Friday, July 27, 2012

Writing Letters [1]

A few months ago, I wrote about my first son who I gave up for adoption to a lovely and loving family. He's ten years old now and I decided that enough was enough. I was going to contact him and his family. "Hello, I gave birth to you!" What? No? That doesn't seem like something one says... Despite my complete bewilderment as to what to write, I contacted the agency. I was hopeful. I was sure I'd be in contact with my son and his family by now.
But, the agency lost track of my son. They suggested writing a letter and then they would forward it around to other offices that may know the family's new address. Okay...

I have to admit, I haven't written the letter. It's been three months, nearly four, and I still don't know what to write. I didn't know before and with the prospect of basically putting it into a bottle and letting it float to whoever finds it? I'm absolutely stumped.

So, I'm writing a letter to Keats and Frida. Why? I'm not sure. It won't be perfect, but luckily I don't have to turn it into a college professor. I have to turn it into a much more important audience: my children. I hope someday they will read it and understand it. I'll write many more in the future, but here's the first.

Dear Keats and Frida,

You are incredibly young at the minute but you are growing quickly. Keats, you are two and are absolutely insane over trucks. Frida, you're eight months old and today you had your very first major tickle fest, which you loved. We live on a farm in Pescadero and Daddy is a high school teacher.

I didn't always know Daddy. I know that won't completely compute until you're much older, but it's true. We dated different people before we met each other. They were nice but didn't quite pass muster. In some cases, we didn't pass muster with them. I know, right? Get used to it, though. And trust me, it's fine. You'll be fine when it happens to you. Frida, you especially will have to remind Daddy that killing your exes is beyond unnecessary. To both of you, Mommy will need to be talked down from "having a word" with your exes on a regular basis. But back to the point: Mommy and Daddy met each other and quickly fell in love. We got married and had you two. We both love you very much. We love each other very much, too. Love each other. Be kind to one another. Look out for one another.

I thought it would be much easier to tell you this, but I'm finding it difficult. I'll just say it: You have an older brother. Yes, Keats, you too. He's Charlotte and Henry's age. You see, way back before Mommy knew Daddy, back when she lived with Grandma and Grandpa, she knew another boy. He was sweet and Mommy loved him very much. Mommy and this boy made a baby, but we were both very young. Grandma was sick and Mommy was scared. Mommy made a choice. You see, there are lots of people who can't make babies even though they want to ever so badly. I was scared I wouldn't be able to care for a baby but I knew there were lots of people out in the world who would love your brother just as much as I did, if given the chance. When your brother was born, Mommy spent two days with him then gave him to a wonderful family. Your brother has lived with them ever since. Someday, I really hope to see your brother again. I hope both of you and Daddy will meet him as well and we will have a new, extended family. Some people may think it's odd or strange. Some people may tell you mean things, but don't worry. Everything about this is focused on love. I love your older brother just as I love you two.

By the time you read this, I'm sure I will have talked about your brother before, but I wanted to write this to you now. I wanted to make sure you had something that explained it a little more. You are both so young now, but you will grow fast and I didn't want to lose track of this. This is one of the most important parts of your life. You won't know your brother as well as each other, but I hope you will all make an effort to become friends. Mommy will try hard, too. I promise.

There were mistakes throughout my life, but we all make mistakes and that is okay. I will keep making mistakes. Most likely, mostly concerning you two. I'm sorry about that. Know that I'm trying to be a good mama even when sometimes I fall short.

You two will make your own mistakes. Sometimes, Daddy and I will be upset, but don't worry too much. All we want for you is to be safe, to be happy, to be you. We love you very much. I love you very much. By telling you my own mistakes I hope that you will feel comfortable talking to me about the things that worry you, about the mistakes you've made, about your hopes and dreams for your life.

Know that I love you, Keats and Frida. Know that I love your brother, too. Love yourselves. Love each other. Strive to understand each other and be friends.

My heart is yours,

Tuesday, July 17, 2012


  • I ate the last scone.
  • I brought a book into the bathroom even though I didn't have "to go."
  • I still haven't put together a playhouse.
  • I thought something that happened the day before had actually happened the previous week.
  • I gave the chickens an entire bag of wilted spinach leaves so that I wouldn't have to pick out the slimy ones.
  • Birch and I haven't been on a real date in over eight months.
  • I forgot that sweet lady's name again at the farmer's market.
  • I still haven't mailed the care package to England.
  • After a year of living here, it took moving out to finally deep clean the house.
  • My hair is still falling out en masse thanks to hormones changing dramatically from pregnancy to childbirth to now.
  • I know all the "Charlie and Lola" episodes by heart.
  • Our cash jar system isn't working.
  • I burned the crust on a cheesecake.
  • I just busted into a huge bar of Norwegian chocolate complete with hazelnuts. Yum. Actually, I'm not embarrassed about that.

