Wednesday, March 11, 2015

New Chapter

This year I celebrated my 34th birthday.  My daughter is now 16 years old and Lance and I will soon be celebrating our 14th wedding anniversary.  Through all of this, my Mom and Dad have been my rock and my foundation.  I would not be the person I am today had it not been for their guidance and values, pushing me to be the best I could, always give 100%, and depend on no one but myself.  Of course, I always knew that they were there behind me, arms outstretched to catch me if I needed it.  But because of them, it has always been a sense of pride to know that I needed that catch seldom.  I strive to pass that sense of determination and independence on to Aleisa, so that she can walk out into the world as a confident adult.

For those who don't know, my Dad is not my biological father.  Yes, it's an odd thing given that we do look alike and there are members of his family that you would swear that Aleisa looks just like them (Kristin's boys and Aleisa could be brother and sister).  But my Dad didn't come into my life until I was about 6 months old and he adopted me when I was 2.  This is something I've known for most of my life and it is what it is.  I knew my biological father's name, some of his history (his Mom lived in Chicago), and what he did when he and my Mom met.  There hadn't been a real need for anything more, except just that unknown hole and the unanswered questions.  It's something that, unless you've experienced it, most people don't get.  Most of you can look in the mirror and you know where your nose came from.  Most of the time it only popped into my mind when I had to fill out new medical history forms or in talking about family heritage.  I would toss around the idea of finding him but it wasn't anything serious.  But as you age you start thinking about the bigger things and maybe what you're missing out on.  I'm an only child but do I have brothers or sisters out there?  Are there a group of kids who don't know what they're missing because Aleisa isn't their cousin?

In November my Mom called me one morning and said "Well...I found Jerry last night on Facebook."  That one sentence pretty much changed the rest of story that is my life.  We talked and we sat on the information for about a week.  Then Mom called me at work during her lunch break and said she'd talked to Jerry on the phone and he'd love to talk to me too.  In one phone conversation I gained two sisters, a brother, and some of the cutest nieces and nephews to go along with the awesome ones provided by Lance and all of the ones who call me AJ because I just love them so much.

It has been a surreal journey for the last few months.  I've hit on pretty much every emotion you can think of.  Happiness because I feel complete, knowing I can answer a lot of questions.  Guilty because I didn't want to hurt my Dad.  Angry because I'd waited so long and Jerry missed out not only on me but on the fantasticness that is Aleisa.  Weirded out because, well, it's weird.  How do you do this?  How do you introduce yourself to the biological other half of you?  What do you call them?  Excited because now there are just more of you, more people to love and who love you in return.

We are super excited because next week Jerry and his wife Susan are flying to Texas to visit with us for a few days.  Our new chapter will get some awesome new pages!

Monday, February 3, 2014

Milestones and millstones

Wow...already February. Not to mention its still crazy cold. I do not like the cold, I've told and told. Never, not even when I'm old, will I like the cold. Apparently, I'm channeling my inner Seuss. Probably and most likely because my birthday is officially less than a month away! Yay! Of course, to get there I have to live through Miss A's 15th birthday. Having a 15 year old just sounds...odd. I'm not quite sure how we already made it to this point. Take for example her music. Seriously, just the other day she was begging me for Hannah Montana tickets. And now she wants Miley Cyrus tickets. While to you all, that sounds like the same concert, trust me its not. That girl has a mouth like a sailor now. There are no cute choreographed dances but random booty shaking against puppet clad people. Again I will say it...oddness. Is it because 15 itself is an an odd number that this feels so awkward a milestone to be looking at? I just want to make sure that, in three years when we are looking at 18 that I have prepared for the world a cabable person poised for adulthood. Not a raging pain in the ass raring to inflict themselves upon society, thinking its all ok because it looks cool and oh yeah, hey so and so did it back in the dark ages (known now as the 80s) so why the fuss? THe fuss is you aren't supposed to do that on national television and make life difficult for all of us parents out here trying to teach our girls that you don't get to act like that. I didn't raise you to be some twerking idiot. But anyway. I digress So many things that were cute 5 years ago are now topics guaranteed to cause World War 10 at our house. Like make up. Back in the day, it was cute and fun to buy her little toy make up kits, laugh behind our hands as she caked on bright green eyeshadow all over her lids and make blush circles on her cheeks. All in good fun, she's learning about being a girl right? WRONG...she was forwarning me of the days to come when we have "conversations" about why we don't have eyeliner in a line that is 2 in thick, ending in a cat's eye swoop. And why when you have such a dramatic eye, you also don't go for such a harsh blood red lip (thank you such much Glamour for giving me the proof to show her that it is not just mee saying all those things but that it was makeup 101). Sigh...I'm going to miss all of this when I'm panicking because I don't know if she made it out of her dorm in time :(

