I Hate Mothers’ Day

article-1276906-09849BAB000005DC-341_233x263There. I said it.

I’m sure this is an offensive statement to many. But it’s true. I don’t like this day.

I could say I hate it because it’s commercialized, which is true, or because it excludes a huge group of women who aren’t moms in a rather painful way, which is absolutely true.

But that’s not it. What is it?

I love my kids and I love being a mom. It’s the one job I want to have until I die. And yet, to me, that doesn’t mean that we need to make such a grand production out of one day to the exclusion of all others.

Mothers are so important, and I loved mine. Grandmothers are so important, and I loved mine. But a day that forces us (once a year, as if that is enough) to recognize this role out loud is manipulative. And hypocritical. And forced.

Do not buy me flowers. Do not visit me because it is “the day.” You can take me out to eat, but, please, not on “the day!”

I know, I know, I’m insane, negative and obviously flawed! All the more reason not to recognize me for mere existence as a mother. I must be a terrible one anyway, right?!

Seriously, I know this reveals my inner dysfunction, one that is not new. I’ve always disliked this day.

Truth is, I hate certain kinds of recognition. I don’t reveal my birthday for the same reason. Because I don’t want you to know how old I am? Nope. I’m 49 and I don’t color my hair, so everyone knows I’m not passing for 32. I simply don’t want to have people recognize me all day for existing. There is something possibly unchristian about that stance, I fear; because I exist, I am loved as a child of God. And yet, it doesn’t feel right or good to me to make a production out of this day, or to demand that others do so.

And in Christian-land, it’s even more intense. You will be wished “Happy Mothers’ Day” at least 250 times on Sunday morning at church. You might get a flower or a candy or some other token of no one’s affection. Indeed, Mothers’ Day holds churches hostage in a special kind of way. Pastors, do not fail to highlight mothers (at least) as much as Jesus on Mothers’ Day. If you fail to do this, arrive at work a few hours early on Monday to triage your email and develop a crisis management plan.

I’m not kidding. It’s a day of Christian hostage-holding.

To be fair, when kids are little, Mothers’ Day is bearable because of the awesome gifts. One year, my daughter Katy gave me a rock. From the front porch. She wrote “paperweight” on it. I still have it. My youngest Devon always made spectacular cards, mostly to show up her sister, who never traveled further than the front porch to shop. But with time, this day (let’s admit it, folks) feels so obligatory–especially perhaps for those moms who have moms. It’s a crazy, American trap of guilt, overpriced food, uncomfortable church attire, and stress.

Love your mom everyday, not just on a particular Sunday in May. Go to church with her, but not just on a particular Sunday in May.

Even as I write this, I’m not convinced. It feels wrong to dislike this day so much. In that sense, perhaps it has a special place in my own growth; perhaps I have to learn to be OK with this day.

But please, this Sunday, just wave to me.

Women of Valor

FullSizeRender-1Today is International Women’s Day. I learned that while this is not a big deal in the U.S. at this time, it is a huge deal elsewhere in the world. People bake cakes for women and celebrate them. Perhaps like our Mother’s Day, without the overpriced brunch and flowers.

This is a fractious time. For many, it hardly seems celebratory. But stopping to recognize that women are made imago dei is important, perhaps supremely so, in times such as these.

World Relief created an unbelievably moving piece, a modern-day look at Proverbs 31. No, it’s not all flowers, pink and pastel (bleech). It’s a real look at real women in the real world, today. It’s about you. It’s about me.

Few things make me cry. This did. It’s such a beautiful piece of work, so moving, and so needed today. Share it with the women in your life. It will impact them so. I wish my grandmother could see it; she is physically with us but not much more than that.

I offer to this to my dear sisters, some of whom I know and some, I do not.

Remember, you are worth far more than rubies.

Please take a look. I’m so thankful for and proud of my gifted and hardworking colleagues whose talents so far exceed mine. I am blessed.

The Problem

I am.

GK Chesterton famously gave this two-word answer to a British newspaper that asked many famous writers this age-old question: What is wrong with the world?

Me.

You.

Us.

I haven’t written much lately, at least not formally on my blog. It’s been a busy time and my recreation has been restricted mostly to catatonia and Netflix, with the occasional Little House on the Prairie re-run. Yes, life is busy for everyone, and my life has been quite busy. Sick siblings, new siblings, new diseases, and an excruciatingly limiting new diet that ironically take up loads of my time.

Work has been my most constant companion. I like work. I was made to work. It’s my love language. But this has been a hard time in particular.

