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.

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Good Or Evil?


There are some things in this world that can either a very good thing or a very bad thing. Recently, I’ve wondered if the Internet is a perfect example of one of these things.

Certainly it is quite obvious the wonderful qualities the Internet provides to us all–especially you bloggers out there! For me personally, I never would have had the opportunity to test my writing or photography skills on such a public scale. Much to my surprise, both have been greeted with great positive delight and careful considerations. It is truly a highlight in my life (if that says anything about my life!!).

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Delighted

Another amazing–and so current–part of the web is how it connects people! Again, it has been my great fortune to meet some wonderful bloggers who have become my friends. But beyond that: people meet future partners, have job interviews, start businesses, visit Grandchildren, read the news from around the world and get any random bit of information from this amazing thing called: The Internet. You never, ever would have thought of this 30 years ago!

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 Fellow bloggers fall from the same tree!

But this very same thing that helps, can harm. Most of us are innocent in our browsing and searches: looking for how to spell some word or how to cook some new dish. All these things are at our finger tips. We can do or find anything…and so can someone with evil intent.

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The dark side of the Internet

The Internet gathers information like Antarctica gathers snow. Each snowflake holds a bit of data waiting to be read. Purists have been trying to keep the web free from monitoring–let the data be free and unencumbered. People have a right to search, gather and download whatever they want from this treasure trove of information no matter what they may do with it after some say…. Or do they?

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The treasure trove tree

Police, FBI say it’s OK to get on a perp’s phone or computer if they were terrorists. Maybe they could get information that could lead to stopping further attacks. Others say if we set a precedent  of hacking into people’s privacy, then we’re as good as lost. Back to the McCarthy era of profiling potential bad guys. Some feel if you have nothing to worry about, then you shouldn’t worry about the Internet being monitored–your data being monitored for subversive searches: if you’re innocent, no problem.

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Find the Red!!

There is always a way to get information from one group to another, Internet or no. If the bad guys want to recruit, they will. Even within Nazi concentration camps, the prisoners had underground rebel groups that stock piled weapons. They had no web to pass this information back and forth, rest assured of that one! But the Internet makes it so easy and so International! Click a button and wham…join a terrorist group. Scary.

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A mysterious symbol? No just a tile on my patio! 🙂

Certainly, we all want to be safe from these horrible extremist groups, but our right to privacy in this country is also paramount. Unfortunately, every time we push the power button on the computer and hit either Google or that big E….we’re putting ourselves out there for anyone to find us….eventually. Hopefully it’s only for things like clothing ads and other nuisance items that attach to your searches.

I guess the moral of the story is: be careful what you search for, because Big Brother may eventually may be watching.

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If you find me big Bro, I just want peace!

Visitors


One wonderful perk of being closer to my Mom is that family visits her, therefore I get to see family members that I don’t normally see. When I was younger, much younger, we all lived closer, so my cousins and I used to see each other a lot. We played and bickered (mildly) as cousins will do, but I recall a general feeling of closeness.

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This meant a lot to me, as I was always looking for this feeling of closeness, being adopted. It was easy for me to feel alien or the odd one out. But I never, ever got a sense from my family that this was the case. Just one of the gang–that’s who I was as I ran around with the rest of them.

So seeing my first cousin yesterday, his wife, her Mom and his 22-year-old daughter for (I believe) the first time–it felt pretty natural. He was one of 4 siblings–the quiet one as I recalled, but now, being 60, there was no hesitation on his part (or mine) to talk about old times.

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His daughter is my youngest’s age and amazing: beautiful, talented and all the qualities one wants the youth of today to have. It was so easy to be with her, and his wife, who I barely know! Being spread out all over the place–they live on both coasts and his daughter in Israel–it’s years in between visits.

But I was reminded that family is not about blood ties. It’s about love, memories and caring. My cousins did a wonderful thing for me when their Dad, my Uncle, died a number of years ago. Something they did not have to do, but something that family does for family.

My own adopted daughter often feels outside and left out. I empathize with her and we probably have not done as good a job at making her feel a part. Divorce, lack of closeness of cousins didn’t provide the same kind of broth to grow the wonderful taste of love I have felt, even if it’s infrequent. When it does cross my path and my chosen family gets together, I recall the warmth, the sense of normal and the simple gestures of kindness that make life good.

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I hope my own birth daughters can reap the rewards of this family someday too! So far they barely know them….

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On another note: we had another visitor today. Luckily only my mellow cat and I saw it. Quite bold and inquisitive… checking us out. I snapped a few pictures before my dog or my sour puss saw this visitor, because then there’d be heck to pay.

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This visitor would NOT be welcome I’m sad to say…..!!

