Friday, April 18, 2014

A Random Act of Kindness in the most random place

Spring Break has sprung upon us in Northern Virginia. Of course, Spring did not arrive with it so outdoor activities are not happening much this week. My Lyme disease flare up has also decided to coincide with the one week that the kids are home from school. And I am supposed to be their activity director. Well, that is not really happening. I'll be honest, my Mom guilt is in high gear but then I am a witness to my happy kids playing and entertaining themselves. I managed to get dressed at a decent time on Wednesday and we saw Rio2. And yesterday was a fun morning...I can imagine their Spring Break essay's..."and then our Mommy took us to get blood tests." Yes, I win the most mean Mommy award for Spring Break activities!

I have had Doctor's orders for over two months to get my kids tested for Lyme disease. This was at my request since I've recently learned that Lyme disease can be passed in utero and my kids have displayed symptoms, such as joint pain, fatigue, headaches, ect. So yesterday was the day that I decided we would get the blood tests done. The twins were also getting their cholesterol checked so they had to fast. This is a test that they recommend when your child turns ten so I was delinquent on this test by over a year. Oops...

By the time I got myself dressed and the kids dressed, we arrived just before 11am. Of course, the waiting room was packed and there was a wait. I had the kids leave their electronic toys at home and no one brought a book to read. But no worries. My kids entertained the entire waiting room because that is what they do best. We were finally able to grab a bench which was hot real estate. I managed to find a notepad and pen at the bottom of my purse and my kids became engrossed in a game of hangman.

And then the woman walked in. I liked her right away. There was a pregnant lady that had walked through the door right before her and this woman was eyeing the waiting room to see who could stand up to give the very pregnant lady a seat. She spied a young man and walked up to him and said "uh-hem" and pointed to the pregnant lady. I told her I was thinking the same thing. After the pregnant lady sat down, the woman plopped herself on the floor and started frantically going through her purse. She was very frazzled. As an observer of human behavior, I was trying my best at deductive reasoning to figure out what had her so distressed. She would find white envelopes and open them and then throw them back in her purse. A chair became available and after surveying the room, she announced out loud that she was going to sit there, if no one else wanted the seat. This was one very polite woman. My kids continued to be engrossed in hangman and I decided to check the notifications on my phone.

Then I heard her voice again and looked up and she was on the phone. And then the waterworks began. I quickly realized she was speaking to her car insurance agent and was in an accident on her way to get blood drawn. And I thought my kids were having a bad morning. I heard her explain to the agent that she was driving her father's 1965 cherry red mustang and it was the car she used to learn how to drive. This woman was so distraught and you could tell by her responses that the car agent kept saying to her "it is just a car and be thankful you are not hurt." The car insurance representative most likely did not have a degree in psychology and was trying to be consoling while also trying to get this lady off the phone with her. Finally they said good-bye.

I was feeling empathetic and wanted to help this complete stranger but wasn't sure what to do. Or say. And then suddenly, I was pulled back in time, re-living my days as a trauma social worker, when I would sit with distraught families in hospital waiting rooms. And offer them tissues to dry their tears. That's what I could do. I had tissues! I could offer her a tissue. And say that I was sorry.

So I pulled out the packet of tissues from my purse and offered her one and she acted like I just told her she had won the lottery. She was so grateful. I helped her process what had happened and provided consolation, as this was clearly a traumatic event in her life. The tears gently flowed as she told me the story of when she first learned to drive and her father was in the passenger seat. I shared with her that my dad also helped me learn how to drive and we survived me driving the wrong way down a street! When my oldest daughter's name was finally called, the kids and I got up from our hot real estate bench and headed towards the dreaded door that would lead the kids to get their blood tests done. She said" thank you" to me and told my kids "your Mom is very kind."

I wanted to share this story about a random act of kindness because I realized it doesn't take much for us to show that we care. We are so busy going about our lives that you never know when one small gesture might make a world of difference in someone's day. Such as a gentle gesture of offering a complete stranger a listening ear and a tissue to dry their tears.

My kids survived their blood tests and only the littlest cried a few tears. But her oldest sister began to sing "Let it Go" to her and the littlest became calm. Perhaps the oldest felt the call in her heart to help her little sister get through a difficult time by sharing her gift of singing with her? 

As promised, I took my brave babies to Mickey D's for lunch which is a rare treat!

Wishing you and your families a blessed Good Friday and Easter weekend! What random act of kindness have you shared with someone? I would love to hear your Random Act of Kindness story!

Peace, Love and Easter Blessings,

Thursday, April 10, 2014

My journey as an adoptee

We each have a story to share. It is a story of pain and perseverance, of strength and courage, loving ourselves enough to stand back up, after falling down. Some of us have multiple stories that we walk around with but do not necessarily share with others. We have fallen, again and again, broken and fragile but remain strong and courageous, to the rest of the world.

