Monthly Archives: May 2009

Commitment

I’ve heard that Marriage, in order to be successful, requires 100 percent commitment to loving.  I know I don’t fulfill that.  But it keeps me in the game.  I keep it as a reference, a possibility.  If I could do that 100% that would be awesome.

We sometimes exhibit less-than-loving behavior.

Rachel and Lori over at DNA Diaries have been examining what makes reunion work.  Commitment was one of the touchstones.    That one touched me.  I thought of Joy’s ambivalence towards our relationship.  She used to pull away at times, to protect herself, which used to wreak havoc with a fear I had of losing her again.  For a long time I thought life would be better if she and I could settle into a safe and sane relationship.  It was some kind of dream/goal where we would be relaxed and comfortable and accepting and interact like happy familiars.  Someday.  In the Future.  But the Past is always Present in our relationship.

I tried to make it up to her by beating myself up for never being good enough, loving enough, devoted enough.   Then this reference to “being in it for the long haul” or committing to the relationship took hold in my thinking.  I may not have done it right, but I definitely demonstrated commitment to continuing.

I’d seen Joy’s ambivalence as “my challenge”.  But it’s really just a reflection of my ambivalence to myself.

When I see myself getting defensive or hurt about something Joy does or says, I can choose to focus on something else.  She is not the decider of my happiness.  I am. My happiness requires commitment and inner discipline, to be here for myself.  I am  committing to find out if I can really be loving in this relationship, no matter what.

It depends on my willingness to participate in my own life, to really  go for 100 percent loving.

I know there is no static perfection, but I’m still going for it.  I expect continually changing excellence through  committing and  dedicating my loyalty to loving.  It means looking at things I’ve done that hurt me and others, and loving me and others anyway.  And it means taking care of, loving, myself.

Nothing  is more worthwhile than loving.  Not shame or vanity or hurt feelings.  Nothing.

When you are in contraction, you can begin to move into a state of expansion by coming back to the question, “Where does love lead me right now?” Love always leads you into living from the inside out. It allows you to stay within yourself and realize that:

Who you are is enough. Regardless of what anybody else thinks, you can love yourself. You can love your mistakes as much as you love your successes.

As you hold on to these truths, you will start attracting people to you who will support your inner process. Try it and see. Make a commitment that, just for today, you’ll let love lead.

– John-Roger with Paul Kaye
(From: Momentum, Letting Love Lead – Simple Practices for Spiritual Living, p. 22)

When I am exercising my commitment, it cuts out alternatives because my focus and attention is on what I have begun.  I have begun to love.   I have just begun. It is going to produce change.  I don’t always get my first choice in things, unless my first choice is to love.

By making loving most important I get to rest in the arms of the angels. I can whine and complain, or I can  go on to the growth, getting on with what works and loving as if there was no tomorrow and have Heaven right here on earth.

Celebrating Mothers Day

Tchaikovsky+rose+2webccThe word Joy uses to describe our family is weird.  Maybe.  People who overheard me describe myself as conservative have been quick to correct me.  Perhaps my conservatism is to the extreme that ends up on the other side.

I think  she meant unconventional.  I tend to pick and choose my conventions.  Mothers Day is one that I didn’t pick up on very readily.  My mom didn’t receive much after the elementary school craft projects were complete.  I was inconsiderate like that.  I was the oldest child following my dad’s pattern of ignoring holidays.

The flurry of angst about mothers day in the adoption blogs aroused me this year.  Though my own mother is dead and gone, she is still the most powerful figure in Mother’s Day to me.  My dead mother is more important than what others think about my motherhood.

I officially terminated my parental rights a few days before Mother’s Day.  I don’t have the record.  If a copy was intended for me it would have been given to my mother.  She was there, behind me.  She might have received something.  If she did she destroyed it.  I went through all the files before selling their house in 1997.   No evidence.

Breathe.

Just like I was supposed to obliterate my memory of birthing a daughter, I was oblivious to Mother’s Day that year.  I was in my room, in my parents’ home, crying.  No connection.

