Wednesday, September 27, 2006

Accidental Adultery

There's this little bench that I used to sit on while waiting for Jason to finish work. Usually I would read, or just soak in the surroundings. Sometimes I'd have an ice-cap waiting for Jason's post-work ruinous thirst. I loved that bench. It was in the perfect spot - Jason would round the corner, headed for the car, and he'd see me waiting and break into the smile that crinkles his eyes. It was away from the noise, but close to the breeze. And best of all, it was almost always empty. It was like my secret hiding place, a perfect place in the world that only I knew about.

I don't sit on that bench anymore.

My problem is two-pronged, apparently:

1. I am friendly, probably too friendly for my own good.

2. I have the unfortunate habit of always looking the world in the eye.

The guy who owns the sewing store across the way took it upon himself to court me. Unattended females reading quietly to themselves on public benches are fair game. Even when they say no. Repeatedly. Like, dozens of times. And quite firmly. And eventually, disgustedly.

Like I said, I don't sit there anymore.

But I do still go to the gym, where apparently more than half the male members are not looking to get buff, they're looking to get laid. These boys are persistent, and they know they've cornered you in the perfect place: either I let them hit on me, or I give up the one available cardio machine and leave myself vulnerable to overenthusiastic trainers encouraging me to do "mat work" which basically involves painful Cirque du Soleil contortionist shit, by the looks of it.

So I keep sweating away, feeling completely unsexy and unforgiving, while an equally sweaty man attempts to whispers in my ear something about my hot little yoga pants.

Normally, I am a rejection goddess. I can say no in, like, 18 different languages. I have mastered the dismissive smile, the let-em-down-easy wink, the get-the-hell-out-of-here arm pat. But some men just don't listen.

Sweaty Guy at the Gym: So, do you drink coffee?

Me: No, I don't.

SGG: Well, do you eat steak?

Me: Do I eat steak? You're asking me if I eat steak?

SGG: Yeah, you know, like maybe I could buy you dinner.

Me: Well, thanks, but no thanks.

SGG: Oh come on, I promise you'll enjoy it.

Me: I'll enjoy the steak?

SGG: You'll enjoy me.

Me: Yeah, I don't think so.

SGG: Well, why not? I'm a cool guy.

Me: Hmm. Uh, yeah, I'm married.

SGG: I don't see a ring.


Okay, there it is. First, I'm disappointed in myself. I almost never use 'I'm married' as an excuse. I hate that. I know a girl, who, if a man politely holds the door open for her, shouts "I'm engaged!" instead of "Thanks." But sometimes, it spares feelings. I could have (and maybe should have) said:

"You're kind of on the paunchy side for my taste."


"I think you should aim a little lower."


"I think your funky addidas are older than me."


"Go home, trim your ear hair, and better luck next time."

But no, I simply told him that I was unavailable, which met with my favourite line "but you're not wearing a ring."

Seriously. What's up with that? Are you doubting my story? You think secretly I'm single and if you call me on it, I'll be forced to admit my incredible desire to blow you? Or that my failure to wear a ring indicates infidelity potential? Or do you simply believe that a woman unfond of jewelry deserves to be harassed? Because really, "I don't see a ring" is not a great pick up line.

Still, it's a thousand times better than the men who only trick you into dating them.

I mean really, I'm sitting in a coffee shop bent over my "notebook" (Jason assures me this is what they're called now...when did we stop calling them laptops?) and yes, admittedly, there is an empty seat at my table. And when I look up, you are funny and charming, and also interested in seeing the Andy Warhol exhibit at the AGO. But when you pick me up, you bring flowers and kiss me on the cheek because I turned when I saw that you were aiming for my lips.

Um, is this a date?

Because you kinda forget to tell me if it was.

I can't tell you how many men I've dated since marrying Jason. Lots. But rarely intentionally.

Now don't try and tell me I'm the only one committing these unintentional infidelities.