It’s a challenge not to wallow in hard circumstances, for anyone. If you lose your job, it’s hard not to wallow. If you get sick or have a significant medical event, it’s hard not to wallow. If you feel underappreciated, it’s hard not to wallow.

Some of my recent circumstances have made me contemplate on the human tendency to wallow, to play the victim. If you suddenly find yourself curating hate mail for a living, it’s hard not to wallow. If you are forced to lay off 100+ employees, it’s hard not to wallow (and even harder if you are one of the laid off employees). If you’ve had to divert your personal funds for emergency needs of others, it’s hard not to wallow.

I think if we all returned to the question posed to Chesterton and his equally important answer, we might turn a corner on all this “wallowing.”

I am the problem.

You are the problem.

If I don’t stand up for those who are marginalized but rather sit in the comfort of my suburban middle-class-ness, I am the problem.

If I don’t look inside my own heart for sin, but rather fixate on finding the sin in the hearts of those I know and don’t know, I am the problem.

If I like your Facebook post of a picture of your yummy latte or fancy plate of food, but not your expression of frustration about the uptick of hate in the world, I am the problem.

I’d venture one step further. I am not only the problem, I am a coward. You are not only the problem. You are a coward.

The problem with the world? In the words of the most underappreciated Christian band of all time, Downhere:

I will look no further than the mirror.

That’s where the offender hides.

Age 73, Lung Cancer

Today I filled out a medical form for an upcoming doctor’s appointment. At my last annual checkup, I had a different life.

That life resembles the one I have now. But it was different.

From a medical standpoint, I definitely had a different history. I had a living father with a family history of heart disease but no history of cancer on either side. Because of the heart disease link, I’ve had regular EKGs for years. They shake their heads and say, “Well, you still have the heart of a swimmer!” The big coronary issue is that my (supposed) paternal grandfather had a heart attack at a very young age despite otherwise good health. But of course, that’s not my true gene pool.

Today I wrote down, next to Father’s Medical History, “Deceased, Age 73, Lung Cancer.” It felt like a lie. I thought, “My dad’s alive!” And he is, but he’s not my biological father. My paternal grandparents? I wrote “unknown.” There was a space for 6 siblings’ medical information. I have ten half-siblings and zero full siblings. I only know the health history of some of them. This first appointment with my new doctor will be interesting.

This journey has been up and down. I’ve written about it before, four times (in order: here, here, here and here). I actually thought about a Christmas card this year that essentially said, “Well, it’s been a year . . .” But the letter that would have to accompany that would be too long, and frankly too exhausting.

Always a fish, I love the water. Yes, the pool is great therapy for me, but more than that, I love large bodies of water intensely. I love being in them, but I also love being near them. The ocean is life-giving to me. This summer was a tough one and I didn’t manage any open water swims as I have in past years, but I missed it.

Today my best friend drove past the lake where my father, a trendsetter when it came to open water swimming in the 60s and 70s, enjoyed his regular lake swims. It hit me. What if I had known him and had the ability to share that love of water with him? What if? If only. I’ve never been to that lake, and I doubt I will go. What if? If only.

So many choices made by others got me to this point. Yes, growth (especially spiritual growth) is a gift from this experience, as is the gift of new sibling relationships. It is a great gift to Skype with my sister Linda and see my expressions looking right back at me. Or my brother Brian’s picture on Facebook, and I think, wow, he looks like a male Kathleen. It is hilarious to see my writing in the writings of my sister Margaret (not to mention the astounding photos; we look the most alike of any of my sisters). It is a joy to see the smile of my oldest daughter on the face of my sister Josephine. I laugh out loud when my sister Mary Pat cracks a joke that sounds just like me.

But is also shocking and spooky and sometimes sad. It has been a helpful time to meditate on the two goals of my life, truth and grace. They often bump up and are in tension with one another, and this is no exception.

Truth and grace. It is true that I was never told of this family I had. Grace leads me to forgive (and forgive, and then forgive again–it’s never a one and done). It is true that I grieve over the lost time, the lost relationships, and the pain that those who parented me carried. It is grace that gets me past that grief towards the next step into tomorrow.

It is true that my father died at age 73 from lung cancer. It is grace that gives me the gift of a dad still on earth here with me.

 

 

 

No Faking It

Often at Thanksgiving, I write about the obvious. The obvious is happy and sometimes sad, depending on what has happened in the past year, who is no longer at your table, and any new additions to the family.

This year, a friend from church won’t have her sister at the table, a sister who became a mom for the first time just days before she died this week.