Wednesday, June 26, 2013

Why I am Pro-Choice

I do not often take my views public.  Those that know me, will most likely hear me state them.  I have had views on pro-choice/pro-life since I was 14 years old.  I have always been pro-choice.  I am a woman, I have taken the time to educate myself about the facts, and most recently I have been a Mom.  I am also a Christian. 

As I have gotten older, I've struggled some between my faith and my views.  But what I have come out of my struggle with is this: God gave us a choice.  He gave us free will.  He laid out his laws (ambigious as they are sometimes) and then gave us the ability to choose to follow them or not.  He can not make us.  All He can do is love us.  He sent His only Son to die for our sins, so that as followers of Christ, we no longer have to sacrifice for forgiveness. So, with that, how can man tell me, tell woman, what to do with our bodies?  Abortion is not something new.  It is not a 20th or 21st century problem.  It is something that has gone on since the beginning of time.  Women have always known what to take to stop the quickening (an old term for pregnancy).  They have known that if stick a coat hanger up inside of you or use a lye-douche that it will stop the pregnancy.  Yet for so long, women were considered property.  Literally.  We went from the control of our fathers to the control of our husbands. 

In the last 120 years, women have fought for the right to be considered more than a second class citizen.  To be able to vote, to own property, to work, to be safe from those that wish to harm us (a fight we are still fighting to this day).  To have a CHOICE in the path of our lives.  Women can stay at home or they can go to work.  They can put off having a family and have a career.  They can have a family right away and then have a career.  They can try (and I emphasize try as I know we are not always successful) to juggle both at the same time.  We can CHOOSE which path we want to follow. 

Pregnancy, while a beautiful thing that can happen between a couple, does only happen to the woman.  It is the woman's body that is stretched.  It is the woman's body that does the nurturing and growing.  It is the woman who takes the risk of death.  Today, in 2013, the United States has the highest maternal death rate in the industrialized world.  In 2010, for every 100,000 births 21 moms died.  I know, that doesn't sound like a lot.  But compare that to Canada, whose rate was TWELVE.  12.  South Korea has a better rate than we do (16) and Bosnia is at 8.  Again, I know that is not a lot but why is there such a discrepancy?  Women alone should have the choice because they alone are the ones taking the risk. 

Sadly, men are not held to the same standard.  Right to Life President Barbara Listing said that women should have to buy seperate insurance for abortion coverage, even in instances of rape and incest because “It’s simply, like, nobody plans to have an accident in a car accident, nobody plans to have their homes flooded. You have to buy extra insurance for those,”.  Given that logic, why has no one stated that men should have to buy insurance for unplanned children to cover their expenses?  This is bolded, italicised and underlined because so often, women are left to bear the burden, whether it is staying pregnant and raising the child, staying pregnant and offering the child up for adoption or choosing to have an abortion.  Because it is the woman who is pregnant.  She can't just walk away from it.  She has to carry that child for nine months, go through delivery, pray she is not the 19th person that year and then, after all that, she has to make that decision to let someone else love that child.  Which I am thankful for.  I know wonderful families that that is the way they were able to become families.  But I also know it was a long ardous journey for them because that is such a difficult choice for women. 

