Sibling Voices

Last night before the movie I was introducing my brother to some friends. Sisters, actually.

They were chatting with him when I asked, can you tell we’re related?

And one of the sisters chuckled, “Yes, and you even sound alike!”

Such a phenomenon.

If you listen to Reilly and his siblings talk, you’ll notice the same thing.

I can think of other families where this happens.

It’s fun.

I’m glad we look different enough to not be confused with each other in other ways.

We like being our own person, too.

A Successful Day

Today our family went to the dentist. And it was probably the best Z has ever done in her few years’ experience of biannual unpleasant visits to someone who went to school for years to learn how to probe teeth. We were proud of her. But: she has a cavity, and she has another appointment to have it filled. We don’t know how she will handle this. All her other teeth look great, though.

Oh! I also made the bed this morning! And passing by the bedroom a few times today, I looked in and saw a made bed and felt a little less stressed out. It’s also very nice slipping into a bed without having to tug at sheets to make sure my whole body is covered.

Back in December my cabin fever compelled me to cut off all my hair. It’s been slowly growing back, and now it is in the middle of an awkward mullet-like phase. I have two cowlicks at the base of my skull, which keeps the hair from lying flat against my neck. It just sort of half-fluffs out. So I’m sort of in the middle of willing my hair to grow faster so that the mullet-thing will calm down. I’ve pinned and clipped my hair down at the neck. It’s long enough to tie back into a ponytail, if the pony was tiny. Another month, and maybe it won’t be as bad.

Vain, perhaps. But I never said I wasn’t.

Pride Flag

We have a small Pride flag hanging from one of our windows. It’s been up a year. At the time I bought that flag I also bought a larger flag, which I haven’t hung but stored away for the past year.

The other day I saw a Pride flag hanging on the front porch of a neighbor’s home. That made me smile. So today I decided to hang our large flag on the front of our house. It’s actually hanging vertically with the red stripe on the left, but I modified the video because the camera only shot landscape. and I layered a photo beneath a video of the flag waving in the breeze. I don’t know why I did this. Just experimenting, I guess. Anyway, it looks way better than I captured it here.

I hope we all accept and support the LGBTQIA+ community. It blows my mind that some people are still extremely close-minded. It does seem more of us are doing everything we can, though. That’s encouraging.

I love all my friends, and I’ve told them our home is a safe space whenever they need one. I’m excited to hear stories of their family members coming around to acceptance and understanding. I hope this keeps going.

Cemetery Time

We visited Nana again last night, June 1 being the second anniversary of her passing. In addition to the many bouquets of flowers left at her gravesite, we launched some balloons in her honor.

It’s a lovely idea, really: the releasing, the floating. The beauty of the symbolism.

And the evening was perfect: the coolness, the breeze, the perfect sky.

Reilly’s sister picked up the balloons. She chose colors that match Carla’s favorite rose from the front flowerbed. Reilly’s dad; his sister, her son; his two brothers, his sister-in-law; a close family friend; me, Z, and he. Each of us held two balloons.

Z counted us down, and then we let our balloons go. They drifted away together. Upward, joining the heavens, becoming sky.

An Undeniably Complicated Day

(Mostly from Instagram)

Perspective shifts. Broadens and deepens.

We also celebrate nine years of marriage today.

Nine years are a big deal because it’s right before 10, which is always a big deal.

And this year in particular feels hopeful on the ever-so-slow upswing from the COVID-19 pandemic. We got through this year together. Like we can more robustly support efforts in increasingly struggling countries, because we have the reassurance of vaccination. We want to use our privilege to help others gain leverage. 

And we are on a sluggish yet fortunate political upswing since the election. Yeah, I went there. We’re lucky to support each other in this. Progress is observable and more measurable. This adds to our hope.

Grad school. Child. Homeownership. Loss. Healing. Compassion. Love. Love. Love. Love. We are happiest together. I love you, my man.

Nine years.

Let’s push for 90.

May 25

I didn’t do a lot today, but I am exhausted.

This evening we went to dinner to celebrate Reilly’s nephew’s high school graduation. That guy is so smart and talented. He’s gonna go far. We’re all so proud of him.

When I picked Z up from school today, her teacher told me that Z had cut off some of her hair. It wasn’t a lot, just a small lock, like something she would keep in a scrapbook. It’s not even all that noticeable, and totally something she would wait until the end of the school year to do. Teaching moment first. Funny later.

She still teaches me more than I teach her.

