Tag Archives: thank you notes

happy birthday, mr. zuckerberg says!

christmas, valentine’s day, mother’s day, my birthday.  the four dread horsemen of the calendar.  from a distance, wonderful and appealing.  the moment of impact?  horrific.  well, maybe not the moment of impact.  it’s the night before.  i always think i will be forgotten by those i love.  and everyone else.  and i’ve had those years.

i was put up for adoption by my parents when i was three years old.  after twenty two years, i used a private detective to track down my natural/biological parents justin and aleta.  today there’s open adoptions.  there’s tracking your parents down on facebook.  or maury povich.

when the future queen of france was sent from austria to meet her husband the future louis the xvi, at the border she was required to change her name from maria antonia to marie antoinette and to strip naked and re-dress in clothes provided by the french. she also had to give up her dog and her ladies in waiting. in 1963 when i was adopted, my name was changed from arlynn merrill leiber to lynn melody patrick, i took no clothes with me from my old home, and i gave up my stuffed kitten. i did not get jewelry and versailles. on the other hand, i didn’t get beheaded. go see farewell my quee. after all, it’s been three long years since a marie antoinette movie has been playing in theaters!

i thought i had a good (or at least okay) relationship with these new/old parents and it surprised me that both forgot my birthday the first year we were in contact.  i would like to say that i didn’t mind that justin and aleta didn’t remember.  but i did.  i howled and whined.  i was a petty, sniveling, blotchy faced wreck.  but in private.  a few days later, justin reminded me that my infant half sister casey’s birthday was coming up and i said it was interesting that we shared the same astrological sign.  a dozen roses showed up the next morning with a belated birthday greeting.  as for my mother aleta, the matter resurfaced in october.  she called me in a fury.  i had forgotten her birthday.

“but you never told me when your birthday was!”  i wailed.  “and besides, you forgot mine!”

“how was i supposed to know yours?”  aleta countered.

“because you were there!”

as you can imagine, this interaction didn’t help our relationship.  i think i hold aleta responsible for my adoption although since aleta and justin were married it must have been a joint decision at some level.  i know if my ex-husband had ever asked me to put up joseph or eastman for adoption, i would have balked.  not that he ever would have.  eight years after this conversation, aleta terminated our relationship over an issue involving my payment of her health insurance.  justin and i have our ups and downs–and some years he remembers my birthday and some years he doesn’t.
on july 22 every year i have a massive anxiety attack slash pity party.  this year was no exception.  it started at five o’clock with the shakes and chest pain.  it ramped up with crying and shaking.  i was utterly and completely convinced that i was forgotten, alone, without purpose, and about to die.  it would be months before anybody would notice my demise.

how does santa know where you are if you’ve sold your house? this past month, a new family moved in and i haven’t got my bearings. it would be massively worse if santa were to die! but that won’t happen because as long as there are children and retail establishments who believe in him he will live!

and then something odd happened.  a facebook friend posted a picture of a birthday cake on my profile page.  another posted a link to a recording of mickey mouse singing happy birthday.  then a link to youtube showed up, and it was my friend jose’s youtube post for my day — you can watch it here:  http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8VluSLAGdwY&feature=youtu.be

and there were messages and pokes and comments and postings.  and i started to write thank you’s.  and more thank you’s.  i rifled through an album of fifty two pictures created by my friend nit, whom i had traveled to visit in las vegas — the messages embedded within the pictures are really wonderful and there’s one for every year of my life.  https://www.facebook.com/media/set/?set=a.2284501568258.62614.1720445328&type=3&l=5d25bd20fa 

i even received a birthday greeting from mark zuckerberg, the founder of facebook. he’s pictured here with tony tyner, mr. 314, meaning that tony is the 314th facebook friend i have met.  hey, many thanks mark and tony! btw, married life must be treating you nicely, mark, because you look like you’ve put on a few pounds!

i needed to say thank you to each person and that took me most of my birthday but it was a wonderful way to notice, remember, reconnect with each friend.  because even if facebook automatically puts a notification on your page reminding you of which friends are having birthdays, it still takes thought and care to write out a greeting or post a picture or photoshop an image just for me!

i realized that i had cried because i thought i was forgotten and i sure as heck wasn’t.  in fact, all told, i wrote eleven hundred notes of thanks yesterday and today and i’m still behind.  sending each thank you changed my perspective, and turned me around.

thank you facebook!

and also thank you to facebook for an interesting feature:  every time a friend posts on your wall, your mutual friends are notified.  so, for instance, when my son eastman’s friend will (who was the 176th facebook friend i met with) sent me a “happy birthday mrs. presser” eastman would have been informed.  and in a remarkable coincidence eastman called me about twenty minutes after will’s message.  he says he’s sent me a package but that it won’t get to me for a few days.

