I could live like that

If you must know, I’m thriving with these work at home conditions.

I see my kids and interact with them SO MUCH MORE THAN I USED TO.

That alone makes me happy.

But also, I’m not struggling with staying at home because I have a lot of people in the house to occupy myself with.

I’m not nearly alone, like some people are.

And I’m scared of contracting COVID-19 so that makes staying at home A LOT EASIER.

Years ago, I would have sworn that I was an extrovert and that sheltering in place would have been hard on me.

But given the ease with which I’ve taken to it (perhaps in part by gaining 10 hours a week not commuting), I’m wondering if my older self is not just a tad more introverted than my 20 year old self.

Maybe it’s just middle age setting in.

Oh, don’t get me wrong.

I miss my friends and CAN’T WAIT to see them.

But driving my big truck, paying for gas, fighting for a (big enough) parking spot – I could easily give it all up.

It makes me think of Amsterdam in the Netherlands, where people get around by bike.

I could live like that.

Easily.

Fruit basket

I don’t think I’ve ever told my most favorite story about my father.

I had just given birth to my eldest son Duncan, after suffering through the stillbirth of my son Douglas.

My ex-husband and I were at home with our newborn and I was so intense following Duncan’s birth that I barely slept for a week.

I think I had maybe 8 hours total sleep in 7 days.

It’s was awful and exhausting.

I thought I had to be perfect and soothe the baby every time he cried.

My parents came over to visit and I BURST INTO TEARS.

Everything was wrong.

Nothing was working out right.

I was a terrible mother because I couldn’t manage my little family.

That’s how I felt.

The feelings I was having manifested themselves in a wailing cry.

My dad asked what was wrong.

I simply told him I was upset because all the beautiful fruit I bought before going in to the hospital had spoiled and wasted.

And it was true, I was VERY upset about that fruit.

My dad took it upon himself to go to the store (and I don’t think my dad has grocery shopped EVER since my mom always does it) and he picked out the JUCIEST, RIPEST, MOST BEAUTIFUL FRUIT you can imagine.

He bought two of everything they had in the store, I think, from bananas to pineapples, apples to plums.

He brought a MASSIVE basket of fruit over our house and presented me with it.

Which started me crying ALL OVER AGAIN because it was just the SWEETEST gesture.

I’ll never forget the kindness he showed me that day.

If you know my father, you know he’s not prone to demonstrate love through traditional channels.

This is how he chose to tell me he loved me and that everything was going to be okay.

And it was.

Fingers Crossed

Elon Musk took his FIVE sons to a pumpkin patch.

That’s right.

The CEO and founder of SpaceX and Tesla, Inc. has FIVE sons.

I’m less concerned with how something like that happened and more concerned with how wonderful and chaotic it must be to be the father of FIVE BOYS.

I know it was CRAZY with my two.

Elon’s five boys remind me how very badly I want to have more children.

I thought for sure it would happen in the years after I got divorced.

I was sure I’d meet someone special, settle down, and maybe have a girl or two.

Or another boy.

I’ll always feel like my family is too small since I lost Douglas and Ruby.

Missing children.

It is my lot in life to carry around the burden of having lost children.

I have, by no means, cornered the market in this area and I am aware there are bigger burdens than mine.

Still.

I want more kids.

Now, I’ve TOTALLY given up on the idea of having more kids of my own.

I’m too close to the tail end of raising my boys to turn around and start all over.

But reading about Elon Musk’s abundance of children, I am struck with the hope that perhaps, if I’m lucky, I will meet someone special who has children of his own.

The game is not lost, my friends.

I could still wind up with a girl or another boy.

I am struck, given my own adoption background, how families are made in all different ways.

I happen to have two mothers and two fathers, an abundance of siblings (six), and even more cousins, aunts and uncles.

So I know better than anyone that more than blood makes a family.

There’s hope for me.

I might get more kids yet!

Fingers crossed.

 

Love Letters

This Valentine’s Day, I’m inspired to write love letters.

I know, I know, I HATE this holiday!

Why participate at all?

I guess on some level recognizing the love in my life resonates with me even if the holiday reminds me I’ve been single for fucking ever.

I was thinking this year I would write love letters to my family.

Tell them how much I love them and how much they mean to me.

Really personalize each letter.

