About Me

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I placed my daughter in an open adoption in 2002. I started this blog in 2004 as a place to journal and eventually I became part of a community. The community has moved on, but I have decided to come back.

Wednesday, November 29, 2006

Birthmother Rights

Suppose a man and I have a baby together. We do not continue the relationship and decide that our baby will live with him. I still visit with the child (of course, right?), but he has full custody.

A few years in, he decides that I shouldn't be allowed to see our baby anymore. So I take him to court and the judge determines that I am not a danger to the child and basically says, "You crazy man! Of course this child is allowed to visit his/her mother!" as all of you would say.

And he's probably mad and I'm probably mad and one of us may be a jerk and express our anger in front of our kid, but no one in the world would ever suggest that I be denied visitation just because dad, who has full custody, decides he doesn't want me to have visitation anymore.

Reverse the roles. Play with the case as you will, but the fact is that most of us consider it a given that outside adoption, moms and dads have a legal right to see their kids. And we know sometimes the parents handle it poorly. And we know that the two often have different values. And we know that there is the chance that the kid is going to be negatively affected based on how the adults handle it. Yet we believe it anyway and I think most of us would say the man I described above is a jerk and maybe shouldn't have custody at all for being a jerk.

So why is it different in adoption?

I won't get into the fallout over the Donaldson report, but Claud posted a link to this story, in which a court upheld an open adoption agreement- allowing the birthmother visitation rights and I did get into that. I went over to SOA through her link and read a whole bunch of clueless comments about how the court decision was bad because the parents will be resentful and the kid will suffer and who gave birthmothers rights anyway?

Someone brought up a divorce analogy and I suddenly went aha! It's the same thing! Parents make a visitation agreement. For no good reason, one parent wants it stopped. The court says "no way." Parents have rights, even those who are a danger get the full support of the law in an attempt to make things right.

Because in normal custody cases, the courts (and lots of regular folk) understand that children are often harmed more by being denied contact- that there is a bond and a relationship that benefits the child. And in this case, where there was no danger to the child, the clear response is upholding visitation and hoping that the adults handle it well. That's what most adults would say in any case where adoption is not involved, so why can't they get it when adoption is involved?

Contact is better for the child.

Monday, November 27, 2006

Go Read This

If you haven't read Claud's follow-up to the Donaldson report, please go do so now.

PS- I want to update my links so if you're not there and we've crossed paths, leave me a comment so I can make sure to add you.

Friday, November 24, 2006

A Picture

Edit: Thank you for all the kind words. I hope everyone had a wonderful Thanksgiving.

The Day After Thanksgiving

Her: I liked it when I was a baby.
Me: Yeah?
Her: No, I mean when I was in your belly.
Me: I liked it when you were in my belly too. You kicked a lot and I would sing to you.
Her: When did I come out of your belly?
Me: On your birthday. September 4th.

Her mom ran an errand while we had lunch at the mall. My daughter randomly brought this up then and said nothing more about it. I always wonder what's going on in her head and if I'm answering her well.

We had a fun breakfast today. She still mimics me some. I got her dressed so we could go get her Christmas portraits done. She looked beautiful. It was nice to do that and to see her laughing as she got her pictures done. They were amazing. Her mom said I was good luck because there were so many good ones to choose from. She let me pick out all the ones I liked and I got to take them home today. I was glad because they were beautiful and because her mom and I had such different taste in pictures. Then we had lunch and I got that precious time with her- just us, out in public, chatting. I kept looking for Claud because I was in her neck of the woods and wanted someone who understands to witness such a simple yet powerful experience.

We went to a different mall to see Santa. On the way we went to the post office because I had to mail in some homework. My daughter came in with me and for ten minutes, I felt like her mom. She was terrific. I was mailing a sample project with my homework and she had fun in the morning at her house looking at the project and playing with it and talking to me about school and homework and being a teacher. She wanted to know all the names of my students and was excited when someone in her school had the same name.

We took her to see Santa. I had to fight back tears. She is at the perfect age. I've never seen her with Santa. We were the first there. She brought Santa a sticker and asked for three things: a computer, a Tamagotchi, and a remote control car. Watching her expression and seeing her sitting on his lap and talking to him- all innocence and sweetness- was just wonderful. Plus, I got to hold her hand up and down all the escalators and through the whole mall as we wandered around. And she'd randomly hug me or laugh with me or share a smile with me.

