I was impressed when I saw Issy identify herself as an ambivalent adoptee. (See Issycat in blogroll). Since learning the word as a college freshman I have admired and cultivated tolerance of ambivalence.
It is woven through reunion. In our first contact Joy explicitly stated she was not looking for a mother. She was not angry.
I was eager to meet. She was not so sure.
She was hurt that I didn’t embrace her fully into my family life.
The first time she was invited to my home for dinner, she arrived in time for bed.
After years of hesitating, I accepted her invitation to visit her home, now just 275 miles away. She rescinded the invitation a week before I was to arrive. I went anyway.
Ambivalence manifests as tardiness. Not knowing one’s family is uncomfortable. There are articles in our local paper about how to get along over the holidays; when you know a certain uncle is going to be bombastic or your mother is going to make you feel immature etc.
How do we cope with not knowing? Will she come or won’t she? Will she be welcomed or won’t she?
I am ready to welcome her, and to cue others to welcome her, to accept her ambivalence in the group.
Neither of us intends to hurt anyone, but we do anyway, without suspecting the impact of our words or actions on others. It’s only a question of when our feelings will get hurt again.
I’ve been tolerant of ambivalence to a fault. I’ve also been ambivalent to a fault. I am my daughter’s mother, one of them. Good and bad in my behavior, I am what I am.
My intention in relinquishment was that she would prosper uncontaminated by her origins. That foolishness was followed by more foolishness of lingering in the shadows of confusion and mixed messages. One foot in front of the other I am continuing to own who I am and who my family is, however we are. Walking in a multiplicity and oneness.
This is what I can do.