Family Day 8/27/2010

Two years ago today, I held beautiful Baby Mason in my arms for the first time. I spent the day driving from Perryville, Missouri to Baton Rouge. My mind was so preoccupied with thoughts of being a mother, I couldn't listen to the radio. I only heard of the impending hurricane from my own mother who heard the national news. When I finally got close to Baton Rouge, I pulled over and rented a room at a Day's Inn in Denham Springs. I asked the attendant at the front desk for directions to a grocery store. He directed me to some small neighborhood store, and I remember that the drinking water was already gone from the shelves. I bought some Gatorade and some canned food. It seemed like the time passed so slowly waiting for the call to pick up Mason. I was concerned that I would not have a place to stay since all the rooms had been previously booked by people driving up from New Orleans to get away from the impending hurricane. My cousin Krista and I checked all the Internet websites like Hotels.com. We couldn't find a single room available in the entire state. By the time I got the call to pick up Mason, I was frantic. Margie from Beacon House asked me why I was crying. "I'm going to be homeless with a baby," I said. I remember her telling me that this was supposed to be the happiest day of my life. It didn't feel that way right then. I had a hard time finding Beacon House. When I finally arrived, we had paper work to do before Mason showed up. Then Melissa who had been taking care of him brought him in. He was so tiny. I almost felt scared to hold him. Margie said, "you can hold the baby". He looked so cute in his little white outfit. By the time I left Beacon House, Mason was crying. We had a hard time getting him to fit securely in the car seat. I drove off into the dark, stormy night. I got lost, and I almost hit a deer. Mason was hungry and screaming. I finally found a gas station and pulled over to get my wits about me. I remember asking myself: if it never gets any better than this, can you do it? I could and would. I finally got my bearings straight, made it back to the motel, and realized I was a mom.
Mason cried all night. I didn't know it at the time, but he was allergic to formulas made from milk. A few days went by, and we finally moved over to Pam and Jim's house. They were (are) professors at LSU. They are some of the kindest "strangers" I've ever met. I weathered the hurricane at their home. After it was over, I went outside with Mason. We looked at all the destruction and broken trees. LSU had generators, so the next day, we made our way over to Jim's office. We were able to weather the heat and humidity by staying in classrooms at LSU. Their cafeteria was operating, too. After a few days I got the call that Wisconsin had accepted the ICPC, and I started making my way north. I cried when I waved goodbye to Pam and Jim. I followed the storm north and passed a caravan of rescue and power trucks heading south. My experience adopting Mason was one that I never could have imagined. There are times that it feels like the hurricane has continued for the past two years, but he's worth it. He's added a twirl to his dance moves. His choreography gets better every day.

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