Monthly Archives: January 2008

Touching/Explaining


I wonder whether I’m just digging myself a deeper hole. I know I say things that sound very different than I intend. I’m not sure how much is me and how much is the situation. If I am just digging a deeper hole, I’m going to be able to build one awesome foundation eventually. Dynomite.
Saying I’m connected to you inside, doesn’t mean that your life was within mine; but that your essence is connected to mine. I experienced it internally, not out in the world. We had no contact out in the world.
You were a human being, with real human needs that I could not reach or touch– immense and bewildering needs. When your first called me I saw you as a magnificent beautiful and wondrous creative being and I have always since that time felt honored and blessed to know you. (It’s a mother thing. I think you’re familiar with it.) For years I was ignorant and feeble in my response to you, out of shame and weakness. I wished to rise to your needs but was overcome by my own.
I really thought I should know how to cope with that terribly absurd situation. As though I should know how to handle a grief that had no place to live and your trauma and the deceit we were unable to see through all the while keeping up the ‘good mother’ role as if it was natural — as though I should have known what to do. I didn’t.
Neither you nor Tomtom needs to understand that weakness or failure or whatever you want to call it. The shame of it still burns the back of my neck and my shoulders.
Another touchy misunderstanding is about the word sacrifice. I take issue with attaching the word noble to it. That may be a familiar coupling, ‘noble’ sacrifice, but it doesn’t fit. It sounds martyr like. It sounds like BS.
sacrifice n 1: the act of losing or surrendering something as a penalty for a mistake or fault or failure to perform etc. [syn: forfeit, forfeiture]
That fits my experience. There was no sense of nobility. at. all. It was a sense of penalty, fault, failure, loss.
I had no notion of how much you lost. I have ‘explained’ that. I was brought up in a family that idealized adoption. Akids were accepted completely (except for the huge totally ignoring the losses associated with it). I had never heard anyone put down an adoptee except on crass TV or radio shows. I believed that you were with ‘good’ people, that you were treated by all with respect and appreciation for your beauty, grace and creativity. I may have been shallow and selfish for holding onto the assumption that you were living ‘above’ trashy adoption crap. I may have been protecting myself.
I did think you would want contact with me because I knew you were mine, of me. And I thought it would be something you kept to yourself, hid from your family and friends — a fairy tale notion. I thought in our connection/reunion you would feel known and understood, connected to me in a unique way. But I thought it would be a special bonus to an already wonderful life.
My ignorance was of enormous proportion. I apologize for that.
My first clue was when you told me you weren’t angry with me. I had never considered that you would be angry with me. I regret my ignorance and am grateful for your encouragement and support educating me.
You know I love Buffy the Vampire Slayer. Dawn is a good reference, a real ordinary girl.
You and I are both real and ordinary. And we have the chance to be responsible for where we are right now and to change anything that we’re still holding onto, that is blocking us from relaxing into who we are and loving what we are. We’re not going anywhere. We’re not getting any younger. We are what we are and we love each other.
Advertisements

God Bless You Too

A dear friend sent me this today.

Patience

I want “to get on with my life”. That long standing illusion goes back to when I was warned about “the real world”. I see a long pattern of impatience, of wanting to get to the good part. It’s happening even now and I’m reflecting on a message I got today –

“As choices present themselves to you, you might feel confused, doubtful, or bewildered.  The future can then become fraught with fear because you can’t predict what’s going to happen.  That fear becomes a form of suffering.     Again, the way to get out of that fear is to bring yourself present, in the now, and live in each moment.  It’s easier to be happy in the moment.”   – John-Roger – (From The Way Out Book, p. 101)  

Hmmmm…. wondering what’s going to happen next? Or what is happening right now? What can I do about it? I want to move on, to the next step in more fully living my life, to freedom in who I am in loving every bit of my life and my family. How do I incorporate this bumpy reunion into the wholeness of every day living? We seem to lurch unsteadily from sweet forgiveness to careening into shame and despair. And it’s all part of the same ride.

My eldest daughter has two mothers (an adoptive and a natural) and two fathers (adoptive and natural). That stretches her out to three families, (plus in-laws). I recently realized I have two families. I’ve been trying to blend them, make them one. But they function independently for the most part.

My spouse is her natural step-father? That sounds weird. Putting natural and step in the same label doesn’t set well. Step is unnatural.

I am now an “empty nester”. Nesting was my passion. Am I now to build another nest? A bigger nest? Grow and fly from nest to nest? Nesting with out borders?

My youngest has been out of the house four years now. We are as close as ever. She called last week to tell me she bought a one way ticket to Central America. Yesterday she called to say she’d been reading my and Joy’s blogs.