It happens, right?

I mean, it's not unusual for me to meet interesting people on the street. That's how I met Katie. We were both standing in line at Banana Republic, and I commented to the person behind me that the cashier appeared to suffer from some sort of Slow Motion Syndrome, and suddenly I had a friend for life. And it's how I met Patrick, too. We were both at Johnny Bistro with friends, he bought me a drink "Because it looks like you need it", and that was it.

But Anthony was a different matter altogether.

I was sitting in the park one day, stealing secret sips from a concealed bottle of wine, enjoying the fine weather and a great book, when a dog sat down beside me and gave me the goofiest grin ever. Soon his owner joined us, and we were laughing like old friends within 3 minutes.

I accidentally dated Anthony for about a month.

We would meet for drinks, or see a movie, or just walk his dog round and round the neighbourhood. And then one night he called me.

Anthony: Jay, I want you to meet my Mom.

Me: You do?

Anthony: Yeah. I'm really excited about it. We've been together for over a month now, so I think it's time...

Me: Um, what? Together?

Anthony: And you know how much you mean to me. I just don't introduce very many girlfriends to my Mom.

Me: Anthony, what do you mean, together?

Anthony: I mean I really care about you and I think maybe you might be The One.

Me: Yeah, I kind of have a problem with that. I thought we were just friends.

Anthony: Friends?

Me: If you and I were dating, I would have totally put out by now.

And that was the end of Anthony. Too bad, too. He had excellent taste in wine.

But I continue to believe that girls and boys can just be friends, and that not every guy who asks me out is asking me out.

This is a stupid problem to have, but it's a problem. How does everyone else deal with it? How do you know for sure that it's a date? And please, for the love of god, tell me how to turn them down.

Sunday, September 24, 2006

Beauty is Pain

Cute new shoes.

Cute new blisters.

(Blisters or no blisters, I'm still Running for the Cure, so don't forget to donate.)

Thursday, September 21, 2006

I never saw a vagina do THAT before!

As some of you may have noticed, I was expecting a sweet little package to arrive today. But since it came via birth canal and not Canada Post, it was actually early....or should I say she was early!

Yes, it was a baby we were expecting, just not mine, although I don't think I could have been any more nervous or excited had she been growing in my belly these past nine months.

When Katie first told me she was pregnant, I was shocked. Katie is single, and plans on staying that way. She had sex with a guy in her office (they are "just friends") exactly once, but as they tell you in health class, that's all it takes.

She told the father but he's not "into that" right now, which is fine by her. However, this meant that the position of father was open and to my astonishment, she had already cast me in the role.

Fast-forward three months and I'm listening to the rapid heart beat of a tiny human being while holding Katie's sweaty hand. I have spent months rubbing balm on her stretch marks, washing her hair, making 18 loaves worth of peanut butter sandwiches, but it wasn't until a couple of weeks ago when I was happily grooming her twat that I realized our friendship had entered a whole different level.

I have had 8 months to prepare for this day, and I can tell you now that I was soooo not prepared. I mean, we went to those child-birthing classes at the hospital where they teach you lamaze...and all it did was make my cheeks hurt. Not so much from the breathing, but from laughing out our blue-haired instructor who I'm pretty sure was one of those perpetual virgins who frowned on my being there but insisted on calling me the Father anyway. And we read books. Boy did we read books, and they all had phrases like "Birth is beautiful", which is not at all helpful, and painted tablets of rosy-cheeked young women lounging on their hospital beds, which turned out to be so far from truth I could just barf in outrage. Luckily, Kim pointed us in the direction of perhaps the one book we hadn't read. Just yesterday morning I was reading passages to Katie aloud and she'd be all like "Ew...mucous plug" and in a matter of hours, there it was. Mucous plug.

Anyway, rewind past mucous plug.

We were lounging about on her living room floor, reading through this book when she abruptly sent me home. "I'm going to take a nap," she said "so you go home and have sex with your husband, and then meet me back here at noon."

