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WE HAVE MOVED TO A NEW SITE!!! http://www.mommyhood-shivonne-costa.squarespace.com/ As of June 18, 2015, this is our new location. Please come join us!! I started blogging the week I got married. I thought it would be nice to blog the full first year, you know, to cherish those memories and share them with my family and friends. Little did I know, it was going to be my greatest coping skill for the craziness that comes with marriage! I found writing to be a fantastic way to reframe an ugly marital spat into a humorous event, allowing me to smile at the situation by the end of the post. And now, I am honored to share my struggles and joys of fostering, adopting, birthing, and raising 4 beautiful children. It's my hope that others gain laughter and new ways to see their own frustrating life situation through my writing. Because I love to write! PS, look for me on Facebook - "Mommyhood-Shivonne Costa"

Tuesday, April 30, 2013


     There are times in life when you're suddenly faced with the possibility of a horrible life event. The imminent death of a loved one, losing your job, or a grave financial disaster, just to name a few. But in each of these instances, whether the outcome is dire or whether it works out in your favor, the excruciatingly painful waiting is the same. 
     Tonight, my heart is breaking in half with the anticipation of a horrible life event. Our baby boy may be taken from us in a very short time, pending the results of a simple mouth-swab paternity test. 
     It's so hard to think that a small piece of cotton mixed with a small bit of DNA could change my life and the life of my family forever. What do I say to my other two children? How do my husband and I process the thousands of feelings raging inside? Who do I turn to that has any clue of what I'm going through? The very answer to all this fear and anxiety is sitting on the end of a Q-tip in a lab somewhere, waiting to destroy or save me as we are forced to wait to see who "wins" the life of our son.
     This baby holds the key to so many spoken and unspoken prayers that have been offered up from my lips to God's ears. He is my favorite part of the day, my smile when I arrive home, and my precious cuddle at night. I'm the one that knows the position he likes to be held in just as he drifts off to sleep. I'm the one that can tell he has even the slightest fever, with just the touch of my cheek. I'm the one that can read his smiles, interpret his cries, and find his secret tickle spots. I'm the one that gives him baby massages and trims his nails. I'm the one that cleans out his ears and nose, lotions his skin, and sings him to sleep. I'm the one he smiles at and knows. I am his Mother....
     And yet, how can I hate someone for being his possible father? How can I be angry that he may take HIS child from me? No. I don't hate this man. What I do hate is that I have no idea where to place these awful emotions. Who gets to be the bearer of the mountains of blame that I want to pour out in a fit of tears and rage? Who will be the recipient of my gut-wrenching sobs and rants? No one. There is no one to blame. How could I possibly be mad at anyone for wanting this amazing child? Anyone who has met him would want him in an instant! I've acted like he's all mine... I selfishly fantasized him as a Costa, his first day of Kindergarten, what he will look like when he's in grade school, what type of man he will become. I unguardedly loved someone that was never mine in the first place. I assumed that this was God's gift to me because I have been unable to have my own babies... but what if I was just a stepping stone to the rest of his life? What if I was here to love him unconditionally for 6 months as a holding place until he could be united with a man that didn't even know he existed?
     If that is the case.... if my son is to be nothing more to me than a temporary glimpse of the dreams I have always wanted to come true, then I will be left with a memory of what it is to have mothered the most wonderful baby boy in the entire world. And he will never remember that he had me as his mother at all. I have no idea how to make my heart, mind, or soul understand such a tragedy. I don't know how to grieve someone I wasn't supposed to fall in love with, someone that is still alive, and someone that will soon forget my very existence. His biological father has no idea what he's missing... but I would be painfully and desperately aware of Isaac's absence from my arms.
     And so, tonight, I ask all of you Mommies, Daddies, and Grandies to join with me in a prayer. I want what is best for my son. Perhaps that's not me. And if that's the case, pray that there would be a supernatural strength that comes to take over my body when my heart breaks open. But if God should see fit to leave his little angel in mine and my husband's care, then please pray that this waiting game that we are forced to play will not be the death of our spirits. Thank you so much for your love, support, and encouragement.

