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Tuesday, August 31, 2010

Opal Leigh and Patti Jones

Before my son left for Costa Rica on a two year mission for our church, he sent a hymn book to me. I loved it...and I loved it more when I saw that he had engraved "Patti Jones" on the cover. I could not stop laughing, you see "Patti Jones" is the name given to me by my biological mother, Opal Leigh Jones. I loved having that little book, and then I lost it. The worst part was figuring out how to get it back....My name is Donna, everyone knows me as Donna but the hymn book said Patti Jones. So I assumed it was trail back to me. And then against all possible odds, a friend of mine ran across it in a pile of books at church. She was one of the few people who knew the story of Opal Leigh and Patti Jones. When she handed it to me I told her the timing was perfect, my birthday is Thursday and that is the only day out of the year that I am pretty sure Opal Leigh thinks about me. How could she not? The experience of labor makes a pretty deep memory for a mother, so I am confident we share a few thoughts on September 2.

I have always been OK with being adopted, my step mother, Jerry, told me in third grade(my father had been married before and he and his first wife Madeline adopted me, they divorced when I was four and she passed away when I was eight). I just kind of mentally added it to the list of things about me, good swimmer, blond hair, loves the beach...adopted. And that was the last time it was really mentioned. My dad never talked to me about being adopted, not one time, not in our whole life together....when you don't grow up in the world of Oprah you don't necessarily feel the need to discuss every private thing...or any thing. So in case I was wrong and it wasn't just another bit of information, I mean if in fact I was now "different" I didn't have to deal with it. Because my being adopted was disclosed and then closed.

Every once in a while a friend of our family would talk to my step mother about my biological parents. She knew them both...I guess pretty well. My biological father was a professional golfer, Opal was is easy to figure out what happened. And not much additional information was forthcoming, except there was one story repeated a lot, it seems that after I was born she asked for a mirror........I thought.....perfect, vanity is genetic!

I went through a phase where I read a lot about being adopted. Stories of mothers finding children and children finding mothers. But finding my biological mother had never appealed to me. I would feel like I was intruding on Opal's life......suddenly showing up. Although meeting my mother would be interesting I don't know where it would go beyond that. And then we would be in some sort of "have to" relationship. And that feels awkward.

I am grateful to Opal Leigh for giving birth to me, and just because she did, I know so much about her. I know she was able to do a hard thing at a very young age. What must it have been like to go through an unwanted, and certainly unexpected pregnancy. I also know she found a couple to raise me......and then she let me go to have that life. All of my parents were flawed, just like me...and they did the best they could with the light and knowledge they had at the time. Just like me...and just like my children. I forgive my parents whatever they did to cause a bit of extra baggage in my life because I want my children to forgive me. That's how life works, we forgive when we realize folks are human and they in turn forgive us.

It has been OK with me to be adopted....I don't think I was misplaced or some kind of mistake. I went exactly where I was supposed to go. I don't think God scratches his head and says, "one, two, three, four, ....wait where's the fifth one? I know that child was here somewhere." God knew where he placed me.....the place I would fit the best and benefit the most. Maybe that is why I am fine with it. I know who I am. I know whose daughter I really am.

I accept that my entry into the world wasn't a typical one, and I know some folks are unsettled by their adoptions, I hope they find their answers. The truth that settled on me is that life isn't random and there is purpose in life. I attended a seminar once where the woman spoke of a cross stitch she was doing. From the top it all looked beautiful, stitches in place, colors perfect, and a tangible picture, but from underneath there were knots, misplaced threads, and certainly no distinguishable picture. we see ourselves in the cross stitch from underneath...dropped stitches and knots, we don't understand why things happen the way they do sometimes, but God sees us from the top of the cross stitch...a beautiful, perfect picture.

So tomorrow Opal Leigh and I will share a few laughs from wherever she is to where I's our birthday!

Tuesday, August 24, 2010

I was bitten by a dog....Part Deux

Thank you so much for your wonderful messages of concern about my dog bite. . I had no idea so many people had also been bitten by dogs. However, I have assembled a team of lawyers, doctors and faith healers (notice I started with lawyers) to help me through this difficult time. I am much better..I am healing.....I am optimistic for a full recovery.

Until this morning.....

Today has been a train wreck. It started with a way too early phone call from my daughter's high school. She was late for a very important meeting, a meeting I knew she meant to be early to. So I flew upstairs to wake her only to act as though we had missed the last boat out of Pompei. I scared her to husband who only minutes before was peacefully sleeping was now chasing me up the stairs thinking someone had been harmed, kidnapped, or killed. Want to imagine his reaction when he found out my insane behavior was precipitated simply by her sleeping in? I turned an unfortunate situation into a Fellini movie. Loud voices, crying, big gestures...I needed a mulligan on this one.

The worst part? I know better.... Again Texas wisdom emerges, "There is no education in the second kick of a mule." And one more time I think, "how could I get this old and still make this mistake?" And one more time I vow to do better.