Today is the anniversary of George Floyd’s death. His murder. It’s been on my mind, and I’ve spent the past year changing my mindset and changing behaviors. I’ve learned of his family, his legacy. The continuous racial injustice. As a society, we still have a long way to go. As a person who has barely scratched the surface of understanding, it’s important for me to keep learning.

Everyone needs to keep learning.

And do better.

Humanity depends on it.

Tired, but I don’t know if I can sleep.

Gotta try.

From Instagram Today

For my birthday yesterday we went to Paris.

JK! I got a green screen, and we’ve been playing with it.

I also got some books and cards and music and clothes, and a fun meal out with the family. And time with friends.

Thanks to everyone for the birthday wishes. You sure do know how to make a gal feel excited to be alive.

Happy Sunday, y’all.

45, let’s go.

Soon

The little one seems to have some separation anxiety.

This morning I parked at the school, and we sat in the car for a few minutes before walking to her classroom. Z said, “Hi, Mom. Mama soon.” And I said, “Yes, we’re at school right now. You’ll go to your class, and I’ll pick you after school.”

“Mama soon.”

“Yes, babe. I’ll pick you up after school.”

When I pick her up at the end of the day, the aide spots me, and she points my way and tells Z, “Look, there’s mama soon.” I take her hand, and I ask about her day as we walk back to the car.

She can’t yet quite articulate all the complex feelings she’s experiencing. She cries when she’s sad or hurt. She’ll disagree if I ask if she’s sad but she’s really happy. When she’s in a good mood, she’s super affectionate and gives hugs and kisses.

What I need to work on is reading more of her subconscious cues. How much more is she fidgeting? Stimming? Her face doesn’t always reflect her feelings, so I have to sharpen my own motherly intuition.

I have so much to learn still. Z got diagnosed with Autism Spectrum Disorder when she was three, and I’ve had four years of trying to figure stuff out. It’s been sobering and frustrating. I’ve felt inadequate often. But it’s also been fun and full of the sweetest, tenderest moments. I’ve felt blessed often.

She’s been so patient.

I’ll learn what’s needed.

Soon.

Family Sunday Dinner

When we were dating, Reilly brought me to his family’s house for Sunday dinner. We’ve maintained this tradition every week, when we’re not sick or away traveling. It’s a nice time, and I can relax a little before returning to work Monday.

Early on during the pandemic, we erred on the side of caution. We spent at least a month away not going to Sunday dinner. We discussed it with the folks living in that house, and after some time we decided it would be safe enough to eat together as long as we wore masks.

And then in the fall a coworker of Reilly’s dad contracted COVID, and that coworker casually mentioned that he had an appointment for a COVID test, because he was experiencing symptoms. And that coworker didn’t take wearing masks seriously.

So Reilly’s dad caught COVID. And nearly everyone who lived in that house also caught it, including his sister and youngest brother.

So we spent another month not going to Sunday dinner.

Not complaining. Just stating the way things were.

We’ve been careful over the past year. When vaccines became available in December and January, Reilly became one of the first to get one. And everyone in his family eventually got one. Even the ones who caught COVID, since it still hasn’t been established how long that type of immunity lasts.

Everyone who would attend Sunday dinner became immune.

We went to dinner last night, and we didn’t wear our masks.

It was weird, especially after spending the past year with our public safety habit. We would have our masks off while we ate, but as soon as we finished, we’d put our masks back on. We didn’t have to do that last night.

It was nice.

Now if more people in this state would get vaccinated or otherwise practice mask safety.

We shall see.

This Week

Posted from other social media:

Baby Z is returning to school today, after a year of not attending in person. We have been spending so much time together. And now: taking these photos and walking her to class, my heart doesn’t know what to do. She’s probably fine. I don’t know if I am.

Here’s what she earned her first day back. She does like Crazy Bread:

She seems to be getting the hang of school. Tomorrow is Friday, and we’re all ready for the weekend.

***

The Asian hate crimes committed in the past year and finally being brought to light by the mass shooting in Atlanta has really made me sick to my stomach. I’ve been trying to process all of this in the last few months, and thoughts swirl and feelings jumble, and I don’t know what to make of it.

But friends and family have been supportive. They’ve reached out and checked in, and I’m so grateful.

I came across this Instagram post by Chanel Miller. So eloquent. Concise. Expresses much of what has been on my mind.

I hope everyone out there is safe and feels loved. The hate is unbearable.