Memory Lane

Part of my children’s story gets told through photos in a treasured iPhoto Library tucked away on an external hard drive appropriately nicknamed “J” drive.

Every time I want to look at photos from their youth, I can’t help but be swept up by the flood of memories the pictures evoke.

Cameras and video capture became commonplace in mobile phone technology just in time to capture me falling in love back in 2007-2009.

It’s the closest I ever came to making a 2-parent family unit post-divorce and therefore is hard for me to look at.

The upside of documenting a love story from start to finish is that so many beautiful moments were captured – from the time we spontaneously came across Labyrinth playing in a Santa Cruz movie theater to the bonfire on the beach with glow-in-the-dark frisbees to that stunning trip to the Bellagio in Las Vegas.

The downside of capturing a love story from start to finish is that you relive it every time you delve into old family photos.

But when you come across stunners, like these, it’s hard to feel too bad:

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.

Happy Thanksgiving!

Happy Thanksgiving!

I’m so excited that it’s Thanksgiving.

I’m going to my brother’s house and we’re going to celebrate Thanksgiving outside on his patio.

It’s not the greatest option for a meal, but it works for us.

So from my family to yours, wishing you a happy Thanksgiving!

Father’s Day and stuff

As we all know, Father’s Day is fast approaching.

I have mixed feelings about Father’s Day mainly because my father basically doesn’t want any acknowledgement of the holiday.

And because he’s a cranky old man.

But even cranky old men deserve a little love and so my sister and I bought him two bottles of 2017 Chateau Kefraya Blanc de Blancs.

Not a huge financial undertaking, just a gesture gift.

Lebanese wine for an old Lebanese man, perfecto!

Plus it’s from the Bekaa Valley which is where my dad hails from so there’s that.

And while we’re on the topic of gifts, I also got my youngest a gift. . . just because:

Parakeet shorts, for my parakeet lover in the family.

Of course, I had to get a matching t-shirt for her as well:

So there you have it – gifts for my loved ones.

All I need is something for my birth father and it’s all taken care of.

Family = Forgiveness

I’ve been thinking about family A LOT lately.

Being cooped up in a house with 4 other family members will do that to a person.

Things run remarkably smooth, however.

There’s virtually no fussing or fighting.

The most drama I get is from my daughter who is still experiencing teenage angst at 18.

But it’s not as bad as it used to be.

I have nothing but respect for my parents.

They raised three children, from totally unknown DNA stock, and cobbled together a family, despite our differences.

And believe me, they are numerous.

I remember as a child growing up there would be conflict and I’d feel like the world was coming to an end.

But the world did not end.

Instead, we always managed to mend fences.

I was never one to hold a grudge (unless you’re my high school nemesis, lol KIDDING).

Thankfully, I am blessed to live with people who forgive me when I fuck up.

And believe you me, I fuck up royally sometimes.

But most of the time, it’s my dad who is the grouchy yet lovable curmudgeon.

The thing is, the people who mean the most to you are the ones with the ability to hurt you the most.

So forgiveness is necessary if we want to stay a family.

And so far, we’ve done remarkably well.

Sure, I occasionally get the stink eye from my kids for days after a fight.

But it blows over.

Because family = forgiveness.

That’s just how family works.

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.