Wednesday, February 28, 2007

They Remind Me

My best friend Jack sent these words to me yesterday. I wanted to share them with you...not to show off her talent or to depress you even more with my story but to really share it with those of you, like me, who might need a little validation through the battle.

Thanks for being who you are, Jack. "Jackie" was one of Gray's favorite words for a very long time. Mine too.

For your blog:

She is a Mother:
Beautiful and proud,
She holds the imaginary hand of hope
and walks toward the unsteady future,
praying for stillness, to remove the turmoil inside.
She is a Mother:
Forever, unconditionally.
Prescribed this title by God,
She has been denied by man,
Temporarily ceased from being,
She wants to be left alone,
Yet must remain engaged.
She is a Mother:
Steadfast and loyal,
Driven by courage, yet stifled by discrimination.
She is pure and honest,
Sensible and upfront.
She is a Mother,
Inherently ingrained with the qualities of such,
Naturally and gracefully.
She is my hero:
She is the reason I am here,
The reason I believe in Jesus and in love.
One can only pray for qualities like her's.
She is a Mother,
And also my best friend.

I love you.

This one is from another non-bio mom in my State. She fights this fight with me every day. I know there are a few of you who deserve to hear these words from her just as much as I do. Ohio and North Carolina - hang in there. We are right there with you.

It is your sorrow that enters my dreams
and takes me captive in the night.
And there you are,
crushed by the weight of the world and its ignorance.
A warrior
that is tattered and torn by the courageous fight for its life.
A battle
that the gods of a society all too soon struck down with one violent blow.
And the sword of ignorance and arrogance
has fallen upon you, offering no compassion.
And in my slumber, I see you softly on the earth
with a flood of sadness running through your streets.
But, I know in this moment as I watch you,
that you are a spiritual warrior,
and your strength is as visible as your grief.
It surrounds you and is in you,
like it runs through the lifeline of your soul.
I know you are tired,
but your bravery is as strong as eternity is long.
For you stood fearless before the face of a savage society
For you
For me
For all of us
And we thank you for your valor.
And I know one daythe sun will rise on your horizon and warm you into a soft peace.


Tuesday, February 27, 2007

An Old House to Grow Old In

A while ago I let you know we were house shopping. So much has happened since then that I haven't really updated you on the little things. :) You know like, buying a whole, big house with another human being!! All in all it's pretty exciting. We found a beautiful old house to grow old in and I really think this one's in the cards.

I should first say that it was born in 1896. Also, it's purple but soon to be green. And, the prophet of the Mormon church was born there...I swear to God. I'm sure he wasn't born in 1896 but probably not long after. They wait until someone's almost dead to let them speak with God. (but that's another story) So how funny is it that the prophet's birth house will now be smudged by lesbians? I know, full circle. For those of you not from Utah, I really can't explain it any further. :)

This house is amazing. It has so much character. It's aged, like good wine. Only wine with a few cracks in it and too many layers of paint. Maybe cheese would be a better example. But still, it's unique and fascinating and, in some ways, mysterious. It has a parlor for God's sake! How cool is that?

Yegs is thrilled because it has a tree house. Little does he know there's also a secret attic that will surely be magical to a seven year old boy. There's a huge yard for exploring! My hope is that there aren't any bugs but my guess is he'll find plenty.

But of all the neat things about it, my favorite is that I'm going to live there with C and that we're going to begin somewhere new and build lifelong memories. We won't be moving in without Gray in our hearts. We'll hold her close and let a new family build memories in our old house. In her old room. And some day, she'll see where we've been waiting for her.

Monday, February 26, 2007

Some Change is Good

You might have noticed that my blog has changed. There are some updates, photos, real names, etc. That's because it doesn't matter any more. My life is no longer a secret. I am grateful for this in some way but I'd trade it back in a second.

Some of you that email me don't have a clue who I am. I will tell you now - my name is Keri. My daughters nickname is Gray. Hence the title of my blog. My partner is C and her son, my stepson, is Yegs. We are currently a no dog family but I'm certain we'll be changing that when we get a new home and Yeager gets his way. We're also, as you know, hoping for a new baby and I'll be certain to introduce HER (or him :) when the time comes.