PS Pictures have been rendered silly to protect the innocent 🙂

Strange Path


Listening to a real-life drama unfold in the comfort of my bedroom last night was very difficult for me. As part of my job as a paramedic, we receive texts on our phone now for certain calls. And a friend of mine also set up an app of sorts where I could quickly check on what calls our department is on and who is on shift. So when I got the initial page for a motor vehicle accident with extrication, I knew it might be bad.

When I followed up on the Dispatch website on the app, I began to see sure signs that this was a serious call: another town was called, special personnel was responding and multiple apparatus from our department. But I was home, off duty 40 minutes away and helpless.

The next day I sent a friend a text to find out how bad it was and my fears were realized: a young woman had died in the crash. It had been particularly scary for those responding as there was children’s clothing scattered everywhere, but no children on the scene. They feared the worse until they could confirm no children were in the car. But the sad news was that this young woman was the mother of the children belonging to the clothes.

When I sent a text to another friend of mine, she hadn’t heard about it yet, but then later reminded me that we had been multiple times to this woman’s Grandfather’s home for calls. And that he had custody of her children. It gave me pause. I remembered this fact, but didn’t know her. I clearly recalled the three young children.

So my mind started to think along a strange path, one of choices we make, and the odd consequences that can sometimes happen. Are they related or coincidental? Do the things we do change the pattern or energy of the future and make outcomes different? I don’t know, but I did look back on my life and see some interesting parallels.

There was one choice I made that is too personal and painful to share here, but in looking at my life now, it hit me today a related part of my life may not be what I wanted because of it. One could look at it and say that the two are completely unrelated, and yet…in a sense I see them as the same. Is the choice one makes or the outcome on one’s psyche something that can change the rest of your life? We can only know if we lived in that alternate Universe if we had done it the other way.

The choice I made to leave three husbands has put me in a place where being alone is where I want to be. But this was not always the case. For many, many years I wanted to be in a relationship. Did I flip the odds against me shutting doors over and over again? Because I know that when I wanted that relationship, nothing seemed to work as much as I tried.

Coming back to my young woman, not that she ever figured to die in a car accident, but she had removed herself from her children’s life. Did somehow that change some cosmic energy and then she was really gone? Or is it the other way around? She couldn’t take care of them due to her immaturity? And the immaturity lead to her being in car going much too fast.

I don’t know the answers to these questions, but they are ones that I now ponder in the second half of my life. How many rash choices and decisions did I make that set unknown things in motion? Can I now really control certain things by being more mindful or is there really some other plan already written? Either way, now I try to be a bit more careful, thoughtful and slow in reacting, speaking and doing these days.

And then hope that some simple luck is on my side too.

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New Growth


This summer has not only been a time of budding new plants, vegetables, shrubs and trees, but also a time of growth for me. As I grow older, it becomes easier to notice the changes within myself. Maybe because I take certain things more slowly, react more cautiously, contemplate more deeply and feel on a totally different level. Whatever the reason, there are times I feel as though I stand outside looking in, watching my interactions and hoping now that I do the right thing.

It’s been a challenging week. There was a difficult interaction with a co-worker, one who from the very first day has had difficulties with me. Her own demons make trying to do right by her almost impossible (try as I might), so after eight years I’m frustrated, exhausted and ready to be done with it all. When you’ve hit a wall with someone, enough is a enough. There is so much wasted time at work fixing mistakes, smoothing hurt feelings, mending gossip and defending myself. I simply can’t take much more. And with little support from management, well, it’s been tough.

In the past, I would engage with this co-worker and loop in my own head. But this time I was able to keep my cool. While the dirt was tossed at me, a calmness swept over me and I could see through what was going on and did not let myself be pulled into the maelstrom. Instead, I stepped away, got my documentation in order and instead will simply prove she was not telling the truth. It was oddly satisfying and sad at the same time. When dealing with an ill person it’s not completely gratifying when they get in trouble, but by the same token, the turmoil created must end.

On another note, the man my Mom has lived with for years fell on Thursday. It’s a long story, but he ended up breaking his femur. It’s not as bad as it could have been, but he will be in rehab. Luckily he did not need surgery. At 91 or 92, he never would have survived. The sad part is that now my Mom realizes he will have to go into an assisted living care facility after he leaves rehab–if he does leave. His dementia is getting so bad now and she just can’t handle it all anymore.

I was so happy that she and I have been talking again. Honestly, we’ve never been closer. And my oldest daughter, who can be distant from us, called her immediately upon hearing. She was kind and had a generous heart about it all.

