I am officially one month away from the launch of my debut memoir, and if I am honest, I am as excited as I am terrified.
My story touches on ideas of family, love, identity, and separation. Putting all of those things together has the potential to make some people uncomfortable. So I am bracing myself, and my family for negativity (that I hope never appears).
When I first set my story to the page, I had one goal; to create a place in the world where my siblings and I could be together. Continue reading
the struggle is real, you guys.
For the first day of November, a.k.a “National Adoption Month”, here’s a bit of advice:
When you get together with your long lost siblings, try to take some group photos without all the significant others.
Nearly a decade since my siblings set has been complete, we still do not have a single photo of all seven us alone/together.
By National Adoption Month 2015, it is my mission to rectify this issue.
Me and Becca (her favorite photo)
For the past nineteen years, my sister Becca has told this story every time she introduces me to her friends. I guess to show them what our relationship is like. The take away as far as I can tell is that I am a person who backs up my words with action (so watch out), and—I hate to say it, but it’s true—sometimes Becca doesn’t know when to shut her mouth.
It was a summer afternoon. Becca was twelve and I was thirteen. Old enough to know better but not yet capable of controlling the surges of hormones and terror that allow an adolescent girl to do things she never imagined she would be capable of.
In the above ground pool in the backyard, Becca and I had run in circles long enough to create a whirlpool and were now slung around flotation devices, letting the current tug us around the sides, under the ladder. The sun was setting and all we had to look forward to once we got out of the water were the indignities of piano practice and washing dishes.
Then out of nowhere Becca started hollering about this boy I liked—Mary Loves Paul Agostini!—and my stomach jumped into my throat. She was just guessing at the name of my crush, but once she saw the look on my face, she knew she’d got me.
So she kept going.
Mary Loves Paul—
Her voice echoed down the street. Anyone could hear her. People on their front lawns. Neighbors grilling dinner. Drivers passing by with their windows open.
Stop it— I said.
I disentangled from my Fun Noodle and tried to cross the pool to dunk Becca’s head under the water, but the current tugged me off course and all I could do was splash her. She was two inches taller than I was, anyway. No previous dunking attempts—even without a whirlpool—had ever been successful.
MARY LOVES PAUL.
Shut UP, I said.
MARY WANTS TO SEE HIS PENIS–
I DO NOT
Her mouth was the problem. If only there was a way to stitch her lips together…and suddenly I heard my voice say:
If you don’t SHUT UP, I’m gonna SPIT….IN. YOUR. MOUTH.
There is a video.
A video that a distant biological relative who I will never know posted on YouTube. It’s from before my Uncle Mac accidentally shot himself in the head; a time capsule from a moment when my family was a vivid, magnetic thing.
The video is from 1982 or 1983. Thirty-two minutes into the footage the camera finds my mother’s face.
My mother, with her brown hair feathered around her forehead, beams in an eggplant sweater. Her bangs fall into her eyes, graze her plump cheeks. Underneath her purple sweater she is pregnant with me or Rebecca, with one of us, depending on if this is 1982 or 1983. Maybe no one else in the room knows, maybe that is what her smile is about when the camera lens finds her.
Or maybe she isn’t pregnant at all. If this is September of 1982—it could be September of 1982—then I am two months old and my mom is not yet pregnant with Rebecca.
I could be reading more into it because I want this thing to be laced with as much meaning as possible, I want to make it a secret message that the universe preserved specifically for me.
it’s like these two were separated at birth or something….
You’d never think that we didn’t even grow up together…..We. Are. Ridiculous.