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This is a continuation of my two previous blogs Taking me as I am begins with me.  

June 1-5, 2009 Graduation Week
I work more than I would have liked due to the guilt I feel about missing the last week of school.  I also am getting the house squared away with the purchase of an additional bed.  When Brian and I separated he took the living room furniture and I kept the family room stuff and moved the loveseat into the living room to keep it from looking bare.  But with 14 people coming I was going to need more seating and living space.  So I found a beautiful king size bed on Craigslist.  I moved Mike's queen bed to Jay's room where my dad and stepmother would be sleeping.  I moved Jay's bed, a couch futon bed, into the living room as a couch and for additional sleeping for Jay. And I moved the loveseat back to the family room with the sofa sectional. My mom would sleep with me in my king sized bed. My daughter would have an air mattress on my floor.  My one brother and his wife and kids would have Makayla's room with a queen bed and air mattress and my other brother and his wife and kids would have Mike's room and the new king bed.  David and Mike would have the couches downstairs. I was apprehensively excited about the whole family coming. And not to mention my loose tooth,unstable ego, and having to once again look into the faces of those that haven’t seen me in awhile as they adjust their gaze after remembering I am missing teeth, and I have gained 50 pounds, aka “crazy aunt“.

We haven't all been together for a several years. And often when we are the sibling thing plays out weird and mom ends up in the middle somewhere and it can be very tense.  Add to that the addition of my step mother.  She had long since been absent from any of our family gatherings and as usual I had decided on my own that I knew why.  However, during spring break when I went to visit she and my dad we got reacquainted.  And I actually asked her why she had disappeared from family events.

March 2009
My daughter and I followed the lead of my sons and decided to take a break and go on a mini vacation for Spring Break.  She and I had been going through the normal tribulations, an 18 year old female her senior year in high school, goes through with her mother.  The love hate roller coaster we were on was exhausting to both of us.  But we are very close even though at times I breach the confidentiality envelope by explaining to her my adult concerns, fears, and deficits.  I tell myself each time it happens I should not use her as my confidant.  Yet, she has an uncanny ability of intuitively knowing when I need a confidant and then she volunteers, insistantly,  for the job.  And maybe it isn't so much uncanny, since I tend to wear my heart on my sleeve; as it is a willingness to listen and to help.  And help she does, she always adds an additional perspective and since she is a reliable witness to my life I trust her analysis and her suggestions.  Until we are embroiled in the hate part of our relationship when she throws it all up in my face and I am reminded that she is my daughter and thus it is not her roll to be my confidant and dangerous to give her the ammunition.

So we were driving to the Oregon Coast to see the house my dad and Betty built.  They had purchased the property and the shack that sat on it 20 or so years ago.  About five years ago they leveled the shack and built a beautiful three story house with a view of the ocean.  Though my sons had been several times and had been there when the were in the construction phase.  I had never been.  My sons had been down the weeks prior during their spring breaks on separate occasions and had such a good time Makayla and I had made a hasty decision to go up also.  My son Mike had gone to earn back money he owed his grandfather from an incident in January.  

January 2009
Mike is my second oldest son who has allowed football to inspire him to stay in college. He had played two years at a junior college and had two undefeated seasons and received two championship rings. He continued on to the university though he didn't play football there and struggled to find a direction.  

I was very blessed that all my children were three sport athletes through high school, all three of them.  They all stayed alcohol and drug free and though their grades were mediocre it was more a result of laziness than intelligence and thus they have all gone on to college.  In August 2008 Mike was asked to play for a division three school in the bay area and snapped the invitation right up.  He got a chance to play against schools in Oregon and his grandparents went to watch in Salem and in Portland.  In January 2009 I received the most horrific phone call of my life.  My son called me in tears from jail.  

One of Mikes teammates had been jumped by the schools baseball team after being in a night club earlier.  His friend came to him and the rest of the teammates at 2:30 AM and related what had happened and though the police had arrived they all scattered and so he made no report about what happened.  The entire team was fired up and agitated.  Mike, remembering lessons he had learned when he was younger and, so he told them that they were not going to "do anything" to retaliate.  He said they should go back up to the place where it happened and tell the police what had happened to create a paper trail and ensure that it doesn't spill over to school, which was to start back within the week.  So Mike and his friend Fred walked back to the 7-11 alone and in the cold.  

The farther they got the more scared my 6'3" 185 pound 24 year old son became.  He had no idea if there were still baseball players out there and he convinced his friend that he was cold and they should head back.  On the way back they came across two from the baseball team, and the fight, of the guys one being the main instigator.  In an instant the instigator and Fred ran up on each other while Fred yelled to Mike, it's them it's them.  The instigator, who later was shown to have had a outrageously high blood alcohol level, was knocked out by Fred as he ran up and landed two quick punches.  The drunk assailant slumped to the ground.  My son, Mike went to grab his friend, Fred, as Fred was running towards the other guy.  He was telling him to get out of there when the other guy started yelling at him and Fred. Fred broke loose from Mike's grasp and swung at the other guy, missed and landed on the ground.  When this other guy climbed on top of Fred and started hitting him.  Darrell, with a football type tackle, knocked the guy off of Fred, picked Fred up and they left.  They were arrested blocks away shortly later.  

