Family Ties…

This past Fall I was approached by a reality show, my first response was surely the same as most people. Yeah right! Well……it was legit, crazy, weird and one of the most rewarding things I have ever done.

Relative Race is based out of Utah and airs on BYUTV. I got a random text one day asking if I could chat, it was prefaced by; “I know this sounds like a scam, but I believe you are related to someone on our next season”. I had never heard of the show (it is something that you stream from an app on a smart tv) so long story short I indulged and said I would look it up. I did. I thought it was a interesting concept and seemed like a well liked show by the following and comments on social. I text back and said I would talk to her, she called and explained how it worked and what was expected on my end. Pages of contracts and a background check later the plan was in motion. I knew before she told me who the relatives would be. Yes plural, I knew I had twin nieces that I had never met and that they were looking for , their dad …..my brother. Social media was the only contact I have ever had with them, it was minimal. I watched them online, they sang, modeled and had mentioned on more than one occasion that they were searching for him so it was not hard to put it together.

A bit of back ground:

I have not seen or had contact with my brother for at least 25 years. He and his wife had moved to Florida when the twins were born, they have an older son who I had met, since they had lived in Maryland when he was born. My kids were very young at this time, life was hectic and I was going through a very ugly divorce which took all of my energy and time. We had lost touch except for the pictures the twins mom would send to my mom, their grandmother. Side note, my family was not close, we did not spend holidays or family dinners sitting around a table. If you didn’t know any better you would not even know we were related. I could blame our upbringing, circumstances or a million other things, but it was just our reality. My point is not to rehash or spill all the family gossip just pointing out that it was not strange to us that we had very little contact, it was normal to us.

Somewhere in this time frame as my life was falling apart, so was theirs. Time passed, divorces happened and my brother pulled completely away from any strings tying him to his kids, my parents and me. We also have another brother and of the same mold, not big on family closeness although he has always been their for his sons. I have come to accept that our desires for how relationships should be are not necessarily shared by others. Much heartache and hurt feelings can be spared once you realize that your time is better spent with those that have the same expectations from the relationship that you do.

Fast forward many years, my father unexpectedly passed away , followed just a year later by my mom. There was not much to the estate but it required me to legally make an effort to reach my brother. Basically he had to be given a certain amount of time to contest the will. A PI was hired to no avail. By this time I had not seen or heard from him in close to 20 years. He did not want to be found, he was out there, just living as his past never existed. Off the grid.

I question my own behavior through the years, what was stopping me from forging a relationship with my nieces and nephew?

Guilt.

Exactly.

Guilty by association. In my head they think I am nothing but a painful reminder of everything they had missed from their dads side. Not just his presence, but grandparents, traditions, cousins, family. So I kept my contact to an occasional like on a Facebook post or Happy Birthday. A good defense is a good offense. Walls.

I know I have skirted around some details, my intent on telling the story is not to create questions or inflame any pain to old wounds. My lesson is about forgiveness and misguided assumptions.

Back to the show: It is ultimately a race, traveling with no GPS, only paper maps, no smart phones. The contestants need to complete challenges to move on to finding their next relative, they are on a clock and at the end of the day the team who goes over the most in time gets a strike. My nieces unfortunately were eliminated before they were due to meet me, this was last nights episode. They had met cousins on both sides, most distant. Everyone knew their intention was to find their dad which gave me a lot of trepidation before I signed on. I did not want them disappointed or hurt but I also knew I was the closest relative that they would meet and I did want them to experience this journey that the show was providing them. The teams do not know day to day who they would meet, I knew in their head though that they hoped it was going to be their dad. You end up pulling for all the teams, you just want all of them to find the answers they have been searching for. But, yes it is a competition. While this was being filmed I found out that they had been eliminated but the show was going to still have them meet me. As this season started airing I could see why they took this route. Out of all the teams, my nieces (Team Black) had yet to meet anyone close while other teams had met birth parents and siblings. The show decided to let them trade in a prize they had won to get to meet one more relative, evidently they had not done this before. Talk about suspense, I am sure anyone watching the series thought it was going to be their dad and I know the twins did as well. It wasn’t. It was me. I am no substitution for the absence of a father. I felt like when you want a puppy for Christmas and you just know that you are going to get one…. and you get a pair of socks instead. I was the socks.

Today is their 25th Birthday.

What I gained from this was so much more than meeting Kaley & Kristen. I experienced true grace, connection, humility and faith. They are remarkable in their capacity for forgiveness, they love their dad, they believe they will find him, they just want to know him. My heart break is not only for them, but for my brother who has missed out on witnessing their journey, their milestones and most importantly the truly amazing people they have become.

Good luck to the remaining teams, may your journey bring you home.

To my brother should you be listening, it is not too late.

Lastly, thank you Relative Race for making this connection a reality, sometimes you just need a push.

Check out the episode below.

https://www.byutv.org/player/829fa187-6a56-4867-876e-f9dae99aea40/relative-race-season-5-episode-7

Over 52 and learning make up for the first time.

