I remember the morning when mum came into my room to tell me you’d passed away; I could hear my younger brother crying in his room. Nan and granddad came round, having lost their only child, and I remember the dimly lit rooms and deafening silences. I remember your funeral, I remember your friends all dressed in black. I remember time standing still and yet life carrying on.
She was tall (about 5’9″), thin, and always active. She loved going on walks, gardening, and picking wild berries. Her hair was always perfectly curled, her clothes always pressed with the most perfect creases, and her socks were always bright white (this still baffles me). But, the first thing that comes to mind when I think of my grandma was the way she was always smiling, her cheeks always pink, and the warm hugs that flowed freely. Grandma was quite the woman. Continue reading “Food, Conversation, Gardening, and Pepsi: A Love Letter for Grandma”
It happens every time. Jackson waves good-bye to me and walks with his dad into the car or into his dad’s house. I drive away or close the door and get on with my day. Then, about an hour or two later, I feel it. A physical pang, like hunger mixed with loss, strikes me. The twinge lasts only a few seconds, but I’ve come to know it well: I miss him. Continue reading “Co-Parenting: Confessions of a Part-Time Mom”
“She who laughs at Grammy cries at the reading of the will,” says my grandmother, draped in curlers and a silken turquoise robe.
Lugged from some hidden corner, she plunks a mutant plastic Easter egg on the kitchen counter. She opens the domed contraption, extending its long neck. Settling herself in her barstool, she flips a switch on the device. Whirring, then a huff like a deep sustained sigh, begins. Beneath the dome, her head, to the lips, disappears. Continue reading “Story Skeleton: She Who Laughs at Grammy”
Note: Luke and Lauren retreated to separate rooms and gave each other an hour to write their respective marriage vows in June 2015. The below is adapted from what she promised to her now-husband on their wedding day.
We first met during Fresher’s Week in 2008, on a little trip to Sainsbury’s. I was strolling along the road when I bumped into a tall, handsome stranger, who said he would come along for the ride. You were so friendly that I couldn’t resist. From them on we were inseparable! We spent countless nights talking on the benches, pretending to be Rose– ‘Jack, the boats, come back…’
I had fancied you since I met you. I was suddenly really shy around you, and scared of losing the friendship we had already built. You were too far out of my league! So when you finally kissed me at Sunday lunch, I couldn’t believe it! I had so many butterflies! By Christmas, I loved you all the world! I told my nan and grandad on Christmas Day that I’d met the man I was going to marry. Continue reading “A Handsome Stranger Becomes a Best Friend”
Late one night, as I sat around a high-top table for a snack after a long flight, a co-worker told me about his relative, a history teacher in Russia. “He’s had to re-learn history a few times,” he said.
“Huh?” I replied. “What do you mean “re-learn history?”
“Well, each time some new guy comes to power, they change the history books.”
Don’t be naive, Angela, I hear you saying. This can’t possibly be all that surprising, can it?
“Don’t go looking for trouble;” Sookie Stackhouse, heroine of The Southern Vampire Series often says, quoting her wise grandmother (who in turn was paraphrasing Proverbs 11:27), “it’s already looking for you.” Fyodor Dostoyevsky, author and philosopher, offers a different but related perspective, “Man only likes to count his troubles; he doesn’t calculate his happiness.” Even if you aren’t a fan of either Sookie or Dostoyevsky, it’s difficult to deny there’s truth here: Trouble is looking for us whether we like it or not, and we tend to focus on it, even when we’re trying not to.
But, trouble is neither all bad, nor all encompassing. At least, it doesn’t have to be. We can follow a different path. One highlighted by poet Mary Oliver in her poem Sometimes:
I am adopted. This is a phrase I have said hundreds of times in my life. When I’m at a new doctor and they want my family history: I am adopted. When my kid’s doctor wants a family history on his maternal side: I don’t know. I’m adopted. When someone comments on how I look nothing like my little sister: It’s because I’m adopted.
Don’t get me wrong–I love talking about it, I love telling people my story. It’s just my way of life. These simple words have opened up so many different conversations and connections and pathways for me. There has never been a time in my life when I didn’t know I was adopted, that I was chosen.
I was a two-year-old preparing for the most important role of my life: Best Big Sister Ever. My parents told me it was my job to take good care of my little sister because she would look up to me, which is a big responsibility.
I relished responsibility. I loved to show off how great I was at doing jobs for my parents, like fetching my dad’s sandals for him, or helping my mom break the ends off string beans . . . taking care of a little sister was just another job that I could get pats on the head and praise for. I read stories with my mom like this one extolling the virtues of sharing, and practiced taking care of a baby with my dolls. As much as I rehearsed for my role, when baby Jenny came into the world, I was wholly unprepared for one thing – how much I would absolutely adore her. Continue reading “Wanted: Best Big Sister Ever”
“Bye. I love you.” My stomach dropped. My brain didn’t consciously plan to say it, but there it was–Out there. These three little words, reserved for more than thirty years for only close family and romantic partners, had slipped through my lips. My friend Jenn laughed, “Ang, I love you too.”
Why did it take me decades to tell a dear friend I loved her? Short answer: I was afraid. I feared the vulnerability of such a declaration. I reserved I love you as if the words, and the emotions behind them, were rare gems, meant to be precious and few. But love, in its many forms, needn’t be scarce. Science and philosophy agree: love is a renewable resource with exponential return on investment. Continue reading “Share the Love: Write a Love Letter and I’ll Publish it”