Kit Kapers

I am having experiences with Kit that are, I’m sure, the most normal little things—but they feel like nothing that I’ve ever seen or experienced before. I took him out one morning last week for a pastry (for him) and a cup of coffee (for me), and he was happy to sit in an enormous chair and occasionally walk around the coffeehouse and smile at people. After a little while, he started signing to me that he was thirsty, and then he waited patiently while I got him some milk—and by “waited patiently,” I mean “staggered around signing <thirsty>,” because for Kit that sign requires you to throw your head as far back as possible. It was a really nice time, and it’s so strange that he can now, say, pick out a doughnut for himself or enjoy watching passersby. I’m acclimated to Joey, which makes having a little boy who smiles at strangers sort of baffling. But in a good way.

Kit is almost two. He does not show any signs of autism—and you can believe that he has been closely scrutinized, not only by me but by the professionals who work with Joey. He loves trains, trucks, and the color purple. He counts and reads numerals 0–10, and has started reading and signing letters; when he sings the alphabet song, he gets stuck for a bit on W: “You, bee, double you you you you you you you you you you you . . .ex, why . . . zee!” He is very nervous of most nonfamily these days, but he warms up to most people pretty quickly. He loves to wear cowboy boots and a bucket hat, and he loves to hide and be found, or run and be chased.


Nora told me that she and Cricket would call on Birthmother’s Day, and then they didn’t. I had sort of been dreading the call—it’s nice to hear from Cricket, of course, but I don’t see Birthmother’s Day as a holiday that I’d like to celebrate, and it does feel like an “Of course you don’t get contact on Mother’s Day, that’s just crazy talk!” kind of maneuver. I don’t assume that’s Nora’s thinking, but I do think it’s a common adoption trend. But they didn’t call, and I wonder whether Ruth told Nora that I asked not to get a call on that day last year. The night of Mother’s Day, Nora sent me a text saying that she hoped I’d had a nice one; I wrote back the next day, thanking her, with a cute picture of Joey. As it happened, I was quite sick on Mother’s Day, so I sort of got to skip it.

And now, today, I’m missing Cricket. I don’t especially know what to do with that feeling right now. Nora told me that they might visit in June, and then that they probably won’t visit in June, and perhaps in October . . . ? I am trying not to get invested in their visit decisions, since I have no input into them and can really do nothing for now but wait.

Mister Book and I talked recently about whether we’d ever want to have another child; we have this talk every so often, and we mostly agree that it’s unlikely that we will. My IUD is good for another three years, and so we won’t make a real decision until then—but the thing that could possibly sway us would be Kit wanting a younger sibling. I do feel guilty about the fact that Kit doesn’t have a typical sibling, and that he would if we hadn’t placed Cricket; Kit has two brothers and can’t play with either one.

Billy and Ben

I’ve vaguely mentioned cooking meals for another family at various times in the past; on Saturday night, the woman for whom I was cooking died. She had planned to bring us homemade bread and jam on the Sunday, and it was already made—I didn’t expect her widower to bring it the next morning, but he did. It was sudden and not sudden—she had and rejected two lung transplants, and was not doing very well—and now she’s gone, and I will never get to talk about comic books with her again, which is an embarrassingly small loss next to her husband Ben’s.


Yesterday afternoon, my brother returned from the hospital after a two-week stay. He looks better than you might expect after five surgeries. I sort of want to connect this to my last paragraph, but any attempt looks garishly trite on the page. But I’m grieved that we’ve lost Hillary, and glad that we haven’t lost Billy. I would be more than happy to have lower stakes in our lives for awhile, please.


On Tuesday, my mother gave my brother a kidney. I don’t remember whether I’ve given my brother a blog moniker—I usually just call him my brother—so I’m going to call him Billy. Since Tuesday, a series of things have gone wrong for Billy, and today (I’m writing on Sunday afternoon) he had his fourth surgery. He got the kidney (surgery #1), he developed a clot in the artery to the new kidney, they went in to remove the clot and rebuild the artery (#2), they put him on blood thinners to prevent clots, he started bleeding internally, they opened him up again to try to stop the bleeding (#3), and then there was some more bleeding, which led to a pool of blood around the kidney, so they opened him up again and stopped that bleeding (#4). My mother, who is recovering from the operation in which they removed her kidney, is terrified for Billy; I’m less panicky, but still scared and sad for him.

Billy is in an excellent hospital that is an hour away in light traffic, and the traffic is rarely light. I’ve only made one trip to see him—children aren’t even allowed on his floor of the hospital, so it’s hard for me to find a time when I can leave them, especially since my mother is in no condition to watch them—but my father has been going every day, and sometimes twice a day. We’re all tired and freaked out, but no one is having a harder time than Billy.

If you have prayers or good thoughts to send our way, my brother could surely use them.