This year, a work friend has a beautiful 2 month old new baby girl to grace their Thanksgiving.

This year, a high school friend will unexpectedly be without his wife after a tragic medical event just a week before Thanksgiving.

This year, some of us have friends who are celebratory and some of us have friends who are scared and sad.

It’s been a year, folks. It’s been quite the year for me, both amazing highs and some pretty hefty lows.

Wish you had more family around you these days? Well, I have seven new siblings. What a beautiful thing. I’ve been able to get to know some of them really well, which is a cause for great joy, and others not at all, which is simply a future wish at this point.

Wish you had a better relationship with a parent? Me too. I feel sad for my mom and stepfather carrying around a secret about my parentage that they didn’t need to and now can’t address with me. I feel grateful for a dad here on earth still with me who loves me and whom I love. I feel grief over a father I never knew and who may or may not have known much about me, or even cared; there is no way to know.

Wish you had a job you love? I do have a job I love, and I’m so thankful. Wish your job was easier? Girl, me too. It’s been quite a time for non-profits serving diverse populations.

Wish you were not vilified for your politics? I haven’t been vilified (that I know of), but I feel forever misunderstood. Ask some, and I’m a flaming liberal (to which I chuckle heartily). Ask others, and I’m a big conservative (to which I chuckle heartily).

Wish you were more connected to God? I always wish that.

Wish you understood when you were supposed to oppose leadership and when you should submit? My biggest struggle right now.

Wish you knew what was coming? Yeah. We all do. Those who voted red, those who voted blue, and those who third-partied the whole thing. We all do.

Tomorrow, I get to celebrate Thanksgiving with my family–my brothers Michael and Jeff, my nieces and nephews, my great-niece and great-nephew, and extended family by marriage.

As we all prepare for our own Thanksgivings, I imagine some are excited, but my guess is many are probably just hoping to fake their way through the holiday.

But if life has taught me anything, it is that faking it is a band-aid. It works temporarily, but not in the long-term. And, folks, it’s late November of 2016. And it’s been a year.

So be real. That doesn’t mean you have to take down Aunt Jean for her blue button or Uncle Joe for his red hat. But it means being real, looking in people’s eyes, and understanding that they don’t feel any more certain about what happens tomorrow than you do. It means letting your guard down and being who you are. If you are grieving the loss of family member, grieve and let others comfort. If you are happy about life events, be happy and spread that around. If you are scared, let that show through some.

Tomorrow, thank God for that tomorrow. Because nothing is promised about how long you’ll have your annoying Aunt Jean or your bombastic Uncle Joe. See in their eyes what everyone is desiring right now–love, acceptance and a few chuckles in the warm embrace of that crazy, dysfunctional but lovable thing we call family.

 

 

 

Twisting the Phone Cord

phone-cordThis American Life aired a podcast this week entitled One Last Thing Before I Go. I won’t ruin it for you; it is a devastatingly sad yet poignant telling of two raw stories, stories of families separated by choice or by disaster–or by both. In each of the stories,  the presence of the telephone plays prominently.

I hate the telephone. If you know me, you that about me. It is not a recent aversion, but I do think it is somewhat linked to the ever-present ability in this era for anyone to speak to this confirmed introvert. I like to text and to email and to see people in person and even to Skype. But the phone is not my thing.

It hasn’t always been that way. I loved my grandmother’s rotary phone and I still remember the phone numbers of both my grandmother and my aunt Isabel. It was the only way to communicate quickly, back in the day, you know, during the Nixon Administration. I remember wrapping the curled phone cord around my free index finger, cutting off the blood supply, until my puffy reddened finger tip begged for liquid oxygen. I would wrap it, set it free, and repeat throughout the conversation with my Ma or my aunt Isabel (the latter of whom loved the phone, mind you, so that was a lot of pretend tourniquet). My Ma and my mother were, and my oldest daughter are,  with me on this–the phone should be a quick deposit of who what when why where, and maybe light on the why, because that takes awhile.

In high school, we had a kitchen wall phone that had a tired old golden cord, so stretched with use and finger twirling that you could walk to the next room with it. I remember the cords best.

One of the stories from This American Life detailed a fascinating use of an old phone booth where people went to talk to those who had gone before them. It seemed so strange. Some had never spoken of the pain of this loss, but in the silliness and oddity of speaking into an old receiver with no human on the other end, they felt free simply to speak. To say how the loved one was missed. To ask questions. To say sorry.

