The National Hangover

Whoa. Post-gold medal hockey. A hangover, this country has one.

It was totally worth it, though. I love the collective roar that went up when Our Boy Sidney put the puck in the net. From coast to coast to coast, and overseas as well, Canadians erupted in a collective dance of jubilation. Houses full of families gathered around the TV or computer screen hugging and cheering. Bars full of people drinking themselves into happy oblivion. Drivers endlessly honking their horns. Streets full of people singing the anthem on a loop — one group would finish singing, and another one would start up.

Our anthem is a sing-along song, a song where you throw your arm around your neighbour’s shoulder and sing with all your heart. This gave me endless happiness for the past two weeks, but last night capped it perfectly.

I didn’t watch The Game (as it will be known for a few generations). I couldn’t. I am highly superstitious when it comes to sports, and although BDH assures me that whether or not I watch a game has no impact whatsoever on it’s outcome — I don’t believe him. I hadn’t watched all tournament long and they were doing fine, so I was NOT going to screw with karma last night. So I didn’t watch. BDH watched in the next room, and I tried to keep an even keel in another. Finally, after the third period, it was just too much stress, and I had to take That Baby upstairs to the attic until I heard the scream of joy. Then it was safe to watch and enjoy the moment. (I am a superstitious freak, and I am okay with that. If I played hockey, I’d be one of those players who didn’t change their socks all tournament or whatever.)

Hockey is such a huge part of our national identity. I know people who don’t like hockey will complain and say “it’s just a game”. But they are wrong. It IS a big part of what makes us who we are as a country, from the smallest of towns to big cities with franchises, and the naysayers just have to suck it up and get over themselves. I mean, I don’t watch NHL hockey, but even I can admit that winning Olympic gold is a Very Big Deal and get excited and cheer along with the rest of the country.

And we did. We cheered a lot. We stayed up way too late, not just last night but for two solid weeks of the Olympics. And I am feeling it today. It may not be a hangover from a few too many beers, but it can definitely be attributed to a few too many late nights and choruses of “O Canada”.

I don’t mind nursing that kind of hangover, one that comes from celebrating together and sharing a night of national pride. But I will admit, I am kind of relieved it only happens once every four years.

At Last, Good News and Hope

Well, it is official… creditors and families have voted overwhelmingly to revive Imagine Adoption. And with that, the hopes and dreams of so many adoptive families, waiting so patiently and working so hard to adopt from Ethiopia and Ghana and other countries, have a chance to come true.

I am so happy for them.

I am also so happy for the children whose futures now include a family who will love them and raise them to help their dreams come true, too. So many bright futures for so many wonderful children!

The news also means that if ever we decided to adopt a sibling for Stinkerbelle, we now potentially have the option to do so. And that’s kind of cool.

I love it when there’s good news to start the day.

Eddie Iz Done!

Eddie Izzard, one of our favourite people in the entire world, has just finished running 43 MARATHONS IN 51 DAYS to raise funds for Sport Relief (which is a branch of Comic Relief, one of our favourite charities in the entire world).

I’ve been following his journey on Twitter and it has been remarkable. He literally ran AROUND the UK… and rescued a kitten en route! The man now truly OWNS the title “action transvestite”!

Way to go Eddie! Hell of a feat. Not to mention, hell on the feet.

Best News Ever

Finally, at long last… two of my favourite people in all Teh Internets, not to mention IRL, Rana and Yvan, got their referral yesterday!

It’s a BOY!

Go give them your warmest congratulations and your biggest virtual hugs! If any two people deserve it, after such a long wait, it’s these two.

(And you thought I was slacking off and not posting, while actually I’ve been sitting on this news all day!!)

Best News Ever

Late last night (because our phones are ASS and the call ACTUALLY came in eariler, but we never get calls properly!) we got the most incredible, wonderful news — two of our dearest friends in all the world, Jeff and Sandra, are going to be parents! They received word last night that they will be parents to a beautiful 6-month-old boy, who they will be meeting next week.

I cannot tell you how happy I am for them! (I cried. Even now I am crying. Bah. Such a softie.) Their road to parenthood, like ours, was a challenging one, but I cannot think of two people who would be more caring, devoted parents. They have so much love to give a child, and their new son will be loved and cherished like no other. He is one very lucky little boy indeed.

This morning, when I went to get Stinkerbelle out of her crib and told her about the new baby, she grinned and signed “baby”. And then she clapped her happy baby applause. So, really, I think That Baby gives her official Seal of Approval. I do not know how she will react to the news the first time she has to share her beloved Auntie Sandy and Uncle Jeff with *gasp* ANOTHER BABY (!!), but this morning, she’s cool with it. A playmate!! Life is good!!

I will endeavour in the coming weeks and months to not bombard them with parenting information, baby stuff and useless advice, and to keep a respectful distance as they become a new family. But BDH and I are so very excited for them, and so delighted to meet their beautiful new son, it will be a struggle.

