Author Archives: robynbird

About robynbird

I've been a writer since I could hold a pencil in my hand. I'm learning new and wonderful things about myself through my writing and realized it isn't enough just to write it down, I need to share it. What I have to say may not be Earth shattering, but it is filled with love and I hope it moves those who read it.

routine > normal

I grow weary of trying to feel normal.
The way we’re currently living is not remotely normal, so why in the holy hell are we pretending it is?
I mean, I get it. If we behave somewhat normally, it won’t feel as strange.
But it’s not normal, so why are we trying to make it feel normal?
Perhaps it’s time to accept that the normal we knew is gone and will never return.

I’ve worked so hard to keep some semblance of normal while being stuck at home.
Bathing and getting dressed. Doing the work things before the lounge-y things. I’m not wearing mascara. I’m not wearing my wedding rings. I am wearing jeans some days. I’m wearing yoga pants and leggings other days. I am never wearing jammies unless it’s the evening or I’m in my bed.
I’m sick of forcing normal.

Yesterday I didn’t bathe, but I did get dressed. I didn’t do anything remotely productive. I didn’t tidy. I didn’t sort photos. I didn’t write.
Want to know what I did all freaking day yesterday?
I was on pinterest.
All. Damn. Day.
I have no guilt.
I’m tired of attempting to feel normal.

I made an active choice to just check out.
I saw and pinned the most random stuff. From Harry Potter (Weasley is our King!) to organization. From cocktail recipes to all things Avengers. From houseplans and music to girl power and Good Omens. (I do not ship Crowley and Aziraphale as a couple, I love their friendship.)
I didn’t make dinner. I didn’t do anything. I didn’t want to. I just sat in front of my computer.

Today I feel different than I did the last few days.
I’ve been so frustrated and antsy.
But today I feel kind of refreshed.
Was looking and pinning all day was engaging yet mindless enough to make a difference?
Did I simply need a reset?

I’m tired of coping.
I’d like to be living.
Complaint is not my intention. I’m simply expressing my thoughts and feels.
I feel weary.
I know there’s not a way out for the foreseeable future.
I’m prepared to accept the situation.
I think I’m past the point of trying to keep it normal.
At this point normal is simply a word like egg or tree. I’ve lost all semblance of the meaning.
Maybe that’s better for me? Maybe I need a new sense of normal?
TBPH, we all probably do.
It isn’t the way it was.
It’s not going to be the way it was.
This is it.
This is how we live now.
We need to discover how to make a new normal. One that keeps us safe and sane.
And on the day when the world opens back up, that’ll be an entirely new level of normal.

In the meantime, I’ve come to realize routine is one thing, normal is quite another.
So I’ll be sticking to my routine.
But I’m going to let go of normal for a while.

Categories: me | Tags: , , , , | 11 Comments

the disconnect

I see photos of big urban cities with empty streets.
I understand the significance.
I understand the power of these images.
I understand how impactful it is to the city, to the world, but mostly to the people who live there.

I live at the end of a cul de sac at the back of a suburban neighborhood. Unless kids are out on their bikes, it’s mostly quiet. And this is when the world was normal.
What’s so strange to me is that even in this time in which we’re all staying put, it’s not that much different here.
We live in a place that doesn’t wear the impact of covid-induced self quarantine on it’s sleeve.

It’s a real disconnect.
Life looks pretty much the same.
It’s only in the going about suburban living that I see how different everything actually is.
But there’s the rub. I’m not supposed to be going out.

I find it so strange.
I watch the news.
I see social media.
I talk with friends and family.
What’s going on in the world is something I’m acutely aware of.
But I don’t see the evidence, you know?
My street doesn’t look any different.

Maybe that’s just suburban life.
The quiet cul de sac exists for just this reason.
To lull you into a sense of safety and comfort.

I am so fucking tired of hearing lawn mowers.

These thoughts aren’t fully hatched, so I may not be making sense trying to express them.
But I understand what I feel.
And it looks like this.