It was a good plan, in theory. But when I got home, Jason was sitting in the car in the driveway, headlights pointed toward the road. It was Time.

He wanted to drive us to the hospital, of course, but we had planned to labour at her house for the first little while. I clipped her toenails, gave her a massage, ran her a bath which she then refused to get into, then cried about refusing it, then as soon as I'd drained it, wanted in again, so we refilled, and I washed her back.

We still got to the hospital in plenty of time, so we paced the halls of the hospital in the matching hideous pink slippers I'd bought as a joke, but she insisted on wearing. It was apparently 11 hours from arriving at the hospital to the baby's arrival, but they flew by. I have no idea where they went. I mean, there was a lot of screaming, a lot of breathing, and a lot of tears (most of them mine).

It was amazing. I remember when the nurse was first hooking her up to one of the monitoring machines, I was like "Holy crap, your belly moves with each contraction!" and Katie looked down and was like "Holy crap!" and the nurse smirked at us like we were idiots because we hadn't spent our lives witnessing births 5 days a week. I don't know if it was the same nurse I kept having a problem with, but boy did I have a problem. When the nurse caught me giving sips to Katie out of a can of vanilla cherry diet Dr. Pepper, she scowled and said "Only ice chips!" and in my infinite wisdom, I yelled "Fuck you, she's thirsty."

Around stirrup time, things got messy. They got wet, wetter than I could have imagined, and chunkier than I had anticipated (thank god I was only wearing the ugly slippers). The doctor was up to her elbows in my friend's kooch, but I doubt if Katie even noticed because she insisted on being entertained over and over with my excellent rendition of the Carlton dance which I normally never do until I've had 3 bottles of tequila, but boy did this woman know how to take advantage of giving birth. She had me wiping the sweat from under her breasts, checking periodically if she'd accidentally pooped (this was a grave concern of hers...until she completely forgot about it halfway through because she had more important things to obsess about).

Then the doctor told her it was time to push. I yelled "Already!?!?" at the very same time that Katie yelled "Finally!!". I placed her knee ever so gently up around her ear, and covered her face with kisses. I breathed, she breathed, the nurse told her to "pretend you're taking a really big dump" and Katie's private parts turned inside out. Well, maybe not literally. But they sure looked that way, and judging by the grunting, it felt that way too. It was more pink and less bloody than I'd thought. And then, there was hair. Lots and lots of hair. I could have sworn she was giving birth to Ernie. But then the hair suddenly had a face; the most angelic face I've ever seen and I was hypnotized by it. It was all pinched and smeared, but it was beautiful...and big. And that's when I remembered that this baby was being squeezed through my best friend's vagina (poor Katie, she used to think tampons were uncomfortable) and that I would have a lifetime for getting to know baby Ernie, but this moment was still about Katie.

I was holding a mirror between her legs and was rocking out to Switchfoot when the baby finally popped out - I mean, hours of work, and then baby just flung itself out with this weird plopping noise, and then there were cries in the air, and relief, and a weird smell, and a lot of sweat. Katie was lying there, exhausted, naked except for the SpongeBob socks on her feet and the newborn baby squirming on her empty tummy, and she somehow managed to look happy, just infinitely happy.

Baby weighs in at 8 pounds, 6 ounces, 19 inches, with a shock of almost-black hair and these perfect tiny finger nails that make me cry. Her name is Janie Lee, after me (Katie calls me Janie because Jason's cursive is so bad, he always spells my name Janie...actually, he spells it Fanie because he can't make a cursive J either, but Janie is a much better name, I'm sure you agree). Already Janie is the luckiest little girl alive because her Mommy cares so much for her - Katie is so enthralled she asked me to put off calling her parents so she can enjoy some more alone time.