Congratulations, Mom and Dad! We love you guys, and cannot wait to welcome your new son into our hearts and lives for good and ever.

Happy Day!

The charming, funny Nicky and her husband J-Rock just announced yesterday — they got their referral! For (wait for it!……) TWO YEAR OLD TWIN GIRLS!

This marks the end of a long wait for Nicky and J-Rock, and the beginning of an incredible adventure with two beautiful little girls. Please drop by and read their referral story and offer your congratulations!

More Magic

So, the warm Indian Summer weather seems to be done. But despite the cool and overcast day today, it’s a good day.

The funny, brilliant Rhonda and her hubby Kris got their referral: a tiny baby girl, all of 6 weeks old right now! Most excellent news for a most excellent family, who waited over 15 months for this wonderful day… so stop by and check out the news for yourself!

And I had better get moving and get some more lists posted… because Rhonda will soon be needing them!

In slightly less exciting news, we came home from shopping to find… a stroller on our porch! No, it wasn’t just a drive-by strollering… we HAD ordered one. But that was MONDAY, which was a holiday so let’s say TUESDAY for sake of argument — and it arrived this morning already. DUDE. I LOVE that. So now Stinkerbelle and I can go walking! (Which we could before, only in the Snugli — which she loves, but my back? Not so much.) So, much thanks to Grammy, Granddad, Auntie Tena, Uncle Kevin, and the lovely folks at our credit card company, who made the stroller possible.

And in less exciting news still, allow me a moment of Mommy Vanity. But I have to tell you, if there’s something that just tickles me pink, it’s when strangers come up to us and remark about how beautiful our daughter is. Now, I grant you, it’s rare that a stranger walks up to a couple and says, “DUDE. THAT? Is one BUTT UGLY BABY.” So, you know, getting comments about a beautiful baby is more common than not. HOWEVER… when you are someone who thought you would never be in the position to HAVE a baby, full stop, to have people fussing over your child is magical. Today in the grocery store, as we walked around and I had Her Babyness in the Baby Bjorn, a few women came over to remark on how pretty our daughter is. And I was so proud.

As BDH said to me, as I walked back to where he was standing from the bakery section (day olds! must check out the day olds!)… “I have never seen anyone so happy to be carrying a baby in my life.”

It’s true. I’m happy to carry that beautiful baby anywhere. (Although now I can stroller. Well, that will be happy too.)

Anniversary

Five years ago today, BDH and I got married.

We had been together, say, 7 years by that point. And we didn’t want to get married at first. But BDH is kind of a traditional guy, and so after a while we decided to have a very small, intimate wedding. Our plan for a wedding was basically to get together with a few of our closest friends and family and have a good meal and good wine and good conversation.

Simple. Elegant. It went almost perfectly. The weather was gorgeous, the food was fantastic, the flowers were spectacular.

It was a nice day.

We did not have a honeymoon. We decided not to, because we really wanted to go someplace fabulous, and we just didn’t have the money to afford what we wanted. But that was okay — we just decided we’d save up and go somewhere really memorable on our fifth anniversary instead.

Well, our fifth anniversary is here. And we did save, and we are going someplace fabulous — in two short days’ time, we’re off to Ethiopia. Not exactly a romantic, sun-drenched Caribbean getaway or a cottage in the west of Ireland or anything like we had envisioned.

But then, we didn’t plan on marking the day with an anniversary present. So that kind of changes things a bit.

We’re going to get the best anniversary present ever — our daughter.

Beats the hell out of wood or silverware.

Referral

Adoption Journey – Day 494 (1 year, 4 months, and a bit)

Well, as you saw, we got our referral yesterday. A tiny, perfect little girl. 6 weeks old. 7.5 pounds. And a whole lot of hair.

It’s been an amazing 24 hours.

Yesterday started like crap. I was sore, as I posted about in the morning. Then around noon, I looked out to see that the chipmunk that I had been feeding for a few weeks now had fallen into the neighbours’ rain barrel and drowned — within the past half hour or so. I could have run out and rescued him, if only I had looked out the window sooner.

I was bummed. So I messaged BDH and told him I was really having a lousy day, and I was going to sit on my exercise bike and try to work out some of the pain (and some of the sadness) by riding a bit.

I was pedalling like mad and about an hour into a chick flick when the phone rang. I checked the call display and saw it was my agency, but I didn’t think anything of it. I picked up and it was my adoption worker, who I had never spoken to before. She asked if BDH was home, but I said no — they talk frequently, so I thought he had called and asked for some information — so I asked if there was a message.

She said no, but that she had some news. She had a referral for us.

I stopped. “Really?” I asked.

She said yes. So I said, “What do we have?”

She asked if I wanted her to tell me, since she was emailing the info out. I stopped short of saying, “DUH”, and said, “Sure” instead.

She took a deep breath, and quietly she said, “You have a little girl”.

I was gobsmacked. A GIRL. I knew that girls were frequently requested, and since we had not specified a gender, I just assumed we’d be referred a boy. In fact, I was sure we’d have a boy.