I wanted to get this out in a generic post so I can get on with business. I thought if I just started using names, without introduction, I'd throw you a bit.

So there you go.
Nice to meet you.

Friday, February 23, 2007

What Do You Say to a Girl Like Me

It's hard to be gracious on days like this. So many people call and email and I say, "thank you" and then I begin to cry again. No one knows quite what to say. "It's unfair", "what can we do?", "what's next?" My life has been in limbo for so long. I'm sure I've complained excessively over the years. But today, I pray for stillness in the moments when it was still a "maybe".

I miss her.

My ring tone is her voice screaming, "Mommy, telephone!" Will I ever change it? My partner stopped our screen saver of her pictures flashing through one at a time. She couldn't look at it without crying. I would watch it and get lost in each frame. I hear her voice at the post office, in the lobby, in my dreams. When will any little person ever call me "mommy" again?

I ache to hear her voice.

I sold my house. Finally, I won't have to walk by her room and remember her there. I won't have to wonder how I'll ever change it or fill it with another baby. It's her's, alone. I won't have to keep telling myself to wash her handprints off the window. I can't do it. Instead, I will remember the happy times in that house - when she filled it with noise and messes and tantrums and laughter.

Wednesday, February 21, 2007

I Am Re Mad

I am so mad today. I feel like my skin in crawling and there are needles in my head. I feel picked on or so much worse than that. "Picked on" sounds like someone laughed at me because my shoes didn't match. What I feel is so much bigger.

There are two kinds of people in my life right now. Those that are cheering and those that are tip toeing. Both are making me furious.

Senator Bell said that Friday's ruling was a "marvelous decision". How is it possible that someone would really say that out loud? I mean, even if they thought that lesbians were bad and that I didn't deserve to have children, wouldn't you at least be thoughtful about the child? & knowing that, as gay as I am, she will suffer?

& then there are those that testified three years ago. I can barely even go there right now but I am RE mad! I realize you've apologized. You've even taken back your testimony but you know, what if one little thing you said stood out to one of those Justices? Just one little thing? All the forgiving I've done over the last three years has gone out the door. No matter the reasons you think my relationship ended, what does that have to do with my daughter? I don't care if you were mad at me or just wanted a little piece of the action, what you did is written in stone somewhere in the third district court - and way down deep inside me.

And those of you that are tip God, please don't! Be sad for me. Cry yourself to sleep for my child and yours. Scream to every paper and every neighbor! Be disgusted that an entire group of children have lost the security of knowing they'll never lose a parent even if the dynamic of their family changes. Be angry and willing to voice your concerns during the interim THIS YEAR! But don't tip toe. No one will hear you.

Monday, February 19, 2007

While I Wait

Someone once told me you need a whole year - every day in every month - to heal from a loss. You need to experience that loss through your birthday, their birthday, an anniversary, Christmas, Mother's Day, etc. You get the idea. And then you can begin healing and...dare I say... moving on. I have repeated this advice to many over the years.

There are different reasons we experience loss. Like a break-up for instance. They're out there and you can wonder how they are and maybe run into them at the coffee shop on Sunday morning and have that awkward "this is my new girlfriend" moment. Or maybe a death where they're not "out there" anymore and you can have all the feelings of "what if" and memories that soften with time.

But today, I have no words to describe, with any sanity, what I feel. My loss fills me with complete emptiness and I can't begin to explain it to myself or begin to wonder the impact it will have on my daughter. And the experience has left me with a lost identity - am I a mother if they say I'm not? If she's still out there but I can't feel her heartbeat or hear her voice, is she really mine?

The Supreme Court said something like they "appreciated my sincere interest in her but...". I am insulted by that very sentence. My sincere interest? She is my daughter, for God's sake. The least I can give her is fucking "interest"! I should be obligated to give her all that I am for the next thirteen years! I should be obligated to love her, support her, cry for her and yes, fight for her. But not according to them. They even took away my opportunity to fight - to simply "ask" them if I can raise my daughter. They said, "thanks, but don't even ask".

I don't doubt that she'll know I've done everything I can do to keep her. I have spent years begging. I hired the best attorneys. I've spent over $100K. I've prayed as hard as Mary herself! I don't regret a minute. And I'd do it all another 816 days for just another day with her hand in mine. Just one more day twirling her around the mall with her little poodle purse - I would give a thousand lives.

