Go Easy…


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Sometimes thinking about the past is appropriate, especially when you get news about someone that meant something to you, even if you haven’t spent much time with them in recent years.

Families are such slippery things–they are fragile and sometimes easily shattered. They also are defined by many different things, not just by blood. And often the ones that aren’t put together by blood can mean more. We define them ourselves.

When the some things that created them, like a marriage, dissolve, then they seem to disappear too–at least in the physical sense. But we may realize, especially at critical moments, they still linger within deeper parts of us; that these people who were once family are still dear.

So when I heard my ex-father-in-law is now in hospice, I found myself extremely sad. He was someone who had been very good to me while I was married. It’s been easy to recall so many memories of the kind things about him: his easy acceptance of our decision to adopt a HIV positive child, and his special love for her. And his overly enthusiastic attitude (and long conversations and questions) about my career as an EMT/Paramedic, something I didn’t always feel at home from his son. He loved the stuff!

I picture him as the typical unassuming New England man, quiet but always willing to help; that crooked smile, bald head and slight limp. He was my go to guy, always aware of what was happening with the weather, and loving to talk about it.

Maybe he’s not officially ‘family’ anymore, but in my heart he will always hold a very special place as he made me feel welcome and a part. I felt like family because of him.

Thank you, and may the rest of your days be easy…

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Happy Birthday Mom 


It has not been an easy year but this amazing woman reached this incredible milestone with the strength and dignity I’ve always admired in her. Facing tough setbacks in her nearly perfect health, she was undaunted by the changes in her. Her ever positive outlook on life has kept her moving and healing, but mostly is an inspiration to all of those who know her.

From the time I was small she taught me that I could be anything I wanted, something I have passed on to my daughters. Her help has allowed me to figure out my path and feel a sense of security. 

This time living near my Mother has been a blessing after spending  so many years apart. She has given me more than I can really express. And really without her decision so many years ago, when she knew adopting a little girl was something she needed to do, I’m not sure where I would be today. 

Happy 90th Mama. I love you. 

Poem: Chime


They blow through me

windy words sweep miles 

past desert shapes

caught in wisps of willows 

and carried on wings of butterflies 

Gusting din

heard as flying bells 

traveler to my inner 

outer space 

where not a breeze blows

Listen

for my song

as it drifts through air

displacing wave 

putting pressure on you

to hear

Ah Family 


Visitors! Yeah! Been so bored and lonely so now I get to see my two daughters for a few days. I am so lucky. It’s been a while. 

Great to see familiar birken stocks and a back pack hanging around. 

And at bedtime, their furry brother missed them already when everyone went to bed. It was quite amazing how he remembered everyone too! Even the cats did.

Ah, family. Xoxo 

Saving Me


Many years ago I did something that most think was to help someone else, but it was really to help me. It was actually not a selfless move to save a part of the world, but to save a part of me.

The journey began when I decided I wanted to adopt a baby. I am adopted as some of you may recall. It was not an easy journey, as I had criteria that made constraints that other people adopting might not have through their paths. It was my goal to stay within the US and to maintain birth order (my husband at the time and I had a 3-year-old), so when approaching an adoption agency, they showed us the ‘blue book’ of the “waiting children”–it appeared as though this might be impossible. Either we would have to take on siblings of 4 or teenagers. Neither of these situations seemed fair to my daughter.

But then the social worker mentioned foster care: the backdoor to adoption. At that time, 51% of foster children got adopted by their foster parents. It seemed like a reasonable plan to me, especially since I was a stay at home Mom anyway.

I won’t go through it all, because this is not what this post is about. Suffice to say, we became foster parents, eventually to a 2-year-old girl: mentally challenged, but high functioning, emotionally rocked by her first 2 years and HIV positive.

That toddler is now my 25-year-old daughter and she just had my first grandchild today–a little boy.

It has been a rocky road all along. My 3-year-old (now almost 28) has had a rough relationship with her, which has worsened as an adult. The birth daughter that came after her, has a distant, but OK relationship. And this daughter’s life has been one challenge after another. While her health is way better than anyone would have predicted (they figured she wouldn’t live past 9 years old), she has met with prejudice, job losses, school bullies and lots of tears.

She has been with her partner for many years, a young man who is also mentally challenged, more so than she. When she announced her pregnancy, we were all pretty upset. They are poor, with no jobs, living in abject poverty. While we help, there is only so much you can help those who often do not believe they need it.There was great concern for the welfare of a baby coming into these circumstances.

But she was determined, and her determination has always been one of her greatest (and sometimes most frustrating) attributes.
So today he was born. The doctors have taken every precaution, and so has she, that this baby be born HIV free. My daughter has tried very hard to take care of herself and many around her have been helping to get her hooked up with the proper services so there will be the best possible outcome down the road.

It is so easy to be negative, but success can’t happen unless we believe it is possible. Sometimes I think that she never thought much about her HIV and just figured she would live a normal life, so she has. And I understand her desire for baby, someone who belongs to her through genes, looks like her and comes from her. I get it when no-one else in my family may understand this–because we both have that connection, that mutual disconnect from our birth heritage.

So on this day, I will celebrate her decision and her new baby, my grand-baby. Because her adoption wasn’t about fixing her, it was to rescue a part of me.

Drifting


Today struck me as a day to reach back and reach forward. So I sent out some emails to folks I have lost along the way: partly on purpose, partly because life just happens. Feeling disconnected might do that to us I suppose…make us want to see who is still out there; those that were a part of our lives in the past. It’s interesting to see if they still care at all, how they are and what they are up to and if the connection still lingers. Sometimes the world can seem an insulated place.

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And one email was sent for future connections: to put a feeler out to see about a Friend’s Meeting at a Quaker Meeting house not far from where I live. I’ve attended them before and would like to check it out. Who knows if it still exists–they are often small gatherings in out-of-the-way places. So rather than go, I figured I would see if I could find anything out first.

Moving into my second year in this new place, I still feel alienated in many ways. While many things are good in my life (like the wonderful relationship with my Mother), there are other things that feel hollow. I’ve heard repeatedly from folks that this area is a hard place to feel a sense of community or to make friends, but I don’t completely blame the area. It’s my mental space too.

The older I get, the more introspective I become and the harder it is for me to find my tribe. Even one friend can be a challenge. Sometimes the confines of my four walls are a space that give me a comfort that can be hard to replace with other kinds of satisfactions. Being home is sacred, comforting, safe and peaceful. But I know the danger in being lulled into never venturing out.

So, I push myself to reach out: to the past (although it took dropping some walls on my part) and to the future which means letting go of some fear of not fitting in, to see if this sense of drifting I feel at times can settle down.