to her wedding in a raft. Dinner for the weekend was cooked in dutch ovens, the music was Patsy Cline, Johnny Cash and Willie Nelson, the boys in the wedding party wore Levi’s, and there was real moonshine on the dinner tables (I got a buzz just smelling the stuff). It was a weekend celebrating not only Joey and Megan’s love for each other, but celebrating who they are. It couldn’t have been more perfect and I am ecstatic to have another niece!
The beginning of the summer started with a couple of fun weeks in Florida visiting my beautiful in-laws and family. We spent an extraordinary amount of time in the pool this time. Now that Jackson is walking on his knees he is better able to communicate his wants and needs. So after breakfast Jackson would head over to the door out to the pool and start banging on it. His way of saying “Let’s get in the pool!” Same thing after lunch, back in the pool we went. No complaints, there’s nothing better than spending the hot summer days in a pool! On our way home we stopped in Denver for a couple of days to visit my family and friends. We always have so much fun with them!
Sylvia went to a couple of camps this summer – water camp (kayaking, canoeing, stand up paddle boarding) and rock climbing (she chose it, we didn’t force her, but we were super happy about it). and Jackson went to Funshine Day Camp for a week which is for children with special needs. By the time summer came to end I hadn’t done half of the things I wanted to with the kids. It seemed like we were always on the go. I planned a “summer’s going out with a bang” last week of activities with the kids but sadly we weren’t able to do those things. The smoke from the heartbreaking fires from all over our beautiful state brought in dangerous air quality so we were forced to stay in our home for a week or so. I realized how much we take our fresh air for granted. Waking up every morning and checking the air quality to see if you can leave your house was a new reality I never envisioned. The fires are still burning but thankfully our air quality has gotten back to normal, good levels. The smoke was nothing compared to the loss of life and homes in our state that continues to this day.
Sylvia is in 6th grade this year and I am trying to wrap my head around the fact that she is off to middle school next year. Yikes! Jackson started 2nd grade this year in a new school. As you know last year was a tough one for him and us. I am happy to report it is like night and day this year. His teacher loves him, thinks he is amazing and is not letting him get away with anything. The first week of school he was able to identify the words (not pictures) cat, bus and can. He said the word “cat” and “un” (for sun). He picked his written name out of a group of other names. At this point I am questioning who my kid is! I had no idea he knew words or his name. I always knew he was smart on many levels but had no idea he was this smart. Last year his teacher had him picking up a block and putting it in a box. In one week of school this year and he is nearly reading! What a difference a teacher makes. I can’t wait to see what else that kid has been hiding from us.
As for me, I am happy to have the days to myself again. Having the kids all summer took a toll on my body. Jackson is now 80 pounds and the lifting, moving him around the house, and the in and out of the car wrecked by back. Living with constant pain all summer made me grouchy and irritable. I wasn’t a very pleasant person to live with (shout out to Kevin for putting up with me!). Having time to get back to my advocacy work, catching up on errands and doctor appointments I neglected, and being able to come to the bakery and write my blog has made me feel like me again. Thankfully my doctor approved some massage therapy along with my chiropractic visits so I can get some pain relief. Not having Jackson at home all day gives me a much needed back break. Not having to entertain Sylvia all day gives my brain a break!
I’m not sure who said it, but this pretty much sums up my summer: “My kids are the reason I wake up each morning, the reason I breathe….and why my hair is falling out, my house is a mess and I’m crazy.”