Let my family and birth family know how much I love them.

Because they really are AMAZING people and I’m lucky to have them in my life.

And then I’d start in on my friends.

Because Lord knows that friends can be as close as family sometimes, if not closer.

I’ve got a lot of friends who support me who I’d like to send a love letter too.

What started me down this path, you ask?

Well I was on Facebook the other day watching people post public comments criticizing two people I love very much and I thought to myself that the only way to combat that kind of trash talk is to shower my friends and family with love.

And that’s exactly what I’m going to do.

Dysfunction

My boys complain year round about how weird our family is.

  • A blind grandfather who is cranky pretty much 24-7.
  • A grandmother hooked on caregiving and babies.
  • A single mom struggling to figure out life and balance her social life with her family life.

From my sons’ vantage points, we look like cartoon people, with magnified faults and very little to admire.

I try to explain to my boys that EVERY FAMILY is DYSFUNCTIONAL in it’s own way.

They live our family day in and day out so they get to know all our flaws.

Of course their friends’ families seem stable and functional. Those are families they only VISIT from time to time so they never see the weird inner working of those families.

Eventually, as you grow up and out of teenage angst, I think you come to VALUE your weird family members in all their DYSFUCTIONAL glory because you start to see the good qualities they possess as well.

For instance, my dad may be a cranky blind man but he is the most generous man when it comes to his friends and family. He’s always up to buy you dinner or share a glass of wine with you. Nothing makes him happier than hearing his grandson’s’ laughter.

And my mom, though she may have an unusual obsession with taking care of little ones also is the FIRST ONE who will get in line to help you with a GRUELING TASK – like cleaning up after a party or straightening up your house.

And me? We’ll I might do odd things like go to Burning Man and wear costumes, but I will always go the extra mile for my friends and family, when they need a little help.

The trick is, and I think my sons miss this ENTIRELY, that you have to focus on all the positive things about your family when there are negative things you can focus on as well.

No one is perfect.

But if I had to be born and do it all over again, I’d choose the exact same people to go through life with as I had this go round.

It’s the most wonderful time of the year

It’s my favorite time of year.

The time when I get to pick out presents for my loved ones and show them how much they mean to me.

This year, I’m focusing on my nephews – or The Littles as I call them.

Because my brother and I each had two sets of boys.

Mine are the BIG boys and his are the LITTLE boys.

Hence, The Littles.

It’s an easy way to distinguish between them when we’re discussing “the boys.”

This year, for Christmas I purchased two sets of white cotton pajamas.

Boring, plain old cotton pajamas.

Then I got a tie dye set from Amazon so that The Little can MAKE THEIR OWN PJS!

They love tie dye and I think they’ll enjoy working with all the colors to make something unique and handmade.

Every year, I always get them a personalized ornament with their names and the year and THEIR HALLOWEEN COSTUME.

My oldest nephew was the grim reaper:

My youngest nephew was a zombie from Minecraft:

It’s not easy finding their costume every year on an ornament.

Last year, my youngest nephew was Venom.

I had to commission a Venom ornament from etsy to complete his gift.

This year, I’m also getting something different – a ten inch “layer cake” of white fabric and fabric pens.

I noticed that both boys are really artistic and I thought wouldn’t it make a great gift for their mom (my best friend from 5th grade – yes, my brother married my best friend) to have them design fabric squares over the next few months that I can then make into a quilt for her?

I sure am crafty when it comes to presents and I hope The Littles enjoy what they get.

Rainbow baby

The road to parenthood has not been an easy ride for me.

From the beginning I struggled with fertility issues.

Granted, I was 25 years old when I started trying and I had years ahead of me to be successful in my quest to have children, but the steps there were filled with fertility treatments and unfortunately, pregnancy loss.

I admire women who get pregnant and just assume everything will be okay.

After my first loss – a stillbirth at 22 weeks – I never took my pregnancy for granted again.

I stressed and worried and bothered my OBGYN in ways you can’t even begin to imagine, insisting on extra ultrasounds and additional testing to be sure that everything was okay.

No amount of reassurance could convince me otherwise.

I have been pregnant six times but only have two living children.

My first pregnancy ended in stillbirth when it was discovered that my son Douglas had a large tumor growing off the base of his spine – a sacrococcogeal teratoma.

