Posts for love

Taking Care of Myself Like I Take Care of My Daughter: Winter

Self-care - Allison Kenny - December 1, 2016

Alarm goes off and all

Beings pile into the big bed

Mama, Mommy, Roxie, Rufus

Heaven

 

Serious snuggling

Kisses and puppy games

A little morning light

Kitchen pajama dances

Cause all I want for Christmas is YOU

 

Nursing colds with hours and hours and hours in bed with books

Sipping tea from gold mugs on saucers

Sweet orange oil in her bath and mine

Smudge with sage and sweet grass and lavender

 

Let’s make posters about what we believe in, Mama

Give our money where it counts

Breathing in fear, breathing out safety

We’re all working hard to make sure the leaders we choose do what’s right, love

 

Smoothies with beets and pasta with bacon

Real wood in the fireplace

Hot water bottles

And so many twinkly lights

 

New running shoes for the Revolution

And daily walks, walks, walks

Family hugs inside a redwood grove

Can you feel the roots entwined under our feet?

 

Close friends close

Smiling at neighbors

Keeping the house clean, clean, clean

Early bedtime

Candles lit

 

Keep laughing, Mommy

I love it when you laugh

img_0201

Continue Reading

Dear Kids at School

Forever Family, Go Girl! - Allison Kenny - August 30, 2016

Dear Kids at School,

I know that when you see my little girl, you notice all the ways she is different from you. You see her glasses and her funny walk. You notice that she talks fast and loud, that she grabs the stuff from your hands without asking, how she sometimes tells everybody what to do. You see that it doesn’t take much to make her cry or make her mad or make her break the rules.  You notice that she is different than you. A different race. Has a different kind of family. Gets pulled from class for special ed. Why is she so weird…right? That’s what you want to know. Why is she so different?

Well, these aren’t the only things that make her unique. If you look closely, she has other qualities that might be harder to see. When you say hi, she’ll never ever ignore you. She’ll never leave you outside her house and say you can’t come in to play. She’d never ever want you to feel forgotten. In fact, my girl goes out of her way to make everyone feel special all the time. It’s her superpower. At home, she likes to put the toothpaste on the toothbrush for me and leave it out. A little surprise for me to find at bedtime. She leaves me notes and treasures and drawings of hearts that I find all over the house.  When our dogs were scared of the doggy door, she invented a contraption to hold it open for them. The first time she rode a horse, she petted it and kissed it and thanked it for the ride. You see, my girl’s heart is bigger than the heart of most people. That’s what actually makes her different. She’s sweeter than most. We could all learn something from her.

Another superpower she has is courage. She’s braver than most. Did you know the school you all go to is her 5th school in 4 years? She had to be brave and start over with new classrooms, new teachers and new kids every time. She did the same thing with families. Can you imagine walking into the house of brand new parents when you were 6 years old? Seeing your new room for the first time and wondering what this life would be like? Learning to trust brand new mommies and let them take care of you? That’s what my girl did. She had the courage to start a whole new life in a brand new town.  She had to say good-bye to everyone and everything she knew before. These are big good-byes. She had to have the courage to feel all those sad feelings and let her heart break so it could start to heal.

I can’t end this letter without talking about how hard my daughter works. You know that math packet you just got for 2nd grade homework? The same page of problems that takes you 15 minutes, takes her an hour. Oh no…it’s not because she is dumb. It’s because she was born 4 months early. Totally not her fault! But when kids are born early, their brains don’t get enough time to grow so they learn differently. Can you believe she never gives up? She doesn’t get to. She just has to work harder and harder- yes, harder than you so that she can learn the same things. She also works hard at making friends. She didn’t get to see people being good to each other when she was little, so she didn’t learn about things like sharing or taking turns like you did. She works very hard at this. She has a coach who comes every week and helps her learn to play well. She’s getting better and better at it. She has to work harder than most kids to do things like chew her food, tie her shoes, or even understand directions the teacher gives her. Pretty much all day, she’s working super hard to do things that most of you can do with no problem.