They're excited about the party. Her parents aren't worried at all because they've met most of the people though they warned me that my daughter would likely be shy at first. For her part, my daughter is excited to see my mom's boyfriend. She was talking and talking about it. It was interesting to explain to her who would be there and I do think she may be a bit overwhelmed, but I still can't wait. I still can't believe it's real.

We stopped at her grandmother's house and played there and then we went home and I left. She again wanted me to stay the whole weekend though when I went inside after getting back to the house she told me to go.

I'm getting more and more comfortable with it all. It also gets harder to see her in all these ways and know I'm not her mommy. She's getting so big and I wonder where my baby has gone. But she's absolutely gorgeous.

PS- she said she wants to add numbers with her computer, she's starting to learn how to read, and she added 2 and 2 quickly and easily. She wants to be a doctor when she grows up.

Thanksgiving Day

After bragging to everyone about how I never hit traffic driving to my daughter's on Thanksgiving, I hit traffic- lots of it. My three and a half hour trip turned into five and a half hours in pouring rain besides.

Still, I left my house so happy and stayed that way. I wasn't worried about being late and it wasn't snowing.

My daughter was happy to see me and we moved right to play with her Batmobile. She was hyper all day. We played a game of chutes and ladders, she served us all hors d'ouevres, we played, she took lots of pictures with my camera.

It was relaxing and nice to just have a small day. Dinner was delicious of course. I sat next to her and enjoyed her laughing and smiling and stories as well as the delicious sweet potatoes.

She readily climbs in my lap or into my arms. She took of my necklace and put that on and later put on my coat (which looked like a little dress on her). She looked adorable in a little brown and pink dress with matching tights. She spent lots of time under the coffee table and we giggled about that. Any time something interesting happened, she'd catch my eye and give me a look with a little shrug and a cute expression as if we were sharing a sweet secret.

About a half hour into the day, she asked me to sleep over and was all excited when I said yes. She told her grandmother I was sleeping under her bed. They said she had been talking for days about our pajama party- so much so that she wanted to wear pajamas all day in anticipation. Today her grandmother said she thought she was so hyper because she was so excited about seeing me.

She's still wondering why I live alone. She asked me about five separate times why I live alone and though I insisted that I like it, today, on our way to see Santa, she said she'd ask Santa to get one of his helpers to marry me so I wouldn't have to live alone.

She still sings songs and we had fun singing together. We got my bed ready and she gave me a bunny to sleep with because she has a bunny she sleeps with.

By the end of the night, I was exhausted. She climbed into bed while I was getting ready and was upset until I joined her. This time she fell fast asleep right away and I was up before her. This morning she asked why I got up before her.

It was wonderful. I was happy. She was happy. Going there is such a great way to spend Thanksgiving.

Thursday, November 23, 2006

I Love Thanksgivng

By this afternoon, I will be at my daughter's house. This year will be like that first year in that it will be just us and her mom's mom. I'm staying longer this time. Usually I leave in the morning while they go pick out their Christmas tree, but this year I was asked to stick around to do things like get my daughter's pictures done.

She hasn't felt much like talking lately. She'll ask to call and then drop the phone after a few minutes. I don't mind. I remember something Brenda wrote about knowing she was part of the family when her son started taking her for granted. I am part of the family.

Two weeks after today she'll be here meeting more of my (her) family so it'll also be nice to have a quiet holiday together today before the big party. Plus, her dad makes the best Thanksgiving food ever so I'll be quite happy for the yummy food. I've been too busy this week to eat properly so I imagine it will taste especially delicious.

While you're waiting for my return, you can read about my past Thanksgivings. This will be my fifth Thanksgiving with my daughter. Of course, it's my favorite holiday.

The first Thanksgiving:

My visit went far better than I could have hoped. My sister came with me and it was just the two of us, my daughter, her parents, and her maternal grandmother. It was nice having my sister there because it balanced things out a bit. It felt like a real family Thanksgiving. We laughed a lot, and chatted a lot, and the food was excellent. My sister said it was the best Thanksgiving she's ever had. It was really fun and comfortable.

Even though my daughter is still a baby, I can finally relate to what Skye says about grieving the newborn. My daughter looks so different and she's changed so much. She doesn't really feel like my daughter anymore. When I picture her, I still see the tiny newborn she was when I said goodbye not the bright-eyed smiling baby she is now.

