Back in about '94 or so, my folks moved from the home I grew up in to a somewhat smaller, certifiable fixer-upper about a half-hour south along the NJ coastline. And when I say 'fixer-upper' I'm being more than generous. The stairs to the second floor we're at a precarious and dangerous angle, doorknobs would just come off in your hand when you opened a door, and the whole place had this pseudo-Moorish interior architecture--one could swear beheadings be-happened in the place. In short, I thought they had lost their minds.
Fix it up they did however, and over the course of a very busy year, all manner of contractor was hired and the place became quite spiffy indeed. But gone was my old bedroom and I was relegated to the new guest room for visits which also served as a repository for their personal papers and folders and letters waiting to find their proper place once the spiffying was accomplished.
Now, I'm not sure if I mentioned this yet in this forum, but yours truly was adopted right from birth. I like to joke that I went from the womb straight to New Jersey--where I found myself once more, in a work-in-progress guest room with all of the documents regarding the legal aspects of my adoption right there. A nosy SOB I be, so I started reading through them and lemme tell you--freaky. There was all sorts of contractual mumbo-jumbo amidst yellowed carbon copies of correspondence. One letter in particular literally spelled out the availability of the next child for my parents to adopt...there were three mothers all due around the same time and whoever gave birth first would have the child who'd take that plane ride straight to New Jersey. And yes, I arrived prompt and first and was flown away.
The thought that remains however is--holy shit--I could have had one or two completely different (random!) lives...and the letter I was reading right then and there was attesting to that very fact in typewriterease. Had I been a day later, where would I have ended up? (Cue: existential cosmic angst.)
But if there was a theme running through all of the notes and letters between my folks and the adoption agency it was their sheer earnestness at wanting a child from a deep, loving well that I've yet to understand. My dad would very often say to me, "when you're a parent, you'll understand..." but, I'm not and I don't. (OK, maybe perhaps I do to a degree.)
Yet, with the varying ups and downs the ensuing years brought, one tremendous gift remains which is a recollection of that earnest parenting and the peace of mind that was instilled, sometimes afterward--hammered, into my head. And when I put the head down each night, I sleep OK thanks, which I think is the greatest gift you could give a kid. (Next to a record player, of course.)
So, randomly, today is my Mom's 83rd birthday and when I talk to her later, I guess I should let her know how well I sleep, huh? (I'll tell her y'all said 'hi' too. She'd like that, for certain.)
Lindsey Buckingham - Trouble (Mp3)
Arnold - Oh My (Mp3)
Klaatu - The Loneliest Of Creatures (Mp3)
New Musik - Straight Lines (Mp3)
Black Kids - I'm Not Gonna Teach Your Boyfriend How To Dance With You (Mp3)