So that's where I've left them, three floors above me as I write this shakily in the hospital cafeteria (why do hospitals always serve cream soups? does anyone eat them?). I still can't wrap my mind around what I just saw, and I'm sure I haven't described it very adequately, but for once, words just completely fail me.

Janie, you made an awesome entrance.

Sunday, September 17, 2006

Tittie Love

Picture this:

Cute blonde, her face redder than any face should be.

Heel, toe, heel, toe, her feet pound the pavement in an almost-rhythm.

There are 2 things keeping her from dying: water and WHAM.

This is what she calls "running" though few would recognize it as such.

There are two reasons in this world why such a girl would be running, and since there is no big hairy monster chasing her with, she must be Running For The Cure.

That's right. Impossible as it may seem, I will be running in support of the Breast Cancer Foundation, and I would really appreciate your support. We all love boobs, and the ladies attached to them. I love them so much that I'm willing to completely humiliate myself in public by "running like a girl" with a paper number pinned to my chest, so I'm thinking the least you could do is donate a few dollars.

You with me?

Because honestly, it really would mean a lot to me. And it would mean more than a lot to 22 000 Canadian women about to be diagnosed with breast cancer this year.

To go the extra mile, I offer you this:

No matter which way you've chosen, please send me an accompanying email to identify yourself because I do plan on expressing inappropriate amounts of thankfulness for every dollar raised.

Now, the donating part is easy (I'm sponsoring Jason). The running part scares me. I mean, you remember how sucky I am at running, right? So it would be a big help if you'd leave some sort of encouraging message like "it probably only feels like you're dying" and "blisters look cute on you".

And I promise you that if nothing else, there will be a very entertaining post about my attempt at running on October 1st, if I live to write about it.

Thank you in advance.

Wednesday, September 13, 2006

I Like This Title

I like these pj bottoms. They have a neat ribbon on them. It is light blue. I keep wrapping it around my finger, making a tiny little maypole just for me.

I like Six Feet Under. How come nobody told me about this show when it was actually on TV? I like the feel of earth in my hands, of sand in my toes, but when I die, I will be burned.

I like getting packages from Amazon. I like slicing into the packing tape with household objects that are usually too blunt or dull to do the job well. I like breaking the cardboard and having interesting things in my recycle bin.

I like my crooked teeth. I like the pattern they leave when I bite into soft cheese.

I like pink highlighters more than yellow. I like the barcodes on the shafts of highlighters. They are sexy.

I like perforated things. I like the word perforated. When I was in grade 2, our math books were perforated. When we finished a page, we tore it out to give to teacher. There was such satisfaction in tearing along that dotted line, such accomplishment. I liked the bits of paper left behind from the torn pages, a mark of progress. I liked the zzzzzzp sound of tearing them out.

Monday, September 11, 2006

September 11th - Where Were You?

On September 11th, 2001, I was under the impression that it was just a regular day.

I woke up early, made the bed, took a shower.

It must have been just shortly before 9 when the phone rang. As I picked up, I hoped that it was my work calling, to tell me to stay home. Instead, it was a friend, who said simply "Turn on CNN."

I remember standing barefoot on the scarred hardwood flooring, too transfixed by what I was watching even to sit down. We were watching live when the second plane hit. The world was sickened by what it saw, but none of us could look away.

I hated walking Jason to work, I hated to be separated. But on that day, everyone was thinking similarly. The city of Ottawa was slowly closing down.

Jason arrived at work just to send his employees home; the Mackenzie King Bridge where the Rideau Centre is located is also home to the National Defense Head Quarters, and they were taking no chances.

I was so relieved to have Jason back that we both refused to think about my own work on Parliament Hill. It had always been high-security, obviously, with the usual bomb threats and protests taking place. But after 9/11 it was a very different place. First of all, it was quiet. Restriction was limited; every car undercarriage was scrupulously searched with mirrors, every person passed through metal detectors, RCMP presence doubled. And the tourists stayed away. For a while, they stayed away from Ottawa, our lovely capital city, in general. The malls were empty, the hotels were vacant. The halls of Parliament were subdued, but not just because of a lack of tourists.

