Wednesday, August 06, 2008

View From a Birthday

Even though I share a birthday with Edith Roosevelt (1861), Lucille Ball (1911), Robert Mitchum (1917), Andy Warhol (1928) and M. Night Shyamalan (1970) - another year older this year feels like, well, another year older.

While I'm thankfully not dead - the old body is getting a little worse for wear. I'm starting to need longer arms to read medicine bottles, gravity is making my stomach hang down (and out), and I actually even considered getting one of those "map lights" to read menus in restaurants.

There have been some cool (and horrific) things that have happened on August 6th:
  • Gertrude Ederle became the first U.S. woman to swim across the English Channel in 1926

  • The first atomic bomb used in warfare was dropped on Hiroshima, Japan in 1945

  • Jamaica gained its independence within the Britain Commonwealth in 1962

  • Arnold Schwarzenegger announced his candidacy to replace Gray Davis as governor of California to Jay Leno on the Tonight Show in 2003
And somewhere in there - I was born. I can't help but to recall a line by Steve Martin in The Jerk - "... I was born a poor black child..."

In my case - that's just not the case. I was born in California to a teenage girl whom I've never met. I was adopted when I was only a few weeks old - and my parents are, well, my parents.

I'm not sure if it's any easier to harder today, but I can imagine that back in the early 60's it must have been difficult (to say the least) for a teenage girl to carry, and then ultimately give away, a baby. And yet, I'm sure there were pressures (as there is now) to simply "get rid of the problem."

I'm very glad she didn't make that choice.

I always get to thinking like It's a Wonderful Life - right around my birthday. What would change if I simply never existed?

Well - the single biggest thing is that my kids wouldn't be here. Neither would my future grandkids, or their kids, etc. And all the achievements and relationships and things they will do in their lives and all the people they will (and do) touch - simply would never be.

I really can't picture that - nor do I want to.

What I want to do is to be thankful for all the people and the multitude of blessings in my life. I'm thankful that my parents adopted me - or I (probably?) wouldn't have met my wife. If I had never met my wife, my kids wouldn't be here.


When I was a kid, I used to think that adoption worked like a bride throwing a bouquet in a reception. There were all these people who wanted a baby in a crowd, and a nurse (or someone in white) would take a baby, turn their backs to the people and toss the baby in the air. Whomever caught it - got it. Simple.

Of course nothing in life is that simple (or dangerous!). It takes all kinds of paperwork, time, money, waiting, worrying and nail biting to adopt a baby. My folks did that (twice - my sister is adopted as well).

So - Mom & Dad - THANKS for going through all the B.S. required - and thanks for jumping the highest in the crowd to snatch me away from the others.

And a special thanks to an unnamed, 58 year old, white or hispanic, rich or poor, alive or dead woman. Who, against all the social pressures (or maybe because of them) - gave 9 months of her life in order to give me the 44 years of mine.

1 comment:

Brenda Christensen said...

It *IS* a wonderful life...(unless you live at the Moevenpick!)


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