Wouldn’t it be great if you could cheer her on? What would it be like if she knew you were rooting for her instead of teasing her or leaving her out? What if you could see her sweetness, her courage, how hard she works?  What if you could help her along instead of push her down? I bet you’d feel good about yourself then. You could be so proud to know you were a good friend and accepted someone who is different than you. It would mean the world to her and  you…well, you would get a lot out of it, too. When we open our hearts and act kindly, we get to be happy. We get to be connected. We get to have more fun. How does that sound? You with me?

I can’t wait to see what you decide to do.

All the best,

Allison
Go Girls! Co-Founder
Kidpower Instructor
Mama

P.S. Speaking of having more fun,  join me in Berkeley on Sept 25th and see me perform live on stage. I’ll be celebrating magic and power we all have to be ourselves. Go Girls!  New to my blog? Follow me on Facebook, Instagram, or Twitter.

telling for blog post

RELATED BLOG POSTS

Wild_adoption_poem_school_bullying

What does it mean to be / Raising a black girl / While / Beyonce / Serves us / Lemonade?
Read more>>>

Drama_adoption_poem_school_bullying

Your teacher / Says / This class has / Too / Much / Drama / Going on
And indeed, it is very / Dramatic for one / Little / Girl / To say to another / “I’m going to cut your head off!”
Read more>>>

Continue Reading

Taking Space

Self-care - Allison Kenny - August 26, 2016

It’s the first day in 14 without my

daughter

and my nervous system is

screaming

I find

Refuge

in a kelly green vintage shrug

My coat of armor as I

Enjoy the quiet absence

of Her questions

and the Luxury

of being my own

Lunch Date

 

10 of these 14 days felt so wonderfully

Yummy

with my little girl

but then I started

Drowning

without the

Alone Time

that is my

Oxygen

 

Parenting can be so

Suffocating

If we choke on our

Children’s Needs

and forget our own

 

Here’s to me

Remembering

my right to

Silence and Space

 

And won’t it feel good

to miss her

I cannot wait

to miss her

Continue Reading

When Your Adopted Daughter Wants Your Haircut

Adoption Poems, Forever Family - Allison Kenny - July 25, 2016

When your adopted daughter wants your haircut
You might worry that saying yes means
Your own identity is too wrapped up in
Hers

You might wonder if
You’re being narcissistic
Or creepy
Or controlling

You might not think
Anything of it
Just a coincidence
That doesn’t matter at all

But when your adopted daughter says,
“Mommy, I want my hair to look just like yours”
You might hear
The thread of attachment
Growing taut

You might recognize the longing
To look like
The one who didn’t birth you
But who clearly
Loves you
Deeply

You might understand the impulse to merge
As sweetness coming from
Love that’s built one goodnight kiss
One skinned knee
One shared belly laugh
At a time

A simple haircut
Might be the way
To make the invisible
Visible

To dress up the concept of
Family
Into something tangible
The way people who get to share
Genetics
Do

When your Mothers
Look
Different
Than you

You claim them
Anyway
And when your
Daughter
Wants your haircut

You say yes

Continue Reading

How We Celebrated a Big Anniversary on a Little Budget

Gay Parenting, Love Wins, Uncategorized - Allison Kenny - June 29, 2016

If you don’t know already, Oakland is one of the priciest places to live in the country. As mampreneurs, my wife and I have had to get real about our spending since bringing our little Squirrel home. I looked to other mommy bloggers for inspiration about living an abundant life on a budget and came across some great stuff by Amiyrah on her blog, 4 Hats and Frugal. After watching her video on creating a family budget and reading some posts on 64 dollar grocery bills, I was ready to help our family shift some things…especially while living in the Bay Area!