In a million years I never thought I would be doing make overs or selling make up at the age of 52. The post is not an advertisement I just want to make the point that you are never to old to start something new. Sometimes things just fall in your lap for unknown reasons. I am a believer that the universe gives you what you ask for, it may not be in the form of what you expect, but somehow, someway it just happens. Whether it is to teach…heal…or take you in a different direction you need to be open no matter how bizarre it sounds.
I have been in selfie hell, I would be the last person on the planet that you would expect to take and post selfies. You know what though, it has been good for me. It has been liberating and taught me not to take myself so seriously. We tend to get so caught up in comparing ourselves to others posts on social media, thinking that the staged photos we see on Instagram are a glimpse into someones real everyday life. You think “wow” they have it all together, they are so perfect. It’s a lie folks, a highlight reel is not real.

Be you, be present, learn, grow, laugh and stop comparing. Be grateful for your unique gifts and give that to the universe.

Cheers,

Pam

Cranberry Lime Vodka

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Easy Infused Cranberry Lime Vodka

Use decorative bottles to make great Christmas gifts…..

Pierce fresh cranberries with a knife, add some Lime peels, fill 3/4 of the way full then fill with Vodka.

Make sure lid is secure and let sit for at least 2 weeks or up to 2 months.

I use mine with a splash of Cranberry Juice and some Ginger Ale, it’s a great Holiday Cocktail!

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Annapolis 4th of July!

162  I love my hometown of Annapolis, so I surprised my husband this 4th of July with a 2 hour sail on the Woodwind. http://www.schoonerwoodwind.com/

It was a beautiful day on the Bay!

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The Woodwind sails from the Marriott dock near the Eastport bridge. (we found free parking just a few streets over the bridge, a short walk) Tickets were very reasonable $40.00 a person for 2 hours. Cash bar is available and they have some free snacks. The Woodwind boards right in front of Pusser’s,  http://pussersusa.com/locations/annapolis-restaurant this was awesome, it gave us a chance for a couple of drinks before we boarded and to watch “Ego Alley” (boaters’ like to parade down this corridor toward the City Dock to strut their stuff).

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The crew was amazing, friendly and quick to strike up conversation. They allowed for some hands on experiences for those that were interested. We however chose to relax and take in the view. The weather was perfect for sailing and the Bay was very crowded with boats of every size.

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We got lucky and snagged a table at the outside bar at Pusser’s when we got back. Needless to say my over-indulgence yesterday is not helping my losing 20lbs. in 2 months quest.

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Parking over the Eastport bridge ended up being a smart move on my part. The parade started at 6:30 near the dock area and there was a throng of people heading in to stake out a spot to watch the fireworks so we had an easy exit through the neighborhoods of Eastport. This lead me by one of my childhood houses……funny story.

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This is a picture of my old house on Van Buren. I remember this house fondly, great family neighborhood. Lot’s of afternoons spent playing red light green light, tag, dodge ball. Staying out till dark and the echo of parents calling the kids in for dinner. My only bad memory of this house was getting an old-fashioned spanking for jumping over my mother’s new Magnolia tree and breaking it in half (I still swear to this day it wasn’t me).  Well here is that house and TREE today!

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Yep that’s the same tree, looks like it took the accidental pruning pretty well.

Happy July!

Cheers!

Pam

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20lbs? in 2 Months????

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Ok Vacation booked…….I have 2 months……..

Being a middle-aged pre-menopausel….wino, (makes me sound like a crazy raving lunatic) has taken my body to new level of muffin topness.

My goal by throwing myself under the bus here is to shame me into holding myself accountable. Yea, yea, yea I know shaming myself is not the way to go, I need to create a healthy lifestyle and stick to it. Whatever ….tell that to my bathing suits that have not left the 4 walls of their dresser drawer in 2 years.

I am a generally happy camper, the usual social butterfly, love my job, my husband, my kids (when they aren’t driving me to drink) so the one area of my life that occupies too much of my time in a negative way is my struggle my weight. I don’t over indulge really, but I do like my wine of course and the Creme Brulee at dinner last night was to die for but I am not a junk food junkie, don’t drink soda, love fruit and veggies and can tolerate a protein smoothie now and then, oh and did I mention I rode my bike twice this week? Yea I admit I hate exercise…..BUT I am going to commit to make a concerted effort to get moving.

So here I go…..it’s July 1st let’s see what I can do! The good news is if I can shed some baggage here I won’t need to buy new clothes for vacation, I have a closet full of new “I am gonna save these for when I lose weight clothes” .

Cheers!

Pam #wannabesize10

#schoolsout Memory Lane

As I sit drinking my coffee this morning and strolling through Facebook I am taken back to the hustle of the end of the school year I experienced with my own kids. Field Days, Award Ceremonies, Spring Concerts, Class Parties…….I see so many posts of the Joy of the last day and it puts me right back to the playground at Saints Peter & Paul waiting for my little blonde haired trio in navy blue shorts looking a bit more disheveled than their first day back in August to stroll out of their classes a little taller and hopefully a little wiser. I remember the relief of finishing another year, being so happy that there will be no more yelling to get out of bed tomorrow morning or scrounging up lunches and homework. Summer is not just a break for kids but a much-needed respite for Parents. I spent quite a bit of my kids Elementary years as a Single Mom and Summer was an extended vacation for me.

So as all you parents of young kids pick them up at the end of another year, enjoy your break…..sleep in….relish quiet mornings… REJUVENATE….trust me September will be here before you know it!!

Cheers!

PamJonathan0003