Abortion is a choice.  I know this because I had to make that choice.  Again, at the beginning of this blog I stated that I have been pro-choice since I was 14 years old.  I won't go into the reasons why because they were formed in watching others go through their life and it is not my place to talk about that.  In June 1998, my cousin/aunt and I went to Planned Parenthood and I took a test.  That test came back positive.  For 3 years I had said "I have plans, I have goals, I have dreams.  I want those.  If I were to be pregnant, I'd have an abortion."  To which my Dad said "Over my dead body, if you did that I'd never forgive you.  If you got pregnant, we'd raise that baby for you."  I just shook my head at him and thought he was being a Dad.  But when that test came back I was floored.  What the hell was I supposed to do?  So, I went to see Lance.  He told me it was my choice but that he had plans and I had plans but it was my choice.  So.  Now what?  I went to talk to someone who I trusted and all she did was threaten to tell my Daddy.  I wish I could tell you it came down to some divine inspiration.  I wish there was some pivotal moment that made my choice clear.  But it came down to not disappointing my Dad.  Once I did tell my parents (which is a sadly hilarious story all in its own but this blog is long enough and I'm not even finished) they stood by me completely.  And the offer to take care of the baby so I could go to college was there.  But they had also instilled in me a deep need to take care of myself, take responsibility for my actions, and deal with the repurcussions of those actions.  So I did.  Aleisa was born 9 months later and I graduated high school about 3 1/2 months after that.  Looking back, there are definitely things I wish I had done differently.  But the choice to not have an abortion is not one of them.  But I am thankful I had that choice.  If I were living in a different environment or came from a different kind of family, I'm not sure I would have made the same decision.  It is truly by the love, grace, and force of my parents and their influence on my life that I was able to do what I've done. 

But I can't make that choice for anyone else but myself.  I'm not living their life.  I'm not the one who has to go through that heart wrenching decision.  I know they still live with that decision.  They will always think about that child, at least that is what I have been told by those who have gone through it.  Just like I look back and think "What if?" so do they. 

As far as my faith goes, again, it is my faith.  The choices I make are the choices I will some day face God about.  But I know Jesus came and sacrificed Himself for my sins, so that whoever believeth in Him will never die.  I've yet to come across a Bible verse, after Jesus, that says I am going to be punished in the after life for the sins committed by others.  I might have missed it, so you can point it out to me. But it is their choice.  It is their own free will, given to them by God.  But Jesus came to save us from ourselves.  It is not a decision that can be made by the Govenor.  Or the Supreme Court.  None of the people who sit in those positions will be the person who is going through anything because they are not the person contemplating abortion. 

Choice.  Remember, choice can also mean life.  Life can mean death.  But it is only the woman who has to live and deal with that choice.

Friday, January 25, 2013

Unsportsman like conduct

I know I just can't let it go but I was really disturbed last night at Miss A's basketball game.  There were grown men and women (although I do use the term grown extremely loosely because I typically think grown ups act like grown ups and not foolish idiotic rude idiots) telling these 6th 7th and 8th graders to knock people down.  Mocking other parents.  And GROWN WOMEN ARGUING WITH CHEERLEADERS.  Seriously.  Why would you try to argue with a child that doesn't belong to you?  I know its almost useless to argue with the one who does belong to me because she still has that all knowing chemical and wiring going on in her brain right now and it doesn't matter what I'm saying if I'm the one saying it she either doesn't believe it or doesn't think its relevant.  I said to the Moms beside me, its a Middle School Basketball game.  Our kids are going to go on.  And that there are other things to learn in sports that have nothing to with winning.  And everything to do with working with others or pushing through when things look lost.  I have never seen my CEO stick their leg out and trip a competiting CEO as he was walking.  Nor have I ever seen my Dr. jump on another Dr's back to take a patient away from them.  Parents shouldn't encourage behaviour that doesn't help their kids in the real world.  Of all the kids right now playing ball in high school, 3.5% of them will go on to play college basketball (that number jumps to almost 7% for football and 11% for Men's Ice Hockey...go figure).  Of those 3.5%?  1% will go on to play professional.  Why place your dreams on that 1%?  And those 1% who are blessed to have the talent, drive and hard work ethic to make it, what do you do when you're done?  Use the tools that athletic participations provides you with in a positive way.  Don't teach your kids that intimidation is how you earn respect.  Because in the end, that behaviour just serves to lead you to places you don't want to be.