I wonder now what I would ask my mother, my stepfather, my biological father, all now gone. Would I be nervous? Excited? Would I get angry? Would I ask why (this conversation would be so remarkable I would break my rule of the “no why” on a telephone conversation)? Would I wonder what they knew and when they knew it and how that made them feel? I imagine I would be happy to speak to them. It is hard to imagine a phone conversation with my mom where I didn’t take a smart tone of voice or where my stepfather did not try to pass the phone to my mom (he was not much for the phone either). Of course, my biological father, I don’t know how that would go.

I don’t need a phone, though. I don’t need an avocado green 1980 princess, or an old black rotary making that mesmerizing two-toned hum with each digit dialed, or a wall unit with a tired, old, stretched-out cord. I could make a thumb-and-pinkie pretend phone, or I could just talk.

I imagine over the next year or 10 or 20, I’ll be twisting the proverbial phone cord, pretending to cut off my index finger’s blood supply while I ask who what when why where. Asking questions to which no audible voice will respond. I might start with a call to my aunt Isabel. She will do most of the talking, so I can get the hang of it.

As silly as it sounds, it’s not silly at all. I won’t get hard answers to details, but I will get the experience of continuing to grapple with and grow through and, yes, grieve over, time and events long past.

And yet.

Grief will not be long-lived, I don’t think. There are reasons why events unfold when they do, and when they don’t. That truth doesn’t preclude my questions or make my lack of answers less of a point of frustration for me. But there is a messy beauty to the sequence of events, always.

Tomorrow I will call my dad Jim. He will comment on the election (I don’t want him to do that, by the way, but he will, and I might just miss it if he doesn’t). He will ask about my family. He will ask what else I have learned from my genealogy search. I will tell him that I know what is going on my with my brothers–that I recently spoke with his son Jeffrey and texted with his son Michael. I will tell my dad that I Skyped with my sister Linda, and I talked to my sister Mary Pat on the phone, and I met my sisters Josephine and Margaret in person, and I’ve talked on Facebook with my oldest brother who is undergoing DNA testing.

I will tell him that I’ve been twisting the phone cord. And it is well.

 

 

 

The Messy Beautiful

14258348_10154500323587630_3493061807252919555_oToday, this ordinary day that follows a day so fraught with painful memories for so many, is a reminder of the Messy Beautiful.

The Messy Beautiful is just a bizarre phrase that has been stuck in my mind lately. I don’t know if I made it up or someone else did. I only know that it describes life perfectly for me today.

I’m exhausted this morning. I stay exhausted these days, and I hope that will pass. But, it won’t, not entirely. It won’t entirely pass. Because life is Messy Beautiful.

This weekend was fun. I saw my great-niece and great-nephew, and their parents, and I don’t get to see them often. The Beautiful part. They are moving closer to me, and my gain is someone else’s loss. The Messy part.

It was my church’s fall kick off weekend. The place was buzzing with life, which is Beautiful. The outside of the campus is ripped up for construction. Messy. There was a cool, messy-looking tribute to 9-11 victims near the construction site on campus. Messy and Beautiful.

I’ve spent the last few months finding out a few new things about myself: 1) I’m South American (and in fact a full one-quarter indigenous South American), not Scottish; 2) I don’t have just two brothers, as I’ve believed for lo, these 49 years, but instead I have a total of ten siblings (five brothers and five sisters); 3) my biological dad is not who I believed he was. Messy. Messy. Messy. And slowly, Beautiful.

I love to write and blog, but my new job means that I can’t write about it much, as attorney work is confidential (though not in a sensational way at all, so you aren’t missing anything juicy) and my new family structure is not fully known by all who need to know, so that is a topic I have to tread at a high level without too many details right now. I have to be more thoughtful about what I write, which is probably best for the product and the producer. That means my writing schedule is erratic. Messy. Beautiful.

It’s the season of back to school, for me, with a senior in high school and a senior in college. It’s the season of college visits, job offers for college grads, budgeting, and planning. Next year, empty nest. Messy. Beautiful? Yes, probably, though the jury is still out on that one.

My dear grandmother, 91, is alive though not too cognizant of her surroundings. She doesn’t know she has lost a child, which is Messy, but also Beautiful that she is spared that knowledge on this side of life. She also doesn’t know she has lost a great-great grandchild. Same. She doesn’t know my paternity saga and she doesn’t know of the deep division in the world today around race and culture and faith. That, my friends, is Beautiful.

