Thankfulness and Cricket

I’ve been thinking more about this: Why, when asked whether I’m thankful for Cricket, can I not say yes? After a few days, my best answer is that I’m thankful for what I have, and parenting for the first time makes it in some ways clearer than it’s ever been how much I do not have Cricket. I don’t mean to make it sound as though I’m looking at Joey and seeing only his brother—aside from an evening in which I talked to him about Cricket and got a bit weepy, I am mostly consumed by nursing and cuddling and not sleeping, without a lot of brain left over for noting every time I see or have something with Joey that I missed with his brother. And that’s probably a good thing, because those things are happening every day, and I would rather be fully present with the baby who needs me than pining for the toddler I won’t even see until next year. I miss him, but I need that to be a manageable feeling.


In the meantime, I’m trying to figure out what to write in the book that I’m giving Cricket for Christmas. This will be the third year that we send two books and each write in one—Mr. Book will effortlessly find something graceful and loving to say, and I am spending a week grinding my brain, looking for a way to say “Wow, it has been a big year, and I miss you so much” that is charming and timeless and not weird . . . and that I don’t mind his moms reading. No luck so far. If I don’t watch it, my writing to Cricket gets this relentlessly cheery tone that makes me cringe on rereading; I also get caught up on dumb details, like “If you get bored when we see you in January, there are Sesame Street dvds.” He does not care, he will not care if he looks at these later, what is wrong with me?

6 thoughts on “Thankfulness and Cricket

  1. I have a hard time figuring out just the right thing to write in books even when I’m giving them in relationships that are not very fraught so I’d say there’s nothing wrong with you.

    That next first baby (that’s what Sharon Roszia calls the baby who arrives after the baby who is placed) certainly rocked our world but it’s been fourteen months now and we’re all managing and it’s better and we love him and Madison loves him and it’s ok. I have something else I will write you off blog. 🙂

  2. Wow, I would find myself frozen to if I had to meet all the criteria for a note in a book for Cricket – what a hell of a writing assignment!

    My partner and I rely on each other a lot when one of us breezes through something and the other is frozen (which is why she does 80% of talking to credit card/ bank folks and I do 80% of actual bill paying and arranging social events). Might you rely on Mr. Book for assistance with the writing of short messages, at least right now? If he can suggest something that expresses your feelings then there is no reason you cannot use it as your message in the book.

    I am filled with joy for you and your family on Joey’s arrival, BTW.

  3. Yesterday I gave one of my best friends the exact same thing I gave her a year ago. My love was there, even in spacey-ness. I think any words are right & fine & won’t feel like enough to you. You’re hard on yourself!

    I just see your heart figuring out how to expand & protect you at once; that’s a really tough feat. And you are doing it. Lovingly.

  4. I just realized that Joey will turn two weeks old on Saturday. That is so cool! And since it’s December I’ll bet there are some adorable hats awaiting him. Also, I know you’ll come up with a good inscription and that Cricket will love the books you and Mr. Book give him.

    I think it’s good you’re identifying the range of feelings you’re experiencing in these first two sleepless weeks. The emotional framework that Thanksgiving imposes–what of gratitude–strikes me as pretty restrictive. Something more expansive could encompass more of what we feel…

  5. I think, to the contrary, that Cricket will care what you write to him. I agree that a relentlessly cheery tone might be painful for both of you. He will treasure every word you write, every bit of evidence that you think of him and love him. He didn’t end up being parented by you, that’s true. But you are still very much *his*, and I think he will appreciate that you acknowledge that.

    I am glad that you have Joey and that you are focusing on him, as is right, but please don’t doubt yourself when you say that you have two children. You do. My nmom told me the other day, in our second ever phone conversation, that she considers herself only to have one child, my brother, who is five years younger than I am. I am not jealous of his time with her, but probably because I found out about him when I was 40 and he was 35. Cricket will see you raising Joey and ask why he doesn’t get that same chance, so everything you can do to let him know how important he is to you is great. Such as writing to him.

    I can’t imagine how difficult your position must be, but I feel for you. I know you love both your sons; how could you not?

    And as for “grateful” and “thankful”: I find those words poisonous in adoptionland because they suggest obligation rather than freely given love. I think you love both your sons unconditionally.

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