There’s a whole lotta WTF? going on.
I have access to information, but don’t actually bear witness.
I’m being impacted by the same things as the rest of the world, only it doesn’t actually look that way…?
Am I grateful to be affected, but not have to see?
Does it make it more or less real to me?
I’m truthfully not sure where I’m going with this, I just know it means something.
Perhaps I should wait for my thoughts to fully hatch before writing them down?

Categories: me | Tags: , , , , , , , | 11 Comments

a tune for Tuesday vol 66

I freaking love this song by Saint Motel!
Check out Van Horn and let me know what you think!

Please listen responsibly.

Categories: music | Tags: , , , , | 2 Comments

each story is different

Thing 2’s restaurant closed and she’s without income.
She saved money, but during this time of no income, she’s had to dip into her savings. She needed groceries and vodka, she ordered some carry out, she bought loo paper and deodorant. You know, things we all need.

Before the world went sideways, she and two friends began looking at houses for rent planning to move in June.
Of course being out of work means no money coming in, and dipping into her savings means there’s less savings for deposits and pet fees and the like.

She was having trouble with the unemployment website and expressed her concerns. She had exhausted all her options and no matter how many times she tried, she got stopped at a certain point in the process. The error message was that her social security number was invalid. She said to me, “I don’t exist.”
Saturday afternoon, YBW and I did a bit of research and got on the phone with her. Together, the three of us were able to figure out how to get past that point. Turns out it had nothing to do with her ssn and everything to do with the reason for seeking unemployment benefits. Once she got past that hurdle, everything seemed OK.
Now she waits.
She’s applying for jobs.
Literally all the jobs. From grocery store cashier to the person who assembles the device that lowers coffins into graves.

YBW and I have each said however much it sucks, we’re so pleased she lives at her dad’s and doesn’t have to worry about paying to live with no income.
She appreciates having a roof over her head that she’s not financially responsible for. She understand some people aren’t as fortunate as she is.
I don’t write this as a comparison to another’s experience, I’m simply telling her story.

As much as Thing 2 desires and honestly needs to get out of her father’s house, the timing couldn’t be worse.
Her friends with whom she’s moving are both still working. Still earning money, still padding their savings.
Thing 2 said she doesn’t want to ‘get left behind’. She wants to figure a way to make this work.
I offered to help her financially, emotionally, etc.
I know I can only help her so much. I know she has to do things for herself.

It’s hard to watch her work so hard and be thwarted by circumstances beyond her control.
She’s talking about school. More seriously than she ever has before.
She wants to study funeral services. This is something she’s been talking about rather seriously for about two years.
She and I did some research and traded links in emails all afternoon Saturday.
She has anxiety about the financial aspect of going to school.
I can’t alleviate all that anxiety, but I can help.

She finally decided to get her mental and physical health in order. She finally decided to get her living arrangements in order. She’s doing some seriously hard work.
Sometimes hard work looks like one step forward, two steps back.
This looks a bit more like one step forward, five steps back.
She’s looking for work.
She’s applied for unemployment.
She’s hopeful money from the government will help.

We were talking about the differences between what’s going on here and what’s going on in Canada and I said I read that the checks from the US government are essentially tax credits meant to offset 2020 federal income taxes.

Sunday morning she sent this in the group chat.

You can see that Thing 1 has some pretty strong opinions about this.

The Things and I talked about how things work in our country. We talked about each other. We talked about the state of the world.

It seems to me we’re all so good at seeing things from our own point of view, especially now when we’re staying put more than ever before. But I find it helpful to experience things from other points of view. I like understanding what other people think and feel. Asking questions, getting answers, learning opinions.
I know so many of us are blogging about it.
I asked and received Thing 2’s consent to write about this.

Every story is different.
We each go through this in our own way.
Sharing our experiences helps everyone.
This is our life.

Categories: me | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , | 7 Comments

the responsibility of farmers and pigs

It’s YBW’s week back to work and he went in today to get a jump start. I’m not sure when but he was gone when I woke at 8:25.
I showered and got dressed and went downstairs.
Out the front door sidelights I saw the front yard, and thought, Damn, we didn’t tell the kid to mow the lawn.
I went into the kitchen and got excited when I saw a piece of paper at his place at the table.
(I got excited! YBW asked him to mow, so I wouldn’t have to. The kid often behaves as though what I say doesn’t always apply to him.)