What we lacked in tourists, we made up for in panic. I remember on our first day back, low flying planes kept all of us in nervous anticipation. We all had an eye on an emergency exit, we were prepared to dive under a desk at any moment. Only later did we find out these planes were involved in a search & rescue mission in the river behind our building, although I'm not certain that this explanation would have done much to calm our fears at the time. None of us were at our most rational.

Every day we had to walk through throngs of hundreds, thousands of people, living, breathing memorials to our fallen brothers and sisters. We had to pick our way through a path strewn with flowers and remembrances just to get to work. None of us could forget, and none of us were permitted to. We worked where people came to remember.

When John Ashcroft came to sign the pact, I sold him the pens, the pens that he told me were "about to being pieces of history." He thought I should be impressed. Mostly, I was sad.

And then the anthrax scares started, and didn't stop. Every package we received was suspicious, every envelope I opened brought me close to tears. Almost daily, it seemed, someone was removed from the building, crying, screaming, to be stripped and bathed in the special showers installed out back. Parliament received so many of these scares that we lost our lunch room to it - a brand new anthrax office was born. White powder was our new enemy. We were sent home with fridge magnets with emergency instructions printed on them. We were fighting our enemy with fridge magnets.

I wanted very badly to quit.

And that's what I remember. We all remember.
Where were you?

Friday, September 08, 2006

Driving Miss Jamie

On the morning of my 16th birthday, I was up with the birds (you know, at the crack of dawn...or before any rate, early).

I tousled my short reddish hair, arranged my bangs ever so attractively across my forehead, put on a pair of cutoff shorts and a red and black striped t-shirt that I'd pilfered from a friend who was going to throw it away. I can only assume that at some point I looked into a mirror, at my un-shaped man eyebrows, my crooked tortoise-shell glasses, my pale complexion unaided by even so much as lip gloss, and thought, whew, I look good.

It's been nearly a decade since that image was captured forever on my fabulous Ontario driver's licence; years of cringing each and every time I've had to hand it over for I.D. Even just a year or two after it was taken, I often contemplated leaving the liquor unbought if someone were to card me. I've made a lot of money off my licence: time and time again, I have won the coveted 'Worst Photo Ever' award, and collected on many bets. Usually a flash of this photo garners me pity, sometimes laughter. At best, someone will refuse to believe that the picture can possibly be of me. Oh, how I wish that were true, but alas, it's authentic.

Just think how you would feel if the only form of photo I.D. you carry is a relic from your "what was I thinking?" days of high school.

It's been painful, excrutiating at times, but it persists.


Because I don't drive.

And they won't update the photo just for the sake of vanity.

It's a sad state of affairs, really, especially considering how hard my licence was to come by in the first place.

Oh, my mother was all too happy to bring me to the office the day I turned 16, she watched me take the written test, watched me have the Worst Photo Ever taken, even gave me a small box as a gift that contained a red corvette-shaped keychain with a gleaming car key attached...the key to her rusty old Ford minivan.

And that's where it stopped.

She would never take me out for lessons. She never let me drive, not even around the neighbourhood, not even in a parking lot, not even to the end of our driveway. Never.

So I sat through the embarrassments of driver's education. My grandmother would pick me up after school, with some cookies in an old prescription paper sack, and some lemonade in a mason jar for refreshment. I sat through the theory and then nervously got behind the wheel of the instructor's car, week after week being berated for not practicing enough (I never corrected the instructor, but actually, I wasn't practicing at all). I drained my bank account, 16 years worth of babysitting, lawn mowing and birthday money, to pay for driver's ed. But I never did get to practice.

But then one day, something astonishing happened. It was my father who offered me the wheel.

