Thankful

Well, sending love letters to my loved ones is still a project underway.

Given these unsettling times, I told everyone over a Chipotle dinner that I loved them.

That my children are the best things to happen to me.

And honest to God, they are.

Followed closely by the blessing of my parents.

Being adopted by them was a streak of good luck.

Of course, everyone snickered, and my eldest asked if I was feeling okay.

No, I’m not OKAY.

I’m worried.

Nervous about the future.

Suddenly I am thankful for the most mundane of things: a deep breath of air, a slice of chocolate cake, a sunrise. . .

My birthfamily too.

So if you were to ask me how “shelter-in-place” is going, I’d have to tell you I’m in THE BEST company.

If they’re not here with me, they’re close to me, carried in my heart.

And it feels good to remember how special they are to me.

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.

Birthday!

My birthday is coming up!

Last year I hosted a Bohemian Rhapsody themed birthday party at the premiere of Bohemian Rhapsody, the Freddie Mercury biopic.

Two years before that, I hosted a pirate’s pub crawl in Campbell with my friends.

All very fun.

This year, I’m going to my aunt and uncle’s house in Castro Valley to celebrate a late Halloween party.

I’m dressing up as a Lizzo-inspired performer.

Quite frankly, that’s as close as I can get to that bad ass bitch.

I’m excited, however.

Getting another year older is NBD.

It’s a luxury denied to many so I remind myself as I start to feel my creaking knees and spot gray hair on my head that I should be thrilled.

Lord knows that but for the grace of God, or the unraveling of the universe, I might not be where I am today.

Celebrating my birthday with family and friends.

I plan to celebrate my birthday for as long as I can and see as many friends and family as possible.

It’s just a BONUS that there’s costumes involved.

Woot!

The Silver Lining

There’s always a silver lining, or so they say.

It seems unspeakably wrong to have anything good come out of an active shooter situation.

The tragic loss of life and the incredible suffering of those affected by the horror of the shootings at the Garlic Festival far outweigh any positive outcome I could mention.

But I’ll mention it anyway.

People have come out of the woodwork to tell me how much they love me.

Just today, I got a video chat from my friend Michelle telling me how much she loves me and how glad she is that I’m safe.

My boys hugged me like they haven’t seen me in years.

I got calls from longtime friends asking how I’m doing and do I need to talk.

Nadine took me out to dinner Wednesday night.

It was the first time I’d seen her since the shooting.

I hugged her like time would never end.

Barbara called me up in tears, so worried that I came that close to an active shooter.

Everyone is so thankful that the new guy and I left early and weren’t there for the shooting.

It’s enough to make a grown woman cry.

And I did.

In the wake of the shooting (and The Swede’s engagement), I find myself comfortably cocooned in the love and affection of my friends and family, making a difficult week somewhat bearable.

Out of necessity, I think we all inhabit a place where life is less tentative and fragile than it is, until something happens to shock us out of our fog and make us aware that life is fleeting.

I’m living in that space right now.

Our capacity for causing pain is enormous.

All you need to do is read the headline news.

But it is surpassed by our ability to love, help, comfort and provide joy.

In the end, once I’ve moved through this painful place, that is what I’ll take away.

Family

Saturday, I got a little bit tipsy and declared my love for my birth family in EPIC form – with a tear-filled statement I made at my aunt’s barbecue.

As it happened, I was listening to my sister-in-law talk and she was so funny, I just felt overwhelmingly grateful for her and for my whole family who showed up to barbecue with me.

They have my heart, you know.

No, they’re not perfect.

Yes, there’s sometimes conflicts that need to get resolved.

But overall, these people who are my blood relatives?

Well, I’m thankful they’re in my life.

My aunt spent two days prepping and cleaning up for the barbecue at her place and was kind enough to host me.

After the barbecue, I spent the next day at my birth mother’s 60th birthday party where a HUGE group of family and friends showed up to fete her in all her glory.

No one is as funny, kind, and loving as my birth mother and I attribute all of my sweetness and some of my sassiness to her.

I am blessed a million times over to have such wonderful people in my family and I’m so glad I got to spend an entire weekend celebrating them.

Party time!

Lately, I’ve been so busy I’ve missed out on some awesome family parties.

My aunt joked that if she wanted me to come to one of her parties, she’d need to make me a hostess with her.

And that’s exactly what she’s done.

My aunt and I are throwing a backyard BBQ summer party in June.

It’s going to be so. much. fun.

The last time we did this was nearly two decades ago and my great-grandmother let us use her home for the party.

What fun we had!

There was a silly string war.

And awesome baby back ribs.

I don’t get to see my birth family as much as I should so I’m dedicating an entire weekend to hanging with my blood.

First, I’ll have my BBQ with my birth father’s side of the family, then a 60th birthday party for my birth mom.

I’m really looking forward to it.

And just because my aunt is the family photographer, here are a couple of pics from previous parties:

Boom!

I heard from The Swede!

Yes, it’s been weeks since we communicated and I was getting used to the silence when all of a sudden, WHAM!

He messaged me.

As it turns out, since Sweden is 9 hours ahead of California time-wise, it was Valentine’s Day in Sweden and so The Swede wished me a Happy Valentine’s Day.

Bold move, considering I posted for almost a week about how much I “hate” this holiday.

Truth is I don’t HATE this holiday, I HATE being single for this holiday.

It’s just another reminder that I am alone and unloved by a partner.

Great.  Just great.

I need a reminder of this like I need another hole in my head.

But they say, when life gives you lemons, make lemonade.

So I’m making the best of my situation and hanging with my family.

Honestly, time spent with loved ones is what this holiday should be all about – just like Thanksgiving and Christmas.

So I’m setting my supreme bitterness aside.

Despite the fact that smug coupled up people are posting right and left on Facebook to declare their undying love for their partners.

Really?

Must you?

You know what I want to post to Facebook?

Wanna know what I’m doing for Valentine’s Day?

Whatever I want.  I’m single!

Boom!

Heaven

A small detail you may not know about me:

I live with my blind father.

He lost his eyesight maybe 10 years ago and requires a lot of help and assistance – for meals, activities, house chores, etc.

Needless to say, my mom bears the brunt of most of the work, but I help out where I can.

But it’s A LOT of work.

So last weekend, my sister and I flew my mom to Reno (where my sister lives) for a weekend away.

We were also celebrating my mom’s 75th birthday!

We slept in.  Helped with setting up some furniture for my son (who will be attending UNR in the fall and living with my sister), had an awesome meal at a lovely restaurant, and just generally relaxed.

It was heaven!

One thing we did, which we LOVE to do, was paint pottery.

I still have pottery I made in grade school during Mr. Fairman’s art class – a mug with a big bulbous nose which holds pens for me.

Here are the pieces we painted:

Honestly, I had a wonderful time.

And considering that I left Reno to host 10 events in 10 days at work, I needed the R&R.

I had a great time with my mom and my sister.

I think too often I take their presence in my life for granted and it was nice to slow down a bit and focus on them for a weekend.