My sister was the one who broke down on the way home. We dealt in our typical manner by cracking jokes. She said she was having post good time stress. She was really happy to be Auntie Shell on Thanksgiving. We called my mom and I felt the guilt of dampening everyone's holiday with my choice.

My mom has actually turned out to be really great about it all. I sent her some new pictures so she said she was going to pull down our old photo albums from the attic to see which one of us four girls my daughter looks the most like. She was really happy that we were able to spend the holiday with them.

Anyway, it was a great holiday and there was talk of next year so I hope this becomes a tradition for us. I'll work on letting my own tears flow.

Things have definitely changed. I was so nervous that first year.

Monday, November 20, 2006

From Faux Claud

The post.

The question (anonymous of course):

Got a question: So a woman places her child for adoption, after all the extra counseling you all are calling for, and 6 months later she comes back to get her kid because she changed her mind. In that 6 months, the prospective "adopters" have been paying for everything for that baby, including medical insurance and all the extras, plus whatever assistance they paid for for the natural mom before she gave birth. Do you think the mom shouldn't have to pay them back anything for what they shelled out for her care and her child's care? Cause it sounds to me like you're trying to set up a situation where irresponsible women can drop their newborn off with a babysitter/cash cow for a couple months while they hang out and do whatever. Is that what you're saying?

I have an idea: Get rid of adoption AND welfare, and everybody take care of what comes out of their body or doesn't on their own. No WIC or other handouts. If the "infertile" have to deal, then so do the "fertile".

Claud's terrific response:

Got an answer:

You're pretty clueless. First off if you had bothered to read up on the subject here or almost anywhere truth telling, then you would KNOW that most moms aren't looking for a way to go hangout and do whatever. Granted there are SOME who do have priority issues, but the vast majority if given a chance WANT their babies and are willing to raise then, they just don't feel that they can. So take the less than ideal situations that surround the pregnancy, and then add in the seductive nature of adoption as wrongly promoted by the industry and media, and before you know it you have a willing "birthmother" made to feel that doing anything less than placing her child would be tantamount to ruining both their lives and breaking the poor adoptive parents hearts.

What is proposed is actual TRUTHFUL information not the sugar coated crap. Tel a woman about the pitfalls of relinquishment, show her the studies, give her facts on mother child bonding, make sure she knows that SHE is worth something to her child not just replaceable with a better version with more money. Give her the resources to assist in parenting if she needs it..affordable day care, living, job assistance, medical care...you know all the stuff that a socially responsible society does for the venerable in appreciation that child are worth SOMETHING, that families really do have value.

THEN keep the prospective adoptive parents AWAY from her while she decides and gives birth, Give her time to feel what it is to hold her baby, be a mother, decide if she CAN do it, maybe her reasons do change...OK, so she thinks she still needs to place. SO she signs, say at day 8 of the child's life.

Now we have a 6 week revoke period. This is now a legal risk placement. If the prospective adoptive parents decide to take in the child, then it is with the knowledge that she can still revoke the consent to adopt. If the parents decide that they cannot take the emotional and financial risk, then the baby can be placed in interim cradle care supplied by the agency. A decent agency would protect all the rights of those involved at this point, give the mother ample time, give the child loving care, and not inform the adoptive parents of anything about a possible placement until the deed is done.

So now mom gets to try on living a life of an exiled mother without her child. Here's where the emotional stuff gets heavy and if she can live this way and not want to die, then so be it. Yeah adoption is the answer.

BUT if she really cannot handle the emotional hell hole then THIS WOULD BE THE TIME TO FIND OUT..not in two years, not in 20 after her life is ruined..but NOW in the first two months of the babies life when, looking back, all she needed was a bit of time to face a new life for herself and realize what being a mother means.

AND if at that point, the agency feels that they are not getting their money worth with her as she is not supplying them a product, then perhaps they could work out a decent livable arrangement where she is able to repay them in time..though if half the agencies STOPPED the millions in advertising they did, they would have more than enough to assist in allowing a mother to be informed and take some time.

And if we are going to brow beat a woman because she has no idea what she is facing, to gather her strength and resources, to e to terms with change, to allow the natural love for her child to grow, to give her internal mother bear time to roar..then, really, this is not a society that I want to be part of.

And sure, if you can make that happen..I'm game. Dump it all.

Now, any more questions?

Yay Claud!

Sunday, November 19, 2006

In the News

Yay to the article and yay to Jenna though my excitement faded once I read the responses. I still have a hard time believing that people like that exsist. They are so cruel.