Then I read the note.

Thing G,
Comb your hair before you go to work.
–Dad

And I was hit with the full force of the truth.

The reason the kid doesn’t think about anything but himself is because he’s not encouraged to.
He takes no responsibility as a human being and member of this household because he isn’t expected to.

We’re in tricky treacherous territory now. Because this is when it becomes personal for YBW. This is when he hears me say he’s a failure as a father.
Only, I’m not saying that.
I think he’s a kind and loving father. In fact, it’s one of the things I’ve always loved most about him. He’s even kind and loving to my children, not because he has to, but because he can.
I don’t think he’s failed as a father. I think he’s raised his children exactly the way he was raised.
How can that be a fail?
He has taken care of them with all the love and kindness he possesses.

Taken care of them to such a degree that one doesn’t have to worry about helping maintain his household.
Taken care of them to such a degree that one doesn’t even have to worry about helping himself.

Thing G will be twenty years old in forty-three days. He is so well loved and taken care of he doesn’t even need to remember to comb his own hair.

My husband was raised by a stay at home mother who literally did everything for the household.
Since the divorce of their parents, YBW’s sons were raised by a full time working father who did everything for the household.
He parented the way he was parented.
His love is evident in that he did everything for his children.

How is this a fail?
My husband isn’t a failure as a dad.
He love his children.
He takes good care of them.

He is responsible for them. Well, one of them anyway.
He bears all the responsibility for Thing G.
We talk often of transferring the responsibility from the father to the son.
I still haven’t figured out if it’s that YBW doesn’t know how, or if he doesn’t want to.
He talks about how he wants the kid to be educated or have a job and be able to ‘be in his own place’ and be responsible for his own life.
Simply put, the kid lacks the skills.
The kid lacks the skills because he’s still being told to comb his hair.
But not to mow the lawn.
Not to participate as a member of this household.

To be perfectly honest, I don’t know what that actually means.
Is is mixed messages?
Is it lack of effort on any or all parties?
Is it the never ending excuse of his diagnosis?
I legit don’t know.

What I do know is that there is an adult in this household that doesn’t participate in the day to day goings on.
Does it come down to expectations?
Does the kid meets the expectations presented to him…?
If this is what YBW expects from his son, and his son meets these expectations perfectly, then I am the one with misguided expectations.

At minimum, I expect adult members of a household carry their own weight. Ideally, to participate in the day to day operations to help things run smoothly.
I expect adults to know they’re supposed to comb their hair without being told.
I expect adults to know their responsibilities and to execute them without being told.
I expect adults to be respectful when they need to be reminded of their responsibilities.
There are thousands upon thousands of responsible non-neurotypical humans on this planet.
I’m past the point of being willing to teach.
It’s not my job.
I refuse to take on the responsibility of someone who won’t be responsible for himself.

There is nothing healthy about this situation.
Not for me.
Not for YBW.
Not for the kid.

I’m so tired, y’all.
Tired of living in a situation I didn’t create.
Tired of watching the toll it takes on the man I love.
Tired of watching the kid waste his life.
Tired of feeling helpless and hopeless in what’s supposed to be my home.

I worked so hard to accept what I can’t change. And I even went so far as planning to accept that change may never come.
There is a common expression, but I like Thing 2’s version,’Not my pig. Not my farm.’
It’s easy to say that.
Thing G is not my pig and this is not my farm. However, when I joined my life with YBW I willingly took some responsibility for that pig and this farm.
My question is when does the responsibility shift from the farmer to the pig?
Can I accept that day may never come?

At this stage of the game, these constant reminders to do things for which you’re responsible should not exist.
But that’s the thing, right?
He’s not actually responsible for anything.
Not unloading the dishwasher.
Not mowing the lawn.
Not even combing his own hair.
How can one be expected to be a responsible member of a household, or be responsible to create one’s own household if they’re not actually expected to be responsible?