Saturday, July 7, 2012

Four Years

Birch and I fell in love in 2007 after discussing our love for devouring lengua and our mutual dream to farm. We were married just six months after we met, in 2008. We bought a dog, Olive, and a rabbit, Harlequin. We moved into a small apartment and I began a serious patio garden that I worked on every day. It was an oasis amid the monotony of apartment complex living. In 2009 we moved to a larger apartment with a backyard and began an even bigger garden complete with artichokes, grapes, beans, lettuce, and the dream of chickens. Keats was born in April 2010. He has added so much joy, laughter, and growth to our lives. He is just a terrific kid. We were planning on staying in that two-bedroom place for years, but fate jumped in and offered us an opportunity to move to a small farming community on the coast. We thanked our lucky stars and moved in May 2011 and starting plans for a large chicken coop and our first flock. We bought seventeen chicks from the local Feed & Seed and built a coop with the help our families. Frida was born in November 2011. She is such a lovely, coy, and funny little girl. It is so amazing how different we people are from each other. I love watching our children grow up and seeing their distinct personalities shine through. Our dear little rabbit, Harlequin, died in March as did one of our chickens in June. Spotting some lovely ducklings at the Feed & Seed we bought four Black Indian Runners just after Keats' second birthday. Now we're gearing up to move into a larger house on the same property and sneakily devising plans on how to transition Birch from a commuting public high school teacher to a stay-near-to-home farmer who makes and sells delicious meat products created solely from locally and humanely-raised animals.

For the last four years I've known real happiness and ease with Birch. We have come to know each other in ways I've never understood anyone before. It is empowering to be with him, knowing how much he loves me and admires me. Being so close with another can shock your system and I just feel so lucky every day to be with such a wonderful man, husband, and father. I am so grateful for the freedom I was given to marry who I loved and who I chose. What a true blessing that is. I am so grateful for both of our families for being an ongoing support to us. You make us so much stronger than we are on our own and help us to create a better life for ourselves and our children. I am so blown away by the friends who have become our second family. All you honorary uncles and aunts mean so very much to us. You help us to recognize what is good and worth it in this world. I'm so grateful for Birch's colleagues who help him to see what good he can do in his profession. It came on him somewhat by accident, but he has learned so much from it and from you. Lastly, I'm so grateful for the community we've immersed ourselves in. You help us to see what we can accomplish if we choose. You do what you believe and help others to do the same, helping the community you live in become a better place in so many different ways. You truly are changing the world you live in. We aspire to be like you.

Thank you so much for helping to make our marriage a success. We love and admire each other so much. We have found happiness in each other which helps us to find happiness with ourselves. Life is definitely not easy, not a simple sequence of events that lead to happiness, but a rough and confusing maze of thought, reaction, and follow-through. Thank you, Birch, for dropping your stones down along with mine so we can find our way. I love you.

Wednesday, July 4, 2012

Settling Down

Well, we're moving! Again...

We are so excited about the new place. It's on the same property with the same lovely owners in our beautiful little farming town by the sea. We've been more crunched in our current place than we thought we'd be as we completely failed at organizing our things as well as letting go of several things that have remained in boxes the whole year we've been here. Why did we keep them? Ugh. So, with the new place and the new-found space, both Birch and I are determined to do things right this time so that we're happy and comfortable from the start.

The new place is bigger with two bedrooms, a living room, dining area, laundry room, giant bathroom and kitchen. Easily twice the size of our current place, potentially (and more probably) three times the size. It's going to be a big change and very welcome. It has storage galore in comparison to our current one closet and I'm extra excited about the two garden sheds out back. I'm planning on turning one into a playhouse and using the other as a very handy potting/tool shed with a very minimal scattering of boxes that I just don't want in the house. There's a front and a back yard, both fully enclosed. There's a porch complete with a swing! That part of me that aches for my life in Virginia is greatly pleased by the prospect of a porch swing, let me tell you. The interior is very interesting and fun. It's an old house. We're guessing around the 30's but we'll need my father-in-law's opinion on that. Let me just say this: there's a built-in gun rack. Yep. It. Is. Awesome. Not really down with having a gun in the house but at least the rack is behind glass doors and lockable. And hey, Birch can always use it for fishing rods until I lose my mind and allow him to buy a rifle for hunting.

Our chickens and ducks are moving along with us, though they'll be kept away from the house. I am stoked about that. I'll miss seeing them so regularly throughout the day, but boy am I excited that 1) I won't constantly hear them crowing or going on and on about how they just laid an egg and aren't they just the cat's meow, 2) there will be no more chicken poop on our deck and therefore no need to sweep the deck three times a day, and 3) we'll be living far enough from the peacocks that I doubt they'll try to steal any more food or even hang out at all near us. (That last one? Oh yeah, the peacocks have been leading their ladies into our coop and stealing the chickens' crumble. I put about fifty dollars worth of food in there and it was gone the next day. Livid.)

So, instead of projects galore, we're simply packing and cleaning for a few weeks. I'll miss our first little place here in Pescadero, but I'll get over it. I'm sure I'll even miss the peacocks. I do love them in a fashion. They bring so much character to our little slice of heaven.

I am so grateful to our landlords for providing us with this opportunity. Pescadero has proven to be the dream that we hoped it would be. We are still blown away each time we come home to this amazing coastal community. It is so beautiful here with fresh, ocean air and gorgeous rolling hills and pockets of farmland. We're getting to know those around us and love visiting our weekly farmer's market and seeing our new friends and neighbors. It is such an amazing experience to be here. This move is just what we needed and wanted for ourselves at this point in our lives.

When you live in paradise, what else can you ask for?

Thank you for the love and support! All my love to you and yours...