Saturday, March 24, 2012

C'Mon April.

When I was in college I dated a totally inappropriate older guy. He was an investment banker who liked to wear eyeliner on the weekends and go clubbing. At one point he told me his biggest goal in life was to make enough money to do cocaine every weekend. Yeah like I said, totally inappropriate. I'm not sure why I ever dated him. He was from the southside of Chicago, and he was very attractive. I guess that was my criteria at the time. He said something to me one hundred years ago that I still think about. He said, "There are two Julies, one is self confident and can do anything, and the other gets stuck in her own wheels and becomes immobilized. That last one is not attractive." March has immobilized me. I'm not sure why. Maybe it is because March is such a horrid month for my kiddos.

Yesterday, on the anniversary of her death, we lit a candle for Meazi and Melese's mother. The kids said very sad, and very profound things while we did it. My heart broke into a million pieces as they spoke. How will they ever be happy people? They have lost so much. Their lives are confusing in so many ways. They are strong, but I can't help but feel depressed for them. March has been a struggle for them. Melese has been stuffed into a too small Ergo as I tried to comfort him. The minute he settled into it, he began asking me questions about Ethiopia; "How old was I there mommy?" "Where did I sleep Mommy?" "Where were you Mommy?" The kids are anxious. I am anxious and I am sad. My clothes are too tight, and I can't sleep through the night.

Trayvon. Trayvon's story has immobilized me. I can barely keep my kids safe in the carpool line. How, oh how, will I ever prevent them from being shot to death while buying candy? They like M&m's, and Jolly Ranchers. Almost every jacket they own is a hoodie. Maybe they were safer in Ethiopia.

I read this the other day: Today I just want to remind everyone that March (as well as September) can be rough on those who are prone to depression. If you're upset or frustrated or anxious or sad and you don't know why, don't be too hard on yourself. It could just be the rotation of the earth. (That's not hippie speak. That's science. It has something to do with the rapid change in light during this time of year and how our brains process that change [which is the CliffsNotes version of how my own psychiatrist explained it.])

I don't think it is the rotation of the earth. I think it is the murder of a young black boy. I think it is violence, racism, and loss, that has me stuck.

There are bright lights in this darkness I feel. At this moment the kids are in the tub harvesting a huge vat of honey from the honeycomb Steven just brought home. This comes just in time as we have eaten all of our honey. Every single last drop. Oatmeal has gone uneaten. Toast cries sadly from the plate, ignored. That will change today.

Today I am inspired by sweet things and by sweet friends who help me feel less stuck. Friends like Betsy and Tanya who remind me that we are not powerless on the earth, that we can band together and make a difference. Honey in my tea. Oil in my stuck wheels. Light in the darkness.


  1. Lending my mighty crowbar to the unsticking. Always on your side - the side of good, just, and bountiful beauty.

  2. Love you and yours. You are a beauty, stuck, unstuck, honey or none at all.

  3. You know what I always wonder? What would M and M's lives be like if they didn't have Julie and Steven? I'm certain their mother is so thankful for you both. Her children are surrounded by so much love. And they are safe. I, too, have been sent off my axis by the Trayvon Martin killing. But, Julie, I cannot start worrying about the future. Granted, it's always in the back of my mind. However, it cannot and will not be given too much power over my present.

    Thank you for explaining more about why March is kicking everyone's ass. That "Mercury in retrograde" stuff wasn't getting through to me. Your explanation did.

    You're allowed to feel for your beautiful children in March. That's fair. Just remember that they are so very lucky. There are children all over the planet whose birth parents don't show them the love that you two show to M and M.

    I love you, Family.

  4. That was beautiful. Thank you for sharing.

  5. Again, our timelines/dates are linked. Whoa.
    You're dong this well. You've got two kids proving it every day.

    Dang Julie. Dang.
    Love you,

  6. You constantly amaze & inspire me. Thank you!

  7. You are one of the lights in my darkness. Love you, and M&M.

  8. You are so in tune with your kids. While a hole will always exist in their hearts for their birth family, it seems you and your husband - by just being who you are - will, in small and big ways, help them to cope, nurture their amazing-ness, and provide for them a bright future. Yes, I wrote "amazing-ness."

  9. Oh Julie, I love you so. I can't wait to see you next week and to watch our kids play (especially those two beautiful girls who haven't met yet).

  10. Interesting about March and September. But yeah, all mothers of black children, esp black boys are scared shitless and angry as hell. What a mess. Yet as I type this, my two are playing with trains and the picture of your sweet girl's almond eyes are looking at me on your sidebar. They give me a lot of hope. And mothering them into their teens with mothers like you give me a lot of hope, too. Wishing for sunnier days your way, amiga.

  11. Beautiful post, Julie. I am sorry you're feeling blue. Bring on the honey & April, of course.

    I haven't commented in a while, but I wanted to this time because I was struck by a few things I hold dear after reading your post.

    The first is the power of resiliency. Human beings have an incredible capacity to be resilient in the face of horrible things--losses, illness (I see this in my own brother who is so very sick, and cannot do so much, yet he perseveres every day) violence, all of the above. In fact, resiliency is a major predictor of success in life. And, your kids are resilient. They have to be to be where they are now. It matters a lot.

    The second thing is what others have said already--that they have you & Steven as parents now. The power of the love you give them will right them so many times and at so many places in their lives.

    As far as Trayvon Martin, it is sick, and sickening. BUT, people are outraged this time. I am terrified for Munta too. I am sick for his family, for his lost potential, lost future. But, the outrage this time crosses racial and economic lines. This is why I think it is so important that white people, regardless of the color of our kids' skin, show our outrage too. Perhaps some measure of racial healing can come of the horror.

    Just my two cents...

  12. March is almost over- counting the days for you!

  13. Your words..thoughts..always speak to me. Thank you for sharing. You are a beautiful soul. Feeling the weight...getting your wheels stuck...being outraged at all makes life more real. It means you are in it and living it. You are not afraid. If you were, then you would be ignoring all of it and escaping it. Rather, you light candles. You talk. You weep. You scream. You live. And beautiful moments will continue to come your way and your children will have lives rich with beautiful moments because you let life in. Love you.

  14. Your words - they speak right to the heart - thank you for sharing them. You asked 'how will they ever be happy people'? They already are. Just look at them. Happiness and light are pouring out of your M&m. Moments of profound sadness are to be expected in little lives that have experienced loss - but, they are just that ... just moments. They will have a million more moments filled with happiness.

  15. Your words, as always, are touching and inspiring. I know the sad stuff is always there, but April is only a few days away now, and I hope it brings some peace and sunshine back into all of your worlds.