In other news, I talked to my daughter and her mom. Mom always wonders how the other people in my life feel about our situation. I was pleased to report that my new beau's family is absolutely okay with it and that they think an open adoption was the right way to go.

My daughter was telling her mom's dad all about her other grandpa (my mom's significant other). Yay to family.

I'm so glad I'm in an open adoption yet so sad that people are so clueless about it all.

How can it possibly be more traumatic for a child to return to his/ her biological family in those first months than to be separated from the biological family for life?

And please don't get me started on all the "don't have sex" comments.

Friday, November 17, 2006

Are You Crafty?

Anyone have a use for vintage baby clothes?


This is only slightly adoption related.

I was surfing this morning and the fishy pictures on Jana's blog led me to a bunch of look-alike pictures by this guy. He's on a mission to photograph 200 pairs who look alike but are not related. There are more pictures here if you'd like to check it out.

So of course I was wondering about my look-alike. I do have the kind of look that gets a lot of people saying "you look just like this other person I know" but other than being mistaken for Punky Brewster when I was 12, I've never really seen my match.

But I've seen a match. An uncanny one.

I used to work at the Renaissance Faire and the first year my (ex)-fiance took me there, my breath stopped. One of our fellow gamers looked just like my daughter's birthfather. I saw this man for the next three years and spent many days working side-by-side with him and every time it got me. For the unaware, my daughter's birthfather is not from our country- in fact he's only been here once when I was pregnant with our daughter. Seeing his twin so often was difficult.

I wish I could get them in this project. I'd love to see them side by side- same build, same hair, same mouth, same glasses, same mannerisms.

Monday, November 13, 2006

On The Burner

Right now my house is keeping me busy, but there are some posts in my head and some notes on paper:

1. Responding to Wraith's comment about Numb3rs.
2. Updating to include an offensive Criminal Minds episode.
3. Getting Suz to come to my party.
4. Clearing up my whole picture thing.
5. Talking about birthmother guilt as it relates to communicating with other triad members.
6. Being an informed mother in relation to our lost children.
7. Updating my links.
8. Including a link for an "About my blog/ Where I stand/ What is my purpose" for all the stumblers that Claud mentioned awhile back.
9. Relationships and adoption.

I should have tried the blogging in November thing, not for the prize, but for the forced writing. Plus, I'm loving my link visits to those bloggers who did take on the challenge.

Friday, November 10, 2006


I imagine you tugging at my shirt as I cook.

Sitting, helping me make the list of things I need.

I imagine you there, my daughter, nothing more. Just another child in the mix.

I imagine taking pictures as if it wasn't a major event. Not worrying who is offending who. Ordering you to sit and smile for a picture without feeling as if I have no right.

I imagine you stirring cookie batter. Throwing flour at each other. Curling up for a bedtime story before lights out.

I imagine it uncomplicated. Family you know. Family you see. Family I will teach you about in my own way.

I imagine holding you in my lap. Saying "This is my daughter" without my stomach tightening.

If I had kept you it would be different. If I had kept you, I'd be holding you know. If I had kept you, I wouldn't feel this weight. If I had kept you, I'd be smiling with you. If I had kept you, I'd be smiling always.

Tuesday, November 07, 2006

Religion and Adoption

As another person who was raised Catholic, I can relate to many of the feelings Suz described in relation to her pregnancy. I felt like a sinner, I felt tainted, I felt like God was punishing me.

I, too, received confirmation under odd circumstances. I didn't even go to church at the time though I did teach CCD. Later, I was my stepsister's confirmation sponser.

We went to church every Sunday when we were children. After my father left, we didn't go as often. My mother, also raised Catholic, was having difficulty with the whole "divorce is a sin" mentality. Today she volunteers at an LDS church and though she finds their services odd, she loves the people. At 13, I moved in with my father who didn't practice religion at all. I occassionally went to church, but I stress the occassionally.

I always liked the idea of finding a religion that more closely matched my beliefs, but I've continued to cling to the ritual of the Catholic mass. During my four months of army training, I was the only one in my unit who went to church every Sunday (it was an inter-faith church). I attribute those weekly church visits to getting me through that training. It was comforting. On our only overnight pass, I stayed at a home kept up by a local church. Still, it was the ritual and tradition, and familiarity that gave it meaning.

