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.