Anne Notations

Wednesday, March 29, 2006

Mornings with Caroline

Caroline is four months old today!

I adore these Wednesday mornings. Having Caroline here forces me to slow down, to appreciate each moment, to leave impatience and hurry behind. The house is hushed except for the soft whussh of cars on Hope Street. The dog is napping in the sun. I sing while Caroline drinks her bottle, and her brown eyes open wide as she listens to Nana.

Today for the first time she sat happily in the "boppie" type horseshoe pillow on my sunroom floor and batted at the mobile toys, making them dance and bounce and clatter. Wow! She talked and talked about this new achievement. And (see last pic) she made her funny, bubbly spitting noise, something Kevin was also an expert at when he was the same age.

Elton John's words were written for this baby: "How wonderful life is when you're in the world."

Sunday, March 26, 2006

Hockey heaven

The Brown men's and women's seasons are over, the Olympics have come and gone, but there is still enough hockey to fill a weekend. Such as this one that is just ending.

Friday afternoon: Kevin's team (Sabres) played in, and lost, the first game of a best-of-3 series with the Kings in their league playoffs opening round.

Friday night: Michael, Kevin, and I went to the RI high school Division I boys' championship opening game between Bishop Hendricken High and Mount St. Charles, at the Providence College rink. Hendricken shut out the Mounties and went on to win the title the following night. Coincidentally we ended up sitting with my old college classmate/buddy Steve, a sparkplug center for the Bears back in the day; his son, Brendan, was the Mounties' captain and wore the same #7 as Steve had. I love the lifelong hockey fraternity.

Saturday morning: Michael and I drove to Walpole with Kevin and watched the Sabres trounce the Kings, 3-1, with Kevin scoring two goals, including a wondrous breakaway.

Saturday afternoon: All four of us (Melinda reluctantly) drove to Worcester, had a late-afternoon dinner at our favorite Armenian restaurant, and went to the NCAA Division 1 Northeast Regional championship game between Boston College and Boston University at the Centrum. College hockey at that level is a thing of beauty, even though this particular game was one-sided to the point of monotony. BC won, 5-0. Go Eagles!

Sunday afternoon: We drove to Walpole again, where the Kings shut out our Sabres, ending Kevin's season.

Tonight (Sunday): We watched, on TV, an incredible contest of skill and endurance between U. Wisconsin and Cornell for another regional championship. In the third overtime, after at least one player had literally crawled across the ice to his bench from sheer exhaustion and muscle cramps, a Wisconsin forward named Skille snapped a beautiful hard shot past phenomenal Cornell goalie David McKee. We were rooting for Cornell out of Ivy loyalty, but I couldn't begrudge Wisconsin the win; they outshot their opponent by nearly 2-1 and never lost an ounce of intensity through all that overtime.

So, yeah, that was a pretty good hockey weekend. Eh?

Sunday, March 12, 2006

Un dia muy feliz

Andrés (4), Anne, and Melinda (6 weeks) at the orphanage in Bogotá, Colombia, January 1991

Just past midnight on March 1, 1991, my stepdaughter Leslie and I watched a plane land at Green Airport in Warwick. The intensity of our anticipation was such that we could scarcely breathe.

Moments later, two small brown boys scampered toward us in the jetway, and a very tired Michael followed with a baby girl asleep on his chest in a Snugli carrier. Our new children were home from Colombia, where Michael had returned alone to complete their legal adoptions, and our lives had changed forever. Eighteen months later, I gave birth to our son Kevin.

I am not ready to write here (nor may I ever be) about the second boy from Colombia, Andrés's older biological brother, our troubled, beautiful son who was able to stay in our household for only five years. Three times that many years have gone by since we embarked on full-time parenthood with our children from South America.

Today we celebrated two occasions: Andrés's 20th birthday, which is actually tomorrow; and "Homecoming Day," our annual celebration of the arrival I've just described. Some adoptive parents call these anniversaries "Gotcha Day," but with due respect to friends who use the term, it has always made me cringe, evoking an image of the calculating fox in the old children's story snapping up the gingerbread man midstream. So we chose Homecoming Day, an entirely literal name and one that our sports-loving kids seem to appreciate.

It was Andrés who reminded me earlier this month that we'd reached our 15th homecoming anniversary. I was pleased that he knew the number. Homecoming must mean something important to him, must carry a dear significance that he mostly keeps hidden beneath his wisecracking bravado. For me, the adoption of our children was nothing less than the most profound turning-point of my life. I remember looking down at six-week-old baby Melinda on my bed in Clara's Bogotá apartment during our first trip in January 1991, stroking her raven hair, and shivering with a sudden epiphany: I was not only in love, but I was owned ... forever. A child now had my heart locked in a gilded cage, and "I" would never just be about me again. "I" had become synonymous with "we" in a way even marriage had not achieved.

Andrés opening birthday gifts

Melinda in her church clothes

So here we are, la familia, in 2006. Andrés is no longer a teenager, but a man with a job, career ambitions, an apartment, and a future. Melinda, at 15, is becoming more poised and independent by the day; serious about schoolwork, she fizzes with good nature and wit. Kevin is fully their little brother. Even though our three children are not related biologically, their love for one another is obvious to all who see them.

I can't help rolling my eyes when I hear the cliché "Blood is thicker than water." In our family, love is stronger than blood.

Friday, March 10, 2006

Late-winter blahhhhhs

What does it mean when you stop looking forward to doing things and start looking forward to finishing things?

I hope it just means that I'm tired. Not old. I won't stand for old!

Thursday, March 02, 2006


I seem to have turned into Boring Woman. A few times lately I've thought of things to blog, but in each case I have been unhappy with my drafts, and so they remain in the drafts folder. One of them, inspired by pissant Olympians Bode Miller, Shani Davis, and Chad Hedrick, is titled "Whiners, Wankers, and Winners." It was where I'd planned to trot out my friend Kathy's theory that men are either babies or assholes. I'm sure other opportunities will arise.

Maybe my kids have gotten to me. They tell me I'm too "weird" or "silly," as moms go. They want me to be "normal."

Why does "normal" equate, in my mind, with "bland"? Can I be "normal" and still like Star Wars? Can I sing White Stripes songs or a ballad from My Fair Lady while shopping at the mall, and still be normal?

Apparently not. At least not in the eyes of my desperately self-conscious teenagers!

Promise: This spring will bring the return of Quirky Woman. Be afraid! Heh heh.