So, today might be the third day of that first year but there will never be healing and I will never move on. I'm certain, however, that I'll be stronger and fight harder and someday I'll tell her I did everything I could - that I fought like a mother fights for her child - and she will be proud of me while I wait.

Thursday, February 15, 2007

Praying and Wishing and Pleading

Hush a bye Dont you cry
Go to sleep my little baby
When you wake You shall have
All the pretty little ponies

Can you see the little ponies
dance before your eyes
All the pretty little ponies
Will be there when you arise

Good night, my sweet girl. I'll meet you in your dreams.

Be Careful What You Wish For...

I've said I'm tired. I've said I'm ready. But now it's here and I'm scared to death. The Utah Supreme Court called yesterday to tell us they're ready to issue a ruling. I haven't talked a lot about this but I am assured that tomorrow, my daughter's life will be changed in some way.

This case began over three years ago and my guess is that they're getting a little tired of holding on to it. I don't blame them. And my hope is that they've gone over and over all the aspects of it - all the pro's and con's - not just law. So many times people forget about this little girl who's been torn from 1/2 her family. No matter what Gribble v Gribble says or Troxel v Granville, there are children who are loved in many different situations and it always will be! No matter how they rule tomorrow, our children are being born and being raised in families that aren't yet written into law. God, please hear me.

In many ways, I'm ready. The last three years have been very positive for us in that the courts, the Judges, the Commissioner, the Evaluators...all of them have ruled for Gracie's best interest. I live in a blood red State but still, they've looked past the fact that she has two moms and have simply sought to find what's best for her. So far, so good. My heart tells me that they will continue to protect her. It's my head that's killing me.

My head tells me that they've read all the briefs that say how unruly her mom has been. They've seen how she's in Contempt and how she refuses to comply unless it's on her terms. If they could only see us all together, they'd know what a fake she is. When I'm there, in her comfort zone, she's wonderful. We laugh and play and talk about good times. We cry and sit quietly and know what each other is thinking. If they knew those things, they'd know we would eventually work this out - for her.

I'm trying not to hold my breath. My heart beats softly as I think of her sweet face and her little voice. I pray that she knows I'm right there with her. And I pray that, after tomorrow, we will be that much closer to her always knowing I'll be right back.

Please hear me. She is depending on it.

Saturday, February 10, 2007

So Much For Waiting...

It's here. The much awaited, awful bill has shown it's language with full bigotry. I'm not sure if I spoke too soon or if they were just waiting until I was an inch off guard. Either way, it's back.

The bill has the same name as last year and worse, the same intent. The goal is to make it so in loco parentis isn't allowable to people like me - families like mine. Now it's time to gather the other non-bio moms out there to fight this damn thing. Again. The problem is, they don't come out. For some reason, they all think they'll never break up or nothing will ever happen that will put their child in jeopardy of losing them. It doesn't matter. If nothing does, great! But don't you think, as a parent, you'd fight just in case? As a great local attorney said last year, "where are all the mama bears?"

Another problem is that maybe we're not our best arguement. Do they really care that our children might not be protected? Do they care that a wicked lesbian might not be able to raise her daughter? We need step-parents and grandparents. We need the hetero's to come out in droves.

We might lose this one. We're hearing that it's a "done deal" and I suppose I'd be smarter to just focus on how to fight it once it passes. I'll do that too. But, until then, I'll fight it like I've fought this all along. In loco parentis is about a parent and child. It's not about gay marriage or any relationship between two adults. I'll fight because she's worth it. And every other parent after me and every other child deserves fairness and truth and justice.

Now where are my people?

Wednesday, February 7, 2007

A Lady in Waiting

I'm frustrated this morning.

Things in this state are crazy. I'm not sure how many of you have ever been here but, truly, we have people we actually ELECTED who just don't get it. There are bills this session to make sure foster children wait and wait until FINALLY a man & woman can adopt them because God knows that's way better than placing them right away with a single person or two parent co-habitating couple. Another bill that would BAN abortion, even though it's totally unconstitutional and will cost our state 4 million dollars to LOSE the case anyway. And then, of course, there are 3 or 4 bills that have these titles like, "Child Custody Amendments" & "Parent Time Amendments" and I'm certain they'll be all about my case so I check for language thirty times a day but NOTHING! Nothing so far! Yesterday, at noon, we were half way through the session so what are they waiting for? Are they waiting for the Supreme Court to rule because, c'mon! who isn't?