Y’all I don’t know the answer to any of these questions.
I truly need to learn to stop asking.
It would take the pressure off my husband.
It would make my life so much simpler.
And if I’m not entirely comfortable in life, the least I can do is simplify it.

Categories: me | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , | 9 Comments

how do you choose to cope

Yesterday YBW was standing at the kitchen sink washing out the coffee pot and he said, “I thought this would last two weeks and it would be over. I need to get into a routine like you.”

I think he’s realizing how unprepared we all were for the situation in which we find ourselves. In the beginning he likened it to being snowed in, we hunker down, stay put for a few days, then life resumes its normal pace.
Let me be clear. I am not saying he doesn’t take it seriously, he is acutely aware of the seriousness of this time of extended self quarantine.
It’s more like I’m in ECE mode and documenting his development. I am watching what he’s actively learning through his immediate and authentic experience. I see how he adapts based upon what he’s learning.

He saw me up, showered and dressed and going about the things. It seemed to me he realized the importance of these behaviors. I see he’s realizing how simple it is to stay in one’s jammies and be at the computer or in front of the TV all day long. How doing that helps create that snow day mentality.

Y’all, I made a concrete decision to get dressed every day. And I’m wearing jeans at least three times a week instead of comfy, around the house clothes like yoga pants or leggings. I’m doing the work-y things at the beginning of my day before I do the lounge-y things. This is how I’m choosing to cope.

I talked with him about why I made this decision. I did it because I want didn’t want my life to feel like one extended snow day. It’s easy to sit around in my jammies day drinking and eating all the live long day. I knew that would be bad for me. I chose to live differently in this time.
I know my limits. I know within which parameters I function best. So, I created this routine to keep myself safe and sane.
With nothing to break up the monotony of being stuck in this house, this routine makes every difference.

YBW is currently in his jammies drinking coffee in front of his computer. So, maybe the routine isn’t actually necessary for him. I mean, he does have his normal routine every other week. His regular life, in which he gets up, bathes, dresses and goes to work. So maybe for him the home weeks feeling more like snow days are what’s keeping him safe and sane?
He spent all last Friday pressure washing the deck. Yesterday, he patched a hole in the ceiling where Thing G’s shower leaked. So, he’s doing the things even if he’s doing them in his jammies.

Each of us had to adapt to the best of our ability to do what it takes to get through this while remaining safe and sane.
For some of us, that is day drinking.

Crowley is my spirit animal

For some of us it’s as much exercise as we can cram into a twenty-four hour period.
For some of us it’s cooking or baking.
For some of us it’s sleep.
For some of us it’s Netflix, Prime, Hulu, and Disney +.

Whatever you’re doing to keep yourself safe and sane in this time is none of anybody’s damn business. I mean, unless it negatively impacts another.
So if what keeps you safe and sane is locking someone in the closet, maybe you want to reevaluate. Unless they’re up your ass about some store brand cookies. Then I say, you do you.

I’m choosing to do what’s best for me. I’m aware my choice has no or low impact on others. I’d like to keep it that way.
But you know, I get antsy. I want to throw a temper tantrum now and again. Maybe that restraint is what’s keeping me safe and sane. I can only do me.

What routines are keeping y’all safe and sane in these unprecedented times?

Categories: me | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , | 8 Comments

expressing all the irrational feels

LA wrote this post and it jump-started the hatching of thoughts.
In case you don’t actually click the link and read the post, she had some allergy symptoms mixed with anxiety, and before she knew it, she’d panicked herself into full on covid mode. She knew better, but couldn’t shake the feels.

I’m suffering from allergies, I’m taking my allergy meds, but if it’s sunny, I’m opening the house and letting the pollen in by the bucket load just to get fresh air in this place.
I know it’s allergies, but the ‘what ifs’ are actively punching me in the face.
I know it’s allergies, and even though I know it’s allergies, I continue to talk myself off the ledge.
And I think, ‘FUUUUUUUUUUCK I have this virus’, instead of thinking, ‘I’ll probably get this virus sooner or later.’

