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Meeting Anka

131221 FB post nathan

My most bittersweet journey to date was made with a friend I’d first known as a sequence of blinking green letters on a black screen.

In 1993, Nathan and I started chatting on local bulletin boards before meeting up in person and becoming in fast friends. In 2008, with many years of history between us, he drove me and my newborn son up to Oregon say goodbye to my dying mom.

Nathan was my first online friend to become an offline friend, but I’ve made many more in the 21 years since then. In fact, almost all of my Los Angeles friendships began as virtual ones.

Soon, there shall be better Mackorah pictures to share! (What, you really think "Bennifer" is better?)

Mackenzie and I met thanks to our affection for the TV show Buffy the Vampire Slayer; she has been a rock to me since almost the moment we met.

Maggie and I first blog-bonded over our common love of Gandalf before she introduced me to her high school girlfriends, who adopted me as one of their own; I thanked two of them in this shout-out to teachers.

It was Maggie who introduced me to my now husband shortly before I moved to Japan. My second son was born ten years to the day after that meeting.

To say I’m open to beginning friendships online is an understatement.  Read more…

The loss, love and life of baby J

Tonight I attended a memorial for a baby I never got to meet.

I knew baby J’s parents wanted to share the joy of his life, but I wanted to weep when I stood in front of pictures and keepsakes from that short life.

Two onesies. A pair of booties. A pacifier.

How is he not still here to wear these?

This makes no sense. How is he not here?

How?

My husband introduced me to his friend, J’s mom. Read more…

Casting light over fixing grief

A week ago, my husband congratulated a friend on the birth of her child.

Today he asked me if he should say anything about the baby’s death. The baby had stopped breathing and could not be resuscitated.

“Yes,” I told Anthony, “Absolutely yes. From reading blogs by people whose children have died, I’ve learned that so many people–friends–disappear when a child dies. Don’t do it on social media, either, where we communicate at instead of with each other. Tell her directly. Please.”

Anthony sent her a text message, which set off a flurry of text exchanges. He relayed the gist of some of the messages as I drove, but my mind had wandered far away.

Why do people disappear? Why do we fade into the background when we are most needed?

I don’t believe for a second the answer is Read more…

My last day

Today I say farewell to one job.

I say farewell to the things that frustrated me and the people who made me laugh.

I say farewell richer in knowledge and friendships than when I began. I smile at the goodness of what I will take with me after today, most especially friendships with one of the two best managers I have ever had and the treasure who inspired this post.

I am smiling wider still at the prospect of all that is to come: a little extra time with my babies, whom I’ve barely gotten to see most my long days away, and steps toward fulfilling my own long term objectives that have very little to do with paychecks. I will be pinching pennies while relishing presence and prospects.

It feels amazing to follow my husband’s lead and, for once, take not the safe route but the right one.

I am not my work. Indeed, I feel poised to discover who exactly I am meant to be.

What uncertainty! What joy!

Hand in hand: much better than either in the garbage can!

Onward

The odd ones

I will remember

My baby son sleeps on the floor next to me. I should be asleep, too, but I’m too full of wonder to sleep.

What will my baby son remember about his short first trip to Oregon? Probably very little.

But I will remember.

I will remember standing in the airport security line with him strapped to my chest. Realizing he is the same age my older son was when we flew north to say goodbye to my dying mom 4.5 years ago, and saying thanks that this time I flew for celebration, not farewell.

I will remember sitting in a hotel bathroom and whispering–so as to not wake the baby–about my brother-in-law’s first days of med school.

I will remember trying to wrangle my just-younger sister’s two kids in a strange city.
Read more…

Escape from Terror Teacher

I knew something was wrong with my son’s new school the moment I absorbed the incident report.

My initial response was horror. “My sweet, sensitive son did that? What on earth is happening at the school for him to do such a thing?”

Exhausted from tending to his baby brother and in the throes of post partum depression, I focused my chagrin on him. “I am so disappointed in you!” I told him repeatedly as we drove home.

“But he told me I had to!” Read more…

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