Fred was being charged with felony assault and Mike was being charged as an accomplice.  My head spun as I received the information.  I had no idea how to deal with this, what to do.  My kids don't fight they aren't allowed to fight and jail?  I didn't even know the process.  He told me that if I could get him bail then they would release him today if I couldn't he would be held over until Monday.

I hung up and called my mom.  She too was devastated and told me to call my dad and maybe he could give me the $2,500 I needed for bail.  I called my dad and got Betty.  She was so calm and reassuring and said of course they would help and she would find my dad and he should probably come down and be with me.  My dad and I have a had a distant relationship. He and my mom divorced when I was in third grade and though they have always had a good divorce my time with my dad is few and far between as I have become an adult.  My dad called and got instructions on how to wire the money and said he was driving down to be with me. Makayla and I got in the car and went to get Mike.  When we returned my dad was here.  He and I spent a week together getting reacquainted and developed a very strong understanding of the others perspective.  I have no words for how much that time with him meant to me.

Over the next months I got to learn more about the judicial system than I ever want to know.  And I will share more about that later.  But it was this experience with my dad that drove me, literally, to go and visit him and Betty at the beach.

March 2009
Brian stayed home with Jay and let me use his more fuel efficient car and away we went.  The house is stunning: beautiful woodwork throughout and decks on each floor and glass windows that surround and display a magnificent view of the ocean. We had such a nice relaxing time: my daughter and I , my dad and I, Betty and I, Makayla and my dad, and Makayla and Betty.  I took the time to ask, and to listen, to why Betty hadn't been attending the family functions since she came to visit for Makaylas birth 18 years ago.  And the answer totally surprised me and made total sense; yet, in my time of over personalizing things or only viewing the world through my own selfish vantage point it never dawned on me.

Right after my daughter was born my dad and step mother had adopted my sisters three children.  My sister was herself adopted at 20 months and is bi-racial.  In the early 70's that was a pretty rare occurrence for a white family to adopt a bi-racial child.  She had struggled with her racial identity though my parents house was always full of multiple ethnicities and they ensured her Godparents were black and that she had and understanding of both cultures, it was the time of disaggregation and so she was bussed out to another school.  Her story is very long and very sad and I won't tell it all here but eventually she turned to drugs and prostitution and was diagnosed with HIV.  

So my dad adopted three of her children and my mother had adopted one.  The three youngest ones lived with my dad and the two boys were diagnosed with ADHD.  Betty explained that often they couldn't afford to all travel to out of state family events (such as mine and my brother that was in Colorado) and so she would insist that dad go as she would stay home with the kids.  The more often this happened the more disconnected she felt, especially from my brother and I.  She had a relationship with my other brother as he lived near by.  I felt so bad, judgmental, and just plain wrong.  Mainly because if anyone should have figured that out on their own it should have been me.  This is often my reason for not participating socially in a multitude of activities, because of transportation or access issues for Jay.  Well that did it.  Apologies were exchanged and we moved forward and got reacquainted.  I invited her then to graduation, and though she is always invited this time I insisted.

June 1-8, 2009 Graduation Week
Betty had called and let me know she was coming. I was so excited and the rest of the family was so confused.  I saw this as the blessing that had come form Mikes arrest.  Though I would have chosen a different route to get here. I felt I had a new outlook on the importance of family and being together.

I got to planning and came up with the following agenda, menu and schedule.  My niece's birthday was also during the week and I wanted to be sure to incorporate that as well.

Thursday June 4, 2009
Arrival and Check-in
Settle in  Dinner:                                    

    Taco Salad and Chimichangas
Friday June 5, 2009
8:00 AM-1:00 PM
Plan A:
Breakfast out
Plan B:      

 Breakfast at home

1:00PM -4:00PM:
On your own
Ribs and Salad
Get ready for graduation

 9:00PM until

 Wii Birthday Game Night

Saturday June 6, 2009
8:00 AM-1:00 PM
BBQ prep
House Party Prep
Get Ready
2:00PM –until
BBQ Party

Sunday June 7, 2009
9:00 AM-12:00 PM
Birthday Breakfast Party
3 day sleepover
Cupcake bake off
Wii Bowling Tournament
Other Wii

1:00PM –until
Hand and Foot (card game)
Plan for next days

Monday June 8, 2009
Plan A:
Sacramento Tour of Capitol and old town
Plan B:
San Francisco Bay Area
Plan C:
Stay in swim and play games
Plan D


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