And today I begin a week of waiting for final DNA results to see if the testing is even clear enough to show I am half siblings with four of my half sisters (ruling out a father is easy; ruling one in when the father is not available for testing, the siblings have a different mother than I, and none of the mothers are available for testing, is VERY MESSY). And when we get those results back? Maybe I’ll have solid proof of what I already know to be true (Beautiful), maybe I won’t (Messy), but either way, we will still be waiting on results for an older brother I have just recently contacted (Messy and Beautiful).

Oh, and finding a sibling on Facebook at age 49 and staring at a profile picture, realizing you are staring in a mirror? So Messy. So Beautiful.

One of my favorite heroes in Scripture is Joseph of the Old Testament. There was a Messy, Beautiful life, with crazy family twists, intrigue, political power, righteousness, and even temptation thrown in. I keep reminding myself, if Joseph can do it, you can weather this messiness as well.

Joseph, however, didn’t have to keep a blog post to 500 words. Failed again on that one.

My favorite Bible verse begins “Count it all joy!” I say that, often snarkily, when stuff happens that is, frankly, super annoying to me. But it is a reminder for me that life is not coincidental. Life is not a hodge-podge of acts or failures to act randomly occurring like dive-bombs of mosquitoes on a hot summer night. No, it’s intentional encounters with messy events that produce something, either hopelessness and cynicism or hopefulness and optimism.

You pick. You pick how you will react to the encounters of life.

Really, you get to pick.

Count it all joy, my brethren, when you meet trials of various kinds, for you know that the testing of your faith produces steadfastness. And let steadfastness have its full effect, that you may be perfect and complete, lacking in nothing.

My Best Friends, Control and Chaos

It’s back to school time! Yay! Or Boo! It depends on your vocation, I guess. Parents are happy; teachers surely have mixed feelings. I always like the start of the school year. I only have one child at home, a senior in high school, and things are more ordered in August with the advent of school.

I love order. Love it. I also love chaos, but usually only so I can tame it into order. Then I get bored, find more chaos, and on the cycle goes.

Chaos reigns right now. It has been a crazy summer: the summer of learning there is a part of your life you never knew about, and people you never knew about. It has been emotional, mostly in a good way.

I’m still in the midst of that chaos, and it’s humbling, because my love for taming chaos is a reflection on both a good and a challenging quality in me–I can bring order to matters and that makes me generally useful, but when I cannot, that makes me frustrated, and reminds me that I am not the General Manager of the Universe.

So, on days when I wish I had all the answers outstanding about my families of origin, but I don’t, I have two choices: force answers or force myself to recognize I don’t, and will never, have all the answers. I prefer A; I need to do B.

So B it is. I’m relaxed as I update my Trello list of Things to Get Done for Work (my “Done” list is in good shape and my “This Week” list is ready to be filled in for next week), but I learn to sit with, live with, deal with, the uncertainty in life.

And it is everywhere. It is a good thing, to dwell with uncertainty, even though I loathe it.

So as I wait for DNA test results, something I absolutely cannot control, I can balance that with an awesome To Do List. Is there anything more lovely in this world than a well-ordered To Do List? No, no there isn’t.

Here’s to a relaxing weekend and living with uncertainty. Cheers!

Crazy Life, Episode 2

First, a big thanks to everyone who has sent well wishes and prayers to me–some on Facebook, some through private messages, some through texts. I love you all, even if I don’t respond to each one right away.

It’s a roller coaster these days. Work is busy and that is good. Last night I spent about 5 hours researching a point of law that looks like it is undecided. Ha! Just like my ancestral tree, my work life proves not to provide immediate answers. And God laughs.

My brother, my dad and I have taken a DNA test and the specimens are in the testing stage. Do you know not to eat one hour before you swab your cheek? I hope my dad didn’t eat pizza right before. Dads.

I’m anxious for results and at the same time dreading them. I’m one minute thinking I’ll reach out to my likely half sibs, and the next deciding that’s a terrible idea. I’m in limbo.

I’m an INTJ (Myers-Briggs, look it up, don’t judge me when you see the famous INTJs). I don’t like limbo. Limbo is for suckers (and never an official teaching of the Catholic Church, so the INTJ-y-ist part of me is satisfied for my faith teaching and my personal bias to be in sync). Did you know that it is very rare to find a female INTJ? Yep, I’m a unicorn. A South American Unicorn.

INTJs like order, quick results and being right. Right now I lack order, DNA results are by no means quick, and I won’t know if I’m right for a while. AND GOD LAUGHS. BAH HAHAHAHA, I imagine he says.

