FIRE!

My birth family lives in the North Bay.

Specifically the Santa Rosa, Rohnert Park, Windsor areas of the North Bay.

And unless you’ve been living under a rock, you know that the North Bay is ON FIRE right now.

It has officially become the WORST FIRE in the history of California fires, surpassing the 1991 Oakland Hills fire.

I knew there was a fire when I left to go to work, some 90 miles away from the devastation.

I could smell it in the air.

I assumed there had been a fire locally until my friend Barbara texted me, “I hope your family is safe.”

What?!

I called her immediately for an explanation.

“Santa Rosa is on fire,” she told me.

I immediately hung up and began texting and calling my relatives.

It took a while but everyone was safe. . . except my birth mom, who I couldn’t reach.

Finally my sister got in touch with me.

It didn’t look promising that our mother’s house was still standing.

She texted me a photo later.

Charred remains of a building.

I immediately started crying.

Mom’s house!

Oh no! All the memories! All the gatherings! The golden nuggets of life that intersected at that home!

10 minutes later my sister told me it was a picture of her school and MOM’S HOUSE IS STIL STANDING.

I went from the depths of despair to the wings of angels in a moment, only tempered by the fact that so many people in the North Bay have lost their home and belongings.

I texted my mom that I loved her and she texted me back.

Coverage is spotty but for the time being, EVERYONE IN MY FAMILY IS DOING FINE.

Hug your loved ones extra close today.

They are our biggest blessings.

Santa Rosa Fires

I have two lovely sisters. One I grew up with and is my best friend, the other I met when I was 22.

One lives in Reno, the other lives in Santa Rosa.

I was desperate to get in touch with my birth family while fires were raging in Santa Rosa, Napa and Sonoma.

My sister was the first person to respond.

She told me that our mother’s house was likely burned to the ground.

I was heartbroken and yet I didn’t cry. . .

. . until she sent me a photo of a gutted building.

I burst into tears.

All I could think of were lost memories. The history that house contained. How special it was to me because it was where I reunited with my birth mother’s family and met my stepfather and his enormous family.

I cried and cried.

I forwarded the photo to my boys and my family.

I sent it to everyone who mattered to me to let them know that the house was gone.

10 minutes later I got a message from my sister.

It was a picture of her school and MOM’S HOUSE IS STILL STANDING.

From the depths of despair to the wings of angels, I was lifted up out of sorrow and so thankful for this miracle.

How blessed are we?

The house survived. All my family survived. Their pets survived.

What more could we ask for other than to mitigate the suffering of those who did lose everything in the fire?

I could KILL my sister for letting me think Mom’s house had burned, but I’m just too happy that my family is intact to stay mad about anything.

Really at times like this you realize that we all have each other and that’s all you really need to be happy.

God bless the families who lost property or loved ones in the fires.

My Reunion Story

Sherri, pregnant at her 8th grade graduation

I remember the EXACT date I lost my virginity.

July 8, 1989.

I was 15 years old.

It’s ironic then, that I don’t know the date for something as MOMENTOUS as meeting my birth parents for the first time.

It was spring.

I know that because all the tulips in my yard were in full bloom.

For the rest of my life I’ll always associate tulips with my birth mother.

Finding your birth parents isn’t as hard as you’d think.

At least not for me.

My mom told me she knew my birth mother’s name from the adoption paperwork.

Brandon, Brett (ex), me, Sherri and Lani

So when I was 17, I asked for her name.

My mom wrote it down on a piece of paper, handed it to me, and walked out of the room.

After a little research I finally got the phone number to my birth mother’s in laws.

I called one day and asked for Sherri or Vince (her husband).

They gave me their phone number.

Just like that.

I stared at that number.

It was burned in my brain.

It took me 5 years to work up the courage to call that number.

One day, I called the number fully intending to ask for a random name – Elizabeth.

Art, me, my dad, a friend, and Cy

When my birth mother answered the phone, she had the MOST BEAUTIFUL voice I’d ever heard and I knew that someone with a voice like that would not be mean to me.

So I asked for Sherri.

“This is she,” she responded.

“I’d like to talk to you about something personal. Is now a good time?” I asked.

“Yes,” there was concern in her voice.

“I’m looking for my birth mother. . .”

I visited her the very next day and got to meet her husband and my sister and brother.

She told me who my birth father was and he was listed in the phone book.

So instead of driving home, I called him.

His (ex) wife answered the phone.

I asked for Paul.

She asked who I was.

I wanted to tell him directly so I just said my name.

She hung up on me.

I called back.

“Just tell him it’s Sherri’s daughter,” I responded.

She repeated what I said to him. Then she repeated it again, this time with gravitas.

They knew what this meant.

Paul had a daughter.

He asked me to pull into a local Denny’s where he said he’d meet me.

He showed up 15 minutes later, with his (ex) wife and her daughter.

We (my ex-husband) and I followed him to his house and slowly, his siblings and friends started trickling in.

Someone brought an “It’s a Girl!” cigar for him.

And the rest, as they say, is history.

What can I say about my reunion?

It truly was an ideal reunion and I feel blessed that my birth mother and my birth father accepted me so openly and lovingly.

Two eighth graders accidentally made a baby, and gave me an ideal home to grow up in.

I regret nothing except perhaps that I didn’t meet them sooner.

I am blessed.

 

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Lucky baby

“You’re so lucky, Michelle.  And that’s not the booze talking.  That’s me talking.”

My Aunt Xondra was laying in bed at her 50th birthday party, recovering from one too many tequila shots and I was just hanging out with her.

I know I’m one lucky lady.

I have TWO sets of parents.

And THREE sets of siblings.

In my life I’ve been blessed with lots of family.

Xondra, who is quite possibly the sweetest drunk woman I’ve ever known, was just pointing this out to me.

