Light the Candles, Feel the Love

It wasn’t my plan to take so much time off blogging.  Some time, yes.  This much time, no.  I have reasons – no excuses, but pretty good reasons – but they’re for another blog.  This one is about family, and specifically two members of my family who are celebrating birthdays today!

Let’s start with the oldest my sister Andrea — although she will quickly point out in her comment that she is younger than me.  In this context, she is the older of the two birthday celebrants.  Andy Pandy.  Andrea Joy.  Andrea with the string of last names we won’t go into here.  She’s also known as Mom by three amazing kids, grown up kids now, who adore the hell of her, as they should.  To me, she’s my hero.

The hands she’s been dealt in the past couple of years, the work she’s done to try to get back on her feet, the support she continues to give other people even as she needs a lot for herself… that’s a kind of bravery I’m not sure I have.  Not without a lot of things being thrown at walls and a lot of single malt being consumed anyway.

Andy made a great attempt at living and working out a dream, and it turned into a bit of a nightmare through no fault of her own.  This forced her to make other decisions that I think she’s been happy with, but have also put her back at the starting line again.  The cool thing is, she’s up for the race.  She relishes having challenges and takes them on like nobody’s business.  But she would be great for somebody’s business (Hello, Calgary!!  Are you paying attention??) and I want things to work out for her.

But in the meanwhile, I hope she is having a great, happy, delicious birthday.  I hope she knows that she is loved and admired.  I hope she knows that some art thief is going to lose his balls someday for what he did.

Love you, sis, for all 60 years and I hope many more.

As for the other birthday… my daughter (who has a mother but who lets me share).  Durita and Andy never met, which is sad, but perhaps also good, because I think they might have stories to share I’m not sure I want shared!  They would like each other though, having the same sort of “yes, I’m going to do this!” attitude.

My Darling Girl is in law school in Copenhagen, living with her “man” Toki (I’m still not prepared for this), surrounded by a circle of wonderful friends (two of whom, Maria and Gunn, we were thrilled to meet last summer), and still and always loved by her ‘original’ family in the Faeroes.  And by me.

We met on my birthday, which makes  her the best gift I ever received, and there’s not a day that goes by when I don’t think about her and how she’s filled my life and heart.  Of course, the fact I have a photo of her in every room in the house probably helps me keep track of that but still…

The sun sets very late in Copenhagen this time of the year, and I hope she & Toki and all their friends are taking advantage of a summer birthday eve.  I hope she knows I would love to spend a birthday with her again.  I hope she knows how valued and missed she is by Jeff, and by me.

Happiest Day, Darling Girl.  And many, many more.





Happy Birthday to the Daughter I Didn’t Give Birth To!!

There are four people in my life who have birthdays today — that I know of, there may be more! — plus one yesterday and two coming up before the end of the month.  And as much as I treasure all those friends and family members, besides my sister, the most important birthday belongs to my daughter by another mother.

I’ve written about Durita before, and I suspect I’ll write about her again.  Certainly whenever I need to laugh, I just close my eyes and remember every morning of her life with us and how much we laughed then, and I can start laughing all over again.  She was 16 when she fell into our lives and turns 21 today.  21!  It hardly seems possible and yet…

She’s a world-class adventurer now, having just returned from a many weeks’ sojourn through Asia, riding elephants, zip lining through jungles, zooming along country roads in Cambodia on a scooter (Jeff’s reaction to those photos was priceless!) and so much more.  I suppose if you live in a (physically) tiny country like the Faeroe Islands, you want to get out and explore the bigger world as much as you can.  But I can’t tell you how much I want her explorations to bring her to her “other” home, here with us.  Maybe not forever, but surely sometimes.

Oh, who am I kidding?  Forever!

Durita on the train

So this is my beautiful, adventuring, darling girl, celebrating her 21st birthday on a day when the sun really won’t set, surrounded by friends and family, missed very much and loved very much by this family.

Make the birthday wishes count, Durita.

Chauvin, The Myth

It’s a Joy day today… brisk winds, lots of sunshine, moderately warm temperatures… Definitely a Joy kind of day.

One which my mother would have spent with every window at the cottage wide open, with a baseball game on the television (or radio, if she must) and endless mugs of coffee & cigarettes.  Until it was vodka salad time, and then she’d switch from coffee to martinis.

I have been thinking about both my parents a lot over the past few weeks – not for any real reason other than, as I noted in my last blog, I am further away from my siblings and my uncle & aunt now than I’ve felt in a long while.  Geographically, I’m actually a little closer than I was a month ago, but geography isn’t everything when you’re looking at separations.  It’s this whole living in a different culture thing… which really, I must get over soon.

And it’s not like I haven’t done this before which I have, and in the South.  In the very South, where there are endless days of heat & humidity and bugs the size of your fist and men driving pick-up trucks with one hand because the other is holding a Bud. At least this time, there’s the internet!  Newspapers and television networks on line.  Skype phone calls.  Instant messaging and letters.  Of course, one has to have internet at home to be able to enjoy all these things, and one will have internet at home very, very, very soon.  But even so.  Even so.

It’s not just my parents I’ve been thinking of, nor my brothers & sister and their families, nor Uncle Bruce & Aunt Patricia, but also places I love and  people I’m not sure I’m going to see again and familiar signs & language.  Spanish!  Dear Mr McPherson, I barely remember how to count to 10 in Spanish – I should have paid more attention.  But then I remember that there are people here I love and things here I enjoy and when going out to dinner for two, with a bottle of wine, two apps, two entrees, tax & tip come to $64 and it’s really good, I should enjoy the experience, right?  Which I will. I do.

But even so.  Even so.

Did you know the original meaning of chauvinism was not about misogyny but excessive patriotism?  Notwithstanding that Nicolas Chauvin may not have been a real person, the ideal of chauvinism, that my country is worth defending, always & honourably, is one that has real meaning for those of us who have had claims made on our hearts by country.  I feel that way in some ways about the Faeroe Islands (because of my darling girl, Durita) and Norway (because of our dear, late, Julie) and in many, many ways about Australia (where, in a sense, I grew up, even though I only lived there for a year).

I think I am chauvinistic about these countries because they are, in many ways, not known well – and in the case of the Faeroe Islands, probably not known at all!  My love for the people I know there makes me want to love their countries, to teach others about the beauty and strength that formed those I love.

But I have not developed those same chauvinistic feelings about this country, and I think about that a lot.  I’m sitting here in this gloriously Joy windy day and I have her voice in one ear complaining about Americans – meaning isolationist foreign policy and lack of understanding of anything that isn’t American and terrible tourists – and I have Jeff’s voice in the other ear complaining about being sinned against without sinning just because of where he was born – and I wonder if both of those voices is why I am in a Switzerland state of mind.

On a completely different note, watch for the newest Love Affair story!! Coming soon to your favourite blog. Thanks for all the support & encouragement.