Sometimes It’s Worth It

This morning I got up even earlier than usual, got bundled up, and went outside to watch the stars fall. It was so worth it.

 

In the past most of my meteor shower watching experience have been less than stellar, I’d sit out there for hours and maybe see just one or two. This morning I saw more than I could count, and each one filled me with a kind of childlike glee that I haven’t experience for a while.

 

The simple things in my life have gotten covered up in the complicated things, the things we try to do to make things simple, the things that lead us to forget why we are doing them in the first place. Even when you try to do things one-step-at-a-time, with pure intentions, the right way, you can lose track of the original intention. That’s just the way it is, life is complicated.

 

Sometimes it’s good to be reminded that some things are simple. My planet moves through space, it encounters a cloud of dust, the tail end leftovers of a comet, and just for being here, just for showing up, you get to see something amazing. Not complicated, amazing, they are different.

 

The problem is, if you show up for anything beyond a meteor shower, things get complicated. Everybody thinks they can do whatever it is better, they think they can improve upon the experience.  This is a prime example of the capacity of the human mind in relation to the universe. It just doesn’t measure up.

 

I’ll get on with my complicated day now, trying to keep in mind, once in a while, they are still simple things, amazing things, that aren’t complicated at all.

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A Little More Than Kin And Less Than Kind

I loved Ophelia: Forty thousand brothers
Could not, with all their quantity of love,
Make up my sum.
Hamlet, 5. 1

I’ve always had a soft spot for tragic women. In my younger years, I fancied that I might become one, but it was not to be.

I remember growing up in my small town, I would see the ladies with their big Loretta Lynn hair, and baby blue Lincoln Continentals and think they must be like Princesses. I would remark on their beauty and style only to have my Mother say something to the effect of how “they weren’t our kind of people”. I didn’t understand, they always seemed nice enough to me.

Mother knew something I didn’t. When I asked about my first Mom, I was told that she was probably a teenager that was too young to raise me. Quite believable and I accepted it without question. It was not so, and Mother knew it.

My first Mother was 36 years old when I was born. She was raising four other chldren and had been married three times at that point. I was not the child of the man she was then married to, nor the child of the man she would marry right after my birth. There was a man listed as my Father, but first Mom knew something I didn’t.

Two women who couldn’t be more different, they both lied to me, for different reasons. one thought I’d just accept the story without ever questioning. The other, somehow suspecting that I would have a questioning nature, offered a half truth.

It is conjecture, of course, to say I can account for the motivations of either of these two women. I don’t feel that I know the hearts of either, but this is how I see it.

My a-Mother lied to me for all the reasons that a-Mothers always lie. Her own fears , self-delusion, and dread of what I might turn out to be. There is little wonder that my mention of the more free living ladies about our town made her nervous, surely she thought my first Mom must be one of them. Nothing in the world would frighten her more than thinking I might become a Virginia Slim smoking, big haired, tight sweater wearing, Lincoln driver. It was against everything she stood for.

My first Mom lied for all the reasons that first Moms lie. She didn’t want to be found, she thought I might hate her, and she feared what I might turn out to be. I’m sure she expected that I would be a Talbots wearing, country club joining, Republican, mini-van driver. I’m not sure this would frighten her, but I do know she knew these type of women did consider her “not their kind of people”.

They both underestimated me. It never occured to either that I would turn out somewhere in between, no matter what they told me. It just seems that a lot of un-necessary bullshit could have been avoided if either had any faith in me, or themselves.

Possible Outcomes

What are a rednecks last words?

Hey, watch this!

Speaking as someone with some redneck cred, that is a funny joke.

Do you know why?

Because it’s true.

Weighing possible outcomes is a weakness of my native people.   They just don’t take everything into consideration.

In the third grade, a boy in my class broke his arm jumping off the welfare apartment using a sheet for a parachute.  No one was surprised.  He was sort of a hero, like Evil Knevil.  That cast was a badge of honor.   He had taken a chance, it would have been spectacular if he had made it.

Many of our most important cultural tales contain the phases, “We was all about half tanked up” and/or “that’s when I knew I was blowed up”.  Almost all are stories of  devastation to property, bodily injury, and economic loss.   They chronicle quests for bootleg whiskey, the theft of brides, racing cars, robbing banks, and practical jokes, just to name a few.  The thing almost all of them have in common, whether they end in failure or success, is that the process of trying to obtain these goals is much more important than the outcome.  Sure the story turns on the moment they know that they was blowed up, but that’s not what it’s about, it’s about getting to that point.

The reason that things do not work out most of the time almost always lies in not taking all things into consideration.   Maybe they didn’t know about the new police car, that the train didn’t stop in the next town on Tuesday, the watermelon patch was guarded by a big mean dog, or sheets just don’t work like parachutes on a fifteen foot drop.  It just never occurred to them, they had a plan, and attempted to execute that plan.  They ended up in jail, up a tree all night, or in the hospital, but they had a hell of a good time getting there.  If they didn’t come away with anything else, they had bragging rights, and that’s worth something.

Sure with a little research things might have gone more smoothly,  but I fear that they would never have been attempted at all.   That would be a shame.  People like me would have no cultural heritage.  We would never have learned that it really doesn’t matter how it all ends as long as you took the chance.

The joy is in the ride.

What does this have to do with adoption, you ask?

Absolutely nothing, but it has everything to do with reunion.