If my book of memoirs was to ever be published, it would include several surreal stories of digging deep within to build myself back up. Maybe this is why I love running the distance so much? The brutality of the pain you endure to achieve an unimaginable goal, turned reality, because of your strength and determination. Chapter after chapter, stories would flow of what I have endured and what I have overcome. Yes, I am a #LymeDiseaseWarrior but before this, I was a #Warrior on so many different occasions.
Chapter One would begin something like this...It was a beautiful Spring Day, May Day to be exact, when the world was celebrating the arrival of sunshine and happiness, except for a young expectant Mother, trapped in a hospital room, who was mentally preparing to give birth and say good bye, without even holding her baby girl.
I. CAN'T. EVEN. IMAGINE. the pain. the heartache.
She wanted a better life for her baby girl. Every day of her life afterwards, that moment in time, was frozen in her heart and haunted her. These were her words expressed to me when we met many, many years later.
Chapter Two would go on to read, word for word, taken from the social worker's reports about how the foster mother would abandon the baby girl for hours on end without feeding her in the middle of the night or leaving her cooped up in a crib without a diaper on because her diaper rash wouldn't heal. But no alarm bells rang because the baby girl seemed healthy, didn't fuss much and was content being by herself.
The Universe works in mystery ways. On January 14, 1970, before I was born, this was the day that my birth Mother decided to give me up. In another part of California, my future adoptive Mother was blowing out her Birthday candles and making a wish on January 14, 1970. And at two months of age, after I was born on May 1st, I went home with my new family. I get chill bumps when I think about how my life had purpose and a destiny, before I was even born, to be with another family.
Me at 2 months old
It was the first time I had experienced unconditional love in my short period of life. I am Strong. I am Miss Independent. During those first two months of my life I didn't have loving parents who sang me lullabies, who were in awe of me, who held me close and nurtured me. I was a tiny infant girl, who was broken, and I Survived those first two months of my life being unattached to a caregiver.

If you know me, on a surface level, the appearance that I shine upon the world, you would NEVER imagine that this was my story. But if you know me, as a confident, someone who I can share my innermost feelings with, then you have heard my story and you understand why I do the things I do. Why I take risks. Why I am SO fearless. Why I simply live my life freely. I have been this way my entire life. Fear does not stop me.
I have always been a bit of a wild child, even though I was the oldest, and my Mom and Dad provided a stable, loving home. My teenage years were the hardest. I was Lost. Always Searching. I didn't know who I was. I wondered what my birth parents looked like, especially my birth Mother. My family never made me feel like an outsider. It was me who announced to others that I was adopted. In fact, my baby sister, who is 12 years younger me, was working on a family genealogical project while I was away at college, when my Mom called to let me know she was surprised that I never told my sister that I was adopted!  But that's how it was in my family while growing up...I had "Grandpa Pope's eyes" and my relatives were from "England and Finland"...I am actually Spanish and Dutch. I am their daughter. They are my sister's. I am a part of this wonderful "Pope" family and no one, including my incredible awesome extended family, talked about my adoption.  Even though I knew from a very early age that I was adopted.

My baby sis, my Dad and me 
All my cousins and me

My parents were my guardian angels who rescued me over and over and helped me rise up each time when I was feeling not worthy of their goodness and their love. The moment they held me in their arms as an infant, and continued doing so throughout my life, are the moments when I had a chance to become whole again.
With each one of my parents, I have a special relationship. But I am definitely a "Daddy's Girl." My Dad had this awesome way of parenting that I try to channel into my parenting with my three kids. During my teen years, I often tested "the rules." But whatever I would do, he never made me feel bad about who I was as a person. Instead, he focused on the behavior and made sure I learned from my mistakes. Tomorrow (or technically today since I am writing this during the midnight hour) is his Birthday. My Dad is a #Warrior too. And I am so thankful that I was given the special gift of his love and my Mom's love. Without their love and encouragement, I am not sure I would have continued to keep getting up, each time I've fallen down.
Thank You Mom and Dad, for your unconditional love and for helping me to soar to unimaginable heights.
Family Fun Christmas 2013
  hmmm...I wonder where I get my sense of humor from??  :)   
Peace and Love Always ~ Amy

Tuesday, April 8, 2014

An Ordinary Mom with an Extraordinary Life

Somehow, inspiration sneaks into my life when I least expect it. The inspiration keeps trickling in but my blogging has gone out the window the last couple of weeks, even though my life has been nothing short than amazing. In fact, I went to a super cool DJ concert as a VIP, watched some amazing soccer games and goals scored by my little guy, attended an inspiring blogger event, held a super awesome, successful fundraiser and raised close to $3,000 to find a cure for Lyme Disease, volunteered at the Runners Marathon of Reston and cheered for some pretty amazing runners who were running in rain turned freezing rain turned snow, signed up for two incredible races for 2014 - a relay race (happening in just a few weeks!) and a 50 Miler ultra, ran the Cherry Blossom Ten Miler and got to meet some of my awesomesauce #SwirlSisters, won a radio contest and attended a private performance by the talented Andy Grammer plus a meet and greet (he is a cutie), tried a new recipe for enchilada's and they were delish (confession, the kids would not agree with this statement), and tonight was filled with all sorts of inspiration...I attended a book signing and talk by the Glennon Melton from Momastery! Life has been GOOD and my heart is FULL!!

SO. MUCH. GOODNESS. That I want to share.

However, my chronic fatigue has kicked in full throttle and each day I have been struggling to do something, anything, to feel productive. Sometimes I feel like my life is on a roller coaster and I'm just holding on for the wild ride. Yes, I admit it. I am Blessed. I am Lucky. My life is full of amazing opportunities and so many incredible, inspiring people. Everyday I am thankful and want to share my life's blessings with others. I wish I had endless energy to stay up all night, writing, and sharing it all with you, but when I do that, I'm a mess for at least two days and my family suffers. I have no idea how I pulled the all nighters at the hospital as a trauma social worker, for all those years.

Consider this as a sneak peek for what blogs are in the making. Right now, they are all in my head. It is just a matter of finding the energy to carefully craft each blog post because each one has something to say. I don't write to just write. I want to share idea's or thoughts so that you may connect or I might inspire. This has been the goal of my blog all along. Please have patience as I rest some more and then the words will spill, one by one. Please let me know what you would like to read first...

Peace, Love and Happy Running ~ Amy