Google it if you want to see what it looks like, but be forewarned, it’s not pretty.

It’s called a “monster-making” tumor for a reason.

Douglas was born still on September 22, 1998.

He was perfect in every way except for a giant tumor on which his little legs rested.

To add insult to injury, Douglas’ body was thrown out with the hospital laundry by accident so it took a few extra days to recover him, cremate him, and hold a memorial for him.

Not all my family was supportive.

My mother-in-law didn’t even bother to attend the memorial.

After Douglas, I lost three babies between 8 and 12 weeks.

I also lost a little girl named Ruby at 16 weeks.

She was physically perfect and genetically nothing was wrong with her chromosomes.

It’s just one of those things that happens, I was told.

Recently, another loved one’s loss has brought all these feeling bubbling to the surface again and it was with tears in my eyes that I embraced her, knowing that she’s reluctantly joined the same club I joined all those years ago when I lost Douglas.

The club for women who will never be able to sail through a pregnancy like women who haven’t experienced a loss.

Worst club in the world, if you ask me.

But we’re there for each other.

There are meet ups for pregnant women who are pregnant again after a loss.

And they call subsequent babies “rainbow” babies to signify how even after a loss, something beautiful can be created.

My love to you.

You know who you are.

Spoonflower Sale!

Spoonflower is having a sale on fat quarters.

For those of you who don’t know what a fat quarter is, it’s when you get a quarter yard of fabric that’s 18 inches by 20-22 inches instead of 9 inches by 40-44 inches.

It’s a FAT quarter yard, hence the name.

Spoonflower has the MOST DELIGHTFUL fabrics on the internet and if I was a rich retiree, I’d spend thousands of dollars buying their fabrics for my quilts.

They’ve literally got every design you can possibly think of.

My niece is turning 12 this year and while there’s no way I can possibly make a quilt in time for her birthday this November, I’m putting a quilt in the queue for her.

Hopefully I’ll get to it in the next 6 months.

This is the design I am looking at online, but instead of being pink and orange, I’m making it BLUE AND VIOLET (on my cousin Jennifer’s recommendation).

It’s a 16-patch combined with a pinwheel, in an on-point (diagonal) pattern:

quiltJust because I want to see all the fabrics in one place, I’m posting them here for you to see.

Most have some sentimental meaning to either me or to my niece.

Here are all the blue fabrics I’ve selected:

And here are all the violet fabrics I’ve picked out:

Yes, I’m aware there’s Daryl Dixon from the Walking Dead in there.

My niece happens to be a HUGE fan so I have to work it in somehow.

The rest of the fabric makes me think of her = be it baby chihuahuas, wizard fabric, or footballs (go Niners!).

Can’t wait to get started on this quilt, right after I finish the three I’m already working on!

One lucky baby

I post this every year.

I couldn’t be happier that I’m reunited with my birth family and finally know my birth story.

So, here we go again. . .

IT’S MY BIRTHDAY!

I was born first to Paul and Sherri, two teenagers living in Sonoma. They accidentally conceived me in a treehouse during their eighth grade year in school.

Sherri was sent to live with her aunt and uncle in San Jose to await my birth.

I was born on November 2nd. I was a forceps baby and I came out with a banged up, scratched up head (see pic below) but no worse for wear.

Alice and “Mario”, my parents, got the word that I’d been born and I’d be joining my 5 month old sister Lisa. My dad got to the hospital and looked at his itty bitty newborn daughter and declared that I looked like a frog on account of my legs stuck out sideways.

Screen Shot 2015-10-26 at 4.19.46 PMI will forever be grateful to Sherri and Paul for putting me up for adoption. I was lucky enough to meet them when I was 22 and they have been a part of my life ever since.

IMG_7821Nothing pleases me more than explaining to people how lucky I am to have two sets of parents who love and adore me.

I am one lucky baby.

Happy Birthday to me!

Girlfriends

Girlfriends.

We’ve all got them.

A long time ago, I realized that the quality of my life was dependent on the quality of my friendships.

The better the friendships, the better my life.

Sex and the City gives us an idea of how integral a woman’s friendships are to her health and happiness.

I’m fortunate to have several really good friends and several new friends who help complete my life.

If you can measure the quality of my life by the quality of my friendships then I, my friends, am WINNING!