Breathe. This is my life. In my previous post I wrote about how immaturity ruled Joy’s, Tomtom’s and my relationship. Today I am savoring the complex flavors of my family stew and loving the drumming of the rain that is filling up our reservoirs and preparing the soil for the bare root fruit trees I bought two days ago.

Q & A

I got an email from my daughter today.  Like Lucy, I’ve “got some ‘splainin’ to do”. I’m going to try – a little at a time because I don’t really know how…

“Tomtom wants to know where you were. He wants to know why you weren’t around. What do you want me to tell him?

He is upset. Of course. Explain this for me”

I always feel like you want a snappy answer, a quick answer.And I’ve told you so many answers, but none of them will make things different, make things ‘ok’.My stomach hurts, as if it’s hungry though I just ate.

Why wasn’t I around?

Uh, it started when I didn’t know where you were.You mentioned that I told you “I didn’t think about you.”I didn’t.I couldn’t bear to think of you as a little human.I never thought about what you looked like, whether your hair was curly, or whether you were pigeon toed, or how big you were.I could not bear that.I thought about your heart, your feelings, your energy, the things I felt I could touch inside me.I reached out to you inside me and I prayed for you and I loved you as something other than your body.I could not bear to think of your humanness, your baby needs. Your baby needs that I was not meeting.

The year or two following your birth was a sordid time for me.I was desperate.Later I was ashamed of that time and am just now coming to compassion for myself, recognizing that I was struggling with something inexplicable.Because no one else acknowledged my grief, I invalidated it too.

To assuage my loss I told myself I could try again.But I had to do it right next time.I had to have a father for my children.That was why I couldn’t keep my first born.There was no ‘father’. It was worse in my mind; the ‘man’ I had mated with abandoned me once I was pregnant.I had chosen wrong, mating with a man who could not/ would not love and care for me and our child.

I moved along searching through one relationship after another.

Eventually I found love with a man that shared many of my dreams.When our son was born he stood next to me.That night when I woke up at home in our bed, he was only a few feet away, wiping up the baby’s first bowel movement.He was the first man I ever fought with.That scared me.

We fought and we loved and we had another baby and we moved 1500 miles away.He quit his job and went back to school.We were living in a strange place, with very little money and no family and you called.

My daughter.You had a baby of your own.You said things that scared me, that I’ll not repeat here.

I’d had fantasies that some day we would learn to know each other again, that you would revel in having a mother that knew and loved you and held secrets that only we could share.Sweet fantasies.The reality was that you were hurting, but lying to me about it.I was shaking on my bed like I didn’t know what hit me.A lifetime of abandonment was spilling onto us and I slipped back into the buried trauma of being a teenage relinquishing mother instead of rising to the occasion to love and nurture you in your scared denial of having any interest in a ‘mother’.Yes, we’re both “going on with our lives” so I must conform to your request and give you medical information.

So at that point, I wasn’t around because you weren’t sure you wanted to get to know me.And as far as I was concerned I had absolutely NO RIGHT to ask anything of you.I had terminated my rights because I was not worthy of you.

But we were just getting started.You raised some pretty awkward questions  before we met in person.But I didn’t ask any.I had no right.I’m shaking again as I write this now.Years later you told me you were hurt because I didn’t ask you questions.You thought it meant I wasn’t interested.You didn’t know how I shook.

But my spouse saw it, felt it.I couldn’t explain it.I didn’t have any right to these feelings.I had terminated my rights.I was supposed to be all better now, a grown up.I had children that had not been taken from me.I had to act responsible for God’s sake.And we had uprooted ourselves to live in Indiana (!).Fortunately my grandpa died and we were flown back to CA and I could meet you.Though I fretted about how I looked and how could I possible live up to your standards and did my best, it wasn’t good enough and you wanted to stop our budding relationship.

But we stumbled and struggled on.It seemed like everything I did or said was wrong.It seemed you were telling me that I was the source of all that was wrong in your life because I had abandoned you.Nothing had prepared me for that.I just didn’t get it for years and years.

You taught me a new word, “birthmother”.It felt really good to know there was a term for me.I was a birthmother, a real thing.That was so much more than I’d had.

I remember where I was the first time you questioned me about not being part of Tomtom’s life. 

We were having one in a series of terrible fights.  You were angry with me.  Everything I said or did was wrong.  I was afraid of our relationship, afraid it would disintegrate, afraid you were about to drop me for good.  Our relationship was so full of anguish.  I couldn’t figure out how I could become friends with him when I was so focused on the fear that you were about to leave me.  I didn’t want to drag him into our chaos – figuring you and I needed a stable relationship before involving an innocent child.  

In hindsight I know that was a mistake.

Like you said, there was no context, no terms or references.

I have to go to bed now.  Good night.