Eighteen years ago, we adopted our firstborn. All these years later, we are grateful still. For him. For the woman who placed him in our care. For the channel that brought him to us when we couldn’t have a child on our own. It was as conventional an adoption as it could have been We took him home on Day 3 of his life. There was no reversal in decision on either side. No hang-ups or glitches at the hospital or with the official paperwork. But even the most conventional adoptions are never truly conventional. There are so many layers. Even now. Especially now.
My youngest daughter started a new school last week. It is
the second time in 8 weeks that she has started middle school. The only thing
worse than starting middle school once is starting it twice. In my recent blog
to the Instagram generation, which was directed to my daughters who will likely
never read it, I referenced the challenges of being in an IB middle school.
When I wrote that post, I didn’t know how much more challenging it would become
in such a short time. We escalated from “this isn’t going so smoothly” to “I’m
pulling her out” in less than two weeks.
I’ve been thinking a lot about my job. I’m a parent. I don’t get paid in conventional dollars. But I do get paid in something. Sometimes it feels like sentiment. Sometimes it feels like a sentence. But it’s a job, man.
I used to have a steady, good-paying job writing software manuals. And I was decent at it. There were stretches when it was a lot to handle. I can remember being assigned new projects writing about software I couldn’t use. And typically the people who programmed that software were too intellectual to explain it to me. Deadlines loomed. In those deadlines, I was known to become a tad overwhelmed.
But that was different than parenting. When I had a work project to learn and write up and edit and polish—and when the project felt borderline impossible—I could close the door to my office and spread all my papers out on my desk and pull up my emails on my screen and sit there until I figured it out. I can’t do that now. The difference in my former work and my parenting work is that my former projects were never out walking the streets while I was trying to figure them out and finish them up.