I would’ve guessed my mother went to church that day.  But maybe not.  They would have been focused on reminders of what day it was.  Special recognition given to mothers that she was not getting from me.  I wasn’t even angry. A few months after losing my daughter I moved in with a man who treated me like a cross between a daughter and a lover.  Then drifted through years of circumstances that made it easy to forget about Mother’s Day.

What was my little brother doing? He was the Golden Boy.  The good son.  GB told me later that our dad had instructed him that sex could result in pregnancy which would result in a lifetime commitment to his girlfriend.  The message was powerful enough for him to quit having sex with his girlfriend and stay away from girls entirely for a few more years until they were old enough to get birth control.  Preventing Mothers Days.

I like to think that watching me navigate post maternity taught my parents something.  I know watching me navigate early reunion was confounding to them.  All the denial and all the burial couldn’t put it all behind me, ever.  My teen pregnancy surfaced.  It is and always will be part of my motherhood.

The little crafty projects of my raised kids are  mementos of their growth and development much more than commemorations of my motherhood.  When they were little I learned to send cards to my own mother and grandmother.  This year the notion of celebrating mothers is adjusting.  The sappiness is ebbing.

There is so much I didn’t share with my mother.  So much hurt and anger we had to put aside in order to share some good times, to see each other’s soft and tender caring.

Losing Joy was so devastating to me I had no thought of how anyone else felt.  Joy’s loss overwhelmed me when I heard it from her lips.

My mother never whispered a word to me about her own feelings.

My grandson is not going to be a teenager much longer.  My perspective on motherhood continues to shift.  This year I love my mother a little more.  And I receive that love to myself.

Though brunch is absolutely my favorite meal, I have no desire to face the crowds on Mother’s Day.  Perhaps I’ll be tending my garden.

another step

Over at Birth Mother, First Mother Forum they’ve been talking about “coming out of the closet”.  That has been a lot of what blogging has been about for me the past few years, airing my thoughts and feelings.

The first year after Joy was born I talked about losing her all the time.  Everyone  got to hear my story.  I was looking for someone to help me figure out how to go on after the most traumatic event of my lifetime.  I don’t remember much response at all, from the wandering crowd I met.  Almost exactly a year later, a young man looked at me and said “You should never have left your daughter.  She needs you.”  That slammed me back on my heels.

I started being more circumspect about who I told my story to.  It was still the major event of my life and more important than anyone or anything else.  So if you were going to be a friend of mine, you heard it.  As time went by it moved to the background behind years of new events.  When most of my new contacts were moms in my raised kid’s playgroups, sharing my history of giving up my firstborn was no longer an intro.  Only those that got close to me knew about Joy.  But yeah, I always included her birth in my answers to medical personnel.

A couple years ago an old acquaintance of my husband’s came to visit.  DH suggested that I’d have a lot to share with this guy because he is an adoption worker.  He travels all over placing children for adoption.  This was the first time I was really dumbstruck.  I could not speak of my loss to this stranger.  I was hosting the enemy for dinner but I wasn’t going to let him know.  I just watched him.  He effectively ran the conversation that evening and on his agenda of their childhood memories.  So I really don’t know exactly what he does.  Maybe he is working with older children in foster care?  IDK. I don’t think so.

I don’t plan to invite him back to find out.  But he is on the fringe of family events.  If I do run across him in the future, I feel more prepared to find out what he’s doing.

Perhaps that’s the good news in my response to the movie Juno and the Kitchen commercial Nicole blogged about, and most of all being able to read and write here in the blogosphere.    In the ’60s and earlier, adoption was a secret, shameful thing.  In this new presentation it’s an option, like whether to drive a minivan or an SUV, a style preference.  There’s no shame.  It’s just whether you like red socks or blue socks.

Talking to a friend about open records legislation she was puzzled as to who would oppose it and why.  I told her imo adoptive parents feel as though they’ve paid good money for their adopted child and don’t want their title questioned.  She took that in with little surprise.  It wasn’t until later that I realized I had put it in terms of human trafficking.

I’m still unpacking the language and the standards and the inconsistencies of my experience of surrendering my own child to adoption.  My inner wolves are still fighting.