Disguised in plain sight

I had an interesting experience this morning.  I walked into the dry cleaners around 7 in my usual morning uniform — Buff on head, no make up, work out clothes and my big puffy winter coat.  Caroline had a dress issue and I needed to get it resolved before her dance on Saturday.

For the next 20 minutes I had a great conversation with all the dry cleaners.  They worked hard to help me and at the end of the day, didn’t charge me a cent (Go Summit Cleaners!) It was taking longer than they thought so I left the store, headed to the gym and worked out.  I took a shower and dressed and went back to Summit to get the dress.

I walked in and was welcomed with a “Hi, how can I help you?”  I though it was strange as I’d been there just 2 hours before.  I gave the kind man my slip and he looked down at my name, up at my face and back down at my name.

Then with WIDE eyes, he exclaimed, “Oh, you were the one with the dress.”

I know I don’t look like a super model (ever) but I thought I looked rather cute in my workout no make up attire.  Perhaps my assumption was a bit off base because this poor guy didn’t even recognize me.  Good to know I can disguise myself with a simple hair drying and make up application.  Go me!

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Melody Headed TO the gym

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Melody AFTER the gym

Lion – An adoptive mom’s perspective

I first heard about the movie, LION, while watching the Golden Globes a few weeks ago.  I was instantly hooked when I saw the movie trailer – a young Indian boy, through a course of very unfortunate incidents, ends up adopted by an Australian couple living in Tasmania. The movie is Saroo’s quest to find his mother and family again – something he does after a 25+year search using Google Earth.

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That summary sounds so neat and tidy right?  It all works out in the end.  However, watching this movie through my eyes as an adoptive mom, I could not contain my deep tears and heart wrenching emotion.

My oldest child sat next to me, crying alongside me.  It’s a hard story to watch.  It has a happy ending but the weight of this young boy’s life and how one simple decision resulted in years of searching – that’s what broke my heart.

Saroo’s story is unfortunately the reality for millions of children.  Circumstances lead to a fracture in their family.  Some get lost like Saroo, some are sold, some run away and some are simply abandoned.  Each story, each child, carries with them a life long scar that holds a chant – “I need to go home but I’m lost.”

Sunny Pawar stars in LIONPhoto: Mark Rogers
Sunny Pawar stars in LION Photo: Mark Rogers

There was a scene in the movie between Nicole Kidman and Saroo in which he says to her, “Don’t you wish you could have had your own kids?  You’re not just adopting us but our pasts as well. ”

What unfolds next is a beautiful moment as Saroo’s adoptive mother shares her journey to adoption.  Her story is filled with pain and angst, but carries with it hope and assurance that she was supposed to have these boys, Saroo and his brother, in her life.

That scene continues to come back to me as I think of my journey as a mother.  We all bring our pasts with us, whether we adopt our children or give birth to them.  Until that child is placed in your arms, you do not know the depth of the wounds the past has dealt you and what their impact will be on your children.

Throughout the movie, there is a beautiful unfolding of Saroo’s deep desire to be found, to no longer be lost.  Perhaps this theme struck such a resounding cord with me is that I also have felt that deep thread of figuring out what is home.  As a child and young adult, I had my feet between two worlds – Africa and America.  Neither were fully home and there was a sense of wandering, “Where is home?”

As I live in this new decade of life called my 40’s, I finally understand that home is an emotional place of belonging not a physical place.  This movie, Lion, has so many rich and wondrous themes woven throughout it.

Themes and questions such as –  What is family?  Is adoption a good thing?  Do we really understand how our pasts determine so much of our decision-making?  What is the importance of searching for answers?  We all live in a broken world filled with pain. How are we willing to allow that pain to bring healing?  The depth and breadth of a mother’s love is the heartbeat of each of us.  Are we willing to relentlessly  pursue healing for those we love?  Can love overcome trauma?

These questions and thoughts continue to swirl in my mind as I reflect on this movie. In the movie there are references to child abuse and exploitation.  Those scenes are difficult to watch.  There is a beautiful portrayal of the deep love between Saroo and his biological brother – such love and care that you as the viewer experience great sadness when they are separated.

But at the end of the movie, as we watched the photographs and video of the real Saroo taking his adoptive mother to meet his biological mother, there is sense of contentment and hope.  This is not most adoptive children’s stories.  However, I believe that healing can happen in many ways.