It’s natural to feel all these irrational feels, with all our heightened anxiety in a time when the world is in pandemic mode.
It’s especially tricky when you logically think and understand one thing, yet feel so strongly another.
When the feels are big, logic goes out the window.

This week YBW is home. I don’t feel comforted by that. It’s actually more stressful.
That feels awful to say, but when he’s at work, I can focus on what I’m doing, and even though he’s coming in and out of the house, I feel hopeful we’re still safe.
When he’s here, I find it distracting. I have more trouble staying focused, or on task.
As much as I want to spend time with him, I’m more panicky when he’s here than when he’s not.
That has nothing to do with him, and everything to do with me. It’s one less thing I can control about my environment.

I was fired up Wednesday morning.
I was mad the kitchen was a mess. I was mad there was food on the coffee table from where Thing G ate the night before when I was folding laundry and needed a place to put it. I was mad that before 9 am I’m showered and dressed, doing laundry, and putting a pork shoulder in the crock pot so we’ll have dinner.
I was grouchy and complaining and YBW was sighing.
I went upstairs mad.
About twenty minutes later, I went to YBW and told him I wanted to apologize for being grouchy. That because I’m tired of feeling anxious and cooped up everything I feel is heightened. Things like feeling frustrated that the kid takes no responsibility for himself or as a human being in this household.
He sighs when I express my frustration. When I say that, he asks what he should do instead of sigh.
I stopped and worked hard to express the sighing is fine, it’s that he’s taking it personally is what I don’t like.
He feels responsible that the kid does or does not do the things.

I’ve come to the realization and acceptance that Thing G isn’t going to change his behavior. But it still frustrates me. So, to stop YBW from feeling responsible, I’m going to stop expressing my frustration.
The kid is what the kid is. He has no interest in being different. No amount of ignoring, shouting, guidance, or love makes a difference. No matter what we’ve said, or done, he doesn’t change his behavior. At this point, I’m honestly just counting down the days until he goes to live with his mother and I don’t have to watch it anymore.
At some point YBW has to let go of feeling responsible because the kid chooses not to be responsible for himself.
These are the real and frustrating thoughts I have, but can’t express because they’re hurtful to the man I love most.

When we express ourselves, we can’t control how it’s received. Especially in the current environment of heightened anxiety. What we can control is the way in which we express our thoughts and feels.
LA was feeling anxious and reached out to a friend she loves and trusts, but her friend was at the same level of anxious and it just went sideways.
I was feeling anxious. Cooped up. Tired of these four walls. Tired of doing the things that run the house while other people don’t. I took out my anxiety and frustration on YBW.
Neither LA nor her friend intended to make as stressful situation worse. I didn’t intend to have my frustration escalate to the point of starting our day off in a such a way.
It took me twenty minutes, but I knew how important it was to nip it in the bud.
I needed a pause.
I chose to press reset.

We love our friends and family dearly. We’re all in an anxious state. This works against us when we’re expressing ourselves.
We’re off kilter just enough that logic takes a backseat. Instead of being able to say, I’m having a crap day and need some loving reassurance, LA expressed her anxiety in the form of verbal vomit about how allergies were covid.
Instead of going about my business and quietly cleaning up the messes, I expressed my anxiety as verbal vomit about being frustrated over normal everyday occurrences.
But in addition to the anxious expression of our feels, they were received by those in a heightened anxious state.

Now is the time for us to do the hard work of effective communication.
To be crystal clear about our communication expectations.
We need to do our best to state clearly at the beginning of a conversation, or to ask clearly before engaging in the conversation, I (or do you) need a listener. Or I (or do you) need help problem solving.

We’re going to fail at this sometimes, because we can’t be in both the front and back of our brain at the same time. But if we can stop for a moment and move from the back to the front of our brain, we’re going to be able to communicate more effectively even though we’re anxious.

This whole situation is stressful!
I’m having moments of hanging by a thread. I want to have the biggest fucking temper tantrum you’ve ever seen.
The anxiety in me thinks that sounds straight up amazing!

