and so on a recent friday
rena’s birth family decided they would like to come over.
and so we said sure, thinking that it’d probably just be the two aunts
who helped rena’s birth mom during labor, helped her decide to
plan an adoption in the first place.
but we were wrong.
while rena’s birth mom was still in jail, and will be for what looks like the next year,
the two aunts came, one of them brought her daughter (whom she adopted 16 years ago
through open adoption) and the daughter brought her best friend (who was also adopted through
open adoption 16 years ago).
it’s weird when two miley cirus look-a-likes want to spend one of the last days of their
summer break coming to your house to eat sandwiches and see what maybe they
were like 15 years ago.
and then rena’s birth mom’s mother came.
and she brought rena’s two half-sisters,
who last had seen her in the hospital the day after
she was born.
and so, we ate sandwiches that i burned on the griddle
and tried to find some shade in the backyard.
all the while, lydia kept saying “rena rose weinshenker”
and calling her “sissie”,
as if to say “she’s MY sister” again and again,
lest rena’s two birth sisters forget it.
i asked rena’s birth grandma why she decided to come
and what it was like driving home from the hospital with the girls,
whom she’s caring for while rena’s birth mom is in jail.
and she said that the girls kept bringing rena up,
wondering how she was doing.
and they also wanted to know if they were going
to be given away next?
which, in essence, they were…by their mother to their grandmother.
and where would they go?
where was rena?
in a dungeon?
in an orphanage?
and she wanted them to see
where rena was.
and so they did.
remember that we didn’t say anything
about leanne’s cancer during the adoption process.
it was bad enough being discriminated against for our religion,
we didn’t want to add prior health history to our list of peccadilloes.
and so when leanne was giving the family a tour of the house,
they all walked past the wall
with the pictures of her bald
and me with the “fuck cancer” hat on.
“that must be a strange way for you to find out,” leanne said.
“oh we knew,” said one of the aunts.
we saw you on the cover of the blood donation magazine:
a strange way to find out.
“we just hope you’re doing well,” said rena’s birth grandma.
and she is.
ps – i’m riding another 100 miles for cancer.
if you care to donate, do it here:
pps – rena is one, and she has the frosting to prove it: