Well hello! I’ve been off for what feels like several months, but has only been 3 weeks. With so much time away from these keys, naturally I have several things to spout about. Luckily for all of us, I’ve narrowed them down. I was back east visiting my brother and his 3 boys. Although they are my nephews, I feel much more like their grandmother. I’ve written about my brother before, but enough can’t be written about my younger brother and his wife. They are both school teachers. Dedicated, kid-loving school teachers, bringing up their 3 sons, ages 10 to 13 in Manhattan. One of the main reasons they still live in Manhattan, other than the fact that they both teach at excellent private schools, is that their youngest has severe disabilities. My brother’s got the NYC health services wired. Never in my life have I met two more loving or hard working people. Am pulling back from going off on a full tilt boogie rant about them now, suffice it to say that they inspire me more than anyone in the world. Living or dead. ￼
The other part of my trip was to spend a little time with two, very dear friends. My friend, Shelley, who was my running mate since the age of 13 when we were both 9th graders in boarding school , who now lives in East Hampton N.Y., and Penny, who I ran with when we were in our 20’s in NYC. She now lives in Greenwich Conn. (Since being home, I’ve been binge watching The Wire, 10 years after the fact, I know, but am loving my new Baltimore street cop dialogue!) Both Shelley and Penny are wonderful women. Both have, like most of us, worked hard and had their share of loss, happily , they are enjoying beautiful lives they are proud of. The point that I want to make here is about connecting with our old friends. The people who knew us when. There is something so rich, so deep in those relationships. Those shared histories. So unfiltered and freeing. For any of you who haven’t done it lately, go, get with your homies. (What can I say, it’s the binging. Wait till I ram through Downton Abbey, we may get Lady Mary or the scullery maid. Stay tuned! ) ￼ ￼ ￼ ￼
Before leaving Connecticut I spent a morning at Yale visiting my foster god daughter, Nubia, who I’ve also written about. She’s there on a full ride and feels, in her own words “totally at home at Yale” Walking across the campus with her that was evident. Every other person said hi to her. The 14 year old I’d met after she’d been living with her mother in their car, has morphed into an Ivy Leaguer! ￼
My best friend called today. In the middle of our conversation she asked if she could ask me something personal. After I laughed and said, “Are you serious, you know everything personal about me except how many times I get up to pee at night!” She asked how old I was when I had Romy, my youngest daughter. Romy was conceived through in-vitro. A younger friend of hers is going through in-vitro now and is dealing with the emotional trauma that comes with it. Being hormonally jacked out of your mind, which comes with the in-vitro process, is, in a word, a bitch. She mentioned that this woman is prepared to go through a few attempts before looking into adopting. When she said that, all of the other topics that have been rattling around this aging brain of mine, flat lined. I have two children. Two beautiful, talented girls, young ladies, now, who I love more than my life. In the words of my Wire heroes, I’d take a bullet for either one of them in a second. My first daughter I adopted after one failed in-vitro attempt. The truth is, I was never one of these gals who craved being pregnant. Who fantasized about the big belly, the maternity outfits, the bonding with Beethoven playing in the background. Not putting that down, but it wasn’t important to me. It was having my baby, mothering, connecting with that tiny soul that I knew in my heart was meant to be raised by me that was what I wanted so very badly. It was my strongest motivating force. Stronger than anything I’d ever known.
My adoption route was a long and arduous challenge and a true test of faith. It turned out to be a spiritual journey that became my psychic pregnancy. It was, in retrospect, a beautiful journey that was indeed exactly the way it was supposed to be. I was in the room when our birthmother gave birth to our daughter and I was the one who cut the umbilical cord. From the moment my daughter was placed in my arms, right there in the delivery room, I knew she was my baby. The one I had waited for and prayed for. Nothing in my entire life had ever felt so right or so true. Six years and ten months later I had her sister on my third try in-vitro. I’d made a deal with my husband that I could and would try it three times and if it didn’t work we were going to adopt. Let me just say no one in their right mind can really handle doing in-vitro more than 3 times, (to me anyway) because shooting up all of those hormones makes a girl nuts. Stark raving, skin crawling nuts.
No one was more surprised than I was when I answered the phone and heard the nurse tell me I was pregnant after my third and final try. “Excuse me, are you sure you’re reading my chart,” said I getting up off the floor! So I grew that belly big. Nine months later there she was, my second baby. Holding her in my arms, crying like I did when I first held her sister, I discovered one of life’s greatest mysteries. Your heart does grow in ways you never knew possible. Sometimes during my pregnancy I would wonder and worry if I could, if I would, be able to love another child as much as I loved my first. If I had room in my heart because it felt like every inch was taken up with love for the baby girl I already had. Faith, I walked (towards the last month, wobbled!) in faith. The moment that 5 pound 7 oz squealing red ball was placed in my arms, I knew a secret of the universe; one’s heart is boundless. My heart was now owned completely by these two girls.
Over the years they have grown their own totally different and unique personalities. My love for each one of them is immeasurable, or as I used to say when they were little “to infinity and beyond!” When my girlfriend told me how old her friend going through in-vitro is I felt apprehensive. She’s 47. I was 44 and seriously, it was like drilling for water in the desert trying to crank those good eggs out of me. Let’s face it, it’s an unnatural act. Her query plugged me into an old rant I‘ve stored up about how our babies come to us. Having adopted one, and birthed one, I am here to testify that it makes no difference at all where or how our babies come to us. Once that little life is placed in our arms, once we hold it to our chest and feed it, either by bottle or breast, that baby is ours. A love like nothing we have ever experienced comes through us with such a tender force that all that matters is that baby in our arms. I used to say that I wanted to go into fertility clinics and tell this to all of the women sitting there halfway to debtor’s prison with all of the hormones they had purchased. Not to mention all of the self loathing they were carrying for not being able to conceive naturally. Girls, please, cut your loses, go on a vacation and come back and adopt…it doesn’t matter, trust me. Give in-vitro a few rounds if you want, but please stop making a career out of it. But as we all know, you can’t tell most people a thing. Especially, forgive me, some of us girls.
So while I’m in this arena… Coming back from NY, I picked up the latest Vanity Fair for the flight. Angelina Jolie is a goddess. Truly, those photos of her are breathtaking. She is breathtaking.She’s the patron saint for getting your shit over and out when you’re young so you can mature into a wonderful human being. God Bless her. After reading the piece on her I went on to read an excerpt from Angelica Huston’s new memoir on her love life. And got upset. In it she writes about her relationship with Jack Nicolson, famous movie star, infamous womanizer. Here she is an international beauty, Vogue model, a sophisticate raised in Europe, Ireland, and exposed to New York society, finding other women’s underpants and earrings in her boyfriends bed. And putting up with it! At one point she writes that she goes to her father, the director John Huston, himself an infamous philanderer, and cries that she is upset with Jack’s fooling around. Her father basically tells her to get over herself, that boys will be boys. It was heartbreaking to think of her, this smart, beautiful, full of life girl feeling that this is what she had to put up with. How many others have and still do put up with this crap. I kept thinking how fast would Jack be out the door if he found another guys tidy whities in her house. So fast the door would slam him in the ass and I doubt he’d be back!
Can you imagine what a long winded rant this would be had I been gone for months! Yikes!
Caring, sharing and what we’re wearing this time is gratitude. Daily, not just this Thursday as we’re forking in the bird and stuffing in the stuffing. Every day is a piece of pie; make it apple, pumpkin or pecan. It’s all yours!
As always, with love AS
Starting to think about Holiday gifts? Two great book recommends: It’s Your Turn, by Cynthia Oredugba. Simple and direct text and exercises to “take your turn” to create the life you’ve always wanted. A Life in Pictures, photographer Douglas Kirkland’s collection of 5 decades of shooting celebrities.