Tuesday, April 23, 2013

Insanity, Survival, Motherhood

     There was a time in my life that I struggled greatly with insomnia. I would be awake for days without relief. Weeks would pass with no more than 2-3 hours of sleep; months would turn into blurry hazes as I stumbled from place to place, conversation to conversation, just trying to feel like a normal human.
                                                                And then I had kids.
     Now, I live in a blurry haze, stumbling from place to place, conversation to conversation, just trying to feel like a normal human.... but I do it with the added benefit of sleeping, yet never feeling rested. I used to lie awake at night, willing myself to sleep... and now I lie in bed as the sun comes up, willing myself to wake up from my partial coma. Some call it insanity, some call it survival. I call it Motherhood. I almost crave the times that I could be awake in the night, unable to grab a little shut eye. Just think about that.... if a mom could manage to go all night with no more than an hour or two of sleep, think of all that could be accomplished?? It almost makes me giddy to imagine vacuuming my car at midnight, scrubbing the floors at 2 am, making a meal plan around 4, and then winding down with a good book before the kids wake up and it's time to start all over again (I have 4 books I've been meaning to read.... my end date is called "Graduation". I figured it better to make my goal realistic). Those years of sleepless nights spent fretting, glaring at the second hand of the clock as it noted each minute passing that I WASN'T sleeping while Chuck Norris droned on in the background about the latest fitness product being sold on the 10th infomercial of the night.... those years were filled with such wasted time! I should've been anticipating my future all those nights ago. I could have made soup to freeze for the time that I would have too many kids to make soup for. I could have mapped out the quickest way to fold clothes with a baby on one hip and a 7-year-old messing up the piles. I SHOULD HAVE BOUGHT ONE OF THOSE AB ROLLERS FROM CHUCK NORRIS!!!
     But now, I don't even have the time to exercise. I don't have time to go out to dinner with friends. And if we don't schedule a date night once a month, I wouldn't have time for other "festivities" either. In fact, it's come to my attention that I have a more intimate relationship with my snooze button than I do my husband. The snooze button. What I once considered a ridiculous alarm clock feature, meant to promote laziness and annoying noise, used solely by the unambitious and unmotivated slugs of this world, I now consider to be my greatest coping skill / best friend. My snooze button fills a void in me that I didn't even know I had. It allows my still-exhausted mind to escape from the reality of morning in 8 minute intervals, which is sometimes the only escape that my full day will allow. I cherish those moments. I would Instagram those moments. (Don't judge, you people that take umpteen pictures of your DINNER every night. We get it. You ate. Here's your medal!)
     And when I've finished dreaming of Chuck's luscious beard, and I've worn out the button on my snooze, and I've "showered" for work (I slept in... something had to be eliminated! Besides, I showered yesterday... wait, that was yesterday that I showered, right? Crap.), I pour myself a week's supply of Folgers, all creamed and sugared to perfection, and then I pray that traffic parts like the Red Sea for me as I make my journey to work, picking sleep from my eyes and rubbing pillow marks from my face along the way.
     Then I work for 8 hours (just therapy... nothing mentally and emotionally exhausting or anything), come home, make a divine dinner... or chicken patties, clean up the dinner mess, attend meetings/sports/school events for the kids, do (I mean help) my kids with their homework, get them showered, snacked, and primed for bed, read them a book, say prayers, do tuck ins, and then I get to keep the baby up as late as possible so he'll sleep through the night (all the while prepping songs for church on Sunday morning, paying bills, picking up toys from around the house, pealing the dried boogers and baby food off my shoulders and out of my hair, doing my devotions, returning all the emails and texts I missed throughout the day, and sitting down to write.... my personal favorite!)
     But do I accomplish all of these things? No. And why is that? Because I don't have insomnia. I have kids. That's why. Some call it insanity, some call it survival. But I call it Motherhood.