I'm feeling picked on just because I'm waiting. I'm always waiting on everyone else to decide my life. I'm asking strangers, "Can I see my daughter?" "Can I be a mother to her or any other child?" "Can I marry my partner?" "Can I make a decision about my own body?" When will it stop? I can go to court every six weeks or so and my attorney can tell me I'm doing everything right and every Judge and Commissioner and Child Psychologist agrees that my daughter does best when I am in her life continually but my ex, the wonder that she is, keeps breaking the law and snubbing the court system and we have to keep waiting and waiting and waiting.

And then I think about all these other women in my life who struggle with similar questions in their home states. My friend in Ohio whose ex has taken their baby away and her attorney doesn't know where to begin. My friend in North Carolina who I have to talk through panic attacks because she misses her son so painfully. My friend here who has custody of her child because the ex is a drug addict and has caused more grief to this child than we will ever really know! & the people before us who didn't have an opportunity to even fight for their kids because there was no one who dared to touch it. Before Lamda. Before NCLR. Before Lauren.

Enough of that. I'm having a hard time today. But I'm still hopeful and I'll be on my way as soon as I get the green light, baby. Hold on.

Tuesday, February 6, 2007

Six Years Ago

Six years ago, today, my daughter was conceived. It didn't happen by accident and there weren't candles and romance but there was plenty of love. I celebrate this day almost as much as her birth. A miracle happened and neither of us thought she'd come so soon. So many people try for months and months - including myself - but after three tries, there she was ... a little creation!

She was born very small and very early. She was healthy but she looked liked she'd fit in your pocket. I wondered if she'd ever get to face forward in her car seat. 4 lbs 10 oz. 17". And now she's five! She's a little, energy filled tom-boy who wrestles in princess dresses and high heels. She's so tall and so big. She's smart and sassy and I am more grateful for her than another other piece of this earth!

Six years ago, she was created...and I am thankful for every wish we made that morning that brought her here. I'm still making those wishes so I can finish watching her grow!

It was our third try and she is definitely a charm!

Thursday, February 1, 2007

Are you feeling it?

Happy February - the month of Love! I don't know about you but I can find pounds of love in my life and I'm grateful for every little piece.

Whether it's my partner, my mom, my daughter, Jesus, my friends - it's all over the place! I selfishly place people in my life that love me. Who doesn't? I learned to do this a long time ago. Every person in my life fills a roll. I do my best to serve a place for them too but I'm certain I gain far more than I give.

To begin, there's more than just the bodies in my life that fill me with love. There's blue sky, funny stories, high heels, yellow t-shirts, white socks, days with no wind, back rubs, baby strollers, love songs, old pictures, new pictures, good movies and Sundays.

On the other hand, I have the love of a wonderful woman. She is kind and caring. She's smart and funny. She's beautiful and even handy! (She hates when I call her handy but I think it's quite a quality.) My life, of late, seems to be trial after trial and still she's there every day to hold me up. This month, I'm going to do something special for her. But I'm not telling you because you might tell her.

I also have the love of a wonderful family. & I'm not sucking up because, I swear, none of them read this blog. Truly, my family has been through a lot with me and a lot, in general. Through it, we've remained terribly close and stronger still. My immediate family meets once a week for dinner and it's my favorite thing. I feel like a hypocrite saying that because if anyone ever misses, it's me. But when I'm there, I love every minute. And when I'm not, I'm wishing I were.

I have a five year old daughter who gives me more love than I've ever felt my whole life. No matter how often I see her, she fills me right up. Loving her back gives me such intense joy. It makes this world feel easy and beautiful and all she has to do is BE! There is nothing more loving than your childs hands on your face and I can always count on her for that. She defines the very feeling.

So, happy Month of Love ladies and gentlemen. Now, when you email me, you won't think I'm so pathetic and you'll know, instead, who/what keeps me breathing.