After college, I looked for a church. I tried the local Catholic church but found it too unfriendly. I tried a more distant and progressive Catholic church, but found it too progressive. As a singer, I wanted the traditional Catholic mass songs. I no longer try going to church, but I am hoping to attend midnight mass (Christmas Eve) at the previously mentioned local church. Again, for the ritual- because it will be the only holiday tradition left from childhood.

When I chose adoption, I mistakenly assumed it was the right thing to do according to the Catholic church and was surprised to see how much disapproval I faced for my pregnancy. I experienced none of the coercion or begging for my baby that other women have described. Instead, I found myself very alone.

I experienced far more pressure to parent my daughter than I did to relinquish her. I think the ultimate effect was similar- I was just extra determined to prove that I was making the right choice.

My pregnancy came in the midst of my church-searching but I was too ashamed to show up pregnant for mass. Blame it on that Catholic guilt.

I did feel God's hand in my story even though I would describe myself as very unreligious. I do believe in God. That's the extent of my thoughts on the topic of religion. I keep it private. I don't regularly pray, I don't quote scripture, I don't do much. I see religion itself as an interesting academic topic, my belief in God as a comfort more than anything else, and tend to look down on the outspoken religious types (sorry, I need to be honest.) Nobody fed me a religious line during my pregnancy so I don't feel like I was influenced to attribute my experience to religion. Still, in the end, I felt like God stepped in.

Not that He got me pregnant, not that He put our families together, not that He intended my daughter to be raised by someone else, but that when all the choices had been made, He stepped in to make it work out okay.

I felt this most profoundly in the hospital when I gave birth. My entire pregnancy was filled with uncertainty and doubt and turmoil along with a great big lack of support from anyone. Just a couple weeks before my daughter was born, I didn't think that it would go through. There were so many scary things involved. In the end, my hospital experience was incredibly beautiful and I witnessed my family interacting in ways I hadn't seen in over a decade. It was truly heartwarming and amazing and beautiful. I definitely felt like God stepped in to help make those few days okay.

Once I left the hospital, my mother took me to visit various relatives (another unprecedented occurence and one that has not been repeated.) While visiting my paternal grandmother, the women swapped family birth stories.

My daughter was the only firstborn on either side of the family and in three generations who was born without complications. Every other firstborn had been born with life-threatening problems. My daughter was perfectly healthy and so was I. I felt God's presence there.

I understand all of the arguments for disagreement and all the arguments about having to believe the flipside as well (that God made all those other family babies born ill). I understand the argument that religion becomes an excuse or a crutch. I understand that my Catholic upbringing has a lot to do with my current views on religion. I come from a very religious extended family.

I don't have any justification or sound reasoning to explain how I feel and I have to say that on a day-to-day basis, I completely agree with all the naysayers. All I know is what I felt during and after the whole process. If it's just my way of giving myself peace over my decision, then so be it.

I don't generally attribute my decision to God's will and I don't generally feel comfortable discussing religion at all (just this blog entry is tough). Unless it's at a purely intellectual level, I won't talk about religion in person. Still, Dawn asked and so I answered truthfully. Make of it what you will.

Adoption and Numb3rs

I love crime dramas so I Tivo all of them. I was recently catching up with my shows and I started an old episode of Numb3rs.

It started with a story about a female teacher running off with a student. Already tough for me because I am a female teacher. The episode was pretty lame and turned out to be a two night story. Lame or not, I like to know how it ends so I turned on the second half.

The teacher and her student were on a crazy crime spree- robbery and murder and the woman in particular was extremely cold-blooded.

Turns out that at the age of 15, after running away from home and having an affair with a married man, she found herself pregnant and was coerced into giving her baby up in a black market adoption.

Her crime spree was her snapping over the loss of her daughter and attempting to murder everyone who played a role in her loss. At the end of the episode, she finds her lost daughter, goes to the house intending to murder the mother(?), decides against it, and runs again. She dies by grenade in an attempt to run down the officers who found her and to take them down with her.

Other than shedding light on the horrors of black market adoiption and I suppose the idea that the grief is lifelong, this episode was so awful and so full of stereotypes and another way to guarantee birthmother silence. I was so upset after watching.

Thursday, November 02, 2006

For Halloween

Just got off the phone with my sweet chatty daughter. She was the red Power Ranger for Halloween. She 's a budding feminist.

Um, First

Just looking at stats. I'm most interested in the referals part. I like to know who's sending people my way and in what context.