Maybe if I had stopped to think about it, I would have remembered that I hated my father, that his temper was non-existent, and that he was the last person on the face of the earth for the job. But I was excited, my first real drive! I ran inside to get my purse (the one I had begun carrying 6 months before just for such an occasion - as of yet, it contained only my license and a pack of gum, the gum being just for show, really) and then I performed my pre-drive safety check, kicked the tired, adjusted the mirrors, slid the seat up so that I could almost see over the dashboard, and like a brilliant flash of light (the kind of light that travels at no more than 25 km/hr), we were off!

Looking back, it seems inevitable that the soundtrack to this 6 minute drive would not be the poppy 90s music on the radio, but my father's screams. I remember being proud of how smoothly I handled the road, just as my instructor had shown me, and how my father found fault in it just the same. How could I have possibly expected any less?

Six minutes in, the screaming, the punches to the arm, the grabbing the wheel from my hands, it got to me. I still remember the exact spot where I pulled over, and my father yelled at me for that, too. He screamed for me to continue, but I got out. In the growing dusk, I cried as other cars zoomed by, flashes of pitying faces as my father yelled at me from the curb. I remember thinking I hate driving.

My father eventually got back in the car and finished the drive to grandma's house.

I walked.

And I gave up driving altogether.
I was the only 16 year old in my rural community without the hallowed permit. I pretended not to care.

In the next months, my mother finally admitted that my father was an asshole, and she left him. Thank god.

And she began to realize that perhaps if there was a second driver in the family - say, me - then she wouldn't have to get up before the sun to drive one sister to work, and another to hockey, and another to a sleepover, then pick the first one up from work, bring her to the mall, get the second from hockey, and bring her to the library...and so on. So she encouraged me to make an appointment to take the driving test.

And I did.

The date of my test got closer and closer, and I hadn't driven in over a year. I pointed this out to my mother, and she would only shrug. She never did take me out driving, not once.

The morning of my driving test, I was shaking, probably less with anxiety and more with fear - real fear of revisiting the screaming scene I had tried my best to forget. It was a friend who came to my rescue that morning, a dear friend, who cut school to give me an illegal driving lesson in the 20 minutes I had before my test.

It was thanks to her, and only her, that I passed.

I was 18.

I remember walking in late to my third period class that day - Mrs McM's history, I think - and the class applauding my late-blooming success.

But I always hated driving, and did so only when absolutely necessary.

A year and a half later, I moved to downtown Ottawa where I very happily gave up driving, and let my licence expire.

I am a non-driver, and embarrassing I.D. aside, it hasn't bothered me much.

But in the near future, Jason and I will no longer be living together. With him goes the car, and his licence. With him goes my mobility.

Like it or not, I may soon have to get back behind the wheel of a car. And it's not going to be easy.

In Ontario, we have what is called 'graduated licencing', conveniently implemented like, 30 seconds before I turned 16. It means there are actually 3 steps (and 3 long waiting periods) before becoming a "full" driver - not to mention 2 written and 2 driving tests to be passed, and paid for.

During the first phase, I can only drive when an "adult" is in the car with me, and I can't drive at night, or on any highways (hello, I live in Toronto! I can't really back out of my driveway without hitting a highway). If I was a shaky, hesitant driver before, I doubt that 10 years of being a passenger and pedestrian has made me any better.

But I just keep telling myself that if it means a new picture, then it will all be worth it. Right? Right?

Oh, and also: I need to learn to parallel park. Any takers?

Sunday, September 03, 2006


One of the most beautiful things that I have seen and probably will ever see in my life is the adoptive process. I've had the privilege of seeing 3 babies adopted into families thus far, and every time my heart has been on the verge of imploding from sheer gladness.

My first time, I was volunteering at Children's Aid. I monitored parental visits, which is as sad and heartbreaking as it sounds. Kids are pretty amazing creatures; no matter how often their parents shit on them, they remain optimistic that next time will be different. That for 30 minutes every 2 weeks, mom or dad will love them. So of course it killed me to have to send mom or dad home when they showed up to visitation high, or drunk, or both. It killed me because the kid would assure me that next time mom or dad would show up with a toy, or some cookies, or at the very least...just show up. Unfortunately, a little more than half the time, they didn't show up at all.