When I tell people I’m a reunited adoptee, usually they ask how my adoptive parents feel about that.

My response is always, “It was hard in the beginning.  But having more people who love you is never a bad thing.”

I see my birth mother about 4 – 6 times a year, but my birth father much less.

If you ask me why I’ll say it’s because he doesn’t seem to take an interest in me.

But this weekend, I got another picture of the three of us and came across a mug in his stash with my name on it along with my brothers’ names.

It was a small thing but felt SO big to me.

It’s as if that mug legitimized me.

And he had pictures of me and my boys around the house.

Like we matter to him and his wife, even though we don’t see each other.

And. . .

He kissed the top of my head when he said goodnight to me.

It was a very fatherly gesture and I got a little choked up.

Maybe, just maybe, he does care.

Zezza Butt

At Burning Man, I was playing around with a sexy bartender at Ali Bar-Bar when he looked me dead in the eye, smiled and said, “Let me see that ass.”

“It’s called a Zezza butt,” I replied.

And indeed, that is what it’s called in my family.

Zezza butts are nice and round, a little on the larger side, but well-liked by many and appreciated by even more.

I’ve always had a nice butt.

And when I met my birth family, I discovered that I was not the only one with a nice butt:

Here we all are, mooning the camera on a camping trip. This picture includes me, my sister-cousin Jennifer, and my brother Art. The high and tight butt that OBVIOUSLY does match is my cousin’s husband.

Over the years, many people have tried to capture the charm of my butt and here are a few pictures that come close.

Hope you too like Zezza butt!

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Party!

My birth father is the #1 child out of 6 kids. He has 2 brothers and three sisters.

It’s a BIG family.

You’d think, given the size of the family, and the fact that most of us live relatively local to each other, that we’d see each other a lot.

That is not the case.

So you can imagine how thrilled I am that we are having a party to celebrate my Aunt Xondra’s 50th birthday.

Whoopee!

Time to see everyone all in one place.

I’m bringing Tejas with me to meet my birth family.

He’s been my BFF for over two years now and has yet to meet the people who made me.

Hopefully it won’t be the least bit awkward that he is the same age as my birth parents.

He’s under strict instructions to not hit on ANYONE unless he clears it with me first.

The thing about this party is that I don’t see much of my birth father’s side of the family, except for my Uncle Donald and Aunt Stacey and their family.

They live closer to me and I get to see them from time to time.

They also spawned my sister-cousin Jennifer who takes me to 49er games and enthralls me with her lingerie, lack of inhibition, and positive self-esteem.

Believe you me, if that woman wrote a blog, you’d all be following it.

She also happens to be drop dead gorgeous with knockers BIGGER THAN MINE.

Someday, I will take her to Burning Man and we will knock that shit OUT OF THE PARK!

Oh and GO NINERS!

Burned!

My sister-cousin Jennifer is a HUGE 49er fan.

Their biggest fan, I think.

A true 49er faithful.

This past weekend she took me to their open practice at Levi’s Stadium.

And that’s when IT happened.

I wore a pair of jeans that had a TINY hole in the inner thigh.

Can you see where this is going?

Well, in the course of walking half a mile from the parking lot to our seats in the stadium, I managed to rip that hole WIDE OPEN.

It wasn’t visible to the general public, so at first I wasn’t worried about it at all.

But that changed.

You see the jeans material from my other leg RUBBED on the bare inner thigh of my exposed leg, giving me a friction burn.

Oh the pain of having no inner thigh gap.

But I digress.

So, we walked to and from the stadium and all around the stadium and I literally ripped skin off my inner thigh with EVERY STEP.

I was in a great deal of pain.

When I got home I RIPPED my jeans off of me and threw them on a ball on the floor.

Ever since then I’ve been coating my thigh burn with gun oil lube (to minimize friction) and Desitin (yes, butt paste for babies).

It still fucking hurts!

The worst part is that I had a flirtation that night and I was off my game on account of ALL THE LIQUID WEEPING OUT OF MY FRICTION BURN.

Yeah, it was pretty gross.

I did not feel sexy AT ALL.

On the bright side, I got to see our 49er boys practice football, AND I got to hang out with Jennifer, who I hadn’t seen in MONTHS!

Happy Mother’s Day!

Mother’s Day is coming up and I am lucky enough to have two mothers.

Sherri, who gave birth to me, and Alice, who raised me.

For years while I was growing up, I would think of my birthmom on Mother’s Day and wonder if she was thinking of me as well.

And she was.

There are other important women in my life who I celebrate on Mother’s Day.

My Grandma is 94 years old.

I remember her cooking special meals for me when I visited her in Pennsylvania – pierogis, meatloaf, anise cookies, and piggies (stuffed cabbage).

Her recipes will always be my comfort food.

I also think of my sister, Lisa, on Mother’s Day.

Although she only has fur babies, she is the closest thing my boys have to a second mother and her role in our family is very important.

Also, there’s my Aunt Stacey, my cousin Jennifer, and my niece Bella, who I love and admire greatly. They are real warrior princesses and I’ll love them forever for accepting me into the family when times were rough.

Finally, I think of Barbara, my dear friend.

Her mother has passed away and so my heart goes out to her on Mother’s Day when I know she acutely feels the loss of her mom.

Of course, it’s impossible to think about Mother’s Day without thinking about the two young men who made me a mother in the first place – my sons Duncan and Gavin.

What incredible young men they are growing up to be and I find myself in awe of their spirit and zest for life.

They are, by far, the best things to ever happen to me and I thank the universe on a daily basis for allowing me to be their mother.

So on this Mother’s Day, I’m sending out my love to all the mother’s out there and all their beautiful children.

That includes YOU!

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.