It's the day after Christmas, after the tearing open of a pile of presents, and the pretty wrapping paper still strewn across my living room floor. Maybe I’ll clean it all up tonight, or tomorrow. But today, while my kids are skiing down the slopes of Mt. Hood, I’m taking some time to write, to reflect on 2017, a year that unfolded in ways I never could have imagined.
On August 18, I found my biological father, whom I’ve wanted to know since I was old enough to understand what it meant to be adopted. Some years ago, he searched for me too, his only child, but couldn't find me. Maybe the time wasn’t right then. I believe that things happen, that people connect, when they’re supposed to. As it turns out, he’s a well-known, award-winning poet and novelist, the author of eleven books and a twelfth forthcoming. And the way I found him? Through writing. Through an essay-writing class I took over the summer in which we were assigned to write about a family secret. Writing about being adopted--about feeling like a secret myself, about the void that I'd always felt by not knowing my genetic past and family--spurred me to search for my birth parents in earnest. When I started the search, many people cautioned me that I might be rejected or might not like what I find, and so on; and sure, those things could have happened, but I trusted my intuition that all would work out. Once I started searching, it was as if angels appeared to steer me in the right direction. It's amazing what happens when we're on the right path, when we open to love and not fear.
During the last few months, I’ve been devouring my father's books as well as his sweet notes, his writing as beautiful and brilliant as he, and each day, I seem to fall harder in love. It's uncanny how many of our passions overlap—our love of literature, music, the outdoors, hiking, good wine. The list goes on. Definitely a nod to nature. It’s also interesting to finally know my ancestry, Irish and French Canadian. There’s so much more to discover and perhaps write about, if and when the time is right. But for now, I'm just soaking it all up, and above all, feeling grateful for this pure love that has come into my life.
In the past, holidays have been difficult for me. I don't know exactly why. Perhaps in part because there are too many expectations around them. "The most wonderful time of the year" is just not so for many. I'm usually glad when January 2 rolls around. But this year has been different. I've not only embraced the holidays, I don't want any moment to pass too quickly; I want to stretch each one. How? By being more present, observing more closely, looking at social media less, traveling to new places, spending as much time as possible with the people and pups I love, being outside more than inside, and as I've done for years, by reading and writing each day.
As for running, it feels great to have finally nabbed a BQ in December after chasing it for three years! I may not be naturally fast, but I don't give up easily. I've learned that with hard work, you can increase your speed, if that's your intention. I'm grateful to have found a fantastic coach, elite runner Katie Kellner, and a running program, Hansons, that really works. In 2018, I'll work with Coach Katie to meet a new, challenging running goal that I look forward to tackling, and writing about soon.
Happy holidays to you and yours and all best wishes for the new year!