Tuesday, April 16, 2013

Missing Her

     The statement that I have been dreading for the last year finally came. I always knew that it would, but I assumed it would be when one of my children was angry at me, or after they got in trouble for doing something they shouldn't have. But I wasn't prepared for the statement to arrive, without warning, in the middle of pleasant days and positive behavior. And I certainly wasn't prepared to hear it from my 5-year-old, who lives more in the moment than any other person I've ever known.
      I miss my Mommy. The words hung in the air as she looked at me with more true emotion than I'm used to from her. What do I say? What in the world is the correct response to this? "I'm sorry," isn't going to cut it, and I don't want to show her the hurt that just crept into my heart. And yet there she is.... waiting for me to say something. Anything.
     A mere 12 hours prior, we found her sleeping with a picture of her biological mother and brothers. It was tucked under her pillow, just the corner tab protruding out. I stared at the picture for such a long time. I noticed that she looks so much older now than she did in that picture. She still has the same shorts, but I'm pretty sure they won't fit her by the time summer really hits. Her bangs were cut so short and she squinted against the sun as she looked to the camera. Her eyes looked so different then.
     As I tucked her in that night, I felt two pangs of sadness. One was for her, and the other for me. The following morning is when she let the bomb drop with words that caused me to choke on my heart just a little bit. I miss my Mommy. Mommy. That's supposed to be my name.... but I'm "A Mommy". She didn't say that she missed A Mommy... she misses her Mommy. Maybe it's because I was rushing to get ready for work, or because the words caught me off-guard while I applied my mascara in the mirror. But the heaviness of her statement followed me throughout my day like a rain cloud, slowly catching up with me until finally settling above my mind. By the end of the day, I felt drenched by the weight of her words.
     Cameron, my son, told Taylor that she was free to move out if she didn't like it here (however, he later realized that his only playmate would then be gone, so he graciously told his sister that she could stay). Taylor informed me that she would ask the judge to move back "home", but it's too late because she's already adopted. She waited too long, she said. I talked with her as much as I could in the 4 minutes I had to get out the door for work, and she asked if we could keep talking about it when I got home. "Sure," I told her. And then I immediately realized that I have no idea how to explain this entire situation to a little person! I thought long and hard throughout the day of all the main points I wanted to stress to her... 1) That she was CHOSEN. No other little girls were chosen to be my daughter. We chose her. 2) Your mom was unable to take care of you. She will always love you, but she made choices that weren't good or safe for you to be around. And then there was 3) You'll understand more when you're older. Just know that I love you. You've had three Mommies.... but you're my only daughter. And I'm glad it's you.
     Upon arriving home, my daughter with the selective memory of an elephant, reminded me that we needed to finish our talk. And so we did. As I sat on her Dora bedspread, I gave her my three-point speech in a way that could've received an Emmy (if Emmy's were given to people that sometimes trip over their words and say "um" way more than necessary). In return, she told me the things she missed about the first 4 years of her life... things that only a child would think of. And then she came up with reasons why it's better to live here, with me.
     "I have clean clothes instead of having to wear dirty ones over and over. I have my own bed and room with toys in it. I have LOTS of shoes. And you teach me to be good.... And I don't have to understand things now, but I will when I get taller, right?"
     She hit the nail on the head, she did. Sadly, she is very short.... so I fear it's going to be a while. But my little girl seemed satisfied with our conversation, and that's all that matters in the end, really. Afterwards, I even allowed her to use baby talk and act like a toddler with me. It seemed like she needed it. Maybe it's here way of "nesting" in her new home. Maybe it's what will help her feel like she's getting to be a baby with her new Mommy. Maybe if she gets some of what she should've received back then, she won't miss her old life so much. I know there are plenty of things in my life that I've said goodbye to... even things that were bad for me. It's weird that you can still miss something or someone that was so unhealthy... But I suppose that is human nature. One day, when Taylor is taller, she'll understand that, too.

Tuesday, April 9, 2013

Alien Invasion

     Babies are so cuddly. They're smiley and tiny and they just smell soooo good.... And then they projectile vomit and it makes you pretty much convinced that Sigourney Weaver is going to show up just in time to see the evil force of an alien emerge from your baby's stomach, because SURELY nothing that powerful and vile could come out of your small, sweet child. The laws of physics only allow such demonstrations of force when we look at the ant. One tiny bug can carry up to 50 times its own body weight.... and I'm pretty sure my little Bug has puked with at LEAST that much strength this weekend. 
     Another reason that I'm pretty sure my baby has an alien inside of him is the sheer amount that has come back out of him recently (take your pick which end). Since having the flu bug, Isaac really hasn't eaten much at all. So doesn't it seem just a tiny bit suspicious that he is capable of barfing enough to create his own milky kiddy pool? I mean SERIOUSLY! It made legit puddles around him! We're talking splashable, people!!! If nothing was put INTO my baby, nothing should be coming OUT of my baby.... unless another life form has taken over his digestive track.
     Those of you who get queasy easily may want to stop reading (but my guess is that those people probably stopped reading in the first paragraph).
     Let's talk about the diaper situation for just one minute. Now, I had other mommies tell me that baby poo gets worse.... much, much worse. And I get it. Kids grow, so does the poop. Kids squirm during diaper changes, poop gets squished into places it shouldn't. Makes sense. But holy crap! (that was a crappy pun....)  I was anticipating bigger poo in a few months or so, when the solid foods started. But sick baby poo is sooooooo much worse! Poor little man's diaper didn't stand a chance against this alien invasion (Ralph... let's just give him a name already... We all know he's in there!) The up-the-back incidents were the worst, really. My husband, who was lucky enough to have his own alien this week (we named him "Ooohhh God, WHY?!?", got the most of the Ralph And Isaac Show. He changed more diapers and, subsequently, outfits than anyone else. But the final encore was saved for us both. I fear that Ralph may have blown out the baby's bum hole, because there's just no way it could've gotten all the way up Isaac's back and onto his arms  any other way.
     And just as the weekend came to a close and we said goodbye to Ralph and Oooohh God, WHY?!?, I heard a knock on my own intestines. Guess who?