In response to a meme going around asking about the 10 biggest things that ever happened to you:
1. Born the first time
Midnight, March 21, 1958. I actually remember it, which I know makes me sound like a nut so never mind. (But I do. I remember the doctor and the two nurses, with their white masks on — I particularly remember the huge blue-green eyes of one of the nurses — and the green tile in the delivery room, and this little stainless-steel pan of warm water they washed me in, and this bright light I couldn’t stop starting at because I thought it was the most riveting fellow life-form in the room.)
2. Dad’s gone
I was eight years old when, out of the blue, my dad told my 12-year-old sister and me that he and our mom were getting divorced, and that the next day he’d be moving out of our house forever. Bummer. I liked having a dad.
3. Mom’s really gone
About two years after my dad removed himself from our premises — in other words, two years into my sister and I living alone with our mom: when I was ten years old — our mom disappeared. It was a Saturday afternoon; our mom left to pick up a few things from the grocery store; our mom didn’t return. Bummer. I liked having a mom.
4. Dad’s back
The day following the insanely disorienting disappearance of my mom, our dad moved back into our house to live with my sister and me. Great! We had a dad again! He was accompanied by his new wife. So we had a mom again, too! Except she was really, really bad at … well, not hating kids and pets, for one.
5. Mom’s back
After two years remaining as gone as gone gets, my (real) mom suddenly reentered our lives, when I twelve. One afternoon after I’d returned home from a Little League game, my father said, “Your mother called.” And instantly, right there in the hallway, my legs gave out beneath me. On my way down to the floor, I thought, “Oh, wow. So this is how it feel when your legs give out.”
6. Sis is gone
My sister so disliked our stepmother that when she was 15 she moved out of our house to go live with another family in our neighborhood. Bummer. I loved having a sister.
8. I’m gone, too
In the summer between my junior and senior years of high school I, too, moved out of our house, to end up living in an apartment building occupied mostly by coke dealers and prostitutes in East Oakland, CA. Fun! Only different!
9. I do!
At 23, I had no zero qualms about answering “I do” when the (gay!) pastor we’d hired to officiate at our wedding asked me The Big Question. Catherine and I got married in the Shakespeare Garden of San Francisco’s Golden Gate Park. You’re not supposed to just do that in the park, but at 9 a.m. on a Sunday morning no one cared.
10. Born again
One second I couldn’t have been less of a Christian; the next I am (at 38-years-old) down on my knees, deeply shaken by the sudden, Massively Imprinted knowledge that the figure known to history as Jesus Christ really was God come to earth as a man. So. That … settled that.
And there we have it. Ten!