Wednesday, April 23, 2008
Tuesday, April 22, 2008
Last week I went around telling people that early Spring is by far the Absolute Best Time of Year. My decision was based on multiple factors; the air, for one, is so fresh and filled with the scent of blooming forsythia that I would stand out in the sun, taking long, intoxicating breaths from 7 in the morning until 7 at night if life would just let me.
Another plus is the not-too-cold-but-not-too-hot temperature that lets me make all my own clothing related decisions for once. Am I feeling self-conscious today? Do I want to cover myself up with a bulky sweater? I can do that. Or, maybe I want to wear that cute little v-neck with the short puffy sleeves? I can do that, too! Options, people, they're very important to me, because I live life on an emotional whim.
But the number one reason I gave for loving early Spring? It was because the bugs are at a minimum. To know me is to know that I shiver at the sight of a fruit fly and I run in the opposite direct of anything that buzzes, and last week I didn't have to run from anything. I thought, this is my time of year, because the air smells marvelous, the sun is warm on my bare skin, and I don't have to be on constant watch for something that is going to sting me. I deserve to be outside, and the bugs aren't going to convince me otherwise!
Of course, that was before a spider fell in my lap on the way into work Friday morning, and before I was held captive in my own home by an army of vigilante bumble bees on Saturday. And on Sunday, after spotting the return of the monster moths that are attracted to the bright porch light, I finally remembered what this time of year really is; this is the time year when every scream is followed by my husband cocking his head to the side and telling me in his condescending tone, "Grow up. If you didn't like bugs you shouldn't have picked a house in the woods."
Yep, he's got my number, and just for the fun of it, when he gets home from work, I'm going to introduce him to Coco:
It took an unbelieveable amount of courage to get this photo but I figured what are the chances that I would be writing a blog in which I'm complaining about insects, when I discover something like this? Although, I don't know if Coco should be considered an insect...I think she's more like a small dog.
Monday, April 21, 2008
"Hi Aunt Katie, what are you doing?"
"Nothing. What's going on?"
"Are you coming over to our house?"
"I wasn't planning on it. Why?"
"Didn't you get my mom's email?"
"Apparently not. What's going on?"
"We found Matt, and he's here, but his name is Alex now. Do you want to come over and meet him?"
22 years ago my older sister had a baby at the age of 17. She was still in high school, naive, and clinging to an abusive relationship with the baby's father. With no income to speak of and a desire to continue living life as a teenager, she and my parents decided it would be best to put the baby up for adoption.
Matthew was born 4 weeks premature and spent the first month of his life in the neonatal unit at Children's Hospital. He came home to live with us for another 5 months or so before being placed with a foster family, and was adopted shortly after.
I was only 4-years-old at the time, the youngest in my family, and while I don't remember much I do remember acting as any 4-year-old does to having a living, breathing, crying, eating baby in the house--I loved him to death. I always wanted to hold him, to cuddle with him, to treat him just like all of my other baby dolls, because that's what he was to me--a real, live doll. He and I were all dressed up one day and taken to a photography friend of my mom's for pictures. Some of the photos were of just him, some of them were of me and my Rainbow Bright doll, and some of them were of me holding him, so happy to have this cute little baby that I loved so much in my arms. Those photos would bring both joy and anguish to my family for many years to come.
It's so hard to tell what is truly my memory of that time or just things I was told later that have morphed into memories, but I think I knew what was going on, at least somewhat. I think I knew that he wouldn't be staying with us. I think I even remember driving with my mother and sister to the adoption agency to sign paperwork due to lack of babysitter, but I can't be certain. I do remember the arguments. I do remember my sister openly regretting the decision to give him away almost immediately. I do remember the all out yelling matches between my mom and sister when our mother found out she was unexpectedly pregnant with my little sister almost immediately following the adoption. That time in my life is defined mostly by the very vivid image of my sister standing in her bedroom, crying and screaming, "I want my baby back!" and my pregnant mother standing across from her looking defeated, not knowing how to console a very distraught daughter.
