Amusement ride?

The awesome 10 year old that I get to hang out with most mornings and afternoons each week visited the Santa Cruz Boardwalk last weekend. She rode the Giant Dipper for the first time (the famed roller coaster featured in the great '80s vampire flick - before vampires were as trendy as they are now - The Lost Boys). Anyway, she was quite proud of herself for this accomplishment because, as she told me, she's "not really a roller coaster person."

And I realized, I'm not really a roller coaster person either. At least not of the emotional variety that we've been on lately. I used to really like them - the unexpected twists and turns, not being able to see what comes next at the top of the hill, the heart-pounding, stomach dropping into your feet adrenaline rush of it all. They never lasted long enough. I always wanted to go again. Now, I just feel like stop-the-dang-thing-I'm-going-to-puke-I've-had-enough-of-this-let-me-off-let-me-off-let-me-off! 

Listen, I know what you are thinking. The roller coaster metaphor is overdone when it comes to adoption and specifically waiting for placement. I once thought that too. Come on, how bad can it really be? Roller coasters are fun! I get it. I know. But believe me, there's a reason people use this example over and over again. Because a roller coaster is exactly what it feels like. You're up, you're down, you're all around. One day, you think you could have a baby soon. Then, it's Mother's Day and it feels like you'll never be a mother. Then, you get a call from the agency and there may be someone who might pick you. Or not. It's like the longest roller coaster ever and you're stuck on it for the foreseeable future with absolutely no sign the ride will ever end and the adrenaline rush is no longer fun but just makes you feel all anxious and panicky and exhausted.  At least that's how it makes me feel. 

I think I may have misrepresented the truth in one of my earlier blog posts. I may have made it sound like Shelley was the only one with control issues, the one having a hard time with this whole waiting thing. I don't think I meant to lie. I actually think I was okay. I think my Calvinist upbringing (I was raised Presbyterian) had me convinced that things would happen a certain way because they were predestined to. Huh, that was total autopilot. Now that I've stopped to examine it, I'm not so sure.

I am no longer amused by the "fun park" we seem locked in. I'm over all the merry-go-rounds, ferris wheels, and roller coasters. I feel old. I feel tired. I feel frustrated. I feel like I'm searching for someone in a crushing crowd of revelers - sometimes I think I catch a glimpse of them disappearing around the corner over by the corndog stand so I pick up the pace, dodging around the folks lined up for cotton candy, the happy couples strolling along holding hands, the over-tired toddlers in mid-meltdown - but then once I catch up I realize, nope, not who I thought it was. And I have to start looking all over again. Frankly, it's exhausting.

But what I have to remember, and this isn't always easy, is that my life - our life- is pretty freakin' great. We live in an amazing place. I have a "job" that allows me to spend time with one of the most creative, intuitive, funny kids I've ever met. We have friends, resources, access to healthcare, a yummy Indian restaurant that delivers on a Friday night when we don't feel like cooking. We are not making the unfathomably difficult choice to have someone else parent our child. And, not only do Shelley and I love each other, but after almost a dozen years together, we still dig each other. In fact, there is no one I'd rather have beside me on the thrill ride of life. But for now I'm going to hope it's more like a slow kiddie train than a roller coaster.

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