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For almost all my life, I didn’t know who my real mother was. I didn’t know what she looked like. What her hobbies and passions were. If we shared any common likes, dislikes, quirks. And I didn’t know when her birthday was.

Her birthday is coming up at the end of the month. My half-brother makes a xmas wreath to hang on her gravestone. Very Christmas Carol if you ask me. This year, I asked him if I could contribute decorations for it.

Generally, Bro’s wreaths are pretty standard wreaths. Very colour-coordinated and indistinguishable from a wreath you might see on a door in your neighbourhood.

I went to Michael’s and found a wooden heart, which I wrote a personal message to her on, and I found a packaged of cute animal themed ornaments at IKEA, which I choose for two reasons. Cute animals. But also very durable plastic that should be able to stand up to most anything an Iowa winter might hurl at them.

I mailed them to Bro and when they arrived, I asked him if they were okay for the wreath.

“We’ll get creative,” he replied.

I told my youngest daughter later that had Bro and I grown up together, he would have been the one to painstakingly plan something and I would have been the one to come along after and blow it up with “creativity”.

But cemetery decor aside, I don’t really know what else to do for her birthday. I don’t really like the idea of birthday cakes for the dead. However, she loved cake and having a cake would be a fitting observance.

I want to flood my FB with pictures of her because I will get the most response there but my adoptive mom will be hurt by this. She will put on a brave face publicly but she will cry to my sister and brother about in private and they will tell me, which is the point.

I hate that I have to temper my feelings to spare Mom’s feelings. Had she not lied to me about knowing who my real mom was, I’d have been able to meet her before she died. Got some semblance of closure.

As the death of Twitter looms, I have started a Tumblr account I could use but it would be somewhat like this blog. Just putting words and thoughts out into a void to echo until it fades away.

Maybe Instagram?

I really don’t know. There are no handbooks on best practices for adoptees and reunionification.

I wonder what it was like for her on that only birthday we spent together. She was very pregnant. And alone except for me though I was probably not much consolation as I was just weeks from being born and whisked away for what turned out to be forever. It must have been horrible.

I am going to need to give this more thought. Get creative. As my Bro would say.

Friend of mine in Iowa is a home healthcare nurse. She was telling me recently the state is being slammed with the trifecta of covid, RSV, and influenza with case numbers sharply on the rise.

“And not just those but rotavirus and norovirus too,” she added. “Covid just weakened us up for this.”

That’s true enough. I have a cousin who complains to me about catching covid over and over. She’s personally up to five times being stricken with it herself. She’s got eye and heart issues now as a result, but she still won’t get vaccinated because “that’s poison”. As if being disabled in her early 50s is a preferred outcome. But, she was raised to believe in literal magic, so she was fertile ground for the conspiracy theories her daughter filled her head with.

All the research says wearing a mask cuts your risk of getting infected in the first place. The better the mask, the less the risk. She wouldn’t need necessarily to get vaxxed, but she’s addicted to shopping and going to bars and wineries. Vaccination and masking would make these hobbies of hers less risky but she’d rather get sick and then brag about how tough she is after she’s recovered.

It’s worth noting that each recovery has been twice as long as the last one.

I started masking in April of 2020 and except for a brief week during our federal election last summer, I haven’t stopped masking in public spaces. I am seldom the only one but there aren’t many maskers anymore.

People I know generally don’t mask out and about even though they tell me they are tired of getting sick, and they know masking would alleviate this issue.

The real reason people won’t mask is the same reason everyone wore the same brand name shoes or jacket when they were kids. Peer pressure. We never outgrow the need to fit in. Even if it’s harmful to us. People experience almost acute discomfort if they are perceived as different and they are quite susceptible to subtle, and not so, negative feed back. Even from strangers.

I don’t care much for negative feedback but very often over the course of my life, negative feedback has had the opposite of its intended affect on me. It makes me dig in and fight back. Passive aggressively for the most part. I don’t go to the mattresses for no very good reason. But I won’t knuckle under if I know I am right. And on masks, I know I am right.

Masking, along with good air filtration and ventilation of indoor spaces plus distancing would very likely cut viral spread of airborne diseases. Throw in some basic hand and surface washing and we could be golden right now. I am afraid, however, we are going to watch a lot of children needlessly suffer, and perhaps die, instead.

This is on us for buckling and giving into our fragile feels when we needed to be a whole hell of a lot stronger.

Winter is always coming when you live in the north, and it’s still a surprise. Every year, the first snow blankets the landscape and like magic, I forget what not winter looks like. The world is just white and frozen, and it feels as though it has always been so. Green and leaves are not even memories because that’s how deep winter penetrates.

I have ever mentioned that I hate winter? It wasn’t always so. As a child, I loved snow. Maybe it’s part of being born in a winter month or maybe it’s just that winter is so easy when you aren’t responsible for adulting while enduring it. Being an adult certainly killed the joy that was winter when I was young.

When I was ten, I raced outside every night after supper to play in the snow. Sledding until my corduroys were frozen stiff and my mittens were crusted with ice. It’s a wonder I never suffered from frostbite.

During the pandemic, I regained a bit of that winterish outdoor joy. I walked in the snow every day. Properly bundled, of course. Perhaps it was the lack of worldly obligations that made it more delightful? Like when I was a kid? I was not compelled to be anyone. Risk anything on icy roads. It was snow day after snow day.

Now that the powers that be have declared the pandemic over (though the evidence suggests that is more than just wishful thinking) there is pressure to risk when we should stay put.

My elderly self is not as winter hardy (or foolish) as my ten year old self. A fall would likely break something. Thinner skin less likely to weather a bout with frostbite.

I need a place to winter now where winter isn’t a hazard, but I am afraid snow-birding is not a thing in this “post” pandemic world for those of us who don’t think as magically as others.