Hmm.. this year... Summer held a whirwind trip to London and Paris. In London I reconnected with Uncle John and cousin Patrick and renewed my sense of awe and comraderie and love for them both. I also spent a lot of time on my own, wandering a foreign city and navigating new places and eating at a table for one and seeing sights at my own pace and taking all the pictures i could stand to take and feeling free. It was beautiful and empowering and very much good for me. Paris was with my mother, which was typical of a vacation with my mother. Very scheduled, very expensive, very touristy, but very nice. Paris was bustling and colorful and flavorful and yes, a bit stuck up. My French was adequate to get us places and order us food and thank people for things and apologize for my botching of their language.
The new school year brought me a class of 4 kids, all 4 of which I had last year. My L moved up to middle school, my K moved on to Stafford County. So it's me and M and C and T and E. They amaze me every day. They energize me and make me smile and laugh and remember what's important and what innocence and happiness are like. So far this year, M has become healthier, he's learned how to play new games, he's been working on his muscular strength in hopes of moving independently someday. C has made leaps and bounds and is walking with the help of new shoes and new equipment and new motivation. He's also learned to clap and wave and in some ways, interact with the world like never before. T has grown up so much, she's calmed and thinks before acting more often, and she's learned who not to play games with (namely me) because she's realized it doesn't work, and our lives are much happier for that. E lights up the room as always. His sense of humor, his flirtation, his perserverance, his sense of adventure inspire me. He has gotten a donated power chair which we have dubbed 'the Corvette', that he's learning to drive. He's talking more and more and being understood more and more. He is, as always, my guy that jumps in with both feet, whether it's painting or singing or swimming or pulling out pumpkin goo, he's in, and he's reminding me that I'm like that too.
The grown ups in my room have finally, finally come to rest in the right places. After many attempts at staffing and several drastic failures, we finally have it right. I am the youngest in the room, so needless to say, being in charge of all these older people is totally the socially weirdest thing I think I've experienced. I have Ms. Fox, who is my right hand, she jumps in where I forget to, she loves the children gently and unconditionally, she is a 'mom' to me when she thinks i need it. I have Ms. Hawkins, who is the rock that we count on. She is there every day, is pleasant to everyone, is impossible to ruffle, and is a constant source of peace and wisdom. I try to tell her as often as I can that I don't know what I'd do without her. I also have Ms. Hyde, our newest addition. She's spunky and laughs all the time and makes the rest of us wake up and have fun and not sweat the small stuff. She's totally good for us and I'm so glad we found her.
I'm still with Robbin, we've been through ups and downs and everything in between, but I think recently we've been experiencing a new sensation of hope and inspiration. We've been working on us and prioritizing us and doing things for ourselves and loving each other fiercely. I think it took me all this time to finally swallow the fact that relationships are hard and that life never just calms down and that you wake up every day and decide who you're going to be, and that if you're not happy with who you are, you've gotta decide to be different and make it so. So that's what I'm working on. Not getting angry every time I feel that I have the right to. Not making things personal that aren't. Letting go of the past and the little stuff that doesn't matter. And hanging on to the fact that we are good together and that we can get through anything if we decide that we're going to.
For the first time this year, someone (other than my mother) has taken the fact that I am gay, decided that it is a weakness of mine, and decided that that would be the best way to hurt me. Things were said, accusations were made, and i came face to face with how vengeful, childish, and shocking an ignorant person with a grudge can be. Thankfully the rest of the world around me is not childish, not ignorant, and not believing a word of it. Life moved on quietly, everyone stood strongly behind me, and they gave me the strength to hold my head up and walk away. I will continue to do so.
My good friend Sarah is having a baby. It's going to be a little boy. I have floods of memories of Jake and how insanely I end up loving babies that are in my life, and how much I want one of my own when it becomes possible. I'm also working through the differences between who she is and how she does things and who I am and how I do things, and I'm trying hard to not blame her for things that are out of her control, things like the fact that I don't have a baby and won't any time soon. I'm trying to focus on things like the fact that she's going to be an amazing mom and she's going to raise an incredible little person who will go out in the world and do great things, and win hearts all along the way.
Oh, and on July 3rd, my very first gallery showing of my photography will be at The Griffin on Caroline Street in downtown Fredericksburg. If by chance you'll be in town, please come join us. My work will be up for the whole month of July, but if you want to join in the opening party and actually see me, you should come on the 3rd =)
K, so I'm a little caught up. Hopefully more to come someday soon. I haven't forgotten you all, really.
Love to all