Y’all it’s a crap situation.
It’s going to get worse before it gets better.
And that’s even if none of us or any one we love gets sick.

At the end of her post, LA wrote:

I verbalized all the stuff swirling in my head, which in turn released the fifty pound weight that had centered itself on my chest…

Same, LA, saaaaaaame.
It feels wonderful to be able to say what I think and feel in a safe and neutral environment.
I’m grateful we’re all here to read and respond to each other’s words.

Categories: me | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , | 7 Comments

say it to my face

There’s an episode in season four of Mad Men in which Peggy does a presentation with lipstick on her teeth. The guys think it’s funny, but it wasn’t. She didn’t care because the pitch went well, and the client loved it.

I was on the phone with Thing 2 and after telling her about it, I said, “You know what it reminds me of?”
Without hesitation she says, “Booka!”
(Booka was name Thing 1 and Thing 2 called their father’s mother.)
My former mother in law was notorious for going about with lipstick on her teeth. And do you know no one would ever tell her. Well, that buck stopped here. (*points at self*)

Now, what y’all don’t know is that this mother in law was the born the same decade as my grandparents, so to say there was a generation gap is an understatement. But I never understood why people just let her go about her life with lipstick on her teeth!

So there we are, at some family thing (they had a huge extended family). She was sitting with a group of ladies, and I walk up with Thing 1 on my hip to hug her. I discreetly rub my finger over my teeth. She smiles and repeats the gesture before showing me her teeth. I give her the all clear.
She walks away with her son and I sit down in the seat she vacated.
I am instantly barraged by the hens.
Apparently I shouldn’t talk about things like that. It simply isn’t done. On top of that, I was disrespectful. I was rude. I wasn’t properly raised because young people don’t behave that way to their elders. etc.
(Fortunately my mother wasn’t there, she would have told them a thing or two about being raised properly.)
Well, I smile and pick up my daughter before I say as politely as possible, “I told her because I respect her. She shouldn’t have to go around like that because none of you are kind enough to tell her.”

She came to me later apologizing for the little old ladies. She expressed her gratitude. Literally no one ever told her but me and she was grateful.
What was their motivation? Do you just not talk about things ‘like that’? Were they secretly amused? To be perfectly honest, they were some of the nastiest women I’ve ever been around, and I suspect they liked that she was unaware.

This story got me thinking…
Surely y’all have seen this meme or at least something like it?

Isn’t it lovely to think it could be this way?
But is it our reality?
Girls are often told one thing, and shown another.

Girl Power should include all girls. It rarely does. Girls often learn to look out for themselves without real thought for each other.
You’ve heard it:
Slut.
Bitch.
The C word.
Did you see what she was wearing?
She has lipstick on her teeth.
Her dress is tucked into her tights.

There is pointing and behind the back conversations.
I’m not saying I’ve never talked shit about another girl behind her back, but I don’t think it’s right.

If my tag is hanging out, please tell me.
If I’ve got lipstick on my teeth, please tell me.
If you’re nasty about it, great. At least do it to my face, right?

I want to be a woman in a world in which we all adjust each other’s crowns without telling the world they were crooked.
It’s hard enough to be a girl/woman in this world without us being against each other. It really isn’t all that difficult to treat each other with kindness and respect.
We’ve been taught we’re nothing. While also being told we can be whatever we want.
Mixed messages.
That’s the life of a girl in our world.
It shouldn’t be.
It doesn’t have to be.
Yet here we are, tearing each other down for our own amusement.
We hardly need the patriarchy to hold us back, we’re so busy doing that to each other.

But there are women and girls out there who are kind. They treat themselves and other women with the respect every human being deserves. They are our inspiration.
That’s what the sisterhood should be.
We have to keep at it.
Less shit talk.
More crown straightening.
Starting with our own.
Tell me when there’s lipstick on my teeth, because you can damn sure bet I’ll tell you.
But not because I’m mocking or attempting to insult you, I want you to know so you can put your best foot forward. We have enough stacked against us, let’s not be against each other.

