Thursday, April 23, 2009

Son Shine

There's a new Kennedy in the family, and we could not be more pleased to welcome him to our family. Well, actually, he's been in the family for 25 years, but he hasn't been a Kennedy.

Yesterday my stepson Jason legally changed his name to Kennedy. It won't make him any more successful, any richer or any more popular in bars. But with his Yank accent, he can now expect to regularly answer the question, "Are you related to those Kennedys?" The proper response is, "No, I am from the eccentric side of the clan."

Jay had first broached the idea of adoption on New Year's Eve a year and quarter ago. He said words to the effect that I had raised him and loved him most of his life, and that was what he wanted to do. The seventh day of Christmas will always be special to me for that reason alone.

I told Jay I would get the process underway with the lawyers and what ever agencies it took. A year later, Jay checked on my progress and said he would get the process underway. Honestly, I even procrastinate about things I really, really want to happen.

Anyhow, Jay discovered most of the stumbling blocks I had. The adoption process is really set up for minors, and the steps you have to take are all a bit too hard or irrelevant for adults. Besides, adoption is symbolic at this stage since all four of our boys are equal in our family, so Jay suggested he could at least show his intent by legally changing his name.

I have been lucky enough to have four sons - two biological and two by marriage. I am even luckier in that all four have turned into outstanding men of whom I am very, very proud. Best of all, not one of them is very much like the others, so each brings a unique personality to the family and each is special in different ways. And as I told Jay yesterday, I love them all and it doesn't matter what their names are.

But I have to say, when Jay officially changed his name, it surprised me how moved I felt. It's not every day that someone tells you they love you in such a spectacular way. I think I have been around Sandy too long, because I actually got tears in my eyes when he told me. And I am still feeling all warm and fuzzy this morning as I write about it.

So please welcome the newest Kennedy to the family he's been in for 25 years.

On the progress report side, it's a quickie. On September 1, I wrote about five destinations I wanted to visit in my retirement:

1. The American West. Apparently there's more than LA, San Francisco and Las Vegas out that way. We haven't explored New Mexico, Colorado, the Big Sky country and they sound fantastic.

2. Iceland. Seen it on TV, read about it. Want to check it out.

3. Iguazu Falls. Haven't been to South America, really want to go. Need to narrow the itinerary down, but Iguazu Falls beckons as the top spot to see.

4. Egypt. The oldest - and only remaining - Wonder of the Ancient World. How can you not want to see it?

5. Africa. We've been three times. I would love to do just one more visit.

Pleased to report that we are doing #1 in a couple of months, with a driving trip across Utah, Wyoming, Idaho, South Dakota and some other states I have never visited.

We are also seriously investigating Egypt in about 18 months, especially since our friends Jon and Caroline have both recently visited and report that it's fantastic. Best of all, LK has discovered a tour that shoots down from Egypt into African safari country, so we can kill two birds with one stone.

I tried my best to have the last international company meeting I organized in Iceland, but they didn't have a hotel available with enough rooms, or that one would have been ticked already. Just as well it fell through, because by the time of the meeting Iceland businesses could not accept credit cards due to their economy's collapse. That would have been an interesting mess. Anyhow, we will get there some day, probably on an around-the-world ticket when we go to the US for a family visit.

No plans yet for Iguazu Falls, but we've got millions of frequent flyer points and there is talk that United Airlines might not exist next year. Gotta use 'em up fast, I would say.

And so, after four of these progress reports I am detecting a strong, discernible trend. Anything that seemed to smack of work or effort has not quite been addressed. Those things that fall into the pleasure and self-satisfaction category are progressing quite well. Frankly, I doubt if many of the people who know me are terribly surprised.

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