I was thrilled. I stifled a “SQUEEEEE!” and told her how thrilled I was.

Then, she got all excited. “She’s absolutely BEAUTIFUL!” she exclaimed. Well, everybody says babies are beautiful — nobody every says, “Wow. You have an ugly baby.” So I kind of mentally skipped over that part. But then she said, “And she has SO MUCH HAIR!”

I burst out laughing.

“Well, then,” I said, “OBVIOUSLY she takes after BDH then. He had a ton of hair when he was a baby too.”

She laughed. She was clearly really happy to be bringing us this news, after such a long wait.

I started to get all welly, and my mind was just blank. I said, “I’m kind of all meshuganneh here. I’m stunned.” I was a little giddy.

She said, “We get all sorts of reactions. Some people just cry — INSTANTLY. Others say, ‘Oh, well, that’s nice’. Very calm.”

“That’s definitely not me,” I said.

She told me she’d be sending out the referral, and what was included. She briefly told me what would happen next.

I said, “So this must be a pretty good part of your job, delivering this sort of news.”

She said, “It’s my favourite part.”

“Mine too,” I said.

I got off the phone, and I lost it. I started to cry. Out of relief, out of joy, out of shock, or all of the above and more, I can’t say. I just knew I was going to have a little girl.

I rushed to call BDH. Who was, unusual for Mr. Connected-to-Technology-At-All-Times, nowhere near a phone. Completely unreachable, actually. (To completely understand how unusual this is, you must understand that I can call him on his desk phone, his Blackberry, or message him, or email him, pretty much at any hour of any day. So this was a SPECTACULAR act of Murphy’s Law.)

I left messages. And while I waited, I read through the file. I stared at her pictures. I cried over her birth mother’s report. And I counted my lucky stars that she entrusted the care of her beautiful girl, ultimately, to us.

When he called back, I said, “Hullo, Daddy. You have a baby girl.”

He blurted out, loud in the middle of the office, “I am a DAD!”

The he asked me to send him the referral, but it came out like, “SenditsenditsenditSENDitsenditsendITsenditSENDITSENDIT…”

So I did. And then he sat there, smashing the refresh key on his computer again and again and again. No email. If it had been, say, “Hey, how are you?” the message would have been there instantaneously.

When it finally arrived, he printed out a couple of copies of the pictures, as he was on his way to a meeting. When he entered the meeting, he held the pictures up and announced gleefully, “This is my new daughter!” After congratulations all around, the meeting started. Midway through, he confessed, “You know, I saw your lips moving, but I have no idea what you were saying.”

He made desktop wallpaper of the pictures for his computer. And sent one to me. And then he showed her picture around to everyone, while I started calling family and friends, who were also not near a phone.

Except for Heather. She cried with me on the phone for a little while. Her dad cried too. And the most magical Miss Isabella assured me that she would help me with my baby, because I didn’t have one before. But she has a baby brother, so she knows about babies.

Sherri was home too, who seemed absolutely gleeful at the prospect of being an auntie once again.

And when I got off the phone with everyone, I stared at our referral pictures some more.

She was going to be our daughter.

It was one of our best days ever.

Now, we’re getting our last minute things done so our social worker can sign off on us and we can sign off on our referral. We have drawer latches to install, and a fire safety plan to submit, and cupboard safety locks to put on. Our wine has been sent to the basement for storage. Other things have been put up high.

We want to get through this as quickly and easily as possible, so that we can take everything in to the agency on Friday.

We want nothing to stand in our way, between now and going to meet this sweet little girl with the great hair.

Our daughter. Soon.

Happy Sigh

This morning, a brand new 7 lb 14 oz baby boy was born into our extended family of dear friends. He doesn’t have a name yet, but he is already much loved by his mom and dad and Big Sister Isabella.

As his mother and father marvel at the perfection of their new son, and drink in all the wonder of this new little life, I find myself a little choked up. A brand-new baby. So wanted. So loved.

A miracle. What else can you call it?

I am an auntie again!

Finally

Finally… the good guy wins!

Steven Truscott was acquitted today, with the court calling his 1959 conviction a miscarriage of justice, and with an apology from the courts. Although the court was not able to declare him innocent, which in my mind they should have done without hesitation, his conviction has been quashed, and there will be no appeal. I hope he sues the government for as much money as he possibly can.

I’ve been on pins and needles all day, waiting for the decision to come down. I have been waiting to hear this news for many, many years, because the story has outraged me for years.

So many words come to mind when I think of how Truscott has fought for this day: Grace. Perseverance. Dignity. He is one of our citizens, one of our neighbours, here, and many in this city, and in this province and throughout this country, have stood behind him and believed in him and his absolute innocence in this case.

I cannot even imagine how Mr. Truscott and his family feel today. It has been a long, courageous fight for them, and beyond that, I have no words for what that 14 year old boy must have endured so long ago. He is at last free of a 50-year nightmare.

Congratulations, Mr. Truscott!