OK, this went a way I didn’t expect. But there you have it.
I didn’t realize how something so seemingly irrelevant was actually a pretty big deal.
Maybe being trapped at home is getting to me?
I don’t know.
Let’s just fucking be kind to, and stop judging each other, OK?

Categories: me | Tags: , , , , , | 18 Comments

a tune for Tuesday vol 65

This Grouplove song is just straight up fun!
And then you really listen to the lyrics.
I just love when dark(er) lyrics are put to an upbeat song, don’t you?

Y’all check out Deleter and let me know what you think!

Please listen responsibly.

Categories: music | Tags: , , , , | Leave a comment

what story is more important than this

These are the thoughts that hatch as I go through seventy plus years of family photos.

It comes down to being the last living person who has any real understanding of some of these photos, and people. My girls knew my parents, but only in the capacity of children. They didn’t know Grandaddy at all, even though Thing 2 is named for him.

I’m trying to pare down photos of my Grandaddy, mom, and dad, and keep only what tells a story. And then share those stories and let Thing 2 decide how she’s going to proceed. I don’t want her to have to sift through photos and wonder who’s who. Who’s important. Or that she should feel obligated to keep them without being able to answer those questions.
I don’t want her to feel guilty about parting with anything she doesn’t like, want, or understand.

I’m being mindful about each photo I touch. I’m saving much more than I’m actually inclined to, simply because I want to give Thing 2 the opportunity to touch these same photos and see if they mean anything to her.
One example is a letter my great uncle sent to Grandaddy and my grandmother in 1948. My mom was about to celebrate her 3rd birthday and my great uncle was sending pics of being in the army. That was what actually initiated the four and a half hour call to Thing 2. I’m saving all correspondence for her now, so she can see the handwriting and photos and make her own choices.

This process is helping me feel close to my family, but also picking at the scab of grief.

My Grandaddy died in 1992.
I miss him every single day. Not purposefully, it’s just there. A part of me. In my skin. It’s comforting and a sad at the same time. He has always been a part of me and always will. He was my first love. The one who helped me see that love didn’t have to be cruel and conditional.

My mom died in 2011. Mostly I’m relieved I can’t disappoint her anymore. But there are times when I miss the idea of her. Sometimes you just want your mom, even though you know she won’t actually bring you any comfort.
A part of me wishes she could see Thing 1 be Baby K’s mom. But only as long as she kept her criticisms to herself.

My dad died in 2014.
I miss him. The relationship we were building in the last few years of his life. After he came out he was different. Like, he had spoken his truth and could breathe freely for the first time in his life. He loved YBW and was building a strong friendship with him. He was becoming a wonderful grandfather to nearly adult girls and they loved that. I find myself still thinking, Oh! I should call Daddie and tell him…

Going through these photos is helpful.
I feel that twinge of missing them. But I feel peaceful in that.
Seeing pics of Grandaddy in his whites. Or wearing a red wig and making crazy faces.
Or my parents when they were young and actually thought they loved each other.

I want to share as many stories with Thing 2 as I can remember! I want her to know her family.
I’ve got a million photos of me as a little girl, teen, etc. I look so forward to sharing those stories with her!
However arduous this process may be, I’m so joyful to be going through it.

I look forward to sharing stories with her about her childhood. The ones she doesn’t remember. I’m hopeful seeing and touching these photographs will trigger some of them for her. If not, I’ll tell her everything I can remember.

Thing 1 said it wasn’t as much that she didn’t care about the photos as it was she didn’t want to go through thousands of photos to find the six she wants. I’ve solved that problem for her. She can go through hundreds to find the six she wants. I want to share stories with her too, but she remembers so much more than Thing 2 simply because she has three more years of life.

I found this photo of me. Homecoming 1989 maybe?

I sent it in the girls group chat and said, Hey, your momma was kind of a hottie.

How’s that for a story?
Is it only with the power of hindsight we begin to truly see? To truly understand?
I don’t know. But I want to share these stories and these photos with the people I love. I want them to be meaningful and maybe even powerful.
This is us.
This is our life.
This is our history.
What story is more important than this?

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