i don’t know where eastman sent this package but i figure if santa can keep track of every little child, eastman can certainly find his mom. i just hope santa or a package shows up at the daughters of the american revolution meeting where i’ve been invited to speak on thursday evening. oh, but i forget that santa won’t be available–he’s in tahiti because this is his off season!

meanwhile, my other son joseph (the sixty first facebook friend) sent me a present that will change my life.  i will assemble it today!


i should be what stays in vegas

in vegas, with my facebook friend chaperones reggie and vince, we planned on meeting up with facebook friend niteen joshilkar.  i was very interested in meeting him because he has done me the most important favor in this facebook project.  when he noticed that i was receiving so many friendship requests that i was teetering on the edge of 5,000, he created a “public profile” page where people who want to keep track of my adventures can subscribe and send me messages.  i was grateful.  but also i think niteen is wonderful.

alas, niteen was in florida stuck in meetings and missed his flight.  so i had some time to kill in vegas.  i asked only one thing:

alas, we left the next day without any new shoes and with niteen having never gotten back to his home in vegas.  but with all the poker, the free champagne, the food, the dazzling showgirls, i think the most fun was going to the monet exhibit at the bellagio hotel.

at lax airport, i asked vince and reggie for their postal addresses.  i wanted to send them thank you notes for their valor and courage in being my chaperones.  because no matter how close you feel to a person you correspond with on facebook, myspace, linkedin, etc., you should allow for safety first.

easy enough to send vince p. a thank you note but reggie is being shipped out to afghanistan in two weeks. so for the moment, he doesn’t have a fixed address. . . just like me. so instead, i have to say it here: thank you reggie! i asked him what he wanted in care packages and he replied toilet paper and food. lots of food. will do, captain!

 

i’m terribly sad that i missed meeting niteen joshilkar.  but flight has delays, cancellations, booking problems, hassles.  and so i will wait and try again.  meanwhile,  i look forward to turning fifty two and thinking i am part of a wonderful adventure–life!


on wednesday mark zuckerberg will send us a nice thank you note!

last year, in florida, i took off my sandals and swung on a tire. i didn't know that the grass had been spread with fertilizer. when i went to the airport, i was put in a bulletproof glass cage by tsa. fertilizer combined with other materials can be a component part in a bomb. i'm not a terrorist, really, i just look like one.

on wednesday, facebook will go public.  offering shares to the general marketplace, mark zuckerberg is going to find himself a billionaire.  and what exactly does he own?  everything about facebook users.  pictures, even the stupid ones.  updates, status, posts, comments, notes. . . all the timeline of our lives.  i’m grateful to facebook because it has allowed me to meet and keep friends.  last year, i made a promise to meet all 325 of the facebook friends i had on new year’s eve.  i did pretty okay, meeting 90% of them.  still, there’s a lot of information out there that mark and facebook own.  i assume a thank you note is coming after he collects his check.

this year i am trying to pay it forward on last year’s resolution.  last year, every facebook friend did their best to encourage and support me in my efforts.  and even a few friends who aren’t even on facebook!  i traveled around the world with my eldest son and met so many people!  i reinforced friendships, reviewed histories, suffered some disappointments but it was all worth it!

tomorrow i get back on an airplane for the first time since just before christmas.  i’m believing that my fear of flying is returning.  half of my fear dissipates when i make it through security.  i seem to have a veritable talent for attracting the “random” search and the “we just need to take apart your bag”. . . really, do they have to paw through my panties quite like that???

today, i heard from molly parshall that yesterday she hadn’t really been able to take the index cards and start on her goal of a) taking a train ride with her son blake and b) becoming a psychiatrist (or other professional) who helps those with agoraphobia.  instead, she was stuck in the house a little paralyzed with fear.  i wish i could have stayed longer in coldwater.  and maybe i should have.  but i know i’m going back.  because i promised that i would.

molly is a beautiful talented and very witty agoraphobic. we made up a program using small steps to get her out of the house. then i drove home to chicago.

 

those goals are pretty big ones, and the small things in between are just like my visits to facebook friends–

while i know she feels disappointed in herself–i think it’s a good sign that she’s spending a lot of the day playing farmville on facebook.  because if she wasn’t a little intimidated that would mean that her goals aren’t big enough.  last year, when i first decided i’d strike out into the world, i spent about a week utterly out of my mind with fear.  i feel for her, but i know she’s strong, brave and going to be okay.

tomorrow i’ll be in boston to meet lisa tabbi-fuller.  it’s her birthday and we’re going to play with heights.  mastering one fear is a good way of proving to yourself that you can master all fears.