But…a 10 year anniversary is very special thing. It only comes round…well, every 10 years. So what if we couldn’t afford the Hawaiin vacation I dreamt of? What COULD we do, given the income we have TODAY? Well, one of our favorite things of all time is to hole up in a nice hotel and eat a fancy picnic. For this anniversary, our “hotel” was a super clean house and gorgeous bunch of flowers my sister gave us to celebrate. We gave ourselves a $50 dinner budget and chose to spend it at Whole Foods, instead of our usual Trader Joe’s.

Fresh flowers + clean house + Whole Foods= ABUNDANCE IMG_2322

We hurried to pick out our all time favorite decadent cheese and some good wine. We rushed to get home in time for the massage therapists who were coming by. That’s right. Our “at home Hawaii” included side by side massages in our living room. Who knew you could book this the day before? Turns out Soothe is the Uber of massage therapy. Yes please!

IMG_2330

I’m aware that spending $200 on massages and $50 on a picnic is not considered a low cost night to most folks. BUT let’s be honest- a trip to Hawaii would have been 2-5K so I’d say we did pretty good. Plus, we chose this budget, based on Amiyrah’s fabulously frugal advice. Our new family budget has us spending 5% of our monthly income on entertainment and another 5% on personal expenses (aka massages!). This is after giving away 10% every month, saving another 10% and paying all our bills.

IMG_2321

It felt so good to know we were being choiceful and smart about the cash we earn AND got to celebrate our marriage according to our values- beauty, self care, fancy cheese…oh and FUN.

Do you think my wife of 10 years busted out the kareoke machine and insisted that we sing all the love songs that were played at our wedding? Oh yes. Yes she did.

Continue Reading

10th Anniversary

Love Wins - Allison Kenny - June 25, 2016

Ten years ago today

Our nieces & nephews sang

L is for the way you

Look at me

O is for the only one I see

V is very very extraordinary

E is even more than anyone that you adore

 

Ten years ago today

We promised to be ourselves and

Love each other

At the same time

To strive for

Interdependence

 

We danced on Pride Sunday

We ate BBQ in retro dresses

We produced our wedding TA-DAH  in the

Women’s Building

With so much help from family & friends

We flew to France and took centerstage

Before finding respite in each other’s arms

In that heat wave

20160625_154120

 

Ten years ago today

We didn’t know what was coming

The cervical cancer

Or memories of early abuse

The way our business would grow

Or who our daughter would be

 

We didn’t know

That gay marriage would become legal

Or that Black and Queer sanctuaries would get

Shot up

And how we’d all grieve

Our sense of safety

Shattered

Our connection

Deeper

 

Ten years ago today

We didn’t know that

Our marriage would be a sturdy

Tether

As the ground shook beneath us

 

We didn’t know how many divorces

We’d see around us

We didn’t know how deep and wide

Our love could

Stretch

 

That our roots would intertwine

Like a redwood grove

How we’d hold each other

Up

20160625_153944

How we’d make each other laugh

How we’d uphold those promises

Those vows

How our words would come alive

In action

How we’d make

LOVE

A verb.

Continue Reading

Welcome to (Dog) Wedding Season!

Forever Family, Love Wins, Tales from the Maxi Pad - Allison Kenny - June 16, 2016

A Flower Girl Prepares

A Flower Girl Prepares

I like to think that I’m really playful with my daughter. After working with other people’s children for a decade facilitating play and drama classes, I pictured myself being the kind of mom who gets on the floor and plays, you know?

