Dancing with memories

I just finished reading the memoir, Sleep in Me by poet/author Jon Pineda. A boy’s coming of age story during his family’s misfortune of his older sister’s car accident leaving her wheelchair-bound, it is a thoughtful and grieving recollection. Pineda communicates with such poetic language his sadness and tensions within himself as he witnesses his sister’s teenage life changed traumatically. Walking through his memories made me cry as I was reminded of my own family’s experience and our (dis)ability in dealing with my older brother, Micho’s, autism. After almost a decade of therapy in my young adulthood, I’d worked through my anxieties of the responsibility of caring for my brother as well as my parents’ wishes for his care once they passed away. With a legal special needs trust established and other details documented, I resolved to just let it all go -- my ongoing concerns about how our extended family ‘cares for’ Micho in the Philippines as well as the complicated financial obligations paid to family members who have cared for my brother since his arrival from the States when he was four years old.

Thank you, Jon Pineda, for sharing your Filipino American heartache's dance.

a legally binding contract

(a) special needs

papa’s side of the family
as micho has for 37 years
but I am no longer able to

micho sat in a room
flapping his fingers intertwined
with a paper and pen

(i sit

(a) special needs
unmet by papa’s side of the family
for 30 years

prepares my brother
and me
when mama and papa
have gone

how does my brother
the sister
he has never known?


As we wait to make more memories

I had a most heartful email exchange with cousin, V., whose kids' combined 2nd birthday and naming ceremony we'll be attending in a little over a week at La Fontana, an Italian restaurant in Nyack, NY.  I'd mentioned that we enjoyed a lovely picturesque dinner along the Hudson River last we were there (January) as that was where A. & I celebrated a significant milestone in our adoption process -- completion of our psychological evaluations for our adoption dossier.  It was the last major task before our file was sent abroad for review by the Philippine government's Inter-Country Adoption Board.  V. (as I hear her Brazilian/Portuguese accent) then asked  how our adoption process was coming along, and this was our correspondence:

V:  I have to tell you, S. . . . I can't imagine what you guys are going through . . . with all of this process and everything that is demanded from you guys.  And still . . . you seem to be going through with such strength, grace and positivity. . . 

S:  Okay . . . you're making me cry, sister.  Actually, I can be a total pool of tears if i think too much about our waiting process.  It's not easy.  While I'm excited for family and friends who have or are about-to-have little ones in their lives, I silently ache for the moment when we get word that we are about to be parents too.

V:  Don't cry . . . it is really because I guess I am emotional about it because I just had a little one. And I know what it means. and I wish the feeling, the experience to everyone who wishes to start a family. I just feel that you are so strong because I would be a mess, I think :) You are not negative, you are not pessimist and the thing that touches me the most is exactly your excitement and grace when you celebrate and talk about your family and friends who have or about to have little ones in their lives. Even if you silently ache, like you said . . . Keep up this light . . . pretty soon you will be running around your bebe.

Thank you, V., for your genuine enthusiasm as we await our child match.  I am humbled by your generous and encouraging words as we continue to appreciate our family as it is at the moment and all the blessings we receive.