Here too, I realized had I not backed down and reached out to my Mother, she would have been going through this alone. I’ve been hurt over the years by our relationship, but it was time to let it all go and live in the present. She stepped up too and we both decided to put the past behind and love today and it’s been a blessing.

And while I’m sometimes sad that my oldest daughter and I aren’t closer, it truly warmed my heart to see her care about her Grandma. There have been thoughts about her caring because she wants something from her, but I’ve grown enough now to see that this isn’t true, that indeed there is a closeness between them. My oldest is special to her and vice versa. It’s wonderful and precious.

Finally, my youngest told me last night while we were out to dinner that she is shy and has difficulty in groups. Funny, I always had just figured she couldn’t be bothered with my friends. But I learned something last night: that she takes after her father! Who knew? I just figured she would be like me.

So while it’s been a week filled with tough stuff, it’s also been one where I know I can handle it all now differently, maybe a bit better than I used to and learn from everything now. My growth is measured, just like the flowers in my garden. It’s noticed and felt within me. It’s also beautiful, bright and will happen every minute.

The fall and winter are coming too (the geese are flocking already), so growth may be more internal and quiet, but it’s never-ending. And I only hope it is making me a better person.

Crazy Theory


Last week was an emotional week with a best friend having a baby. She’s a doll and mother and baby are fine! Yesterday was my birthday and it always brings me moments of reflection. My life presently is mostly pretty peaceful and good, but there are a couple of things I wish were different. Not unlike most people I suppose. But last week I heard two things that really set my heart low.

They both had to do with couples. Both couples were at pivotal moments in their ‘couple life’ and yet the men cheated. Now I’m no saint, and I’m not here to judge. That’s not what this blog piece is about. Hearing the news about these two women and how heartbroken they both were, made me think about how often we hear about couples going through this sort of awful thing. And it made me wonder.

If they aren’t going through actual affairs, then I seem to hear people complaining about their relationships. How miserable they are and wish they were single. Or how they are just staying for the kids, or because they don’t want to be alone, or because they are just used to someone, or because they are afraid to date again. They don’t seem to be staying because they are actually happy and love the person they have married or is their partner. I’m not saying this is everyone, but with a divorce rate as high as it is, then I say something seems wrong.

For me personally, I’ve been divorced three times. And I’ve been on a million dates it seems. Nothing seems right. I’ve blamed myself, I’ve blamed the men, I’ve blamed the area in which I live. And many of my friends now, men and women, are choosing to remain single. So now I’m starting to formulate a new ‘crazy theory’.

It seems to me the human race in on crash course. On that I think most of us agree. We are polluting the air, the ocean, the earth, our bodies. We are also killing each other: nations are fighting one another and can’t ever seem to come to peaceful resolve about much. Humans murder one another for no good reason, rape, blow up innocent gatherings with the intent to kill. Oh sometimes it’s suppose to be in the name of something, but it’s never seems a good reason to murder. What about all the species we are helping towards extinction or are already there? The list is endless of the harm we are causing–to each other, our planet and all the plants and animals that inhabit it with us.

So what’s my theory? Here we all are, men and women…humans, the dominate species and so many of us can’t seem to get along. I’m beginning to wonder if this isn’t part of the plan? If maybe this destructive species of ours is actually running ourselves right into extinction too, not only by obvious reasons stated above, but by the simple fact that men and women just can’t seem to function as a unit any longer.

Obviously this unit is necessary, at least to some degree, for the procreation of the species. Sure, there are other ways that this can happen by artificial insemination, cloning or maybe even cryogenics. But the old-fashioned way of the man/woman relationship seems to almost be a thing of the past. At least in my small scope of vision.

Certainly over population still exists in many nations. But infant mortality probably equals it in many nations also. It depends on the wealth of the nation. I’m talking on a more emotional level here. As men and women’s rift becomes wider, how will this effect the species in the long run? I mean very long run obviously. Our overuse, abuse, misuse, carelessness and callousness has made global changes on almost every aspect of our ecosystem from the most expansive down to the tiniest cell. We know that now. So can we say that this shift from our grand parent’s time and their 60 year marriages, to our families now with 2 and 3 divorces will not also have a deeper implication than we think far into the future?

Once again, this is only one crazy old crone’s opinion. Thoughts floating around as I hear stories from saddened hearts and knowing my own heart and what I too have done and felt. I cried with joy when the supreme court struck down DOMA and feel that everyone has the right to marry the one they love. And any person or persons can raise a child, although not everyone does it well. But it will always (as far as we know now, for the most part) take one egg and one sperm to create that child. So if this rift between man and woman becomes so great at some point so far down the road that fertilization doesn’t take place, well then, I guess the earth will slowly be rid of us. That is, if we don’t blow it up first.