Happy November 1st everybody. As months go, November could actually be one of my favorites, as the weather (finally) chills into autumn, a time for snuggling under blankets, warm drinks, soups and stews simmering on the stove. I love Thanksgiving. I have memories of watching the Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade on TV as a child, waiting for Santa to arrive at the end of it. I don't know how I managed to be so much more enthralled with the parade on a black and white tube television than my own kids ever have been on their large color sets. Maybe because I didn't have computers and video games in the next room? And I'm not a great cook, but I love the day of long, slow cooking times and the wonderful smells. Holidays are honestly not quite what they used to be when the kids were younger. Now they have husbands, wives, and other families to run off to for holidays, not to mention the fact that a couple are living in other cities and states!
This November there is some small chance that we will be welcoming a new member of the family. My youngest daughter is due to have a baby on December 4th, and is hoping against all advice that he will come a little early. And even if he doesn't actually arrive in November, there is so much excitement and preparation for his arrival.
But for the last 27 years, November has been cast with a shadow it will never shake in our family, because it is the month when Michaela was kidnapped. So the big thing is not turkeys. It is yellow ribbons, hung at the time and place where she was taken so many years ago, the place where she spent her last moment of innocence and her first moment of terror, the place on the earth where the universe split and changed eternally, on November 19, 1988, at 10:15 a.m.
Most likely we will be there again this year, unless my grandson decides to arrive two weeks early. Or unless Michaela comes home before then. We will be there with our yellow ribbons, and our insufficient words, but with gratitude for all those who have continued to remember Michaela for all these many years, who have continued to hope and pray for her, and for us. We will be there with our grief, which would prefer to be wordless and sightless, prostrate on the floor somewhere, but which gets up and steps out just to let Michaela know that our love for her is unending, that it is more powerful than our grief.
And it is, Michaela. Sometimes it seems as though the grief and darkness overpower the love and light. I can go through months at a time with those shadows blocking out all the good. But you just have to know, wherever you are, that you are a gift to me, as you were on the day you were born, as you were when you were that sweet toddler, that beautiful, kind child. I love you forever, Michaela, and there is not a single thing in the big wide world that could ever make me love you any less. I love you for always. And I like you forever, no matter what, just like the book says. If you are out there and alive, you are safe coming home, or contacting me. And if you are not alive, I think I am ready to hear that, to embrace the fact that you are safe, that you are happy and loved, and that I will see you again. Please. It's time.
I did an internet interview a couple of days ago, Michaela. Here is a link to it, just in case you have forgotten the sound of my voice.
I love you forever, baby girl.
For anybody interested in attending and tying a ribbon for Michaela, we meet at 10:00 a.m. on November 19th, at what was once Rainbow Market but is now Mexico Super, 32575 Mission Boulevard, Hayward, CA 94544. You may bring your own ribbons or remembrances if you wish, but we do provide the ribbons.