The only thing to salvage this day is a little exercise, so I set out for my walk, my older daughter offers to go with me. We get about a mile and a half from our house and 2 large dogs come running toward us and our properly leashed dog Sadie - who is now looking like sushi to these dogs - is their target. My daughter grabs Sadie just as these dogs start to attack her. They were acting crazy, jumping on Ashleigh, scratching her back and then they ran like the cowards they are when I got to them. I am thinking.....this is happening again? So I went into mama grizzly mode, I did everything wrong, I ran at them screaming and flailing my arms. I don't know who was more surprised, the dogs or the 4 men working on the neighbors yard that I didn't see right away. They came around the corner to check out what was going on. I calmly explained I had recently been bitten by a dog so I was a little sensitive to full on dog attacks. They looked at us for a minute and then went back to what they were doing.

So much for chivalry....big help those guys.....

I chased these stupid dogs back to their yard, the gate was open and of course no one was top it off they were Old English Sheepdogs. Think the Disney move "The Shaggy Dog". Hardly vicious dogs. The whole time I am thinking I was bitten by a dog who reached back to some kind of primal purpose and tried to gather me back to the herd and these dogs think Sadie is a sheep? She's a Shihz Tzu!! These stupid dogs tore my daughter's t-shirt, her favorite sleeping shirt, and I haven't seen Sadie since we got home.

Post traumatic walking disorder......I need deep psychological help. Will I ever walk again? Will Sadie ever come out from under the bed? Will Ashleigh recover from losing her favorite sleeping shirt?

Stay tuned.

Friday, August 20, 2010

I was bitten by a dog....

This morning I set off on my daily walk only thnking about how hot it was and why didn't I leave earlier, when about a zillion dogs came running out of the side yard of some house. One of them, the absolute ugliest one, was determined to make some kind of point on my being in his territory. And he bit me! I have been walking around here for 15 years...I have never been bitten...except once by a bee.

After I realized I was injured, I went to the door to find out if Cujo had his answer.

No answer! I am in pain... then I realized I had to walk all the way home with what appeared to be life altering wounds. (actually it is a bruise and 5 painful puncture marks - but for the sake of this blog and drama, I am calling it life altering wounds). The thought of walking all the way home in pain made me mad. But I made it after alerting every walker I came in contact with of this rabid dog, I also made them look at my wound.

My husband, the Italian, ( important note) went right over to their house after I told him what had happened. Please know, the dog had gotten bigger by now, and the wound more gaping, and the pain, excruciating. The dog owners....Bonnie and Clyde....were very apologetic. They assured my husband, the Italian, that Cujo had indeed had his shots and that he was some sort of heeler. Heeler? She went on to explain that heelers bite at the heels of cattle to herd them, and was I running?

Running? There is as much of a chance that I was walking by on my hands as I was running.

But evidently if it is in your DNA to have a particular's OK to act badly. Ha!!!
DNA had nothing to do with this....this dog had never seen a cow...and I don't care what anyone says, I don't look like livestock.

So Cujo is confused, mean and now carrying around my DNA. I intend to whine and limp all day.

So y'all be careful out there, it's a dog eat dog world. Oh, and the dog in the picture may appear larger than he actually was...

Monday, August 2, 2010

Disneyland Trip

When Mikey got home from his mission we decided to go to Disneyland. Everyone was ready to just be together and stare at Mikey. We just say things like....."Mikey's home" every ten seconds. It feels so good...

Aren't they the greatest kids?

Raymond tried all day to put on a brave face, but he hates he is begging the bus driver to take him back to the car.

This was our best story, we had lunch at Blue Bayou. And we were starving, and thirsty. Our waitress was from Mexico so Mikey had a lot of fun talking to her in Spanish. She was quite wonderful...however our bus boy...was the most unhappy guy in Disneyland. Trey thought maybe he was Micky Mouse but was demoted, and maybe it happened that day. Because he was taking it out on everyone he served. We would ask for bread, and he would never speak just grunt and slam it on the table. It was hysterical, we started asking for things to see his reaction! Trey asked for butter and as the guy was walking away he threw it on the we just kept at it......more bread, more butter, more water. We are awful, awful people, it was fabulous...

Ashleigh celebrated her birthday. We will do anything for a free desert.
Disneyland never gets old...I hope I go back a thousand more times...

Disneyland is a place to be silly, to take pictures and make memories...When I leave I am always sad, not because I will miss the long lines or impossible prices. But I think of my children when they were little...and I miss them.

Raymond still found a little to be happy about....not much, but a little.

I have to admit it was great to not have to worry about strollers, or diapers....we didn't have to stop every 10 minutes for a churro, water, or a hat...or a magic trick...or the bathroom every ten minutes. I didn't even carry a purse.

I found a cup to match my shirt...pure picture perfect...I forced Trey to take the picture...

So until we can save up enough cans to get in again, farewell Disneyland.
...we left enough money there to support a small country, but we loved it.