The kind of mom who chases her little one on the playground pretending to be the monster that all the kids run from. The kind of mom who is happy to become a fairy princess with hot lava power anytime her child asks. Continue Reading

Continue Reading

6 Ways to Welcome an Adopted Child into Your Extended Family

Forever Family, Foster/Adoption, Parenting - Allison Kenny - June 7, 2016

So, last week we packed up our little Squirrel and hit the road. By now, we were old pro’s at traveling together and navigating the potential stress of hectic airports. She had her stuffy. Lollypop in her mouth. Mama Lynn’s hand. Special snacks in tow. We were ready. What I was not ready for was how beautifully, generously, and authentically my AZ family would embrace her when we arrived. Here are 6 things they did to make my girl feel like their girl…even if they aren’t related by blood. Continue Reading

Continue Reading

Caramel Corn or, What Scares You

Go Girl! - Allison Kenny - May 23, 2016

“Do one thing everyday that scares you,” Eleanor Roosevelt said.

Some days, for me, that means adopting an older child, or publishing our journey on this blog, or advocating for her special needs. Other days, it’s making caramel corn.

unnamed-6That’s right. I’ve been mustering the courage to make this recipe in my favorite cookbook for, like, a year. What makes caramel so scary? The way it bubbles? The fact that it can burn and stink up your house or worse, ruin your saucepan? Squirrel wanted to make it with me but her energy is too frenetic for me to include her this first time around. So I waited until the hour before she came home from school, buttered the biggest bowl I could find (and then a second one when that still wasn’t big enough) and got poppin’.

I have to tell you that I felt the joy of a little kid doing their first science experiment. Watching butter and maple syrup and raw sugar melt together is fun as it is. But when you add baking soda and almond extract (I was out of vanilla) then BAM!

Magic.unnamed-7

It spits and fizzes and swirls. It makes your home smell like heaven. Even if you spill half of it on the floor as you try stirring the gooey treat and your dogs get more of it than you do, you can still feel proud. Even though your kitchen might be trashed and you’re way to tired to deal with it anytime soon, you still deserve to celebrate.

Your kid and wife will walk through the door and smile in surprise at the scent of sugar in the air. “What is that!?” they’ll ask, beaming. You get to be smug and satisfied. You did something that scared you. You turned a regular afternoon into a memory. You made…caramel corn. Enjoy!

Continue Reading

A Squirrel-Sized Breakthrough

Go Girl!, Self-care - Allison Kenny - May 13, 2016

Maybe it’s the scent of summer in the air: talk of Go Girls! Camp, family vacations, and lots of time in the pool. Sometimes with trauma, a season change is enough to snap us out of fight or flight.

Maybe it was Mothers’ Day. We created an altar to celebrate and integrate the idea that 4 different mothers all belong to our little Squirrel. Maybe this ritual healed some part of her.

Maybe it was meeting her sweet doppleganger—a 6 year old boy that our best friends are adopting. She got to feel competent—like, “I went through that,”—and access her big sister self. She got to feel part of a club of kids with gay parents; kids who have past lives no one really understands. “I think maybe he’s my new brother, Mommy,” she said.

Maybe it’s the neurofeedback sessions we started. When crazy levels reached an all time high, we decided extra nervous system support was the way to go. Twice a week we go together, getting side by side treatments in hopes that our bodies can find some sense of peace.

Maybe it’s taking a forced break from a friend who she’s been fighting with at school. Their dynamic went from intense to a little toxic and the school has been supporting them beautifully to take space. We navigated conversations with the other girl’s parents with respect and a mutual concern for their emotional safety.

Maybe it’s that Lynn & I didn’t give up. We cried and tried every single thing we could think of to help this little girl feel loved. Maybe after months of testing us, we finally convinced her that she is safe here. That we are not going anywhere. (Even though we fantasized about it…Mexico anyone?)

I have no idea which of these interventions helped shift the tide of panic in her little system. Maybe all of them wove together like the blankets my Mom made each of us when we were little.

All I know is that this morning there was laughing instead of screaming. Last night, there were kisses instead of thrown objects. All week was filled with love songs and imagined mermaid dance-offs. Pet names and giggling. Piggyback rides and birthday parties for her bunny. We have our daughter back. I don’t know how long we have before trauma steps in again and steals her away from us but my plan is to soak up every precious moment we get.

Continue Reading