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70

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70 what? you ask…. 70 YEARS! I have officially been alive on this earth for 70 years, as of Sunday. I should be upset. Who wants to get old, after all? I don’t look cute any more, my hair is turning silver, my width has only increased over the years, my feet get farther away every year….. you know, all that aging stuff. But, I’m actually very happy to be this age and very pleased with myself for making it this far. I’ve not only made it, I’m still healthy. I feel good and though I don’t have the stamina I used to, I still have enough energy to do things. I’m happy and extremely thankful.

I was asked – what are you doing for your birthday? HA! 😁 I’m having the biggest, most epic, month long celebration ever!

It sort of started last week. The band was asked to play for a birthday celebration of two of our friends and fellow musicians. It was so much fun! It was at El Rincon Español, a restaurant close to home with a very attractive, mostly outdoor space, and lots of fun friends, and new friends, and fellow musicians. The guys know all the musicians in the area so we were really honored to be asked to play for their party. Even the rain couldn’t keep us down. It poured like crazy in the afternoon and slowed down enough and just in time to bring in our equipment, and stopped altogether for the party.

We played again on my birthday at our usual venue, the Boquete Brewing Company. Again, rain (what is up with all this rain we are getting lately?!) but again it slowed down for the evening. There weren’t a lot of people. Most were probably recovering from all the Father’s Day festivities all weekend. But, there were enough happy people to have a really good evening.

And now, at this moment I’m at the Riande Hotel by the Panama City Airport. We flew from David this morning, and tomorrow we fly to Florida. I haven’t seen my friends there since we left almost 10 years ago. It all started with one friend who is turning 60, and decided to have a birthday bash which a number of other friends will be attending. I thought, why not? It’s a plane ride. So, I’m going to spend a few days catching up with friends in FL and attending a fun party.

Then, the epic-ness only increases. Next stop, Tulsa.

*long story to follow… * I was adopted as a newborn. My birth mother was an unmarried high school student and back in 1952, that was a very shameful thing. Fast forward 28 years and I tracked her down, we met, and we have had a very warm and happy relationship ever since. She went on to get married and have three more daughters, but, per her husband’s request I remained a secret. Even after he passed, she wouldn’t break her promise. Then came DNA testing. You know where this is leading

First I connected with a cousin, the daughter of my mother’s sister. The secret wasn’t so secret there (even though my mother wishes it was and didn’t want me talking with her – sorry, already talking). She had known about me for a long time but didn’t think it was possible to find each other. Now we’re both really happy and like each other a lot. Then, I came home from a band gig exactly a year ago to a message on 23andme. “Could you be my sister”? OMG! YES! I am your sister! But, what about mom? We decided since she was very firm that she didn’t want me talking to anyone, we would just keep our news to ourselves.

My cousin let is slip accidentally (on purpose) to my mother that I have been talking with my sister, so it was becoming increasingly obvious that the lid on the secret was cracking open, When everyone was together last February for my mother’s birthday, she opened up and told them her story. From what I heard it was kind of a non event. My oldest sister said she heard it from her dad many years ago. The middle sister said she had overheard some things and suspected but she never knew for sure. The youngest knew nothing but she was my DNA connection so of course by this time, she knew. I talked with my mother a bit later and she said she was doing ok, and even felt better to have the burden of this secret lifted off her shoulders.

So, this is why I am going to Tulsa. Of course there are regrets for the lost years, but there is mostly overwhelming happiness that we are in touch, and we are going to meet in only a few days! My sisters have been beyond wonderful. They have been so welcoming and loving and happy to know me. I hoped they would be open to meeting me, but they have gone way beyond anything I dared hope. And, of course I’m very happy to see my mother. It’s been a long time. She’s 88 and even before COVID I was wanting to plan a visit, and now it’s even more important. I’ll fly in Monday and we will have a nice quiet evening together, and then the next day and the rest of the week is family time!! If I think too hard about my heart feels like it will explode.

This is getting long so I’ll stop here. But, there will be more stops and more news to come. I am using this celebration to see all the people who are the most important to me. And, with any luck, another trip will be planned very soon to meet my cousin in NY and to see my sister. Wait… Now this needs clarification. My other sister who I grew up with, that sister. I want to visit her in her new home in the Boston area.

Yeah, I’m pretty darn happy. Forget being upset with the passage of time. For me, every decade has been better than that last.

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