|Those dark and beautiful people...|
Looking back I knew I was different than most of them, and just assumed I came from a different family (i.e. adopted) but wasn't sure how to explain those thoughts as a kid. I just knew everyone else looked different, even my mother had blue eyes and reddish/brown hair with no freckles, so by the time I was four I was convinced that I was dropped off on the porch along with the newspapers.
And then he came along! I went with my parents to the hospital to see my new cousin, a boy! This was very exciting as all of my other cousins were teenagers dressed like Janis Joplin and I'm pretty sure they smelled like her too.
So here I am peeking over into this very large window where there's a row of plastic beds and pink human beings squirming. The family is pointing and saying, "There he is. That's him." Peeking through the crowd I see the most awesome sight. The first baby I recall ever meeting, and he had this really cool perfectly shaped bowling ball round head. How cool! A pink bowling ball that cries. As a four year old I thought this would be a very interesting thing to keep around.
...fast forward a year or two...
Growing up in the heights, near downtown Houston was pretty cool as stated before in my kudos to the 70's, but the best part was having our birthday parties at a place called, "Peppermint Park". It was just what was expected and where to celebrate events for kids.
Suddenly, I see that kid with the perfectly shaped head wobbling on his loose two year old legs, and then it happened. I realized I really was a part of this family. I was NOT adopted, because this person, who once laid in the plastic beds at the hospital, had freckles. I had freckles! He had light colored skin. I was pale too! He had blond hair. Hey, I have blond hair! This was an amazing event. Not only was I at the best place in the world, "Peppermint Park", but my new found identity had come into view. I was not delivered with the newspaper. I belonged in this family too, with this other adorable freckled face, blond headed kid.
It's funny how memories slip our mind and then one day you're sitting at a family function. You find yourself sitting at the end of a dining table next to someone who takes you back. Waaaaay back. You start thinking about your first encounter with people, and you study the kid next to you. He is the spitting image of his father, his father who saves lives and has a very contagious laugh & twisted sense of humor (must be in the DNA), his father who was/is that freckled face, blond hair toddler who told me without ever speaking that day at Peppermint Park, "Hey, you and I look alike, so I guess we really do belong."