Tuesday, December 4, 2012


I sit here in the midst of multi-tasking...listening to a meeting, monitoring work, reading a blog.  None of these things has my absolute full attention but none of them are demanding it either.  Just when I thought I wanted to write a blog brain went left.  So I've lost my train of thought...and along with it the cars of wonderful nuggets of brilliance that I wanted to share.

Can you help me find it?


Tuesday, September 11, 2012

Whine and Cheese

Write it down on the calendar, that is two blogs in one day! Well...its mostly because I said on FB that I would only whine once. And I hate saying it again to the fam.



HURTS! :'-(

I know, I know, surgery is supposed to hurt. But aren't they supposed to give me adequate medicine to keep the pain at bay? It's like my ankle is in a vice grip, trying to pop it out of my leg. I try to confuse my brain by squeezing my nails into my hand, because your brain can only focus on one area of pain at a time. And it does while I'm squeezing but as soon as I stop it comes screaming back to the forefront of my mind. It freaking hurts!!!!

Keiko, Fabio, can't wait to see it in 3-D its going to be beautiful!

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Strong girls...weak partner?

Day two after my surgery and I'm feeling more pain than yesterday.  Which is normal as the anesthesia is about all wore off.  Then God smiled at me and I noticed that my pain medication says I can take 1-2 pills every 6 hours!  Niiiice.  At least for this mornings dose because I was feeling it for sure.

For the first few days I am totally non-weight bearing.  Which means not only can I not walk without crutches (I am also scooting around in my improvised wheelchair, aka my office chair) but I can't get off of the facility without help.  MLP was tired this morning, having slept so light because of my whimpering and checking on me, so I enlisted the help of Miss A to get to the kitchen, make some coffee, eat my breakfast and then it was time to use the facilities.  I tried to get up with her help but couldn't remember how MLP and I did it the night before.  Then I tried to figure out how to do it myself, which was a fail.  So, I'm sitting there and I start to cry.  Which freaked out Miss A and had MLP come running because he thought something was wrong.  Nothing was wrong except the humbling realization within myself that I truly can not do anything right now alone.  I have to depend on someone else.  This, for me, is a difficult pill to swallow.

Being an only child, I learned to self entertain.  I didn't have to share unless I chose to because I had friends over.  My parents also raised me to take care of myself, get the job done and to not have to depend on them or others.  Which is not a bad thing, in and of itself.  However, this trait has not been a blessing to my marriage.  I just take care of everything.  If MLP didn't take care of it the way I wanted, I just never asked him again and took care of it myself.   It's a very humbling experience to realize at 6:30 in the morning, while sitting in the facilities, that so much of what I'm unhappy about is my fault.

In raising our girls to be strong, empowered women, we must not forget (ok I must not forget, some of you out there probably figured this out) to teach them to be good partners.  It's ok to ask for help.  It's ok for it not to be done a certain way, that your way works for you but someone else's way can work just fine to.  Your's is not the only timeline out there.

I think, most importantly for myself, I need to realize something.  As funny as this is going to sound, being weak is not a sign of WEAKNESS.  As humans, we formed relationships because no one person can do everything.  We formed villages, communities and civilizations for this reason as well.  There is no one person who can provide everything for themselves.  Even shipwrecked on an island, you are dependent on  someone having lost something and it washing up on shore.  Or someone having packed something on your plan so you can find it in the wreckage.  A very wise man once said to me "Asking for help is a sign of strength.  It is saying that the outcome is more important than who made it happen".

This morning, the outcome was getting me standing.  How I got on my feet, not the big deal.  Just that I got there.


PS...MLP I love you!!!