Wednesday, January 4, 2012


                  Aunt Audrey’s and Uncle Ron’s prayers were answered when they adopted a two-year-old girl. Julie arrived on their doorstep, wearing a red one-piece swimsuit and clutching her beloved stuffed animal. They thought about changing her name. Eric, their six-year-old son, asked, “How would you like having your name changed? Don’t change a thing about her.”
            Julie grew up to have three children of her own with Tom, her husband. Frank, my stepfather, and Frannie, my mother, treated her as if she were their own child. Truly, she is like a sister to me. She had the biggest crush on Ross, my brother. She used to ask my mother, “Aunt Frannie, is it okay if I like Ross? We’re not blood related, so it’s fine, right?”
            When Julie was 15, she flew to the Hawaiian Islands to visit for a week. I was working toward my degree in fashion merchandising at the University of Hawaii. Shari, my roommate, and I had several gorgeous male Brazilian friends, whom Julie met. These fellows were at our high-rise apartment nearly every night, either making Brazilian spaghetti for all of us or enjoying a meal prepared by Shari, a fabulous chef.
            The week with Julie flew by like the wind. Desperate to have her stay longer, I placed a telephone call to Aunt Audrey, asking whether it was okay. She said yes and Julie’s trip was extended! The parties, concerts, dinners, beach time and fun went on another four weeks. All of us had the time of our lives; we wished it would never end.
            As Julie grew up, she learned there are times when life seems too hard. We might wonder if it’s all worth the struggle. I’ve learned it’s always worth it and when the chips are down, someone is just a phone call away. Julie and I call each other still when we need a sympathetic ear. In fact, we just hung up after a conversation. We will always find comfort in each other’s voices and wish each other the very best life has to offer. Here’s to Julie, my sisterly cousin, who was brought to us 40 years ago, just in the nick of time.
You came to us; you were nearly two
straight from heaven with eyes so blue
In your arms you held so tight
Mogey Bear, with all your might
Who knew you had a tiny, red
one-piece swimsuit and plans ahead?
Your name is Julie Karen indeed,
“Don’t change her name!” your brother did plead
It was late in the summer of ‘69
your foster parents said, “She’s yours, not mine”
We knew this all along, you see
you planted the wish, you knew you’d be
The one to come to Parker Avenue
to share the love, your heart anew
You grew into a loving mother
who wouldn’t trade your life for another
Your three children know of your past
united again, at long last
They’ve waited many lives, it seems
to fulfill so many unfilled dreams
To be held closely in your arms
cradled so safely from life’s harms
Audrey, your mother, is close at hand
to comfort you when life’s not grand
Ron, your father, waits by the TV
for you to watch football you see
You, his daughter, are the only one
who knows exactly what play’s been done
Together, you cheer for your mighty team
together, you share a common theme
Of one day sitting together again
on the sofa or bench chair; in the den
It doesn’t matter when, how, or where
as long as you touch first fingers and share
This road of life you’ve always known
with Eric, Mom and Daddyo you’ve shown
It’s all about love in the grand scheme of life
You’ve felt deep pain, you’ve seen such strife
You’re waiting for the day you rest
You’ve had far too many a test
Uncle Frank calls you Julie Poops
from up above, Aunt Frannie snoops
To check on you where angels tread
as the tapestry of your life is thread
Don’t give up, my sisterly cousin
we’ve had many lives, more than a dozen
You’ll be home soon enough
it’s not your time, although life’s rough
Pick up the phone when you need to hear
my voice for you, I am still near
This day of your birth, you will turn 40
I hope you believe you are still sporty
And funny and thoughtful and full of grace
you have the gentlest, kindest face
Look in the mirror, you’ll see I’m right
stop the running; please stop the fight
We’re all right here, waiting for you
to feel the wealth of warmth so true
Light a candle for your cake and blink
and in a moment you will think
You’ve been surrounded with our strong arms
it’s us, you see, your lucky charms
With those who watch you from the sky
including Ross, twinkling his eye
For he knows just what you’ve seen
felt, done and where you’ve been
He’s standing by, as he does for me
my cousin, Julie, you’ll always be.

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