I'm the first entry on google for "adoption, birthmother denial". I don't think I like that much.

Things That Are Keeping Me From Blogging

1. Reading all of your blogs.
2. Stressing about the content of my blog.
3. Teaching.
4. Learning about teaching.
5. Getting my required nine hours of sleep.
6. My beau.
7. My new habit of turning off the computer occassionally.
8. Buying a new car.
9. Stressing about the money involved in buying that new car.
10. Getting my apartment ready for my Christmas party.

I haven't had my Christmas party in several years, but my closest sister recently moved clear across the country so I'm reviving it.

When she lived closer, it was her chance to see the local family for the holiday. One of my other sisters would come with her kids. My dad and stepmom came when they still lived here (they have also moved clear across the country). Assorted aunts and uncles would come and go. A couple of my close friends would come.

My daughter and her family have never come.

My mother (who also lives far, far away) has also never come. I actually have not seen my mother since my daughter was born. That was also the last time she saw her other grandchildren (she did get to see my daughter this past May in her home state).

I planned the date around my sister who lives far away. She is staying with me. These plans were made way back in August. I mentioned it to my daughter's family. They made their plans to come definite back in September.

My stepmom is trying to plan a trip home to make it for the party. She decided this back in September as well.

My mom's long-time boyfriend has undergone several major surgeries in the past couple of months. This has been really stressful for her. The holidays are also really hard for her because she misses the big family holidays from my childhood. My sister and I decided to fly them in for the party. My sister is also flying in our maternal grandparents.

With these additions, there is no question about whether or not all the aunts and uncles and sisters and children will come. They will come and everyone will stay.

And I have a beau who will be meeting much of my family for the first time. Along with my daughter who will be coming to my place and meeting aunts and uncles and cousins for the first time.

All in my little apartment.

I used to make tuna sandwiches, put out little bowls of chips, and provide plenty of drinks. That was the extent of my party cooking. I always made it clear that there would be nothing substantial served at my party.

With all these people coming and the several nostalgic attendees, I am definitely planning to make some of our traditional holiday foods (with some help from mom). You see, there are no more family get togethers at the holidays. They started fading when my parents split 17 years ago and now with everyone spread out all over the country and due to my generation of relatives marrying and having babies and starting their own holidays, the "let's go to Memere's house" holidays no longer exist. My holiday party will be the only family holiday gathering all year.

I'm excited. I'm even excited about preparing some traditional holiday foods. I can't wait to see everyone and I really hope all the friends and extended family make it that night.

I'm also a little nervous....about creating enough room in my apartment for seven kids and 27 adults....about having my apartment look good enough to pass inspection among my critical family members....about subjecting said beau to all the new faces to celebrate a holiday he's never celebrated.....about having enough food and drink and the money to purchase that food and drink.....about navigating my very conflicted feelings about having my mother here....about mixing up all these different family members (mom's side and dad's side are about as different as you can get with my far away sister and I probably falling somewhere in the middle)...about someone's feelings getting hurt.....about the gossip that is so prevalent in my family.

And I'm nervous about having my daughter here. She's met pieces of my family and friends but other than the low-key visit with my fiance's family (who are mostly of the school of thought that says I am no longer a mother) it's never been in my environment and it's certainly never been so many people all at once.

She is my daughter and I imagine most of my guests will be thinking of her as my daughter. Will someone say something wrong? Will her parents be prepared for any kind of comment? Will my daughter be prepared? Will my guests scrutinize her parents to decide if they meet with their approval? Will they scrutinize me? Will key guests be hoping for more attention from her and her family? Will she get along well with her cousins (my local sister's five children)? What kinds of conversations will the kids have? What kinds of questions will they have? Will I be so focused on my daughter and her family that I will make the rest of the family feel unimportant?

I'm mixing up lots of people who have never met, lots of people who haven't seen each other in many years, lots of people with less than ideal relationship histories. They are all my family, including the very few friends who got an invite. I stopped playing peacemaker toward the end of high school. These days, I am mostly a loner, including when it comes to my family. I know this baffles my daughter's parents a bit. I know they wonder why I'm so distant from my family, especially my mom.

It'll be interesting. That I know for sure. And I really am excited about it. Overall, I think it'll all work out just fine. I'm glad my mom will be around to help me prepare. I'm glad I am in a position to host a family gathering. I want everyone to get to see my daughter. I want her to meet more of her family. I miss the big holidays, too. This is my chance to have one.