It's hard when you study psychology, because you go in thinking you'll listen to some neurotic housewife and then charge her $120 an hour, but about half a semester in, you realize there are a lot more people in the world that need help, and most of them won't make it in to your plush office downtown. When you've spent some quality time in the gritty visitation room at Children's Aid, you begin to realize how much you are needed elsewhere, and that your heart will bear the burden of other people's pain for the rest of your life.

This is the kind of job that can get to you. I probably don't need to tell you how many times I was punched and slapped (and not by the kids, mind you)...but you may be surprised to know how many times I received a blow to the head from a snow boot, for example. And I'd still rather take blows to the head than give a deposition in court, or tell a kid that he can only take one toy to his new foster parent's home, or that his mother has disappeared, and he probably won't see her ever again.

If you were getting paid, you'd probably quit. But you're volunteering because they need you, because it's a shitty difference you're making, but at least it's a difference. So you go, and you see horrible things, and they keep you up at night.

And eventually you earn a "reward". Now, I've had some rewards before. I was always fond of the big cash ones myself. But no reward comes close to the way they reward you at Children's Aid: the chance to participate in an adoption story.

I think adoption is the single most emotional thing a person can go through. Some adoptive parents wait for long and painful years to find their baby, others receive a phone call and it seems to happen in a heartbeat. Either way, they're never prepared the way someone who has had a steady 9 months is prepared. Biological parents spend 9 months anticipating, bonding, fretting, boasting. Adoptive parents have the entire 9-month rollercoaster ride of an experience handed to them in one moment.

I think that sometimes god can't send you your baby by the most direct route, but that doesn't make it any less your baby. Three times now I have been astounded by the distinct feeling that these parents loved this baby, this virtual stranger, without ever setting eyes on her. Like the baby had been part of them all along. Like I was witnessing a family reunion rather than a first meeting.

As soon as the baby is placed in her mother's arms, the room is thick with joy, relief, love. Thick, like it compresses your chest a bit just to be around it.

The first adoptive mother I worked with, Joanne, was near fainting, overcome by the fact that 30 seconds ago she wasn't a mother, and then suddenly she was, and all she wanted was to get home and enjoy her instant family. Her husband Bill kept bursting into tears, already proud of his baby, already itching to introduce his daughter to the world.

The second family was already a large family: mom, dad, 5 kids. The 5 kids were all biological, but this family clearly didn't make that distinction. The youngest, a 3 year old boy, exclaimed upon meeting his new sister that she looked just like him, that he loved her already, that he would gladly share his favourite spaghetti with her any time.

The most recent adoption I witnessed was one I will never forget. When the new parents arrived home with the baby (this one not a newborn, he was 13 months or so), their entire family had gathered and a baby shower was in progress. This was their first child, and the first grand child on either side. The house was packed with relatives, many of them crying, most of them snapping pictures, all of them anxious to meet the latest addition to their family. There was a beautiful cake and gifts piled pretty much floor to ceiling, but the new mom had none of it. She sat in the same chair rocking her son the entire time. Grandmas came in for kisses, dad kept tickling his toes, but mom never gave him up, not once. She spent the next year on maternity leave just basking in him. It took her a long time to believe in her own happiness.

So I've been blessed. I've been part of the greatest moment in someone's life no less than three times. The only prior experience I'd had with adoption was when my mother tried to convince me that I myself had been adopted, or traded, rather, for a bucket of chicken from a Native tribe who sold us gas for cheap back in 80s. And now I'm addicted. Is there any greater high than seeing the ultimate in happiness? I haven't found one yet.


But there's something very exciting brewing in the percolator that is my life.
A small package, you might say.
The arrival date is September 21.