Face to Face

Weird how much time I spend wondering about the next time I’ll see, or talk to Joy again.  I entertain a sense of  unfinished business, that I should do something for a greater feeling of peace between us.

Reviewing Joy’s and my first face to face still gives me goosebumps.

My grandpa died a couple weeks after our first phone call.  A memorial was planned for sometime in March, meaning I was going back to California and would be able to meet Joy in person!  In my memory she wanted to meet me too.  (Sometime this past year she corrected that misinterpretation.) We met  at a place of her choosing.

I worried about what to wear, desperate to look respectable, comparing myself to her description of her adoptive mother, petite and sharp.  When I was skinny dipping in college a friend “complimented” me on my fertility goddess appearance, which I was hoping to camouflage because Joy had mentioned the importance of a slim figure.

Atypically I wore lipstick and curled my hair for the memorial service and to meet Joy. I remember checking out my pink shorts and white sweater in my mom’s mirror after explaining that I wanted to borrow their car so I could go meet my daughter that had contacted me and lived nearby and  that yes I was sure I wanted to meet her.  Yes I am.  I don’t know when I’ll be back.  At a coffeshop near the freeway.  Thank you.

Looking back, my folks handled it ok.  It came out of left field for them. They didn’t know Joy and I were “in reunion”, or any idea of such a thing as reunion. They were in the midst of handling a death in the family, hosting their children, grandchildren, inlaws and visiting with guests from out state.

I left all that  behind and arrived at the coffeeshop.  I don’t remember if we met inside or in the parking lot.  I do remember looking across the table and being stunned to see her father’s eyes.  Ok, that should be normal.   I look like my father.  She says I talked a lot.  I probably did.  But the only things I remember saying are things she’s reminded me I said.  I’m sure I talked about her blue eyes.   My younger children’s father had looked for his blue eyes in his kids but they are hazel and brown like mine.

I also know I made a rude comment trying to cover my embarrassment at not having a gift for my baby grandson.  It was surreal. I remember (?) that.

Learning that Joy had uncertain feelings about even meeting me makes sense as I recall our interaction.  I plowed ahead with unprepared enthusiasm despite self consciousness and doubt about my worthiness.  She was more hesitant and held back, perhaps more thoughtful.

What I most remember was being stunned by our differences. She was my daughter but we’d lived differently. She was also her father’s daughter and he was a stranger to me now.  She was her afamily’s daughter and their influence was so unfamiliar to me.  She was married– husband and child to boot.

She didn’t want to touch me. Although I was accustomed to my family of origin not touching; hugging and cuddling have been constant with my younger children. I wanted it, but didn’t push it on her.

I went back to my folks house and started wondering about when I would see her again.

Conditioning, expectations, misunderstandings and fears  interfered in our communication.  I am most rewarded when responding from my heart, because at least then I get it.


6 responses to “Face to Face

  1. I remember having many of the feelings you share here. I was probably much more shy, didn’t hold him long enough, didn’t ask enough questions, said one especially stupid thing that I thought was good at the time and now look back on and think – ouch – that probably hurt him to hear that. Mostly, I was just so overwhelmed I could hardly function and I wonder if I came off as a cold fish.

    Only in these past few years since meeting my son have I known the reward that you mention – that of responding from the heart. It is very clique, but I remember feeling that a very hard shell around my heart had cracked open after meeting my son. I am able to love more fully with him in my life.

    When will I see him or hear from him again – yes, I think about it a lot.


  2. It has been almost 9 months since I heard my son’s sweet voice. Almost as long as he and I shared one body. I wonder every single day and almost every single moment of it, if I will ever get to hear it again. There is truly nothing I long for more than that.

  3. I didn’t know Joy was married. I always had thought she had been a single mother.

  4. They separated or divorced when their son was quite young.

  5. I mean I had always thought she was single and alone when pregnant.

  6. Part of the time I was, part of the time I wasn’t Kim. I have talked frequently and openly about my marriage and the fact that I was married.

    Maybe I will make a post about it soon.

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