Life did go on though. My little sister was born. I had a new baby to play with, and my older sister severed ties to the downward spiral of a relationship with the father, graduated from high school, and moved out on her own. She gave birth to my niece 4 years later.
As I got older we didn't talk much about Matthew because I was afraid of opening old wounds, but I made it a habit to google his name every few months on the off chance that I would find something. I never found him, but I did find that my sister had signed up for multiple adoption websites with the little information she did have; birth name, date, time and place of birth, and the date of the adoption, all in the hopes that one day he would want to find her too, and she could be reunited with the son she felt she never should have let go.
Fast forward to March 10, 2008, a young man named Alex signs up on 43things.com with the goal of finding his birth parents. He knows his birth name is Matthew and he was born on the same date and at the same hospital as my sister's son. While I would like to say that I stumbled across this little gem in a googling frenzy, it did not happen that way. No, it gets a little more interesting than that. It was a young woman in California, searching for a brother who just so happened to have the name of Matthew, found both my sister's and Alex's posts, put two and two together, and contacted my sister with the information. My sister called Alex that night and told him that he'd found his birth mother.
I did go over to meet my long lost nephew after the call on Thursday night. I was skittish and apprehensive because I didn't know how to act. Do I even get to consider him my nephew? We may be related by blood, but I didn't play any role in his life let alone one of an aunt. And the few memories that I have, however distorted, wouldn't even register on his radar. However uncomfortable or self-conscious I felt, I knew it was something that I had to do, and so I went.
He's 22 years old. He grew up less than 5 miles from where my sister currently lives, and within walking distance of my old apartment. He graduated from the same high school where both of Jon's parents work, and we've all probably walked right past each other at the grocery store. He says he's had a very happy life, was adopted by a wonderful family, and can't wait to meet the rest of my wacky family. I'm told he looks a lot like his father, of whom I don't remember much except long, curly '80s hair, but I see my sister's narrow face and her smile, and smiling is what both of them are doing a lot of right now, knowing how lucky they are to have actually found the one stranger they were actively searching for.
I don't know where it goes from here. I know he's still looking for his father whom my sister lost touch with a long time ago, but she's pulling all her resources together to help find him. There has been a lot of talk about get-togethers and plans including Alex and I think that's wonderful. If he wants to become a permanent member of this family he will be and has been welcomed with open arms. His arrival has brought closure to so many of us who were there for those few months back in 1986, and even to those who only knew of him from stories.
My sister is elated and beside herself and for good reason. And I have to keep telling myself, "Yes, Katie, you really did meet your nephew the other day. It wasn't a dream."
To call it surreal is really an understatement.
Tuesday, April 15, 2008
Monday, April 14, 2008
I haven't written anything, anywhere, in any form in over 2 weeks. I guess that's another New Year's Resolution that was put on hold for a while.
The problem is sometimes I feel like writing and sometimes I just want to spout off these completely random thoughts that come to me.
1. I'm told the best road bitch is a yellow sports car.
2. My husband wants to be the Jared of Wii Fit.
3. My car is in the shop right now and I'm afraid of how much the repairs will cost.
4. We painted the bedroom green last spring, but now I want it to be blue.
5. I joined Becomeanex.org and I've tracked every cigarette I've had in the last three days. Talk about sickening...
6. Sometimes Macy will purposely scratch me because I won't let her lick my toes.
7. Dry skin + wood panelling = skinless knuckle.
8. I freaked out 2 weeks after getting a haircut because I was afraid of dying and being remembered with short hair.
9. As an admitted Grammar Freak, it really bothers me that my MySpace says "Favorties". Has anyone else noticed?
10. The Postal Service's Nothing Better makes me giddy.
11. Every day I come home with a new approach to convince my husband that we should move out of Ohio, and every night I go to bed making up new reasons for why we can't.
And that's just to name a few... but I don't mention these things because I'm afraid you'll think I'm crazy. I know I do.