But there is a rightness to this. I do think that events have a purpose, and this itch I can’t scratch is good. It makes me depend on others, a thing I loathe even though it is the lifeline of humanity. My dear husband and amazing girls have been great.

The most salient thought these days? That earthly fathers are amazing and important. But like all humans, earthly fathers are flawed.You can love them through their flaws. But even with their flaws they point to, though they can never fully emulate, the perfection of a heavenly Father.

As it was in the beginning, is now, and ever shall be.

 

Two Weeks

It’s been two weeks. And thus it is time for me to regroup, re-engage and restart my engines.

I’ve been in the pool only a few times in the past two weeks. I’ve kept terrible sleeping hours. I’ve been less than diligent about my diet. I’ve voluntarily worked crazy into-the-night hours.

Some things can’t change right now, and that’s fine. Work is extremely busy, but in an exciting way. But other things can.

Two weeks ago I found out something surprising, shocking, even devastating should I allow it to be. I learned that my biological father is not, well, my biological father.

For those who don’t know me well, in a nutshell, here is my father history: My dad Jim and my mom Donna divorced when I was young, and a few years later, my mom married Bob, my stepfather, who died about eight years ago. Thus, my two dads were and remain Jim and Bob. My mom died almost three years ago. Dad Jim is alive and well, and I’m meeting him for dinner tonight in Northern Virginia.

About 4 months ago, after a few years of starts and fits at family genealogy, I got serious about it. Ancestry.com, here I come! Building family trees was something I became obsessed with (imagine). Then, at the prompting of my kids and because of the rumor of Native American blood for generations, I did a DNA test. Fun!

I was so excited when I opened my results! I’m about a little over a quarter “Native American” and a lot “Iberian Peninsula/North African.” Woah! So exciting.

Wait, whut?

Now, those with more science background than me (which in many cases would include your household pets), are immediately raising the collective eyebrow. See, my family, they are white people. Really white, for the most part. I did find a 15th great-grandmother who was a member of a North Carolina Native American tribe, but you, your crazy uncle and your dog Rufus can figure out that 15th great grandmother does not equal 26% Native American.

But not me.

I started asking questions, though, about my dad’s family tree, which I was having trouble tracing back very far. All I knew was his grandfather was straight off the boat from Scotland. But wait, I’m 0% Scottish. Though raised in kilts with play bag pipes, as Dick is a Scottish name and my stepfather, a Campbell, was the proudest Scot to ever live, I was not one tiny bit a Scot.

Long (long) story short: My dad Jim finally confirmed for me that, that, no, he is not my biological father.

This is not news you expect at 48. That the pain in your hip is early arthritis, that college tuition is increasing at a dramatic rate, that family members need long-term care, these are bits of news you expect at 48.

Though I’m still in the process of building a paper trail to evidence all of this beyond any doubt, here’s the deal: my biological father (now deceased, I have learned) is 100% South American (“Native American” means indigenous to any of the Americas, my USA-centric brain learned) and he has a parent who it appears was 100% indigenous South American.

It’s been a shock and hard for some family members to hear. My emotions? Mostly sadness, for my dad Jim and for me. The saddest thing I think I have ever done is swab my cheek for a DNA sample, knowing my dad Jim was doing the same.

Other emotions? So far, no anger, at least not at those directly involved in the events. My parents did not have an easy or good marriage, and their parting was surely best for all in the long run. They went on to marry some great people and I am grateful for those great people.

There is, of course, righteous anger, but often people assume any anger they have is righteous. Almost never is that true, in my experience. Righteous anger is rare, and has to be properly cultivated to be beneficial. Being mad at a dead person or two for decisions made nearly 50 years ago, sorry, not worth the energy. Additionally, I won’t manufacture anger simply to comply with the “appropriate reaction” that society might expect.

I know my biological father’s name and the country of origin (I am first generation American on his side–crazy as that sounds to me), but there are other families to consider. Thus, at this time, that is something that I and a few of my family members know, as well as a few loved and trusted friends and mentors who are like family. It will stay that way. Perhaps always, perhaps for some period of time. I just don’t know.

So, it’s been two weeks. I’ve functioned fairly well, but not at full capacity. And therefore, it is time to embrace the truth, make sure secrets don’t dominate my life (though not angry at my mother, I do see how secrets surely hurt my mother’s health over the years, a process I wish to minimize for myself as much as possible), and smile at the thought that maybe, just maybe, I’ll find ways to connect more to the story of my biological father and his children.

And remember:

Sometimes the most scenic roads in life are the detours you didn’t mean to take. – Angela Blount