Tuesday, June 19, 2012
the night i met Archie, he was spectacularly excited--especially for a midwestern man of Norweigian descent. he hugged me and asked me questions and told me about his life. he showed me hundreds of photos of the family we suddenly shared. he gazed at me with wonder and joy. he smiled and laughed. he was dazzled. he was grateful and excited that the infant his beautiful daughter had created so many years ago was there, in his home, in his presence as a grown woman with questions and information of her own.
every visit with Archie was a continuation of that night. he lit up, he sparkled every time i entered the room. he embodied a love for me that i can only assume had been privately and preciously nurtured for 36 years. every interaction began with a big smile and the sweetest, most genuine greeting: "helloooooooo, Shelly!!" he never failed to remind me of how important i am and how glad he was that i was back in his life, in his family's life.
last night, as i watched my beautiful and kind and generous Grandpa pass on from this life, i was flooded with joy and gratitude for the time i had with him, pain and loss for the conversations we hadn't yet had, love and contentment for the tiny bit of peace it brought him to know that i was ok.
i loved him. i will always love him. as an adopted person, i have become quite accustomed to noting that family is so much more than blood or genetics. the last 14 months with Grandpa Archie made it ultimately clear to me that this part of my family is blood and genetics AND so much more!
Rest In Peace, my sweet Grandfather.
Wednesday, May 25, 2011
Tuesday, May 24, 2011
since the initial and immediate introduction to Grandpa on April 4, i have met several more significant people in susan's life. most of whom will likely become or have already become significant people in my life....
April 12 i went out for dinner (and margaritas) with Susan and met her husband, whom we will call D. it was a lot of fun and happened just in time- before we both went completely nuts with the rejection worries. i remember that the conversation between Susan and me that night began with more talk of fears and worries that we would be disappointed in what we find/learn about each other, blah blah blah... but that truly didn't last beyond that night (or at least that week) because worrying really is a dumb thing to do. especially if you don't have to do it. D was fun and funny and told a really lot of stories. he was kind to me and showed an impressive degree of excitement for this reunion. all in all, it was a great evening that ended with a lovely stroll through a beautiful neighborhood. and the moral of that story... wanna tear down some barriers, just add tequila... apparently.
April 22 i got to meet Susan's very best friend in the whole world... we'll call her... Lulu. because i like to say Lulu. we met at one of my favorite places to drink beer/scotch/bourbon/whatever... and had a terrific time! well, at least i did. i can't speak for Susan or Lulu :) but based on the size of the smiles on their faces in the photos from that night, i think it is fair to say we all had a lovely time. Susan and Lulu have been friends since about 3 years after i was born-- which is a long long time if you do the math-- so i imagine the news of a 35-year-old daughter was a bit jarring. it is always fun to talk to the people i meet and ask them about that moment when Susan first told them about our reunion. there is a lot of shock, some confusion, many tears. these days i often get to be there to watch her tell people who i am and i can't think of many things in my life that have been more fun than those moments! but i am getting ahead of myself. Anyway, Susan's best friend is a wonderful woman and a lot of fun! really everything a best friend is supposed to be. i hope she wants to be my friend too.
that's enough for now...
the other issue that has arisen is a simple matter of time. i have known Susan for 50 days and we have spent time together on 21 separate occasions. the only complaints about this schedule come from disappointed blog-followers... and maybe from her husband, but i am not sure. at any rate, we have been very busy girls! there is limited time for such things as documenting and summarizing.
i have added a couple of photos to bring some illustration to this little story. the first, obviously a tattoo, is the mark i chose to honor this moment in my life. as has been disclosed previously, Susan named me Julie Hope. among the many similarities we have discovered about ourselves over the course of the last 50 days, one of the first was that we have very Very similar handwriting. so, knowing that i wanted to use the middle name that she so beautifully and symbolically assigned to her tiny treasure 36 years ago, i played around with some fonts and ideas and decorations and finally settled on the simplest and most truthful way to honor this time in our lives: the anticipatory middle name that she gave me, in my own handwriting, in a location always visible to me. (with a tiny spiral to symbolize "life" and "creative healing"... a symbol i wear and use a lot.) so on April 20, i stamped this moment into my wrist. and i love it. every time i look at it, i love it more! and here is the kicker, on May 26, her 56th birthday, Susan is going to get the same tattoo on her ankle. i can't wait!
the other photo is pretty self-explanatory as well... i bought these necklaces on April 6. hoping that our reunion would continue in a way that would make it reasonable for me to give her this gift for Mother's Day. it did, i gave it to her, and we have both been wearing them every day since. i may just give away all my other necklaces... :)
more later... i promise.
Tuesday, April 26, 2011
i can't believe it has only been three weeks since we met. the time has gone by in some kind of different dimension-- i feel like i have known her forever and to be near her feels so natural i sometimes forget that this is essentially a person who was a stranger three weeks ago. a blaze of glory, indeed. a blaze of grace, perhaps.
on saturday, while we were at the farm, susan presented me with my original birth certificate. i knew that she had it, and i was very much looking forward to seeing it, but i never could have imagined how emotional it would be to hold it and look at it for the first time. for starters, i was not sure until quite recently that it even existed. i wasn't sure if it would have been destroyed or discarded when the amended one was created. i certainly didn't know whether susan would have wanted to keep it even if she could. but she did. and she gave it to me. and i wept. there it was in my own hands... my original name, her name, her thumbprints, a golden seal and my tiny little footprints. for anyone who has always had the same name, the same parents and access to the document that certifies one's existence, it might not seem like a very big deal to receive it. but for my fellow adoptees, i don't think i have to explain the significance of that moment. i framed it, naturally, and will treasure it more than anything else, forever.
there are a million more things to catch up on... easter, conversations with my parents, the tattoo, etc.-- but that will come later.... for now, i am going to sign off and hug my framed birth certificate and continue to stroll through yet another day with a peaceful, easy smile.