Monday, September 12, 2011

Reunion: 3 DNA Sistah Cuzzin's Weekend

I have a story to tell. It is filled with love, loss, wonderment, discovery, joy and laughter. Oh, and a tear or two from each eye...please read on.

25 years ago, my Auntie Michelle was killed in a horrible, single car accident. As a family we were devastated. She was the favourite aunt to all of the nieces and nephews, the youngest of her siblings. We still miss her & talk about her all the time. Michelle or Mike,which was what she preferred and did legally change her name to well into her adult hood (...Michael Jackson! not kidding, it was perfect actually!) was in intense lover of life and people. No judgement, and sometimes no filter, LOL, that is true on both counts.

How to describe Auntie? Fun, dynamic, energetic, loving, harsh, vibrant, crazy (the crazy part is actually DNA!), incredible, rebel, sweet, wild, bold, woman.

The story of the "DNA Reunion, 3 Sistah Cuzzin's Weekend" started 37 years ago, right here in Victoria. Auntie Michelle had a baby girl who she very lovingly and unselfishly gave up for adoption. It was the best choice for them both at that time.

July 11, 1974 is the day our cousin Jodi was born. We never knew where Jodi went. I thought about her so much over the years, thinking about how old she would be, wondering if she would ever want to meet us, knowing she would not get to meet her birth mother, hoping she was with an amazing family.

February 2010 is when we first met her. She told us that the reason she searched for her birth mum was so that she could thank her for giving her up as she had grown up in an amazing family and had a wonderful life. We were so blessed to hear that, Auntie would be absolutely thrilled and touched. (I am sure she IS actually!)

(in this photo L - R, Jodi, me, Donna OR youngest, oldest, middle, OR second tallest, shortest, Tallest!)

Sept 9, 2011 is when we had our first, of many to come, cuzzins reunion. Jodi arrived Friday night and we laughed and cooked and ate and cried and sighed and looked at each other, amazed how much alike we all are. Nature vs Nurture....she was nurtured with love in her adoptive family, and she has come full circle with love from her nature family. How great is that?!

Sunday , September 11, 2011-after spending some time watching part of the 9/11 Tribute in the early morning, we went out for some quality time together...Right!
Donna was leading 2 out of the 3 hours of Jazzercise at a fundraiser for Cops for Cancer, Jodi and I went along with the torture, we sweat for all 3 hours...we even paid money for it! (don't tell Donna but it was really fun!)


Then we went for lunch at SPOONS and we all had the Prussa....can you tell? Tell ya more about the Prussa at Spoons later...back to the DNA reunion.

ummm, this is what was left of the "DNA only needs chocolate" chocolate cake with orange chocolate mousse filling, layered in dark chocolate fudge butter icing...after Jodi went home we ate it. WE forgot to eat it when she was here!

Part of our weekend was showing Jodi places our mum's had grown up at, Willow's Beach, the family home on Fair Street, Oak Bay Highschool, and of course, Goldstream Park. Starting with Auntie, our family tradition seems to have become the spreading of ashes at Goldstream. So we took Jodi there. It was beautiful. (sorry, she has all the pics on her camera!) By 3 o'clock Sunday afternoon, our beautiful Jodi had to head for the ferry, back to the rest of 'normal' life. Work, family, kids, home....sigh.

On the work note, I mentioned that Auntie Michelle was a rebel? She always had jobs that would typically be held by men. Gotta tell ya- Jodi is a firefighter!

This weekend was just the beginning of the Sister Cuzzins get togethers. There is that phrase you see everywhere ,
"Live, Laugh, Love"That is our DNA, we live very full not always fun lives, we laugh even in adversary, and we love even when it hurts. Is there another way? Not for us.

Thank you Auntie for giving us Jodi. We look forward to the day when the WHOLE family is together again.

This is one of our favourite photos~Auntie Michael Michelle Jackson: woman, birth mum, sister, daughter, wife, auntie, friend, Extrodinaire. Impossible not to love her, Impossible to forget her. Who would want to? xo