Watch this movie please.  It is a very honest and raw portrayal of the plight of millions of children in this world.  It is a very honest and vulnerable depiction of the struggle some children face as they deal with their story.  I think each person who sees this movie can relate to something of Saroo’s story – as we are all born into a broken world.

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Do you feel forgotten?

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We’ve had incredibly strong winds in Colorado Springs over the past few days.  I mean, blow over semis on the interstate type wind.  It’s been relentless and formidable. Honestly I haven’t wanted to venture out too much as it just keeps coming.  Things have calmed down this afternoon and the sun is out.  It’s calm relative to what we’ve just been through.

The wind got me thinking of various times in my life where I felt like things would never stop.  When I was pregnant with Caroline, calamities kept coming.  First was bleeding and miscarriage scare. Then the ceiling in our second floor collapsed (flood).  While Matt was at his friend’s wedding in Florida, I severely cut my foot on garden metal sheeting. The final straw – 9/11.

Fast forward to later years…I remember feeling completely assaulted by trouble as we wrestled with money, or the lack thereof.  I felt overwhelmed with how decisions we had made were now negatively affecting us.  That lasted for almost 4 years.  It seemed relentless and unforgiving.

Parenthood often feels like a big windstorm.  We work so hard to do the right thing, be the right parent, teach the right stuff.  Instead of a calm and peaceful household, we instead have added conflict, frustration and anger at times.

A group of ladies and I are starting to read through Genesis and Matthew. No help aids, no study books, no videos to watch – just simply reading and discussing.

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I’ve been knee deep in Noah’s world the past few days.  Funny how you can read a story over and over and still find something new.  For me, it was Genesis 8:1

“But God remembered Noah….”

Poor guy – 600 years old and in a boat with his kids and several hundred animals for a YEAR!  Yep, 365 days of relentless wind, assaulting rain, gray skies and no ability to run on dry ground.  I certainly hope yoga was practiced back then because Noah boy needed some zen in his life!

I can only surmise how he must have felt around day 350.  I’m sure he was SO OVER IT and wondering when everything would grow calm.  I’m pretty sure he had a few choice words for his people and his God.

I also am pretty darn sure he felt abandoned in the midst of the storm.  Did he do the right thing? Would God come through? What the heck was he going to do with all those freakin animals?  The food had gotten really monotonous and the company was getting old.

BUT GOD REMEMBERED HIM! And God remembers me. He remembers you.  We are not forgotten in the midst of the hard times,  in the center of howling wind and black despair.  He might take some time to show his presence but he’s been there and will be there.

 

 

2017 Resolutions

I went to the gym as usual on January 2. Same time, same plan.  Only I was greeted with an extra 100 or so people working out alongside me.  Every single machine was taken, the classes were packed and frankly, it was an awful experience.  People walking around with their ear buds in, oblivious to where they were going and who they were bumping into.

New Year’s Resolutions.  We all make them.  I’m always thankful for February when the gym goes back to normal.  While that’s not the best thing to wish on people – that they will forsake their resolution for health, I do think that often times we bite off waaay more than we can chew around December 31.  We make outrageous plans for our next year, only to find ourselves around mid February (or January 5) already disappointing ourselves.

For the past few years, I’ve chosen a word for the year.  Last year it was “breathe.”  I started back with yoga and worked my hardest to sit in the moment.  There were some successful moments but frankly, I need to take this word into 2017.

On January 1, I was cleaning the kitchen – went to put the garbage in the bag and this happened.  Yep, veggie peels all over the kitchen.  It was a mess and Matt was there to document it all.  Awesome.

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I post this picture to remind myself that while I have resolutions for 2017 – a few this year, I also need to keep perspective. Adding too many “to do’s” to the list only causes a mess. It’s so easy to want to start again, to “do over” and do well.  However, there is something for carrying on.  One foot in front of the other, one breath at a time.

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On December 31, we as a family of five sat down and crafted for a bit.  We also worked on plates  that represented our past year. While I’m most certainly NOT an artist, I do love the tangible reminder of what last year taught me.

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The Spirit of God has made me and the breath of the Almighty gives me life. Job 33:4

This year I’m adding Isaiah 49:16, 23 to Job.  “See, I have engraved you on the palms of my hands….Those who hope in me will not be disappointed.”

Breathe each moment.  Rest in each second.  Know that my worth is not in what I do but in who I belong to.